S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com GE Boxcabs Page keywords = boxcab EMD Electro motive ALCo GE IR AGEIR American Locomotive Company General Electric Ingersoll Rand oil electric diesel engine rail road

Updated:   23 Aug 2016; 19:05 ET
[Page converted 06 Oct 2012; page created 28 Jan 2002;
{Missing images restored 01 Mar 03}
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
Update info on the top on ALL pages for your convenience.

URL:  http://sbiii.com/boxcbge.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/boxcabge.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


GE (General Electric)
Boxcabs 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.]

  See the main Boxcabs page and the Boxcabs Index Page.

GE Logo GE Logo

S. Berliner, III's


General Electric







On this main GE Boxcab Page
    GE 20/23-ton Boxcabs.
    ALCo and GE Shovelnoses
    Chiriqui Land Co. Miniboxcabs
    Surviving GE Electric Boxcabs.

On the GE Boxcab Continuation Page 1
    Survivor 1893 GE Electric #1 / MfrsRR #1.
    GE Flatnoses (F.C.M. de Chih., S.A.).   new (23 Aug 2016)

On the GE Boxcab Continuation Page 2
    GE-716 Truck.

[First of all, I want to credit Bill Russell, Penny Bridge; we seem to be linking back and forth but he has the most compendious site about NY-area railroading, where most boxcabs lurked, with tons of information.

Second, take a look at Mark Laundry's Yard Limit Diesel Switcher Spotter's and Reference Guide, a site about early diesel switchers, especially a 1994 paper by Benn Coifman on "The Evolution of the Diesel Locomotive in the United States", with an excellent history of the ALCo-GE-IR consortium, as well as McKeen, Westinghouse/Baldwin, Hamilton/EMC/EMD, and Pullman's efforts.]

Since Sep 00, there has been an extremely detailed and accurate site focusing exclusively on the earliest history of the ALCo-GE-IR (AGEIR) locos, the late John F. Campbell's "ALCO / General Electric / Ingersoll-Rand (AGEIR) Diesel-Electric Locomotives" site; I heartily recommend it to you!  John Campbell 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.

GE Electric Boxcab History:

At the 1893 Chicago Columbia Exposition, General Electric exhibited a diminutive 0-B-0 steeple-cab electric locomotive built 1892-1893 by Thompson-Houston at about the same time as GE bought T-H.  The locomotive then passed to the Manufacturers RR of New London, Connecticut, which was absorbed into the NYNH&H and then to the Joe Cushing RR and was donated by that last line to the Museum of Transport in St. Louis, where she survives today!  Her story was related on the main Electric Boxcabs page and her history continued on the Electric Boxcabs continuation page 1 but she now has her own page, as is only befittin' the oldest survivor.

The first serious, commercial, heavy electric locomotive in this country was commissioned by the B&O in a purely-speculative venture with GE.  The B&O needed a way to get freight through the 1.4-mile Howard Street Tunnel under Baltimore [the very one that caught fire in mid-July last year (2001)] without asphyxiating the engineers and contracted with GE in 1892 to try to build an electric locomotive for that service.  Such had never been done before but GE came through handsomely within a year (1893) with a 30-ton 0-B-0 switcher; too small for tunnel service, it nevertheless proved the concept of heavy electric traction.  Having done this, GE went on to design and build a complete system for the service - generating plant, distribution, and 98-ton locomotives on articulated chassis with four pairs of 68" drivers (0-B+B-0?) and 49,000 T.E.

GE delivered B&O #1 in Jun 1895 and it entered revenue service on 07 Jun 1895; it was followed by #2 in Nov 1895 and #3 in May 1896.  The tunnel remained electrified until diesels took over in 1940.

[Information based on article, "The Howard Street Tunnel - Moving the Freight through Baltimore" by Jeffrey Smith, National Railway Bulletin (NRHS), Volume 66, Number 5, 2000, pp. 34-37 (which, oddly enough did not come out until the week AFTER the fire!).]

GE Boxcab

The original GE Outline Drawing 437416, Index E-318-34 of 60-ton Oil-Electric Locomotive Class B-B-120/120-0-4HM840G, appears on
Boxcabs page 4.   added (13 Mar 2014)

BIG NEWS!(maybe)

On 24 Oct 2008, I heard of yet another survivor boxcab, Singer #1, an 1898 standard gauge General Electric locomotive (boxcab shunter), displayed operable, with a double-ended wood cab with an arch roof, which was taken out of service in 1955.  She was first preserved by a private owner in 1955 and then went to the Indiana Transportation Museum at Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana (some 10 miles due north of Indianapolis), at some unspecified date.  I'm posting this information here and on the Survivor Boxcabs page and am trying to get more information about her, as well as a photo, but I suspect she'll turn out to be an electric traction box motor rather than a gasoline or oil loco.  Once I know more, she'll probably merit a dot on the Survivors map and a page of her own.

Because these pages keep overloading as more and more information dribbles (or crashes) in, I am forced to create new pages.  There were a whole slew of General Electric boxcab locomotives that did NOT fit the standard AGEIR (ALCo-GE-IR) mold and they will be covered here as I move what already exists on my site to this page and add new information.

One omission here is the earliest (1913) GE commercial internal combustion locomotive, still running as the Dan Patch #100, albeit with a diesel sled installed in place of the original twin gasoline engines.  Even though the focus here is on oil-(diesel-)electric locomotives, one cannnot but help pay tribute to their gasoline predecessors.  The second unit built, 1915 Erie Plant (or East Erie Commercial Railroad) #1006, was used in and around GE's plant, and sometimes used as a demonstrator, until sold in Sep 1916 to Brooklyn's little Jay Street Connecting Railroad (another vest-pocket rail-marine terminal.  It was returned to GE-Erie and rebuilt with new HM-820A traction motors (replacing 205D motors) and other improvements, increasing weight to 50 tons and becoming #E-1.  It was then leased to the Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, from Oct 1918 to Jan 1919, and then sold back (after rebuilding) to the Jay Street in April 1919, again as #3.  It was supposedly demonstrated on the San Diego & Arizonia Eastern in 1913 and it remained on the Jay Street roster in stand-by or semi-retired state until #7511 (the only 60T Vulcan ever built) arrived in early 1947, when it was cut down as a "reacher" flat car for carfloat switching after Oct 1948 and finally its frame was scrapped when the Jay Street was abandoned in 1959.  #3 remained gasoline-powered its entire life (unlike the earlier Dan Patch 100).

[The foregoing taken almost verbatim from Bill Russell's Penny Bridge site.]

There is a VERY poor photo of #3 at the Jay Street enginehouse on 19 Oct 1948, just before the cab was stripped off, on page 10 of Jay Bendersky's "Brooklyn's Waterfront Railways"; she barely qualifies as a boxcab, having a cab only about 10' or 15' long and huge railed "porches" at each end.  Another really odd feature is that the cab windows are down low near the deck, so she looks about as weird as a boxcab can get.

Quite at the opposite end of the size and time spectrum, among the biggest and last "regular" boxcabs GE built, were a pair of odd transfer locomotives for the Illinois Central in 1936, #9200 and #9201, similar to the #9202 EMD unit.  Are they boxcabs?  As with the old first Jay Street and B&O units (which had what appear to be cooling motors or battery boxes), they had short hoods (probably radiators in this case) projecting outward from the cab areas.    These were monsters for their days, with enormously-powerful diesels, the #9201 boasted the largest engine made until ALCo introduced its 244-engined PA-1 in 1946 (per Marre, 1995).  The #9200 had two 900HP I-R engines and the #9201 a 2,000HP Busch-Sulzer.  From the 1938 section of Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 20 - Diesel Electric Locomotives 1925-1938, here is #9201 and her operator's control station and engine room, showing one bank of cylinders:


IC#9201TS20op IC#9201TS290en
(Images from Train Shed #20)
[Thumbnail images; click on photos for larger images]

#9200 was delivered on Feb. 22, 1936 (we have no info. on when it was completed at GE).  #9201 (originally numbered 9202, at least while at GE) was completed on Sept. 14, 1935 but not turned over to the railroad until March 31, 1936.  Both units were scrapped in 1947.

Note the unique truck design with Talgo-style coupler mounting.  The GE traction motor model number for both units was GE-716, with 62:15 gearing to 39" wheels.  A lot of information on these trucks came in and the material was moved to a new page on 15 Sep 2005.

GE 20/23-ton Boxcabs

Prior to getting into the internal-combustion-powered locomotive business ca. 190?, General Electric was a major builder of electric motive power; their earliest efforts were basically electric locos without pans, poles, or shoes, and with a motor-generator set plunked into the carbody.  It is NOT the intention for this page to cover the surviving electrics here, although I will add links to them on this page as they come to my attention (below).

General Electric built a number of tiny industrial yard switchers in both 20 and 23 ton ratings.  Information on these is scattered across my boxcab and model RR pages and will be transferred here as convenient (for me).

I lost some information Tom Lawson sent me 13 Feb 1999, which I mistakenly moved here, about a 4-wheel H. K. Porter boxcab "GE" built in the 1930's of 30-ton (?) size; he'd photographed it in service and provided a copy for us  However, what showed was a "GE 23-ton Porter", which confused the dickens out of me.  Well, it turns out that it is a "Gas-Electric" not a "General Electric" and has been moved back to my Other Boxcabs page!

The question of Porter vs. GE bothered me so I asked Lee Snover (GE 23/25-ton modeler extraordinaire) what he knew and he sent this (edited and abridged):  Porters were built in May and July of 1926; they used Climax 6-cylinder distillate engines driving Westinghouse 300KW generators with two Westinghouse traction motors; so much for THAT bright idea (for more on Lee and his models, see my Other Boxcabs and Model RR pages).

There is at least one survivor, 1938 GE 23-ton Lehigh Portland Cement #1, General Electric c/n 12447, Diesel-Electric, 6-1938, at the Midland Railway Historical Association in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Here, by kind permission of Don Ross, from his fabulous RailSpot photo collection are Jim Shepard's 21 Sep 1979 shot of an unnumbered LPC 20-tonner (NOT a 23-tonner) at the Midland Railroad in Baldwin City, Kansas and Mike Murray's Dec 1992 shot of a 23-tonner at Mason City, Iowa:

Lehigh Portland Cement #1 Lehigh Portland Cement 23t #1
(J. Sheperd 21 Dec 79 LPC #? (left) and M. Murray Dec 92 LPC #? (right) - photos courtesy of D. Ross - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail images; click on photos for larger images]

The 23-tonner sure needs a vacuuming (in fact, it's a miracle or a tribute to good air filters that she ran at all in all that abrasive dust)  Think that's a vacuum hose in front of her?  Maybe she was rigged up as a track vacuum!  (And it's not even April First!)

Rich Garich noticed the discrepancy; see the deckplate thickness and the roller bearings?  Worse, to my mind, I never noticed not only these details, but the window arrangement and their distance from the roof!  So what IS that loco at the Midland - 20 or 23-ton?

Here's a a composite enlargement of the two photos, above, from Don Ross 's site to show the deckplate thickness - 20-ton at left and 23-ton at right:

(cropped from photos courtesy of D. Ross - all rights reserved)


(moved from Boxcabs Continuation Page 2 on 28 Jan 2002)
The question was raised, "Are the GE Shovelnose export engines boxcabs?"  ALCo powered versions worked in Argentina and Uruguay and other versions were the famous White Pass & Yukon units and the Philippine National Railways engines.  It's a fair question, especially since I include the Alton shovelnoses and such and even the EMD E6 boxcab versions; but this is MY site and I choose not to cover them; they are standard, late-model, diesels and belong elsewhere.  Well - - - , mostly so.  Just because they were made later on and are a cross between a boxcab and a standard cowl diesel, I can still throw a little memory their way.

Señor Marcelo Benoit in Uruguay was kind enough to dig up both data AND photos of their GE shovelnoses, as follows:

There were 20 G. E. engines numbered 1501-1520, builder's numbers 30925-30944, 1,400 HP, built between March and November 1952, and 27 G.E. engines numbered 1521-1547, builder's numbers 32150-32176, 1,400 HP, built between June and November 1954.  They were standard gauge and used as main line locomotives on all tracks that allowed 18 tons/axle.  Only nine of these locomotives now survive in service.  Are used in passenger services between Montevideo and 25 de Agosto and on freight trains with less than 800 tons.  Displaced from heavier freights in 1994 with arrival of G.E. C18-7i locomotives.

Here are Sr. Benoit's 25 Aug 1993 photo of #1515 with the train marking the renewal of passenger service between Montevideo and 25 de Agosto and #1530 at Peñarol on 21 May 1999, plus one from the Uruguayan state collection of #1534:

GE Uruguayan Shovelnose #1515 25 Aug 93 GE Uruguayan Shovelnose #1530 21 May 99 GE Uruguayan Shovelnose #1534
(#1515 and #1530 images courtesy of Marcelo Benoit - all rights reserved;
#1534 image from the SODRE collection - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail images - click on the pictures for full images]

Sr. Benoit adds that the photo of #1534 shows the former shovelnose color scheme {except that it's in B&W!} and was taken on the "La Tablada" cattle branch near Montevideo.

Sr. B. again (03 Jul 2001), with DOUBLE-ENDED Argentinian Shovelnoses #5769 & 5725 at Saldias station (near Retiro in Buenos Aires, on the Ferrocarril Belgrano Cargas); both were originally single-ended like the WP&Y units:

GE Uruguayan Double-Ended Shovelnoses #5769 & 5725

Speaking of GE export models, can anyone give me more information (other than that on the diagram which follows) about this 1930 3' narrow gauge unit on Chiriqui Land Company rails in Panama?  It sure looks like a twin to the Celotex Corp. #3 1929 23-ton GE/Porter Gas-Electric noted above.

Chiriqui Land Co. Miniboxcabs

1930 GE 3' Chiriqui Panama
(image from Bruce Pryor's Narrow Gauge Pictures From Off The Beaten Path site).
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for the full image.]

Here is the Chiriqui Land Co's. "Oil Electric Locomotive" diagram, marked "Collection of Richard Yudin", also courtesy of Bruce Pryor:

1930 GE 3' Chiriqui Diagram
(image from Bruce Pryor's Narrow Gauge Pictures From Off The Beaten Path site).
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image]

25/27 Jan 2002 - From Brian Norden, a director of both the Orange Empire Railway Museum and the Association of Railway Museums comes this information on the Chriqui units (basically unedited):

"The Chiriqui Land Company was a banana operation in Panama that later bought some of the earliest ALCO hood units."  Here is what Brian found about the double-truck 3' gauge box-cab locomotives that Chiriqui Land Company bought from GE.

"A total of five of these locomotives were built.  It appears that the Winton oil engines were sold through EMC as EMC listed the sales with its conversion order number"

No. GE Serial Date EMC No. Later Road No.
6* 10837 5/29 C-26 706
7 10838 5/29 C-27 707
8 11084 1/30 C-29 708
9 11085 1/30 C-30 709
10 11085 1/30 C-31 710
"The EMC C-numbers were usually assigned to motor car conversion kits sold by EMC.  For a list see 'Interurbans Without Wires'.  The reason for these engines being handled by EMC is unknown; but, there may have had an agreement with Winton to have exclusive rights to railway sales.  Why these locomotives received Winton engines is unknown; maybe the purchaser specified the Winton engines."

29 Jan 2002- Brian sent me the missing EMC conversion order number info.  Two of them were for two of the 4-wheel locomotives that PRR built at Altoona for itself; both were gas-engine equipped - order dates 5/28 and 5/29.  A photo in the 2nd Diesel Spotters Guide shows a look similar to the LI units.  The other was for a 72-ton gas-electric built by Canadian Car & Foundary for Steel Company of Canada, #24, order date 5/28.   Brian wonderds if this could this be a boxcab?

Thank you, Brian!

* - Chiriqui #6 was apparently repowered with a Superior diesel engine, possibly ca. 1945-46; see the Superior brochure on RR page 1.

(Photo from Superior brochure courtesy of W. B. Davis - all rights reserved)

[Linguistically, I find it interesting that "Chiriqui" sounds so much like North American "Cherokee".]

Incidentally, speaking still of GE export models and Alaska and the Shovelnoses, the same Bruce Pryor (noted directly above) also has a White Pass & Yukon Route site.

Still speaking of GE, does anyone have a GE boxcab catalog?  An I-R boxcab catalog (and one from Westinghouse) was reproduced in TRAIN SHED CYCLOPEDIA #43.

John J. Blair wrote (16 Sep 1998), "Hey what about the little 4-wheel boxcab diesels that GE built in the late '30's (a 3' gauge 23 tonner was used in a line relocation on the Sumpter Valley RR)".  He said he'd research them for us.  He should be well qualified; he's the OWNER of actual 12"=1' former NYO&W #7, a 23-ton endcab GE diesel (s/n 15007)!  It was built for Wickwire Brothers of Cortland, NY, by GE in November 1941.  John reminds me that Grandt Line produced an HO/HOn3 version of the Sumpter Valley boxcab a few years ago.  Thanks, John!  Yes, that's so; see my Model Boxcab page, et seq.

Surviving GE Electric Boxcabs

1893 GE #1 / MfrsRR #1 at the Museum of Transport, St. Louis, Missouri.

1916 Milwaukee Road E-50 #10200 at the Lake Superior Museum of Transportation in Duluth, Minnesota (probably the biggest survivor).

1914 Montréal-Deux-Montagnes (Two Mountains) line #6711 (originally CNoR #601, then CN #9101, then to CN #101), at the Musée Ferroviare Canadien/Canadian RR Museum in St. Constant (Delson), Québec, Canada.

Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada's St. Clair Tunnel Co. #1308, at the Canada Science and Technology Museum - Railways > Before CN 1850s-1919 > Locomotives and Equipment.

L&PS (London & Port Stanley) #L1 and #L2, now at, respectively, the ECRM (the Elgin County Railway Museum) in St. Thomas (London area), Ontario, Canada, and (#L2) at the Halton County Radial Railway in Milton (Toronto area), Ontario, run by the OERHS (Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association).

Butte, Anaconda & Pacific #47 loco out at in Butte, Montana at the Montana Mining Museum located at Montana Tech.

A 1915 Milwaukee Road E-57B boxcab on display in Harlowton, Montana.

A Little Joe on display in Deer Lodge, Montana, which is only barely an "honorary boxcab" at best!

A 1907 electric box motor, SBK #4, in East Haven, Connecticut.

The Piedmont Northern Box Cab #5103 at the NC Transp. Museum.

1938 GE 23-ton Lehigh Portland Cement #1, General Electric c/n 12447, Diesel-Electric, 6-1938, at the Midland Railway Historical Association in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Then there are scads of surviving GE boxcab electrics in Mexico and Central and South America and overseas:

Mexican Boxcab Electrics.

Chilean Boxcab Electrics and

    Trains Unlimited, Tours's Chilean Photos
        (with FAR more to follow from many countries in TU,T's collection).

As I state on my electric boxcabs page 1, "there are endless foreign electrics that, strictly speaking, qualify as boxcabs, but they have vestiges of steamlining or slanted windscreens or something that turns me off and this is MY site, you know!"


  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), this GE boxcabs page, other (non-ALCo/GE/I-R) boxcabs, Baldwin-Westinghouse boxcabs, odd boxcabs, and finally model boxcabs.

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016  - all rights reserved.

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