Trains.com

PRR GG1

7765 views
61 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    October 2006
  • 411 posts
PRR GG1
Posted by ccltrains on Sunday, September 19, 2021 6:12 PM

I do not know if there is a Forum page dealing with the GG1 so here gos.

During the winter of 1944-45 when I was 4 years old we made 5 trips from Steubenville Ohio to Atlantic City by train.  Gas rationing made travel by car impossible.  My uncle was severely injured in WW2 and several of the hotels in Atlantic City were converted to military hospitals.  We went on the PRR from Steubenville to Pittsburgh, to Philadelphia and finally on to Atlantic City.  From Steubenville to Harrisburg the train was steam powered.  Then to Philadelphia it was pulled by a GG1.  I woke up when we were pulled by the GG1 and asked my father what happened to the whistle. Thanks to the war travel out of the five trips we managed to get a Pullman berth only once.  You were lucky even to get a pillow.  Those were the good days when you could go almost anywhere by train.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 7,090 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, September 19, 2021 8:04 PM

Well, if this thread is about GG1 memories I've only got one, and it goes like this:

In 1975 I was a Marine stationed in Quantico VA.  I didn't have a car yet so I was taking the bus up north to visit some friends.  As the bus passed the yards for Washington Union Station on an elevated section of highway I was able to look down into the yards and saw a locomotive staging area.  It was full of what I now know were GG1's in Penn Central black.

"Wow!" I thought to myself, "Look at all those Art Deco diesels! I didn't think there were any around anymore!"  Hey, I wasn't a railfan at the time, so what did I know?  As far as I knew there were steam engines (all gone except for museums and tourist lines) and diesels, a locomotive was one or the other so electrics never entered my mind. 

Anyway, that's my GG1 story.  And I did admire the look of those G's!  How could you NOT admire a locomotive that looked like it was popped out of a Jell-O mold?

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 1,351 posts
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, September 19, 2021 8:17 PM

Here's my GG1 story.  In 1970, at the age of 11, I was a budding railfan.  We flew on a United DC8 Detroit-Newark to visit my aunt and uncle, who lived in New Brunswick.  It turns out that their home was only about 4-5 houses from the NEC.  Every time I heard a train approaching, I ran out to get the locomotive road numbers.  At the speeds that they ran, you didn't have much time.  We took the train into NYC one day, but it was a Metroliner.

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Toronto, Canada
  • 2,247 posts
Posted by 54light15 on Monday, September 20, 2021 5:15 PM

I recall GG1s in Brunswick Green in the Sunnyside yards on Long Island when taking the train into Penn in the 1960s. In the 1970s I caught a ride with a guy on my ship and we travelled from Norfolk to New Brunswick, New Jersey where I would take the train the rest of the way. Waiting on the platform for the next Northbound train, a long train, maybe 22 coaches roared South being pulled by 2 black painted,lettered for Amtrak GG1s at a very high rate of speed. The ozone they gave off made my military haircut stand on end. I could really feel it, like being in the biggest lightning storm I've ever experienced. 

I got a job as a boiler inspector with Hartford Steam Boiler in October of 1991. Their office was in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. I had to get down there to pick up the company car so I figured out how to do it by train. Taking NJT out of the Hoboken Terminal, I saw a Tuscan red GG1 sitting in the outer approach to the station. I wonder if it's still there? 

  • Member since
    May 2019
  • 400 posts
Posted by BEAUSABRE on Monday, September 20, 2021 7:56 PM

ccltrains
asked my father what happened to the whistle

The GG1 had one of those horrible "BLAT" sounding one note horns. Shoulda copied the New Haven and had a Hancock Air Whistle (I want to find a digital rendering of the whistle so I can subsitute it on my PRR motors. I don't care about real life, in my universe, they got whistles)

Side note, the GG1 was my dad's favorite motive power. He came from a railroading family (granddad was a railroad machinist) and worked as a steam fireman for three years after high school to earn money for college. This was 1936-39 and the Depression was still in force. I think the GG1 became a symbol of a brighter future, both for railroads and the nation. On business trips to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston, he would board the Pennsy at Elizabeth, NJ and it was an awesome experience to be on the platform as the GG1 thundered in, making the ground shake. I think dad had a bit of a grin as he boarded a train pulled by his favorite. He loved the GG1 so much that I got a GG1 hauled Congressional for my Lionel layout (and I KNEW it was Dad's engine)

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • 2,716 posts
Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:00 PM

The story I heard is that whereas the GG1 from the outside looks enormous, the two cabs and the walkway between them are rather cramped because a large transformer is located between them?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 22,431 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:14 PM

Can't be much worse than a camelback (Mother Hubbard).

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    September 2010
  • 2,222 posts
Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:20 PM

What I remember of my first trip behind a GG1 was the kick in the seat of the pants when they accelerated a train. It was noticeably greater than the diesels that had led the train into Harrisburg. Similar to that of trolley buses I rode. 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,777 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:33 PM

BEAUSABRE
The GG1 had one of those horrible "BLAT" sounding one note horns. Shoulda copied the New Haven and had a Hancock Air Whistle (I want to find a digital rendering of the whistle so I can substitute it on my PRR motors. I don't care about real life, in my universe, they got whistles)

The originals had something far better than a dinky Hancock Air Whistle; they had what I believe were standard PRR passenger whistles (early photos show these, on the roof just behind one of the pans).  The A220s are clearer warning for high speed when blown on air...

The cabs are cramped not just because of the transformer but the heavy truss structure in the cab framing.  For real cramped quarters, though, go to the toilet...

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 21,232 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:39 PM

Images courtsey of the NHRS Convention thread.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 22,431 posts
Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 7:22 AM

BEAUSABRE
The GG1 had one of those horrible "BLAT" sounding one note horns. Shoulda copied the New Haven and had a Hancock Air Whistle (I want to find a digital rendering of the whistle so I can subsitute it on my PRR motors. I don't care about real life, in my universe, they got whistles)

We had a Hancock on one of our locos for use in the more populated areas in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake (track now gone).  The FRA made us take it off because it wasn't loud enough, although that was really why we used it.

Some local residents didn't appreciate the change.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 7,090 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 8:03 AM

Thanks for those shots Balt, they kind of reenforce what I've read about GG1's, that is, as zoomy-looking and futuristic they were on the outside they were kind of primitive on the inside, at least by present-day standards.

(The obvious age on the interiors pictured notwithstanding.)

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 12,528 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 10:08 AM

If it wasn't for Raymond Loewy's styling, all of the GG1's would have looked like PRR 4800.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 3,641 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 12:34 PM

Flintlock76

Thanks for those shots Balt, they kind of reenforce what I've read about GG1's, that is, as zoomy-looking and futuristic they were on the outside they were kind of primitive on the inside, at least by present-day standards.

You can tell the designers were thinking with a steam locomotive mindset.

- 4-6-6-4 wheel arrangement.

- Cast, articulated frames.  

- Spoked wheels with tires and large drivers (by diesel standards).  

- No dynamic or regenerative braking.

- Even heavier than today's heavy AC's, yet less than 2/3 of that weight is on the drivers.  

- Large yet cramped cabs with poor forward visibility (ok, ok, I know the centre cab was a feature to protect against crossing accidents).  

They are streamlined electric Challengers.  And just like their UP steam counterparts they gave excellent service for many years.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,121 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 2:32 PM

The 4-6-6-4 wheel arrangement came from their testing New Haven's EP-3s, whose 4-6-6-4 arrangement predated any steam 4-6-6-4s.

Their DD-1's did show steam influence, however,  but they were much earlier.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 7,090 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 3:19 PM

SD70Dude
Large yet cramped cabs with poor forward visibility (ok, ok, I know the centre cab was a feature to protect against crossing accidents).  

Reminds me of a story about a GG1 engineer who was asked if the poor forward visibility was a problem.

He said "Naw, it's no big deal.  You can't stop on a dime anyway!"

  • Member since
    September 2011
  • 5,409 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 7:57 PM

daveklepper

The 4-6-6-4 wheel arrangement came from their testing New Haven's EP-3s, whose 4-6-6-4 arrangement predated any steam 4-6-6-4s.

Their DD-1's did show steam influence, however,  but they were much earlier.

 

And the NH wheel arrangement came from the earlier CUT/NYC P-motors (although they were DC).

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,772 posts
Posted by 243129 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 8:02 PM

They were cold in the winter, hot in the summer, forward visibility was limited, they were dirty drafty and had lousy seating but boy oh boy were they strong and durable. This is me in 1970 at New Haven station on train #141.

https://imgur.com/i5BK09U

https://i.imgur.com/i5BK09U.jpg

<a href="https://imgur.com/i5BK09U"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/i5BK09U.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • 2,300 posts
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 10:14 PM

I was in a GG1 once. I was amazed how cramped it was. Like a WW1 submarine.

Still in training.


  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Toronto, Canada
  • 2,247 posts
Posted by 54light15 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 10:52 PM

How about a Swiss GG1? Or three? Awesome, I say! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubAEfdpCtys 

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • 521 posts
Posted by alphas on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 11:29 PM

Engineers in my greater family who operated GG1's always complained about how noisy they were.    I was in them several times but not while operating.   The change over at Harrisburg from steam then later diesel to GG1's [and the reverse] were one of my favorite things to watch as a young boy.

  • Member since
    October 2006
  • 411 posts
Posted by ccltrains on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 2:53 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

If it wasn't for Raymond Loewy's styling, all of the GG1's would have looked like PRR 4800.

It is reported when Loewy saw the first GG1 with its riveted body he asked what are all those bumps. All future GG1 were welded smooth bodies.  The riveted GG1 is in the Pennsylvania museum at Strasburg.  Unfortunally it is stored outside ans is in poor condition.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 8,544 posts
Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 2:55 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
If it wasn't for Raymond Loewy's styling, all of the GG1's would have looked like PRR 4800.

That would have been cool. 

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 21,232 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 3:01 PM

ccltrains
 
CSSHEGEWISCH

If it wasn't for Raymond Loewy's styling, all of the GG1's would have looked like PRR 4800.

The same basic form - just with riveted panels not welded panels.

  • Member since
    October 2006
  • 411 posts
Posted by ccltrains on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 3:03 PM

Computers do not like me.  The post dealing with Loewy and the original GG1 was mine.  Somehow it was appended to csshegwisch's post.  Hope I did not insult csshegwisch by having my comment appended to his post.  

Tags: GG1 oops
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,777 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 3:30 PM

SD70Dude
You can tell the designers were thinking with a steam locomotive mindset: 4-6-6-4 wheel arrangement...

but in symmetrical frames, articulated at the center but both separate from the superstructure (which took no tractive load).  Experience had showed both the value of using separate guide trucks on these cast rigid-frame beds and the relative necessity of making these as four-wheel pin-guided for high speed (see NYC's rather extreme redesign of the S motors in the early 20th Century)

Later electric designs with this underframe construction (e.g. the big GN electrics of the late '40s and the original N&W turboelectric design) would in fact try motoring the lead trucks.  PRR famously tested this on one of the P5s and rapidly determined it wasn't worth it. 

...Spoked wheels with tires and large drivers (by diesel standards)

They are large and spoked because of the quill drive, not just to reduce unsprung mass.  Note that the drivers on the later DD2 were larger still... as probably would have been the other licomotive types built for the '43 electrification expansion.

No dynamic or regenerative braking. - Even heavier than today's heavy AC's, yet less than 2/3 of that weight is on the drivers

This would turn out to be more important than PRR thought.  Getting properly phased 11 to 12.5kV AC out of those universal motors was impractical in the '40s, and dynamic braking was a huge extra expense.  Now, had it been available the Washington crash in '53 would have been reduced and oerhaps eliminated, and it would have been practical to run at high speed pulling Amfleet consusts without, ah, the unfortunate consequences that started to ensue when that was tried in the '70s...  

[quote] Large yet cramped cabs with poor forward visibility (ok, ok, I know the centre cab was a feature to protect against crossing accidents)[/auote]No one was ever killed in a GG1 accident, even when dumped on its side at 80mph, even when running through equipment producing a cloud of flaming diesel fuel.  Dohner's solution to boxcab CEM worked, and worked brilliantly, as intended.

Most of the early first-generation diesel 'experience' with hoods, on many roads, put the long hood and engine ahead of the running cab; I suspect with Union agreement.

They are streamlined electric Challengers

Show me a fully bidirectional Challenger that goes 128mph....

and just like their UP steam counterparts, they gave excellent service for many years.

Long past any of the engines built to supplant or replace them on PRR save one type; in fact, within under a half-decade of the E44s.  Much of that could be attributed to overbuilding... but much of the decision to retire them involved 'crystallization' in those cast beds.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 7,090 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 5:46 PM

54light15
How about a Swiss GG1? Or three? Awesome, I say! 

Those Crocodiles are just plain cool, and I see they can still get up and GO!

But something's wrong, where's the Maerklin labels?  Wink

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Toronto, Canada
  • 2,247 posts
Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 5:58 PM

I travelled from Italy to Germany by train in the 1970s several times and I saw Crocodiles on active service in Switzerland. They weren't the only side-rod electrics that I saw but the Crocodiles were the most common. Another thing about Switzerland, every rural station had a spur track with a boxcar or two sitting there and they all had a covered platform at one end. Another memory was crossing the Brenner Pass in 1978 where there was a steam locomotive switching freight cars in the yard at the Brenner station- I wasn't able to get a photo, damn it! 

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 12,528 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, September 24, 2021 10:19 AM

ccltrains

Computers do not like me.  The post dealing with Loewy and the original GG1 was mine.  Somehow it was appended to csshegwisch's post.  Hope I did not insult csshegwisch by having my comment appended to his post.  

 
No insult taken.  Accidents do happen.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 7,090 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, September 24, 2021 10:43 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Computers do not like me.  

Computers aren't smart, computers aren't dumb, computers are MEAN!

Depending on their mood of course.  Wink

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy