• 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 Eric Kreszl

I'm new to this forum and I'm looking for information on Penn Central Electric Locomotives. Specifically E33's and E44's and how the Penn Central Railroad operated them. Does anyone have any information or photos of these locomotives as I'm very facinatied by them.

Thank You, :-D


  by Bill West
They come up quite well in Google, such as under PRR “E-44”, Google Image search is a short cut to the photos. PC.smellycat seems to be the only PC specific source. TheBlueComet also has a good photo collection. George Elwood’s RR-FallenFlags has an E-44 manual. Searches within this board, Railfan.net, PRRTHS and NHRHTA likely will find discussion items although I don’t recollect anything unusual about their operating assignments.


  by JimBoylan
The 1st time I saw PennCentral's E-33s, 4604 and 4606 were head end helpers on a Schuylkill Valley Branch Diesel freight coming over the Manayunk concrete arch bridge! I though it odd that they had full pantographs.

  by Tadman
E44's were designed to replace the P5, P5a, P5b, delivered around 1963. They were 4400 hp, and later upgraded to 5000 by conversion of the rectifier. They were ordered by PRR, also operated by PC and CR, as well as a few for MoW at Amtrak - the last preserved E44 was in Amtrak MoW silver for a while, but is now in PRR colors.

E33's were ordered by Virginian to augment their fleet in VA, but were retired at the NW takeover because the line was one-wayed to increase capacity. They were sold to NH, which was low on money, and needed new motive power - not much market for electrics = cheap used electrics. They developed 3300hp, and were absorbed by PC and later CR. Funny thing is, after PC absorbtion, I've rarely seen pics of E33's in Connecticut - more in PA or NJ.

Other observations:
- you will see HO and O models of E33's, but never E44's
-E33's have diamond-shape pans, E44's have faively pans
-You will see E33 models for other RR's including NYC, etc... - don't believe this, they went VGN>NH>PC>CR
-there's a really neat pic of a EP5 jet doing PC local freight on railpics.com - 1976, last operating, state of PA (and disrepair) - this was an ignitron rectifier loco as well
-The E50 was sold only to AEP for a coal mine in ohio, that was shut down a few years ago - anybody know where these E50's are?
- Railfan and Railroad had an article on the E44 about 1994 - great one.

  by JimBoylan
One of the VGN locos was repainted N & W as part of an experiment to MU it with a Fairbanks Morse Trainmaster Diesel, which would supply the electricity.

New Jersey Transit also had some E-44s at Elizabethport Shops, probably the same ones Amtrak got.

  by Noel Weaver
You never saw the E-33's (former Virginian electric motors) on the New
Haven after the Penn Central takeover because Bay Ridge was shut down
within weeks of the above takeover and freight service between Cedar
Hill in New Haven and Oak Point in New York was drastically reduced quite
quickly after the above takeover. There was really no place left to run
them after this happened.
They were towed dead out of New Haven to the former PRR where they
went into the shop and were equipped with cab signals, painted and
otherwise modified here and there and after that was done, they went into
general freight service over lines of the former Pennsylvania Railroad.

Noel Weaver

  by Tadman
So electric freight on NH died at the merger? How did New England freight move south after PK bridge was shut down?

  by JimBoylan
Tadman wrote:How did New England freight move south after PK bridge was shut down?
Via Castleton, N.Y., near Selkirk, South of Albany.

  by umtrr-author
I "grew up" with the E44's as they were manufactured around the same time I appeared :-D .

Living across the street from the Pennsy Harismus Cove line in Jersey City, I got to see-- and hear-- them as they moved long drags out of the Harismus Cove yard. I have distinct audio memories of them as well as a couple of photos.

One is preserved at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in PRR paint, hopefully still inside the main building.

True that there are practically zero models of the E-44, but NJ International did issue some in HO in brass about 30 years ago (plus or minus) and my dad has one. Were they ever to be released again, I would consider remortaging the house to get one.

It is, for sentimental reasons alone, an all time favorite.

  by msernak
I just recently purchased an MTH Conrail E33. I would pay a lot for an O guage E44 in any paint scheme! Back to the real E44's - The ones tha NJT recevied from Conrail were supposed to replace the GG1's for the NY&LB trains. By law CR had to give them to NJT because NTJ is a state agency and got anything second hand needed to keep moving commuters. I remember the E44's sitting at Elizabethport and actually wrote a letter to NJT inquiring what was to be done with them. I did get a response on NJT letterhead. As a kid, this was great. I will try and locate this. The E44's were too tall for the tunnels into NYC. They fit but the clearance was too tight. AMTK eventually purchased the same units after NJT replaced the GG1's with ex AMTK E60's. The E44's were painted silver and black and looked pretty cool in my opinion. They were to be used for work trains. As far as I know, they were never used for NJT or AMTK. One ex CR unit was rebuilt by GE and ran under wires in CR blue paint a few years after CR stopped running it's electrics. I think GE scrapped this one after only a few runs.
  by amtrakhogger
Those two E50's in Ohio were scrapped on site FWIK based on
published reports.

  by Tadman
A real shame, considering only one of the E44's were preserved. The E44 was the last mass-produced successful locomotive purchased by a for-profit railroad. Other than that, all you've got is the NJT/AMTK/SEPTA juice jacks, and the niche market stuff out west. I don't count the E60, because that's got quite a few buyers it was a dud.
  by atlpete
I believe Bill Wolfer's line of kits ( sold to House of Duddy in the '80's) included a brass O SCALE E-44, they were expensive but appeared to be well detailed and proportioned as I remember and had Pittman motors(only saw one that a buddy of mine purchased pre-asssembled and painted) House of Duddy still lists these on their site, albeit I think you may have to buy their catalog and/or contact them for pricing/availability, don't know if 3-rail version is available but wouldn't doubt it, I've heard repeatedly that 2-rail constitutes only 20% of the O market sales on average.
  by amtrakhogger
E44's could fit in the Hudson River and East River tunnels.
I think problem was with platform width and also
the units had no HEP or steam generator set-up (since
they were freight units to begin with.)