H0 Scale GG1 Locomotives

Models by Rivarossi and AHM.

Prototype details.

During the early 1930’s the Pennsylvania Railroad required more suitable motive power for its newly electrified route between New York and Washington. After tests with a New haven EP3, an articulated 2-C+C-2 box cab unit, a prototype GG1 of a similar wheel arrangement was delivered.

The GG1 classification arises since on the Pennsylvania Railroad a 4-6-0 steam loco was a Class G and therefore one of these electric locos is two G types back to back. The 1 defines the first in the series of that wheel arrangement. 

Between 1934 and 1943, 139 GG1’s were constructed by General Electric, Baldwin and the Pennsylvania Railroad at its Altoona works. These locos are 80 feet in length weigh 205 tons and are of articulated construction, the car body bearing none of the traction forces. The power supply is 11Kv at 25Hz. Original numbering series was 4800 to 4938 but some renumbering took place by later owners.

The GG1 is a straight AC machine, the supply being reduced in voltage only, not rectified, for use by the twelve AC traction motors, two per driving axle, thus necessitation the lower than standard frequency. 

Steam for train heating and powering train air conditioning is supplied from an oil fired boiler within the loco, a small chimney for which is located on the roof. 

A considerable number of colour schemes have been carried by these locos during their long life in service for the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Amtrak, Conrail and New Jersey Transit and some of these liveries are depicted by the Rivarossi and AHM models illustrated.

The real GG1 locomotives.

By the time of our first visit to the USA in 1981, Amtrak had retired all of their GG1 locomotives. Whilst in service one locomotive, 4935 was repainted in original Pennsylvania Railroad green with five pinstripes. This example was chosen as it still had the original air intakes. It is seen here outside the electric shops at Wilmington De. This locomotive eventually ended up as a static exhibit at the Strasburg Pa. railroad museum. September 1981.
The end of an era. Many of the GG1 locomotives ended up behind the electric shops at Wilmington De. awaiting disposal. Fortunately many examples have been saved and are on static display throughout the United States. July 1982.
Although Amtrak eventually had 40 GG1 locomotives, only six received the full platinum mist, blue stripe and red colour scheme. These two examples have the modified air intakes as can be seen below the pantograph mountings. Wilmington De. July 1982.
Not all GG1 locomotives were retired at this time. New Jersey Transit still operate some on the Penn Station, New York City to South Amboy NJ. service. Here we see a South Amboy service passing Harrison NJ. and approaching Newark NJ. station. September 1981.
The precedence of Amtrak was followed by New Jersey Transit and another GG1, 4877 was restored but this time to Pennsylvania Railroad Tuscan red. It is seen here stopped at Elizabeth NJ. on a service to New York. Being July, the weather is atrocious but to capture a photograph it sometimes required that the photographer must get soaked. July 1982.

The Rivarossi AHM H0 scale models.

The most readily available model was the Rivarossi GG1 and in the 1979/80 catalogue five different paint schemes were offered. After a time all these models were acquired but by studying the adverts in the Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman we found that quite a few other liveries were produced under the AHM (Associated Hobby Manufacturers) banner which was not available in Britain under the Rivarossi name. Fortunately whilst on holiday in the United States a number of model shops were visited and the more elusive models collected. Eleven colour varieties have been traced and they are illustrated here with a brief note on the origin of the colour scheme.

On Amtrak’s formation in 1971, thirty GG1’s were taken for passenger service. They were renumbered in the 900-929 series, 902 formerly being Penn Central 4899. Only six locos were given the platinum mist, blue stripe and red nose livery, the others remained in black.

This black loco had a unique livery of a large United States Savings Bond logo applied by Amtrak as a mobile advertisement. The origin number was 4926.

Yet another variation of the Ex Pennsylvania Railroad livery is a rare Amtrak example with a single broad white stripe. The locomotive’s original number was 4938 and was the last one constructed in June 1943.

This model was produced as a limited edition to coincide with the American Bi-Centennial in 1976. According to available information, no prototype GG1 ever appeared in this colour scheme. This one appears to be a product of the manufacturer’s imagination.

In 1976 the newly formed Conrail chose “Rivets”, as this loco was known, to carry a somewhat gaudy bi-centennial paint scheme featuring the Liberty Bell. Unfortunately the AHM model is of the all welded production GG1’s and so this model is not strictly authentic. After the bi-centennial celebrations were over the prototype loco was repainted in Conrail blue, the only GG1 to receive this livery. After retirement from Conrail service the loco was displayed at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum at Strasburg Pa and has been restored to its original colour scheme of Brunswick green with five pinstripes.

In the mid 1950’s three locos were given an experimental colour scheme of a silver body with a single broad red stripe and large PRR keystone. However this colour scheme lasted only briefly due to the difficulty experienced in keeping the locos clean.

During the 1950’s the standard livery of the GG1’s was changed to Brunswick green (in fact almost black) body and a broad yellow single stripe with large keystone. The numerals and “Pennsylvania” markings were also in yellow.

After the amalgamation of the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads in 1968 into Penn Central, the GG1’s were painted in plain black with a large PC logo (irreverently referred to as “two worms in love”) in white. The numerals and Penn Central was also in white.

To commemorate the centennial of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific in 1869, in 1969 Penn Central repainted this loco in light blue with yellow numerals and was used to haul the concluding portion of the “Golden Spike Centennial Limited” return trip from Ogden between Baltimore and New York. Penn Central operated the loco in revenue service for about a year in this colour scheme.

Also around the mid 1950’s a more restrained colour scheme of Tuscan red body and five gold pin striped was applied to a few locos primarily for hauling such trains as the “Broadway Limited” matching with a considerable number of the passenger cars at that time. Around 1980, one of the GG1’s remaining in service with NJDOT, 4877 was restored to this livery and was employed hauling commuter trains between Penn Station New York and South Amboy NJ and also for some railfan excursions

This colour scheme of Brunswick green with five narrow gold pinstripes was the original one used for the production series GG1’s. In 1977 Amtrak restored this loco to PRR colours by money raised from railfans and operated in regular service on such trains as the “Broadway”. AHM referred to this loco as “Black Jack” even although it was green.

And so to a view of the complete series.