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More GG1 Pictures

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a world class museum of railroad history in Strasburg, PA.

PRR GG1 No. 4935

No. 4935's vital statistics:

  • Nickname "Blackjack."
  • 4620 horsepower, 8500 maximum. 
  • Liquid cooled transformer steps down 11,000 volts from catenary to 600 volts.
  • 12 motors, 600 volt AC on 6 axles.
  • Weight 238 tons. GE electrical gear.
  • 79' 6" long; 10' 6" wide; 15' high.
  • Special "quill" drive very effective.
  • Mileage, estimated 3 million miles.
  • 7" pin and ball joint articulated (allows undercarriage to swivel on curved tracks).
  • Streamlined design by Raymond Loewy.
  • Built in 1943 by PRR Juniata Shops.
  • 139 GG1s were built from 1934 to 1943.
GG1 No. 4935 in the Museum.

1955 PRR Calendar Painting by Grif Teller. GG1s at Army Navy Game

Cab interior, looking forward.
Interior cab scene shows small windshield. A complete cab faces each direction.

Frequently asked questions about the GG1: 

If it runs on electric, how come it has a place to load water and fuel? Since the GG1s were originally designed to haul passenger cars, it has a steam boiler which burns oil to produce steam to heat the cars. The fireman was responsible for keeping an eye on it.

What else did the fireman do? Because of the long nose that obstructed the engineer's view to the left, the fireman helped watch that side for things on the track and signals. (Inside each nose is a very large squirrel-cage fan to blow air on the traction motors.)

Where's the bell? As part of the streamlining, it is hidden underneath, near the back.

Must be a lot of room for the engineer and fireman? No, it's quite cramped because the transformers and mechanical equipment take up a lot of room.






A number of publications about the GG1 have been written, and several are available in the Museum's Whistle Stop Shop.

The famous GG1 locomotive was once the workhorse between New York City , Washington DC, and Harrisburg. Initially built to haul heavy passenger trains at top speed, some were also regeared for freight service. They were introduced as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad's massive 1930s project to electrify the line (install an infrastructure of overhead electric "catenary" wires to power the engines). Electrification was the solution to moving more trains with more cars and faster acceleration than steam locomotives could handle. The catenary, partly financed by the Federal government during the Great Depression as an economy stimulus, is still used today by Amtrak. Through their lives, the 139 GG1s were painted in various colors, with the Brunswick green (almost black) the most remembered.

When the prototype in the series, No. 4800 "Old Rivets," was deemed successful as a basis for mass production in 1935, famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy was hired by the Pennsylvania Railroad to give the series a more streamlined look. He accomplished this by having the body segments welded together rather than bolted, by a softening of the shell's corners, and the famous "cat's whiskers" paint scheme. Loewy also designed the Studebaker, refrigerators, cigarette packaging, and performed much more work for the Pennsylvania Railroad over several decades.

The design was called GG1 by the Pennsylvania Railroad because the wheel arrangement was the same as two Class G (4-6-0) steam locomotives coupled back to back. The cab areas are in the center as a safety precaution for the crew in case a collision.

Visitors near No. 4935.The GG1 series were highly successful in handling heavy loads, in large part because of their strong steel frame with concrete added for weight to facilitate traction. Only their advanced age and newer technology eventually led to their retirement, with the last in service in the early 1980s.  Today a few still exist in museums.

No. 4935 is one of the Museum's most admired locomotives, taking second place perhaps only to the famous No. 3750, of the Pacific K4s class -- the official steam locomotive class of Pennsylvania. A special exhibit next to No. 4935 portrays the GG1 history.

Following its restoration, in 1977 No. 4935 was dedicated at a grand ceremony in Washington, DC's Union Station. It was donated to the Museum by Russell Wilcox in 1983.

No. 4800 was declared a national National Historic Mechanical  Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Still showing the rivets and characteristics of its original construction, it currently is in the Museum's outdoor yard. Extensive restoration work awaits grant funding.

No. 4859, built in 1937, is on display at Harrisburg (Pa.) Transportation Center, Amtrak Station -- the official state electric locomotive.





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