S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com SBK #4 Electric Boxcab Survivor Page keywords = boxcab SBK South Brooklyn GE General Electric electric engine rail road way museum historical association

Updated:   14 Aug 2014; 12:30 ET
[Page converted 06 Oct 2012; page created 31 Dec 2002;
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
Update info on the top on ALL pages for your convenience.

URL:  http://sbiii.com/box-sbk4.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/box-sbk4.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet service effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

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S. Berliner, III's


SBK #4 Electric Boxcab

Survivor Page


I-R 60-ton Demo

A new type of locomotive!
Ingersoll-Rand 1925 Demonstrator #9681
(later CNJ #1000)
(ALCo builders photo S-1484 - source uncertain;
possibly from 1980s AAR flyer)




Oil-Electric ("Diesel") Locomotives

(American Locomotive Company - General Electric - Ingersoll-Rand)

INDEX to Boxcabs Pages:

note-rt.gif   The primary Boxcabs Index has been moved to a separate page, together with links and credits.

Boxcab Help - A service for boxcab afficionados,
posting reasonable questions (at my sole discretion).

There are now more than seventy-five (75) BOXCAB pages;
see the full INDEX, now on a separate page.

[A new "bugaboo" has reared its ugly head - complexity of organization -
see COMPLEXITY on my main index page.]

  The Boxcabs Index Page.

(Page separated out from Electric Boxcabs Continuation Page 2 on 31 Dec 02)

Boxcabs INDEX.

BOXCAB BIBLIOGRAPHY is at the end of Continuation Page 3.


On the main Electric Boxcabs page:
1893 GE/MfrsRR/NHRR #1 - moved to its own page 01 Jan 2003.
Piedmont & Northern #5103
    (moved to Electric Boxcab (Survivors) Continuation Page 3 on 11 Jun 2002
        and to this, its own page, on 01 Jan 2003.

On the Electric Boxcabs Continuation Page 1:
  ELECTRIC BOXCABS - Part 2, with

GE/MfrsRR/NHRR #1 History (continued),
        and moved to its own page on 01 Jan 2003.
St. Clair Tunnel Electric Boxcabs,
    Mystery Canadian G.E. Electric Boxcab (no it's not!)
        and moved to its own page on 01 Jan 2003.
Chilean Boxcabs, and
Other Overseas Electric Boxcabs

On the Electric Boxcab (Survivors) Continuation Page 2:

1907 So. Bklyn (SBK) #4 (moved to this page 31 Dec 2002).
L&PS #L1 and #L2.
        moved to their own page on 01 Jan 2003.
Butte, Anaconda & Pacific.
        moved to its own page on 27 Sep 2002.

On this SBK #4 Electric Boxcab Survivor Page:

So. Bklyn #4.
        moved to this, its own, page on 31 Jan 2002.

On the Electric Boxcabs (Survivors) Continuation Page 3:

moved there from the main Electric Boxcabs page 11 Jun 2002
        and moved to its own page on 01 Jan 2003.

Still on Continuation Page 5:


Since Sep 2000, there had been an extremely-detailed and accurate site focusing exclusively on the earliest history of the ALCo-GE-IR (AGEIR) locos, John F. Campbell's http://www.execpc.com/~jcampbel/ageir.html ALCO /General Electric / Ingersoll-Rand (AGEIR) Diesel-Electric Locomotives" site; I heartily recommended it to everyone!  John Campbell had since added a complete roster of all the ALCo-GE-IR boxcab locos built in the first production run, totalling 33 units, from 1925 to 1930, but not the later Bi- and Tri-Power or GE-IR units.  Unfortunatel;y, John passed away far too soon on 23 Feb 2005; for more information, click here.  That site is now hosted in John's honor by his e-friend and fellow boxcab aficionado S. Berliner, III (me); more boxcab information and photographs can be found on this (my) site, http://sbiii.com/boxcabs.html, et seq.  John's pages are not being changed or otherwise updated as to content, unless specifically so noted.



South Brooklyn Railway (SBK) #4 (map symbol 4)

Of the four (4) box motors noted on the preceding page as on the roster of the Shore Line Trolley Museum of the BERA (Branford Electric Railway Association) in East Haven, Connecticut, three appear to be most likely "only" trolley car locos (box motors), but one turns out to be the South Brooklyn Railway (SBK) box motor #4 (map index 4), built by the Brooklyn Heights Railway Company in 1907 on two ALCo 2-axle trucks.  She is shown in color on page 16 of Bendersky, is 31' long, and weighs in at 114,000 lbs.   This is the loco I mistakenly listed as an internal combustion loco when I started all this, but she is very much an original early electric box motor, not merely an old trolley car converted or purpose-built for freight service.  #4 has ALCo Z-380 trucks, Westinghouse electricals, and a steel body and clearly deserves a place in the electric survivor boxcabs list.

SBK #4 Data (from BERA/SLTM site:   added (14 Aug 2014)

Num/Owner/City: 4 South Brooklyn Ry. NYC
Builder: Brooklyn Heights Ry.
Date Built: 1907
Num Trucks: 2
Truck Type: Alco Z-380
Num Motors: 4
Motors: WH-300
Controls: WH 251A
Compressor: D3F
Length: 31'
Weight: 114,000
Seats: 0
Ends: 2
OpenClosed: closed
Roof: arch
Structural: steel
Type: work locomotive boxcab
Guidebook: 49-50
In my excitement over finding her, I had originally overlooked both the trolley pole and third-rail shoes that all show so clearly in the Malcolm Young color photo (ca. 1957) on page 6 in Jay Bendersky's "Brooklyn's Waterfront Railways" (see Boxcab Bibliography) and classifed it as one of the earliest AGEIR boxcabs.  Realizing my mistake and thinking her gone, I revised my list.  Now that I find to my amazement that she's still around, and even in the greater NY Metropolitan area, I reassigned deleted map index number 4 to her and restored her to her rightful place in the sun (well, on my site, anyway).  She served some 50 or more years and exemplifies the type of electric loco that preceeded the Dan Patch #100 and the first AGEIR units.

I see that "in my excitement over finding her", I missed the fact that I used to picture her here, somewhere, in a crop of the unprovenanced photo on Bill Russell's Penny Bridge site (by permission); here it is again, uncropped showing (according to Bill) the #4 towing a dead Whitcomb at 36th Street.  Either she's running on willpower or on third rail shoes on invisible third rail, because BOTH poles are DOWN:

SBK #4 at 36th St.
(Penny Bridge image courtesy Bill Russell, by permission)

Speaking of Mynheer Russell, he also has this shot of SBK #4 posted on his site:

SBK #4 at Coney Is. yard
SBK Loco #4 (as TA #20001) at Coney Island Yard (undated); photographer: Unknown
From the Collection of Gerald H. Landau
{from blurred, dirty slide; cropped and cleaned by SB,III}
(Penny Bridge images courtesy Bill Russell, by permission)

Dave Pirman's great nycsubway site has these three pix, from Joe Testagrose's open Web postings:

SBK #4 03Apr 59
SBK #4 on 03 Apr 1959.  Collection of Joe Testagrose. (150k)

SBK #4 38th St. & 3rd Av.
SBK #4 at 38th St. & 3rd Av., Brooklyn.  Collection of Joe Testagrose. (143k)

SBK #4 Coney Is./Stillwell Av.
SBK #4 at Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue in photo by Doug Grotjahn, 27 Aug 1964.
Collection of Joe Testagrose. (130k)

Note that she's running on third rail and has no poles left in the last picture.

I'll have to run up (down, now) to East Haven one of these days and take some pictures of this relic; the Museum has filled that gap for me (see ff.).   rev (14 Aug 2014)

SBK #4 UPDATE! - as of 14 Aug 2014, the museum has just provided the following pix and information:   new (14 Aug 2014)

Paraphrasing the Museum, work reached a milestone in late 2012 with the completion of roof repairs and she's currently "boxed in" by other equipment and a bunch of wooden scaffolding being kept there between projects; the scaffolding likely will move later in the fall of 2014 but, until then, here is an image of #4 being winched down the track to its current parking spot in late 2012, and two photos taken the morning of 14 Aug 2014:


SBK#4-14Aug2014end SBK#4_14Aug2014side
(All three photos courtesy of Shore Line Trolley Museum collection, East Haven, CT. - all rights reserved.
Click on pictures for larger images.)

[Note the original "S.B. RY. CO." legend still visible under the roof overhang on the front views - I'd never noticed this detail ebfore.]

SBK #4's roof was extensively damaged due to an air tank failure in Brooklyn in 1965.  Approximately 12 feet of the all-steel roof was ripped off and extensive damage to the interior air piping and electrical conduit was sustained.  This meant the end of #4's service career.  The locomotive languished, frequented by scrap thieves, until it was sold for scrap ca. 1980.  At that point, a BERA member secured the locomotive for donation to the Museum and it was transported to Branford.  The donation was visionary and fortuitous, as it not only preserved a significant design evolution in the collection, but did so in a contextual manner.  Living proof that the NYC subway system did indeed carry freight, albeit in a limited way.

Recent (as of 14 Aug 2014) work includes:

- 100 square feet of all-new, custom rolled 12 gauge mild steel plate.

- Seven batten strips.

- One repaired and two all new carlines (2" and 3" rolled structural angle).

- Six feet of handmade side sill bracing.

- About 600 new ⅜", 5/16", and ¼" fasteners and associated holes drilled.

Hopefully, #4 may someday be stored in one of the Museum's new elevated (in geographic terms) trolley storage buildings - make a donation to help this come to pass!

So, when is an electric boxcab merely a transit (trolley) box motor and when is it a boxcab locomotive?  On my site, it's when I say so!


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.

There are now more than seventy-five (75) BOXCAB pages;
see the full INDEX, now on a separate page.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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To tour the Boxcabs pages in sequence, the arrows take you from the Boxcabs index page to the first Boxcabs page, to continuation pages 1 and up, then 100-tonner LIRR #401 and her sisters, survivor boxcabs (with map) and survivor notes, survivor CNJ #1000 (the very first), Ingersoll-Rand boxcabs (with instruction manual), other (non-ALCo/GE/I-R) boxcabs, Baldwin-Westinghouse boxcabs, odd boxcabs, and finally model boxcabs.

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2012, 2014  - all rights reserved.

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