Snowbound GG1 #14095

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The Story

A relic of railroading past and gone, a PRR GG1 electric locomotive sits stranded in high winter snow and deep cold. It’s sidetracked here along with another GG1 on a siding along the old Delaware & Hudson mainline, now operated by CN. There were once well over 100 of these powerful engines working on the Pennsylvania Railroad who designed and built them in the late thirties and early forties. As a railroad innovation, the GG1 was a success and many pulled revenue trains and Amtrak passenger trains up into the late 1970s.

In their heyday, the PRR GG1 electrics ran between New Haven, Connecticut, and Washington DC on the electrified “Corridor”, and from Philly to Harrisburg, PA. A few remain, but none will ever run again. Their end came when Conrail wanted to move away from heavy electric locomotives pulling freight. Even worse, hairline cracks had developed in their massive metal frames after decades of heavy use. Surprisingly, the average mileage upon retirement was five million miles!

#4917 was built in-house in 1942 by the Pennsylvania Railroad Altoona shops which still operate today as Norfolk Southern. Today, this locomotive is here in New York as a partly developed railroad museum that sees little or sporadic attention. You can see a new brake line attached to make occasional moves possible. This train picture was created in deep snow, sunlight, and bitter cold minus twenty temps, one that took a little grit to get. Nearly frozen, I was shooting around this place until I couldn’t feel my legs below the knee in the Arctic cold and snow. The picture is a panorama made from seven vertical images stitched together in the computer, a product of modern digital photography.

For a view of the other side of this GG1 and more background about these iconic locomotives, have a look at the panorama Sidetracked #14068. There is other vintage railroad equipment gathered at this location to be seen in the usual image Spook Junction #14093 and Deadline #14107.

Location: Cooperstown Junction, Ostego County, New York. Image and text © Andrew Dierks

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