• Penn Central Electric Locomotives Specifically E33 And E44

  • Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by Tadman
I remember a Railroad and Railfan magazine article from about 1993, with a feature on the E44. If I recall, they mentioned the E44 was operated thru NYP late at night on transfers to Long Island.

  by msernak
I read an article where three E44-s pullet a long train of hoppers through the tunnel as a test. There was a problem with slack or something like that. NJT was supposed top use them when they retired the GG1's but opted to use E60's. Anyone know why? Only one E44 survives however there was an extra E44 cab behind the museum in Strasburg a few years ago. It was painted AMTK silver. Anyone know why and what happened to it? I would have liked to use it as a shed.

  by habu
I have a good assortment of E-33 and E-44 photographs from the mid to late 70's, all shot in or around the Baltimore area. I am willing to share if you wish

  by scooter3798
As far as I am concerned any shot of an E33 or E44 is worth the time to check out. So I know that I am quite interested in seeing what you've got habu, I think most of the others will agree with me here as well. I wasn't around to see the "bricks" in action, but I have always liked the looks of them, especially the E44's.

I have one of the old Alco models brass E44's in HO, and I must admit it is one of my favorite models as well. Every once in a while one of them will show up at a train show, and they usually seem to be reasonable in price, for brass anyway. It seems that most people either love them or hate them.

By the way since I wasn't alive at the time the E44's were still running can any one describe what the sound was that they made, or does anyone know of any recordings of them? I have always heard that they made an interseting noise, but I have no idea what it was like.


  by habu
I am not sure how I would describe the sound of one in writing. But I remember one hot summer night in 1973 or 1974 a nourthbound freight with 2 E-44's on the head end was on 1 track approaching Knecht ave in Arbutus md. Train was stalling and wheels began to slip. The shower of sparks was spectacular as they shot out from beneath the units. No camera that night. Train stalled and a GG-1 came down from Baltimore, Penn station to help get the show going again. Ahh! Those GG-1's. Nothing like them either.

  by scavenger33

I grew up in Metuchen in the 70's and can tell you about their switching prowess. They used to push full trains from Metuchen yard up hill towards Metropark (eastbound from metuchen) apparently to get aligned on the correct track to go west. I would describe the sound as being the worlds largest and loudest vaccum cleaner. At Oakland park, you could hear the roar of e-44's pushing at Lincoln and a caboose would quietly roll up with a mile of auto racks and box cars. When the E-44's got beyond the signals they would hit their brakes and the slack would start banging the couplers from west to east like thunder! There was a giant whine that changed pitch with the amount of force they exerted. They were most impressive with the Tropicana trains. That was the fastest freight train I remember on the NEC.


  by Tadman
Here's a good vid from Youtube with sound of an E44
  by PRSL2005
Does anyone have all the Specifications for the E33 and the E44

  by Nasadowsk
Nothing specific, but the E-33 was about 3300 HP and the E-44 was 4400. The E-44a was somewhat higher.

The 33 and 44 used ignitron rectifiers, the 44a was solid state, literally a few hundred diodes chained together :)

One thing about the 33 and 44 was that the cooling water on the ignitrons had to be very pure, as it directly contacted the traction circuit via the tube cathodes (which were water cooled).

BTW, the 44 has two pans on the roof. Many people don't realize that.

Too bad they were all retired, the 44s had a long life ahead of them, I suspect that if Conrail hadn't thrown in the towel on electric (and with today's oil prices...), you'd still see them out there...

  by Tadman
I believe the 44a was almost a duplicate of the E50's ordered by Muskingum Electric RR. That would put them at 5,000 hp.

And I was always surprised the trucks from the E44's didn't show up under the next Conrail locomotive order. They were only 20 years old, which is not old for a locomotive.
  by ex Budd man
I remember the E-44s waiting to come off the Delair bridge at Frankford Jct. They were very quiet until they got the signal to procede. Then the blowers ramped up to cool the rectifiers, you KNEW they were moving. The E-33s were fairly quiet comparitively speaking. BTW I have info on the 44s as far as operating them from a retired engineman, ExPC/CR/Septa. PM me if you're, or anybody else is interested.
  by JimBoylan
atlpete wrote:Bill Wolfer's line of kits included a brass O SCALE E-44, they were expensive and had Pittman motors.
On 9/5/73, Mr. Wolfer charged me $370.00 unpainted. He had quoted $410.00 painted, but was sold out of them.
  by ex Budd man
the new MTH catalogue shows an o gauge E-44 prototype/ preproduction model. It may be available soon.