The GG1 is an electric locomotive built specifically for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) for use in the northeastern part of the United States. Between 1934 and 1943, General Electric built 139 GG1’s, most ending up at the front end of a passenger train, but freight trains were certainly common too.
The GG1 is a behemoth locomotive measuring 80 feet long, weighing in at 475,000 pounds and uses twelve 385-horsepower traction motors to power its drivers. The initial GG1 designer was Donald Roscoe Dohner, however the final aesthetics are credited to Ramond Lowry who recommended the use of a smooth, welded body (instead of rivets) and and external design of five gold pinstripes on a Brunswick green paint scheme. Needless to say, this final design has gone on to be one of the more iconic locomotives during the second half of the 20th century.
The history behind the GG1 name is interesting.. Internally, GG1’s are mounted on two separate and flexible suspension frames to provide equal traction for each of the drive wheels. Since the PRR classified a 4-6-0 engine as a class “G” locomotive – and the GG1 is literally two back-to-back 4-6-0 frames, the locomotive became known as a GG locomotive, version 1 – or shortened to GG1.
Lionel’s model of the GG1 is an accurate representation of the real life locomotive. When introduced in 1947, it was impressive and unlike any existing model train locomotive. The classic 2332 GG1 heading up a set of three Madison passenger cars was not only an impressive set, but was scale-like in looks, color and overall appearance. The GG1 remained in the Lionel family for 17 years, finally bowing out in 1963.
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