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GG1 #4913

Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum (Unofficial Site)


The PRR GG1 #4913

This page was last updated on: March 06, 2017

Charisma, durability and versatility characterized the Pennsylvania Railroad's GG1 locomotive. The "G," as admirers called it, long served as a symbol of the PRR, and its unusual shape was the image generations of people associated with the railroad. The locomotive was PRR-built, and its sleek design came from famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Fifty-seven of the 139 GG1s produced were geared for freight service, while the remaining 82 pulled passenger trains that reached speeds of 100 mph. In operation, their sound was that of machinery in action -- a mechanical din. But their horns, curiously, sounded like those found in large ocean-going vessels. The GG1 locomotives, true to their standard of durability, dominated the electrified lines of the PRR through the Penn Central period and into Conrail's early years.  (Norfolk Southern Public Relations, 5/8/99)


Background of PRR GG1 #4913

"The GG1 was designed by the Pennsylvania Railroad based on the need for a locomotive that could pull more than 12 to 14 passenger cars. The railroad thought it had designed the perfect electric passenger locomotive, the P-5a, but as the P-5a locomotives arrived, it became necessary to double head them on many trains in order to protect schedules. Two other factors were involved in the development of the GG1. 

 The GG1 was given a sculptured car body with contoured hoods that were tapered to provide visibility for the enginemen. As a result, a very aesthetically pleasing design evolved. Raymond Loewy, the renowned industrial designer, reviewed the prototype and recommended welding the shell rather than using rivets. He then suggested adding the famous pin stripes, making the design an award winner.  The railroad built 139 units (#4800 through #4938) between the years 1934 and 1943. Many of them were built at the Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, PA.

This streamlined locomotive, designed for bi-directional operation was mainly used for passenger trains, but a few were re-geared for freight service. The GG1 survived longer than any other locomotive design, lasting from 1934 to well into the 1980s. The 79.5 foot long 230+ ton GG1 was built on an articulated frame which permitted its 2-C+C-2 wheel arrangement to negotiate tight curves even in congested areas. Power was picked up from an overhead 11,000 Volt AC catenary wire by a pantograph and the voltage stepped-down through an on board transformer to feed the 12 single phase 25 cycle traction motors. Each of these motors developed 385 HP giving the GG1 a total of 4620 HP in continuous operation and allowed speeds up to 100 mph. The body of the locomotive also housed large blowers for motor and transformer cooling, a steam boiler for passenger car heat, electric controllers and sanding boxes." (The Pennsylvania Railroad GG1web site)

According to Don Ross,   #4913, was built as a Class GG-1, General Electric, at the Altoona Works (Juniata) in January 1942.   It was a one of six GG1's repainted tuscan red in 1952 for use with the stainless steel cars used on "The Senator" and on the "Congressional Limited".  It became Penn Central 4913, Class GG-1 in 1968. Then it became Amtrak 913 in March 1973. It was renumbered back to 4913 in June 1979. It was restored as PRR 4913 after retirement.

Andrea Vibbert of Avenel, NJ, located this locomotive and and contributed the initial $1000 of the purchase price.  The Chapter contributed the remaining $4000 toward the purchase as well as raised  $5000.00 to sandblast the black Amtrak GG-1 and repaint it to 5-stripe PRR Tuscan red.


GG-1-ALTOONA-MIRROR-9-15-80.jpg (127999 bytes)

Attached is photo info from Altoona Mirror on 9-15-80 that I missed earlier; it specifically refers to the Horseshoe Curve Chapter as purchaser of locomotive for the Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum.

David Seidel Collection.
GG-1-4913-SEPT-1980-HOLLIDA.jpg (41756 bytes)

September 1980: GG-1 # 4913 arrives at Hollidaysburg Yard prior to placement in the new Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum.  Photo by David Seidel

ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-10-80.jpg (62297 bytes) Altoona Mirror  9-10-80

(11 days prior to the grand opening of the Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum.)

David Seidel Collection.

ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-15-80_A.jpg (92921 bytes) Altoona Mirror  9-15-80 (part 1)

Featuring Andrea Vibbert. ... 6 days prior to grand opening of original Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum. It was Andrea's initial $1000. which secured the GG-1 # 4913 for ARMM. She was married aboard a NE corridor train pulled by this locomotive. Andrea is employed by Amtrak, having worked at NY Pennsylvania Station and currently, at Newark, NJ.

David Seidel Collection.

ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-15-80_B.jpg (65220 bytes) Altoona Mirror  9-15-80 (part 2)

David Seidel Collection.


ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-15-80_C.jpg (75132 bytes) Altoona Mirror  9-15-80 (part 3)

David Seidel Collection.


ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-20-80_A.jpg (125928 bytes)  

Altoona Mirror  9-20-80 (part 1)

One day prior to grand opening of
Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum.

David Seidel Collection.


ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-20-80_C-1.jpg (76965 bytes) Altoona Mirror  9-20-80 (part 1)

David Seidel Collection.

ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-20-80_C-2.jpg (22490 bytes)


Altoona Mirror  9-20-80 (part 3)

David Seidel Collection.


ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_7-81.jpg (129888 bytes) Altoona Mirror  7-1981 

This article reports on the starting project to re-furbish the GG-1 from Amtrak black to PRR Tuscan red with 5 pinstripes. It also reports on the need for volunteers to re-paint the locomotive.

David Seidel Collection.


1982 Cosmetic Restoration

David Seidel, Dick Charlesworth, and Gary Beefelt (NRHS and Railroad Memorial Museum Board Members) working on the PRR GG1 #4913 refurbishing project. #4913 is on display at the Railroaders Memorial Museum.  David Seidel Collection Paul Burrows and (unknown) working on the PRR GG1 #4913 refurbishing project.  David Seidel Collection
Chapter President Paul Westbrook "horsing around".  David Seidel Collection     David Seidel, working on the PRR GG1 #4913 refurbishing project.  David Seidel Collection

David Seidel, working on the PRR GG1 #4913 refurbishing project.  David Seidel Collection

David Seidel, working on the PRR GG1 #4913 refurbishing project.  David Seidel Collection
ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-9-82_A.jpg (94462 bytes)  

Altoona Mirror  9-9-82  (part 1)

David Seidel Collection.


ALTOONA_MIRROR_GG-1_9-9-82_B.jpg (98912 bytes) Altoona Mirror  9-9-82  (part 2)

David Seidel Collection.


Current Photographs

032101_GG1-5.jpg (38537 bytes) GG1 #4913 on display at the Railroaders Memorial Museum.  3/21/01    


October 11,  2006


Photographs by David Seidel


For additional photographs, see

Thank you to the Altoona Mirror for allowing the use of their news articles and photographs.


PRR GG1 #4913 is owned by the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum.  
The Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum is a business partner with the Horseshoe Curve Chapter, NRHS.

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The logos for the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum are trademarks of the Railroaders Memorial Museum, Inc. 
NRHS and its logo are trademarks of the National Railway Historical Society.  Photographs are by Chris Behe unless otherwise noted.