The New Haven RR in 1959                 
                                                   ...gone but not forgotten

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Electric Locomotives

In 1959 electric locomotives were in disfavor on the New Haven.  Although about a half-century of proven electric locomotive service was history on the railroad, in 1955-6 during the short-lived McGinnis administration a proposal with EMD evolved in which a new breed of electric diesel-electric locomotives (the FL-9) would allow the New Haven to de-energize and remove the catenary system East of Stamford, CT.  The plan was initiated by the subsequent Alpert administration and in 1959 the electric locomotive shops at Van Nest, NY were closed.   


What was poorly understood by the proponents of the plan, was that not all electric service would be terminated because there would still be significant commuter traffic on this section of the railroad with hundreds of electric-powered commuter cars still requiring power from the catenary wire.  Removal of electric freight locomotives from service lead to a power inbalance since there was a peak demand during commuter hours and no longer a demand for night-time (or off-peak daytime) freight locomotives.


While early electrics were numbered with a preceding "0" to distinguish them as "other than steam power", by 1959 (and as locomotives came out of trust as paid-for units) the leading zero was dropped from common usage.  The classification system for electric power on the New Haven was into three easy-to-understand categories; EY (Electric, Yard), EP (Electric, Passenger) and EF (Electric, Freight).


By 1962-3 the Trustees (following the Alpert bankruptcy) realized the folly and began a search for serviceable electric motive power.  While the years have passed and technology has changed, rather than the removal of electrification as proposed in the 1950's, the entire former Shoreline route from New York to Boston, MA has been electrified within the past few years.


Class EP-3 In 1931 General Electric provided the New Haven Railroad with 10 box cab locomotives numbered 351-360 with a 2-C+C-2 wheel arrangement delivering starting tractive effort of 68,400 pounds and continuous tractive effort of 18,000 pounds rated at 2740 continuous horsepower. This was sufficient to start and haul 15 80-ton Pullmans at up to 80mph. After 1933 when the Pennsylvania extended 11,000V AC service to Penn Station in New York City, the EP-3’s could run directly into the station without cutting off at Sunnyside and using PRR DD-1’s to haul the train from Sunnyside into Penn Station. In 1946 unit 360 was renumbered to 350 so the series became 350-359.


The New Haven EP-3 was used as a test platform by the PRR in 1933 which led to the development of the famous Pennsylvania GG-1. Between 1945- 1951 two subclasses existed while the locomotives were improved by the replacement of air-cooled transformers (EP-3a) with pyranol-cooled transformers (EP-3b). The cooling system change eliminated winter and storm problems with the air-cooled transformers and improved electrical resistance provided by the pyranol cooling allowed for an increase in continuous tractive effort to 19,700 pounds. The first EP-3 was condemned in 1959 (351) and the last run was made by 358 in 1961. All units were condemned and scrapped.

This model of 354 is from Al Lawrence’s collection. This is an old Model Engineering Works (MEW) brass model that is very long out of production. Similar to the prototype, the model is equipped with two motors for pulling power. Unlike other models of the time produced by Alco Models and Custom Brass, MEW units run very smoothly without a “coffee-grinder” sound.


Class EP-4 In 1938 the New Haven accepted delivery of six 3600hp (continuous rating) electric passenger locomotives that were originally numbered 0361-0366. In the 1940’s these locomotives were classed as EP-4’s and in the late ‘40’s unit 0366 was renumbered to 0360. In 1950 the “0” was dropped from the front of the road number, so in 1959 the class consisted of numbers 360-365. Unit 363 was scrapped after a wreck in June 1955.

My EP-4 is an old Alco Models brass unit. It does run and it does sound like a coffee grinder as many older brass locos do. As my layout approaches the electrified region, I’ll paint and repower this unit. Overall the detail and workmanship is pretty good.


Class EP-5  Built by General Electric and delivered to the New Haven in 1955, the 4,000HP-rated "Jets" were purchased by the Dumaine administration and delivered to the railroad while Patrick B. McGinnis was President.  This was the first locomotive to wear a version of the Herbert Matter "New Image" New Haven paint scheme reproduced quite often (and incorrectly) on model trains since shortly after its debut.  The scheme has gained so much popularity that to this day locomotives operating for the Connecticut Department of Transportation are still adorned in versions of the "New Haven" New Image paint scheme or colors.  The units were numbered 370-379.

EP-5 375 is an old Alco Models brass unit of interesting heritage.  The painted body originally belonged to fellow New Haven modeler John Pryke while the chassis (and an unpainted shell) belonged to me.  Upon the dismantling of John's New Haven layout in Acton, MA several years back, John's unpowered dummy unit (for John, McGinnis units needn't be powered...not because they post-dated his modeling period, but because; "That's what he did to the real railroad!" as John would tell me.) became available.  I'm very grateful to own a unit from such a prolific New Haven modeler!


Class EF-3 Similar in styling to the EF-4, between 1942-3 the New Haven purchased five electric freight locomotives built by Baldwin-Westinghouse (Class EF-3; units 0150-0154) and General Electric (EF-3a; units 0155-0159). In 1944 units 0150-0154 were outfitted with steam boiler equipment to make the capable of hauling passenger consists as well as freight. EF-3 locomotives were removed form service in 1959 when the New Haven began a program of de-energizing the overhead catenary that provided power for the electric locomotives as well as MU (multiple unit) commuter cars.

My EF-3 is a very old brass model of poor quality. It was originally a kit made by a company called Schrader. The carbody and trucks are sand castings with crude detail. The company produced kits for both EP-4 and EF-3 versions which can be seen by the long oval of etched surface behind the shorter EF-3 exhaust screen in middle of the carbody and the etched area below the cab that would be the location of the EP-4 number board. The model is equipped with two Pittman motors. One of the motors is burned out and the other is not powerful enough to move the locomotive. I won’t bother to work on this one for a while, but eventually I’ll see if I can get a couple of very small O scale motors to power this unit. It is a boat anchor, weighing in at more than five pounds due to its thick, solid cast brass body…which is why a motor is burnt out! My hope is to someday stumble across a reasonably priced, old, Alco Models EF-3 equipped with a steam generator. Overland has produced very nice brass models of this and other New Haven electrics, but at $800 or more each, they are out of my league.


Class EF-4 was also built by General Electric, but orignially for the Virginian Railway in 1957.  As described above, the bankrupt New Haven railroad was scouting around for electric locomotives in the early 1960's, and with the absorbtion of the Virginian by the Norfolk & Western in 1959 and subsequent de-energizing of catenery by that railroad, the "Virginians" were in the right place at the right time and the right price for the New Haven.  The New Haven acquired all 12 units and spare parts for a total of $300,000.  This was almost the price of a single unit when purchaced new, so represented quite a bargain to a railroad in bankruptcy in need of new electric power.


The "Virginians" arrived on New Haven property in 1963, were cleaned (to remove coal dust from all interior surfaces), painted in a new version of the "New Image" scheme, and eleven units (311 ex-N&W 180 was renumbered but not repainted) numbered 300-310 were placed in service almost immediately.  EF-4's, also known as "Bricks" served the New Haven well.  Most units lasted into the Penn Central era and some into Conrail years until electric freight service was discontinued by that railroad in 1981.

EF-4 304 is a Bachmann unit right out of the box.  This paint scheme and variations applied to other late-New Haven power, is one reason I still lean to ca. 1964 as a modeling era of secondary interest.