Home Open Account Help 163 users online

Nostalgia & History > PRR E44s

Date: 05/14/24 06:00
PRR E44s
Author: nydepot

PRR #4440 & 4412 E44. No date or lcoation.

Date: 05/14/24 06:25
Re: PRR E44s
Author: ClubCar

Those were great freight engines for the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad in their day.
John in White Marsh, Maryland

Date: 05/14/24 06:46
Re: PRR E44s
Author: refarkas

First-class photo.

Date: 05/14/24 07:38
Re: PRR E44s
Author: cr7998

Great shot of two "bricks", as the E44's were called by some railfans.  Looks like South Philadelphia Yard.  The PRR had a coal dumper at Pier 124, which was probably the reason for the hoppers in the background.  Rarely did the E-44's look this good.  This shot was likely taken shortly after delivery.  

Steve Salamon
Valley City, OH  

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/24 07:40 by cr7998.

Date: 05/14/24 13:54
Re: PRR E44s
Author: ironmtn

Thanks for a fine image of two of my favorite PRR motors. Many memories of them on the Main Line passing the Villanova station while in college. They  always put on a great show, and just looked so purposeful and all about their work. No frills, just hard work. That's what it was all about.


Date: 05/14/24 19:23
Re: PRR E44s
Author: GN599

I would bet they rarely had time to look good. Too busy out there making money for the Pennsy!

Date: 05/15/24 01:35
Re: PRR E44s
Author: funnelfan

Nice pic. I was just talking last night to a friend about the E44's

Ted Curphey
Ontario, OR

Date: 05/15/24 04:19
Re: PRR E44s
Author: nydepot

The E44 is my favorite engine.

Date: 05/15/24 07:34
Re: PRR E44s
Author: wcamp1472

Please refer to these by the
names that PRR workers used:
call them “motors” .
Communications referred to them as motors.

They did that to distinguish electric
powered locomotives, from steam engines.

Motors is also used to refer to
all catenary powered locos that
hauled cars ( not to MU commuter
cars). So it was “motors” for GG1s,
P5s, E44s, etc.

They were serviced at “the Motor Pits”
Diesel powered locos were also called “motors”.

“Engines” was used when referring
to steam powered locos.

I served 10 years at Potomac Yards,
where we serviced all power that brought trains to PY.

CR ended their use for monetary purposes. Amtrak controlled the catenary infrastructure, including the
control centers and substations.

Amtrak billed CR when the motors
were operated …. Amtrak accounting purposes billed CR by kilowatt usage,
known as “kilowatt-hours”. And motors were presumed to be consuming
electricity at full-rated kw-hours, while under catenary, for full 24-hour periods !

In actual service, the freight motors
spent the greater proportion of their
time parked, and pantographs lowered. After servicing at the
PY motor pit, they would be parked
at the storage yard, waiting for the
afternoon and evening departures.

CR freights would arrive during evening hours, would be inspected and srrviced,
then moved to the ‘Ready track’ , parked and ‘pans’ lowered, so that they were then ‘dead’.

However, Amtrak’s billing practices charged CR for full-rated kw-hours, even while
stored with pantographs lowered. So all CR motors, parked at every terminal under
Amtrak’s catenary were billed by rated kWh consumed every 24 hours.

The annual costs to CR were staggering. CR tried for years to get
relief from the odious billing practice.
Most of the CR electric fleet, spent a short amount of time, during a 24 hour period,
actually pulling trains.  The majority of a 24 hour period was spent with the pans lowered,
not consuming ANY electricity.

CR offered to install kWh-meters on each of their motors, and would
be billed by actual electricity consumed. Amtrak refused.

Finally, CR decided to cease using catenary powered ‘motors’ , and about 1983,
CR took catenary-powered motors out of service.

Amtrak responded by pulling-down the catenary that powered the ‘Port Road’
between Enola and Havre de Grace, MD. and between Washington
DC and into PY.

We continued to service CR’s diesel power and parked them on the ready tracks,
and shut-down the prime-movers, and pulled their battery switches ....weather permitting.

The early E44 freight motors used power-consuming rectifiers,
until HD, solid-state rectifiers were installed. Once equipped with
the better rectifiers, they delivered 5000 hp, at maximum power.
Technically becoming E-50s....

Once trains were rolling at track-speed, kWh consumed were greatly
reduced , and power demands dropped dramatically.
The GE rectifier freight motors used conventional traction motors.


( The photo could also possibly be at South Amboy, NJ, 
   The lighting & shadows are similar to what would be there.)

Posted from iPhone

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/24 09:08 by wcamp1472.

Date: 05/15/24 08:16
Re: PRR E44s
Author: Lackawanna484

Thanks for that tutorial on how the electricity was billed, and how Conrail tried to address the cost.

Date: 05/15/24 08:37
Re: PRR E44s
Author: ironmtn

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> Thanks for that tutorial on how the electricity
> was billed, and how Conrail tried to address the
> cost.

Yes, thank you Wes. Very instructive, and probably not widely known - I sure had not heard this story.

A clear and odious mistake by Amtrak, which had the effect of depriving the market along the NEC of very efficient, more environmentally friendly freight transportation. If the political and social atmosphere then were as it is today, there would likely have been a huge outcry, and rightly so, even from the general public without much prompting from the environmental community, from Conrail, and others. Particularly if it became known that Conrail even offered to install meters on the E44s, in addition to continuing to follow a "pan down" non-energized policy when parked.

I'd venture a guess that Amtrak had ulterior motives, and perhaps their goal was to ultimately get as much or all of the freight off the NEC as possible. Again, something that probably did not really serve the public interest.

Thanks again to the OP for posting this image. It's a gem, and having seen the E44s at work many times on the Main Line west of Philly, brings back a lot of good memories.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/24 11:17 by ironmtn.

Date: 05/15/24 13:49
Re: PRR E44s
Author: wcamp1472

More irony....

In the 1950's PRR petitioned the ICC for permission to eliminate 
autpmatic train-stop cab signals on new FREIGHT diesel engines
that were purchased.  PRR's contention was that "penalty brake applications",
( for failing to comply with more-restrictive signal, by engineer's failing to acknowledge 
  the more restrictive cab signal, and also making a brake application to bring the 
speed into compliance..)
might result in derailed cars, back in the train. 

ICC granted the request.  So, although the freight engines were 
euipped with cab signals, and warning whistles.  The new diesel locos 
were NOT equipped with automatic train-stop capabilities.

( under "train-stop" equipped locos, engineers have to manually 'acknowledge'
the more restrictive signals ---- manual, spring-loaded-lever, knee-high) and,
if entering the more restrictive block at speeds exceeding the signal aspect,
the engineer must initiate an 'automatic' airbrake application, to bring the train's
speed into compliance.)

On the 'new' freight 'motors' failure to comply with the more restrictive signals,
only sounded a high pitched, cab signal whistle.....no corresponding penalty 
brake application to train brakes.  Engineers can 'acknowledge' the whistle,
but, no 'penalty brake' application occurs.

Electric locos, like new E44's, etc. continued to be built and equipped with 
full cab-signal equipment and penalty-brake applications, for fsiling 
to comply with more restrictive signal indications.

When Amtrak was first organized, Amtrak petitioned tCC to prohibit
freight and commuter RRs from using Amtrak's lines, if those operators'
locomotives were not equipped with automatic train-stop capability.

In the early days, CR was operated by the FRA.  The FRA refused to force CR 
to comply with Amtrak's demand.  Every year, at Budget Authorization processes 
in Congress, Amtrak protested vigorously, to Congress --- to include legal language 
prohibiting 'non-equipped' locos from running on Amtrak's rails ....

FRA and Congress both failed to act.
At every succeeding budget re-authorization process in Congress,
Amtrak protested vigorously about needing language that prohibits 
use of "non-equipped" locos on its rails ..

I arrived at Potomac Yards as assistant Master Mechanic, and along with freight car
insections and repairs, we serviced 'tenant' lines motive power --- feright locos.
When servicing was completed, the prepared locos were parked, and shut-down
for the next 10 or 12 hours.  The lead locos were properly configured for 
their return trips, including testing the cab signals.  Once cabs were prepared,
our crews 'shut-down' the idling locos.

When I first arrived at PY, summer of 1980, i was puzzled by the serviced
and ready CR locos, shut-down and secured, but with cab signal whistles.
all merrily blaring-away. 

Shutting down the locos, including pulling the battery switches, set the cab
signal equipment into alarm status, and their cab signal whistles blared 
incessantly....until all the stored air in the Main Resevoirs was depleted.

I insisted that someting was wrong! and i was puzzled by the fact 
that the cab signal system didn't apply the brskes?  

I lost a bet I had made with the senior electrician, responsible for 
cab-signal testing and certification.  He showed me the arrangenment 
on CR diesels that were non-equipped' with auto-train stop feature.
They had functional cab signals, but no links to to brake systems.

PY electricians routinely had to remove all sorts of blockages 
wrapped around the sharp air-whistles.  CR crews were incessant 
on trying to take the screeech out of the cab signal incessant whistles.

Sunday, January 4, 1987 was my son's Birthday, which we celebrated!
It was also the Darkest Day for Amtrak !

At the Little Gunpowder River, near Chase, Maryland, a CR crew 
was taking 2, relatively 'new' GE locomotives to Enola, Pa. freight 
yards.  The locos were a 'light move': no cars..
The crew departed Baltimore on a track parallel to the Amtrak Main.

At the bridge across the Gunpowder River, the multiple tracks 
narrow-down to only 2 tracks across the bridge...

The, apparently impaired by drug use, departed northbound, to Enola.
They passed several low,'pot' signals displaying red. And several sigmals 
on formal signal-bridges --displaying red, for the track they occupied,.
And the track they were on merged onto the north-bound track, of the 
2-track Brudge.  There is a power-operated track switch, to allow 
local traffic out onto the two-track Bridge... The red signals clearly 
indicated that trains on the siding DO NOT have an aligned switch 
allowing traffic on to the Main tracks....

The impaired crew,and taped-up cab signal whistle, departed northbound,
from Baltimore headed for Enola. It was a warm, sunny January day....
and they cruised along, not a care in tge world ....

At the same time an Amtrak scheduled passenger train was speeding northbound
for the bridge and across the river... there was slight curve in the Main....


paused...not proofed, yet


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/24 15:31 by wcamp1472.

Date: 05/15/24 17:10
Re: PRR E44s
Author: gandydancer4

Whatever you want to call them and however they were service, performed their work or anything else, I wish Rapido would make these in HO scale. 

Date: 05/15/24 17:29
Re: PRR E44s
Author: Erie-Lackawanna

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> Thanks for that tutorial on how the electricity
> was billed, and how Conrail tried to address the
> cost.

Part of the problem with how Amtrak billed Conrail likely is the issue of how the electric utilities bill Amtrak (and Metro-North, my Alma mater) for propulsion power. Power is billed on a peak demand basis. I'm not clear on the intricate details, but basically, they know what the average peak flow is, and bill based on that average, even though that peak flow only happens for a couple hours a day. The power is not metered from the utility. I vividly recall having a conversation with our (MNR's) budgeting department about propulsion costs while costing out our big service increases in the early '10s, and they told me that the power bill from August 2003 was exactly the same as July and September...even though we'd suffered a two-day shutdown due to the big Northeast Blackout of August 14, 2003. 

Not defending Amtrak; meters on the motors would definitely solve the problem. But it's not like they got a bill from the electric utility that could be analyzed to break out Conrail's usage vs Amtrak's (and MARC, and SEPTA, and NJT...).


Date: 05/17/24 08:50
Re: PRR E44s
Author: SilverPeakRail

We had the same problem arise with Amtrak's billing for the power used by the MARC AEM-7s in the early 1990's.  To counter this, we agreed to install meters on the fleet, but Amtrak wouldn't read them and just charged us the same rate going forward.  Also, our rate was quite high to compensate Amtrak for "overhead wire wear".  I wonder if Conrail was paying for that too?   The net effect of the rate we were charged was that our electric locomotives were economically less efficient than our Budd RDC Cars or our diesel-hauled trains!

Date: 05/17/24 09:57
Re: PRR E44s
Author: wcamp1472

I'm sure that CR was billed for "overhead wire wear"...in addition
to being ripped-off.  

Maybe Amtrak was also billed at 24hr, max rate, for the whole 
catenary systems. 

I was somewhat aware about domestic-use electric billing
was 24hr Max-current consumption --- for homes and businesses ...
but, many homes were low-consumption sutuations, for like 22 hrs/ day.

Its what we're stuck with.



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1726 seconds