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Boxcab & Steeplecab Electric Locomotives

Boxcab electric

The Boxcab electric locomotive was first developed in order to eliminate steam from the tunnels under city streets.  On the New York Central, trains coming from the north stopped at Harmon Transfer, where the steamer was uncoupled and a Boxcab then took the train the rest of the way to New York City.  Shown below is one of the model T-3 electrics built for the NYC jointly by GE and Alco in 1926.

Boxcab electric

This was the Milwaukee Road's boxcab electric, somewhat more modern units than those above.

Milwaukee Road boxcab

One type of PRR boxcab (they had several) was the class DD-1.  The photo shows one that is preserved at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Pennsy DD-1 boxcab

Here's another photo, showing the unusual third rail pickups used on this locomotive.

Pennsy DD-1 boxcab

At the end of 2002, MTH brought out a beautiful Premier model of the DD-1.  It compares exceptionally well to the photos of the real one that I took at the museum.  Judge for yourself -- the first photo shows the lead unit.

MTH Premier DD1 electric

The next photo shows the trailing unit.

MTH Premier DD1 electric

The third photo shows the roof detailing.

MTH Premier DD1 electric

The fourth photo shows the detail of the face of the locomotive; the door actually opens!

MTH Premier DD1 electric

The last photo shows the detail of the drivers and the third rail pickups on the pony truck.

MTH Premier DD1 electric

The Great Northern Railway had an electrified district in the state of Washington; it was shut down in 1956.  Eight of their boxcab electric locomotives, class Y-1 with a 2-6-6-2 wheel arrangement and built between 1926 and 1929, were sent to the PRR for use under the catenary.  After modification by the PRR, they went into service as class FF2.  The following is a photo of one of them.

In the spring of 2003, MTH brought out an exquisite model of the FF2 in their premier line.  Here are a few photos.  The first shows the locomotive from stem to stern:

The next shows the front end:

The next photo shows some of the detail on the roof including the pantograph:

The next shows the rear end of the locomotive:

The final photo shows the 'face' of the locomotive:

In late May 2004, MTH brought out a Premier line model of the PRR L5 steeplecab electric locomotive.  As you can see in the following photos, it's a gorgeous representation of this jackshaft locomotive.  The first photo shows it side-on:

The second photo shows detail down around the drivers:

The third photo shows the front-end detail:

The last photo shows the face of the locomotive; note the opening door!

Here's a photo of the prototype.


In July of 2005, MTH brought out a Premier model of the PRR BB1 "Rats".  These were small electric locomotives, run either singly as a B1 or as a twin unit BB1, and were primarily used as yard goats, moving cars hither and yon in the electrified yards of the PRR.  Here's a photo of a prototype B1 that I took at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, where it has been carefully preserved.

Here are some photos of the model.  The first shows the lead unit.

Next is a close-up of the cab area, showing the builder's plate, the engineer himself, and some detail of the truck.

The third photo is a close-up of the other end showing the Pennsylvania trust plate as well as more truck detail.

The next photo shows the top plate removed, providing access to the conventional mode volume pot and the charging jack.

The fifth photo shows the trailing unit.

The next photo is an angled shot of the "front" of the trailing unit which, of course, is the rear end when run in the BB1 configuration.

The seventh photo is the "face" of the lead unit -- no jokes about it being off the tracks please!

In February of 2007, MTH brought out a Premier model of the PRR's FF1 electric locomotive.  This large, very powerful locomotive was built in 1917 and suffered from having too much power for its own good.  It had an annoying tendency to rip out draft gear when pulling and, when pushing, could shove so hard that boxcars in the middle of the train started popping out left and right!  Here are some photos of the model.  First, here she is broadside.

Here's detail at the front end.

Here's the detail a little further amidships.

The rear end is the mirror image of the front.

Here's Big Liz, up close and personal!


Big Liz is one big lady!! 

Here are a few photos of the prototype.

Big Liz

Big Liz

Last updated: 24 Feb 2023

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