PRR GG1

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PRR GG1
A black, electric locomotive pulling several burgundy passenger railcars.
A GG1 electric locomotive pulls The Congressional, 1965
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Designer GE Transportation,
Donald R. Dohner & Raymond Loewy
Builder GE Transportation (15),
Altoona Works (124)
Build date 1934 – 1943
Total produced 139
Specifications
AAR wheel arr. 2-C+C-2
UIC classification (2′Co)(Co2′)
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel
diameter
36 in (914 mm)
Driver diameter 57 in (1,448 mm)
Wheelbase Rigid: 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m)
Overall: 69 ft 0 in (21.03 m)
Length 79 ft 6 in (24.23 m) over coupler pulling faces
Width 10 ft 4 in (3.15 m)
Height 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m) over locked-down pantographs
Weight on drivers 303,000 lb (137.4 tonnes)
Locomotive weight 475,000 lb (215.5 tonnes)
Fuel capacity 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) or 424 US gal (1,610 l; 353 imp gal) oil, for train heating
Water capacity 23,000 lb (10,400 kg) or 2,760 US gal (10,450 l; 2,300 imp gal) for train heating
Electric system(s) 11-13.5 kV 25 Hz AC Catenary
11-13.5 kV 60 Hz AC Catenary
Current collection
method
Overhead AC with dual pantographs
Traction motors 12 × GEA-627-A1 385 hp (287 kW)
Transmission AC current fed via a 22 position transformer tap changer to paired traction motors geared to a Quill drive
Performance figures
Maximum speed Passenger: 100 mph (160 km/h)
Freight: 90 mph (145 km/h)
Power output Continuous: 4,620 hp (3,450 kW)
Short duration: 8,000 hp (6,000 kW)
Tractive effort 65,500 lbf (291 kN)
Train heating One oil-fired 4,500 lb/hr steam generator
Career
Operator(s) Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit
Locale Northeast Corridor
First run January 28, 1935
Last run October 29, 1983
Disposition 16 preserved, remainder scrapped

The PRR GG1 was a class of electric locomotives built for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) for use in the northeastern United States. 139 GG1s were constructed by General Electric and PRR's Altoona Works from 1934 to 1943.[1]

Entering service in 1935, the GG1 also operated on successor railroads Penn Central, Conrail and Amtrak. The last GG1 was retired by New Jersey Transit in 1983; most were scrapped, but several remain in museums.

Technical information[edit]

The GG1 was 79 feet 6 inches (24.23 m) long and weighed 475,000 pounds (215,000 kg).[2] The frame of the locomotive was in two halves joined with a ball and socket joint, allowing the locomotive to negotiate sharper curves.[3] The body rested on the frame and was clad in welded steel plates. The control cabs were near the center of the locomotive on each side of the main oil-cooled transformer and oil-fired train-heating boiler. This arrangement, first used on the Modified P5 class, provided for greater crew safety in a collision and for bi-directional operation of the locomotive.[4] A pantograph on each end of the locomotive body was used to collect the 25 Hz, 11,000 V alternating current (AC) from the overhead lines. In operation the leading pantograph was usually kept lowered and the trailing raised to collect current, since if the rear pantograph failed it would not strike the forward pantograph. Transformers between the two cabs stepped down the 11,000 V to the voltages needed for the traction motors and other equipment.[4]

Two black electric locomotives pulling boxcars.
Penn Central 4801 and 4800 eastward at North Elizabeth in December 1975

Twelve 385-horsepower (287 kW) GEA-627-A1 traction motors drove the GG1's 57-inch (140 cm) diameter driving wheels on six axles using a quill drive. Four unpowered leading/trailing wheels were mounted on each end of the locomotive. The traction motors were six-pole, 400 volts, 25 Hz rated at 385 hp, with the 12 motors mounted in pairs over each of the six driving axles. Each motor was geared to what is called a "quill," a shroud around the axle itself, and the quill was connected to the drivers by means of a spring and cup arrangement. The motors were mounted on each frame which provided a flexible suspension system to provide full and equal traction for each of the drivers regardless of track condition. Using Whyte notation for steam locomotives, each frame is a 4-6-0 locomotive, which in the Pennsylvania Railroad classification system is a "G". The GG1 has two such frames back to back, 4-6-0+0-6-4. The related AAR wheel arrangement classification is 2-C+C-2. This means one frame consisting of a set of two axles unpowered (the "2") and three axles powered (the "C") hinged with the ball and socket to another frame of the same design (the +). The unpowered "2" axles are at either end of the locomotive.

History[edit]

Amtrak 904 westbound at Harrison, New Jersey in June 1975

The mechanical design of the GG1 was based largely on the New Haven EP3, which had been borrowed earlier from the New Haven Railroad by PRR to compare it to its current standard electric locomotive, the P5a.[5] In 1933, PRR decided to replace its P5a locomotives and told General Electric and Westinghouse to design prototype locomotives with the following specifications: a lighter axle load and more power than the P5a, a top speed of at least 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), a streamlined body design and a single (central) control cab.[6]

Both companies delivered their prototypes to PRR in August 1934.[7] General Electric submitted the GG1 and Westinghouse submitted the R1. The R1 was essentially "little more than an elongated and more powerful version of the P5a" with an AAR wheel arrangement of 2-D-2.[7] Both locomotives were tested for ten weeks in regular service between New York and Philadelphia and on a test track in Claymont, Delaware.[8] Because the R1's rigid wheelbase prevented it from negotiating sharp curves and some railroad switches, PRR chose the GG1 and ordered 57 additional locomotives on November 10, 1934.[8] Of the 57, 14 were to be built by General Electric in Erie and 18 at the Altoona Works. The remaining 20 locomotives were to be assembled in Altoona with electrical components from Westinghouse in East Pittsburgh and chassis from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone.[9] An additional 81 locomotives were then built at Altoona between 1937 and 1943.

On January 28, 1935, to mark the completion of the electric line from Washington, D.C to New York City, PRR ran a special train pulled by PRR 4800 before it opened the line for revenue service on February 10.[10] It made a round trip from D.C. to Philadelphia and, on its return trip, set a speed record by arriving back in D.C. 1 hour and 50 minutes after its departure from Philadelphia.[10]

In the mid-1950s, with declining demand for passenger train service, GG1s 4801–4857 were re-geared for a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) and placed in freight service.[11] They initially retained their train heating steam generator, and were recalled to passenger service for holiday season mail trains,[11] and 'Passenger Extras' such as those run for the annual Army–Navy football game in Philadelphia.[12]

Timetable speed limit for the GG1 was 75-80 mph until October 1967 when some were allowed 100 mph for a year or two;[citation needed] when Metroliner cars were being overhauled in the late 1970s, GG1s were again allowed 100 mph when pulling Amfleet cars on trains scheduled to run 224.6 miles from New York to Washington in 3 hours 20–25 minutes.[citation needed]

Shell Design Development[edit]

Prior to 2009, famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy was solely credited with the GG1's styling, based on the belief that he had greatly enhanced the appearance of the prototype locomotive for production. It was then revealed, however, that an equally well-known industrial designer of the era, Donald Roscoe Dohner, was the initial designer on the project. Although Dohner has since been credited with the designing of the prototype GG1, its shell, when compared to Dohner's scale styling models created before construction began, falls quite short of the designer's artistic intent. As such, the prototype's appearance does not accurately represent what Dohner had in mind for the GG1's looks. [13][14]

Subsequently, the PRR hired Raymond Loewy to "enhance the GG1's aesthetics," although it is not known at what stage of design development the production shell was at when he arrived on the project.[8][15] Loewy did claim that he recommended the use of a smooth, welded body instead of riveted one used in the prototype.[16] Loewy also added five gold pinstripes and a Brunswick green paint scheme.[16] The paint scheme was changed to Tuscan red in 1952; and the pinstripes were simplified to single stripe and large red keystones were added in 1955.[17]

Research into Donald Dohner's GG1 project contribution also disproved the long held belief that the GG1's design was derived from the modified P5a's. Instead, it was revealed that Dohner developed the GG1 first, and soon afterward applied the shape to the P5a - despite the fact that the modified P5a's production debuted prior to that of the GG1 - as well as the R1 prototype.[18]

Incidents[edit]

On January 15, 1953, train 173, the overnight Federal from Boston, was approaching Washington behind GG1 4876. The train passed a signal 2.1 miles (3.4 km) north of Union Station between 60 and 70 miles per hour (97 and 113 km/h), and the engineer decreased the throttle and started applying the brakes.[19] When the engineer realised that the train was not slowing down, and applying the emergency brake had no effect, he sounded the engine's horn. A signalman, hearing the horn and noting the speed of 4876, phoned ahead to the station master's office.[20] 4876 negotiated several switches without derailing, at speeds well over the safe speed limits and entered the station at around 35 to 40 miles per hour (56 to 64 km/h).[21] The train demolished the bumping post, continued through the station master's office and into the concourse[21] where it fell through the floor into the station's basement. A temporary floor was erected over the engine, and the hole it created, for the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.[20] 4876 was eventually dismantled, removed from the basement and reassembled in Altoona. It survives in the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

The accident was determined to have been caused by a closed "angle cock", a valve on the front and rear of all locomotives and rail cars used in the train's airbrake system, on the rear of the third car in the train.[22] The handle of the angle cock had been improperly placed and had contacted the bottom of the car. Once it was closed the air brake pipe on all the cars behind the closed valve remained at full pressure, keeping the brakes released on those cars while the brakes on the locomotive and first three cars were applied in emergency.[23]

The only major electro-mechanical breakdown of the GG1 was caused by a blizzard which swept across the northeastern United States in February 1958.[24] The storm put nearly half of all GG1s out of commission. Exceptionally fine snow, caused by the extreme low temperatures, was able to pass through the traction motors' air filters and into the electrical components.[25] The snow then melted and short circuited the components.[25] On about 40 units, the air intakes were moved to a position under the pantographs.

Disposition[edit]

In 1968 PRR with its 119 surviving GG1s merged with the New York Central Railroad to form Penn Central. After its creation in 1971, Amtrak purchased 30 for $50,000 each, and [26] leased 21, of which 11 were for use on New York and Long Branch commuter trains.[27] Amtrak renumbered the purchased GG1s #900–929 as a solid block, later renumbered by adding "4" as a prefix. The leased units with conflicting numbers were then renumbered 4930–4939, except 4935 which kept its old PRR/PC number.

Amtrak attempted to replace the GG1s in 1975 when it introduced the General Electric E60,[28] but they were not a success: a 102-mile-per-hour (164 km/h) derailment during testing had to be investigated (the E60 used the same trucks as the P30CH diesel then in service with Amtrak), which delayed acceptance, and the hoped-for 120 miles per hour (193 km/h) service speed was never achieved (they never received clearance for speeds over 90 miles per hour (140 km/h)).[29]

It was not until Amtrak imported two powerful, lightweight, European locomotives – X995, an Rc4a built by ASEA of Sweden and X996, a French design – that a clear replacement was found. The ASEA design, nicknamed the "Swedish swifty",[30] or the "Mighty Mouse"[31] was the winning design. Electro-Motive Diesel, then a part of General Motors, was licensed to build it in the United States and it became the basis of the AEM-7.[30] With the AEM-7s on hand, Amtrak was finally able to replace its GG1s.

Penn Central went bankrupt in 1970 and its freight operations were later assumed by government-controlled Conrail, which used 68 GG1s in freight service until the end of electric traction in 1980.

The last GG1s in use were some of the 13 assigned to New Jersey Transit (#4872–4884) for its North Jersey Coast Line between New York and South Amboy (the former New York and Long Branch) that were retired on October 29, 1983.[32]

Fifteen production locomotives and the prototype were preserved in museums. None are operational, due to difficulties with running their transformers.

A burgundy locomotive, with gold stripes in a museum with other railroad equipment.
PRR 4890, on display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
An unpainted, dirty-looking locomotive in a warehouse.
Amtrak 4939 undergoing preparation for repainting as PRR 4927 at the Illinois Railway Museum.

In popular culture[edit]

During the mid-1930s, the art of streamlining became popular, especially with locomotives, as it conveyed a sense of speed.[35] While other railroads were introducing streamlined trains, like the Union Pacific's M-10000 or the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad with the Zephyr, the PRR had the GG1.[35] The GG1 has "shown up over the years in more advertisements and movie clips than any other locomotive."[36] It was also featured in art calendars provided by PRR, which were used to "promote its reputation in the public eye."[37] It has appeared in the films Broadway Limited in 1941, The Clock in 1945, Blast of Silence in 1961, the 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate, and Avalon in 1990 in a PRR scheme.[38][39][40][41][42] Two GG1s appear in the 1973 film The Seven-Ups—a black Penn Central locomotive and a silver, red and blue Amtrak locomotive.[43] A Penn Central GG1 also appears in another 1973 film The Last Detail.[44] PRR GG1 4821 appears briefly in the 1952 film The Greatest Show on Earth, pulling the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train into Philadelphia's Greenwich Yard, with the movie's director Cecil B. DeMille narrating the scene of their arrival. Near the end of the 1951 film Bright Victory GG1 #4849 is shown pulling into the station.

A Pennsylvania GG1 was used to pull the funeral train of President Franklin D. Roosevelt from Washington D.C.'s Union Station to New York City's Pennsylvania Station in 1945.[45] Two Penn Central GG1s train pulled Robert F. Kennedy's funeral train on June 8, 1968.[33]

A GG1 and the Congressional were featured on a postage stamp as part of the United States Postal Service's All Aboard! 20th Century American Trains set in 1999.[46]

The PC games Railroad Tycoon II and Sid Meier's Railroads! allows for players to purchase and operate GG1 locomotive engines on their train routes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ For photos of the GG-1s in action, see Carleton, Paul. "Under Pennsy Wires" (1977: D. Carleton Railbooks).
  2. ^ Abendschein 1983, p. 5
  3. ^ Abendschein 1983, pp. 2–3
  4. ^ a b Abendschein 1983, p. 3
  5. ^ Bezilla 1980, pp. 141–142
  6. ^ Bezilla 1980, p. 141
  7. ^ a b Bezilla 1980, p. 143
  8. ^ a b c Bezilla 1980, p. 145
  9. ^ "$15,000,000 order"
  10. ^ a b Bezilla 1980, p. 154
  11. ^ a b Volkmer 1991, p. 24
  12. ^ Volkmer 1991, p. 105
  13. ^ Wayt 2009, pp. 30–35
  14. ^ Wayt 2010, pp. 86–87
  15. ^ Wayt 2009, pp. 30–35
  16. ^ a b Bezilla 1980, p. 146
  17. ^ Schafer & Soloman 2009, p. 128
  18. ^ Wayt 2010, pp. 86–87
  19. ^ "Accident at Union Station", p. 6.
  20. ^ a b Loftus 1953, p. 16
  21. ^ a b "Accident at Union Station", p. 5.
  22. ^ "Accident at Union Station", p. 13.
  23. ^ "Accident at Union Station, p. 14.
  24. ^ Bezilla 1980, p. 164
  25. ^ a b Benjamin 1958, p. 25
  26. ^ Bradley 1985, p. 66
  27. ^ Bradley 1985, p. 70
  28. ^ Burks 1975, p. 18
  29. ^ Bradley 1985, p. 82
  30. ^ a b Burks 1980
  31. ^ Bradley 1985, p. 136
  32. ^ Soloman 2003, p. 56
  33. ^ a b "Museum of the American Railroad - Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 4903". Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  34. ^ a b Palmateer 2008
  35. ^ a b Schafer & Soloman 2009, p. 127
  36. ^ Ball 1986, p. 34
  37. ^ Cupper 1992, pp. 56–57
  38. ^ Broadway Limited, 60:07, 60:09
  39. ^ The Clock, 01:14.
  40. ^ Blast of Silence, 01:30.
  41. ^ The Manchurian Candidate, 41:56.
  42. ^ Avalon, 66:37.
  43. ^ The Seven-Ups, 93:33, 96:36.
  44. ^ The Last Detail, 40:32.
  45. ^ FDR's Funeral Train by Robert Klara
  46. ^ "All Aboard!"

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "GG1: Special section on American's most famous electric locomotive". Classic Trains (Kalmbach) 10 (2). Summer 2009. 

External links[edit]