Pennsylvania Railroad GG1

Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad EMD NW2 Switcher. Virginia Museum of Transportation, Roanoke, VA

Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad EMD NW2 Switcher. Virginia Museum of Transportation, Roanoke, VA

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Pennsylvania Railroad GG1

The Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 was a class of electric locomotive constructed by General Electric between 1934 and 1943.  In all 139 were built. Built during an era when streamlining was becoming popular amongst the major railroads, the GG1 with its unique design found a special place within American culture.  The GG1 has appeared in more advertisements and movie clips than any other design of locomotive (source: The Pennsylvania Railroad by Don Ball Jr.).  The article on Wikipedia on the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 lists nine movie appearances.  GG1s have also been used on two important Funeral Trains: President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Robert F. Kennedy.

The GG1 served the Pennsylvania Railroad until February 1, 1968 when it merged with the New York Central to form the Penn Central Transportation Company.  By this time 119 locomotives were still in service being transferred to the new railroad.  The Penn Central did not last long, going bankrupt in 1970.  The freight operations were assumed by the government controlled Conrail which continued to operate the locomotives until it ceased using electric truncation in 1980.  Amtrak purchased 30 GG1s  not long after its formation in 1971 and leased a further 21, some of which were used on the New York and Long Beach Commuter Branch.  The final Thirteen GG1s were assigned to New Jersey Transit and used on its New Jersey Coast Line as far as Long Beach where the electrification of the line ended.

The last GG1 was retired by New Jersey Transit on October 29, 1983.  Most were scrapped but, reflecting its place in American culture, fifteen production locomotives and the prototype have been preserved in museums.  None are operational due to technical difficulties with their transformers.  These static exhibits range in condition from exceptional condition like the ones at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA  and the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI  to those in not so good condition like the one in the image above at the Virginia Transport Museum in Roanoke, VA.


  1. Love the details in these iron horses Mark
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Worn ArchesMy Profile

  2. The lines of that Loco are so elegant. Reminds me a little of the lines of a very famous UK loco called Mallard. At first sight I thought it was a Steam Engine and not an electric one. Shame it can’t run just on the occasional special day.
    LensScaper recently posted..At the end of the PassagewayMy Profile

    • Many thanks, Andy. I think a better comparison for a UK steamer would have been the Coronation Class. Even the stripes on the livery were somewhat similar (and yes I was a bit of a train nut before I left the UK).

  3. Awesome, trains are so cool to shoot, nice work
    Mike Criswell recently posted..Reading 902 and 903My Profile

  4. I just love the heritage and romance of classic American railroads. What a great great shot here, Mark, and a wonderful wander down memory lane. Love the details and textures you’ve captured and brought to life here, absolutely top drawer!
    Toad Hollow Photography recently posted..The Turner Building: A Second LifeMy Profile


  1. BL2 Road Switcher - […] switching duties. Starting with the F3 and employing the cut-away hood-design reminiscent of the GG-1, the EMD designers came…

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