The GG1 Homepage

This site is for the virtual preservation of the standard electric locomotive of the world, the Pennsylvania Railroad's GG1

Nose of a GG1

GG1 Background

What's so special about the GG1? Longevity. The first GG1 went into service in 1935 and the last was taken out of service in 1983. The GG1 outlasted the railroad that built it and its successor road. This may be in part due to the fact that the GG1 was not handed a spot in the PRR inventory, it earned it. It was inspired by the nearby New Haven boxcab electric EP-3a that served that road so well. PRR was in the market for a new electric but the R-1 was offered in addition to the GG1. The R1 and GG1 inherited their general styling from the smaller modified P5a. The GG1 recieved the special attention of industrial designer Raymond Loewy, who, with minor changes in the sheet metal and major changes with the livery, made the GG1 the visual classic it is. Despite the other omnipresent items designed by Loewy, he stated he was always especially fond of the job he did on the G. The R-1 had a smaller single frame 2-D-2 wheel arrangement, compared to the GG1's multiframed 2-C+C-2. The PRR put both locos through their paces and the GG1 came out on top with slightly better tracking characteristics.

4800 (originally 4899) was the prototype for the line and was the only one to have a rivited body. At the behest of Loewy, all later ones were welded. Another asset of the GG1 was strength. A GG1 frame looks more like a bridge than a locomotive. The 4876 lost its brakes and pulled the Federal Express right into Washington Terminal, crashed into the concourse and fell into the basement. It was cut up into small sections so it could be removed from the basement, shipped back to Altoona for reassembly. It was returned to service and still survives today!

With their steam boilers the Gs were intended primarily as passenger locomotives, but adeptly handled freight as well. One of the original orders of the locomotive were built with passenger gearing in the traction motors. As they aged and newer power took over passenger service and many Gs were regeared for freight service. Starting sometime after 1955, many units were equipped with large ungainly air intakes.

The Gs served the Penn Central after the merger and routinely ventured onto New Haven track. After PC's brief life, most Gs went to Conrail where they served until 1979. 40 units were transferred to Amtrak, and 13 to New Jersey Transit where they served until 1981 and 1983 respectively. Despite their sturdy construction, the millions of miles racked up by these units eventually caused frame cracks too extensive to justify repair, given that parts were getting hard to find. The last nail in the coffin was to be the expected catenary frequency change from 25 to 60 Hz. The later rectifier locomotives could use either, but not the all-AC GG1.

Of the 16 units still in existance, 3 are under cover and 8 have been restored to Pensy paint. at least 4 of the units are rapidly deteriorating for lack of upkeep, especially 4876. Most, if not all, G tranformers were drained of the PCB laden coolant oil when they left service. Some may have been refilled with sand or concrete, others removed. Which units may be operable is a mystery.

In as far as the 25Hz power system, despite many reports, the intended frequency change planned in the 1980's never occured and the G's homeland remains 25Hz to this day. It is also reported that there is a 25Hz system somewhere in the gulf coast area.

More information is sought on which units have retained their transformers and what the condition of the transformers is. Also, more detailed information is sought on the status of units 4876, 4879, 4882, 4917 and 4933.

GG1 Specs

GG1 Survivor List

Full Roster

GG1 Paint Schemes

GG1 Reference Sources

GG1 Related Internet Resources

New Jul GG1 Technojargon

It's a GG1, surprise!


Feedback and Erata

Feedback and contributions to this page are welcome. Photos of preserved units are sought for publication on this page, depending on need. Mail to Christopher D. Coleman

This page is unofficial, and as such does not necessarily represent the views of nor does it have any direct relationship to The Pennsylvania Railroad or its successors, Consolidated Rail Corporation, The New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, or any other group or person.

Copyrighted photos have been used with permission.

Spike Systems This site is presented by Spike Systems. This page and all other pages and files within this site not explicitly Copyrighted are Copyrighted © 1994-2001 Christopher D. Coleman. They may not be distributed without explicit permission. All rights are reserved.

Browser Neutral Site This page was last updated November 4, 2002 by Chris Coleman,