Saturday, January 12, 2008

Remarkable Electric Trains!

Milwaukee Road, South Tacoma, May 29, 1960. What a remarkable piece of machinery! More than 40 years old when I took this shot at South Tacoma Shops, and still moaning and groaning over the Cascade Pass!

Those fellows down at South Tacoma really took pride in answering questions about these units. From them I learned that when the electric trains ran down hill, they used regenerative braking – similar concept to diesel dynamic braking – and actually pumped current back in the communities they passed through!

I had the opportunity to ride one of these units from Black River Junction to VanAsselt and return. The first thing that struck me was the cramped cab. Then the smell of ozone, and finally the moaning and groaning of those big electrics.

In 1954, two EF-1 locomotives, E22A/B and E23A/B were converted back into passenger service as class EP-1A to help the ageing Bi-Polars on the Puget Sound Extension. Both received "streamlined" cab fronts.

They were repainted into the Union Pacific Railroad scheme of Armour Yellow with Harbor Mist Gray roofs, and red dividing lines. These two locomotives served until March 1961 in this role; at which time, the E23A and E23B were renumbered E22D and E22C

Railroad Stuff: Built as 10208A, by Alco/General Electric, April 8, 1916. A+B 6,880 hp. Renumbered 10505A, November 6, 1936, renumbered E28A, March 17, 1939, and renumbered to present E23A August 14, 1953. Reclassified EP-1, August 27, (streamlined cab) at South Tacoma Shops, August 27, 1953.

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