S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Electric Boxcabs Continuation Page 1 keywords = boxcab EMD Electro motive ALCo GE IR American Locomotive Company General Electric Ingersoll Rand oil electric diesel engine rail road 1 11 195 401 1000 museum marine water front dock pocket

Updated:   25 Jun 2019; 23:55  ET
  {missing images restored - 10 Jan 2003}
[Page converted 07 Jul 2012; page created 17 Jan 2001;
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
Update info on the top on ALL pages for your convenience.

URL:  http://sbiii.com/boxcabl1.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/boxcabl1.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


Continuation Page 1


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.

Continuation Page 1

(Page separated out from the main Electric Boxcabs Page on 17 Jan 01,
thus becoming my 180th page, the 30th Boxcabs page!)

There are now more than fifty (50) BOXCAB pages;
see the main Boxcabs page and the Boxcabs INDEX.

This site has now been visited times since the counter was installed.

BOXCAB BIBLIOGRAPHY is at the end of Continuation Page 3.


On the main Electric Boxcabs page:
1893 GE #1 / MfrsRR #1
Piedmont & Northern #5103
    (moved to Electric Boxcab (Survivors) Continuation Page 3 on 11 Jun 02)

On this Electric Boxcabs Continuation Page 1:
  ELECTRIC BOXCABS - Part 2 (follows), with
GE #1/MfrsRR #1 History (continued),
St. Clair Tunnel Electric Boxcabs,
Mystery Canadian G.E. Electric Boxcab (no it's not!),
Chilean Boxcabs,
    [missing images retrieved   rev (25 Jun 2019)] and
Other Overseas Electric Boxcabs

On the Electric Boxcab (Survivors) Continuation Page 2:

So. Bklyn #4.
L&PS #L1 and #L2.
Butte, Anaconda & Pacific.

On the Electric Boxcabs (Survivors) Continuation Page 3:

Piedmont & Northern #5103
(moved there from the main Electric Boxcabs page).
Chilean Boxcabs - updated.

Still on Continuation Page 5:



As I exaggerated on the main Electric Boxcabs page, there were (and even are) jillions and zillions of other boxcab electrics; this page will specialize in the overseas variety.

However, before we venture overseas, we'll look further at the very first GE electric loco and then at four Brooklyn electric boxmotors and some Canadian units.  There is a fabulous 1992 write-up about the NYC S-motors (and later ex-CUT P- and T-boxmotors) by Alfred Barten; he states that the original S-motor, #6000, is now stored by the Mohawk & Hudson Chapter of the NRHS, S-2 #111 is at the Illionois Railway museum, and #113 is at the National Museum of Transport near St. Louis.

GE #1 / MfrsRR #1 - The First GE Electric Locomotive.

That odd little 1893 GE #1 described on the main Electric Boxcabs page was actually built by Thompson-Houston in 1892-93, at about the same time that General Electric bought Thompson-Houston.  Thompson-Houston is the same firm whose British subsidiary of that name built the 1932 Ford boxcab preserved and restored in Kent, Essex.

Having overloaded the main Electric Boxcabs page, I shortened the coverage of GE #1 there and have continued, and expanded, it here (based almost entirely on the input from Dennis Conway).

Joe Cushing bought it through a broker acting for the NH/MfrsRR in 1905 and it hauled flour in Fitchburg {the Fitchburg flour forwarder?} until the outbreak of WWII.  It was later donated to the St. Louis museum by the Joe Cushing RR.

Well, Dennis is trying to get more information about the Joe Cushing RR (there is a story on it in about 1984 in the In Connecticut magazine, Vol. 1, No.1., and he's trying to locate a copy of the article) and about the purpose of the bonnets at each end.  The bonnets were originally continuous from side to side and that would have made #1 a steeple cab and I'd be hard presssed to justify including her here (not that that would stop me!), but with the bonnets (or at least one of them) split, they become, in effect, panniers, and thus she is (now, anyway) a true boxcab!

I told Dennis, like a little kid in school with the answer; "I KNOW! I KNOW! I KNOW!  Those are juice containers, so the lil' critter has enough juice to run!"  :·)

I already (23 May 2004) have a Märklin 8800 or 8864 chassis cut up to use to make a Z-scale (1:220)version.  

Four (4) box motors (electric locos were often called "motors" and the engineers "motormen") turned up on the roster of the Shore Line Trolley Museum of the BERA (Branford Electric Railway Association) in East Haven, Connecticut.  These are most likely "only" trolley car locos*, but they are in the greater Metro NYCity area so I'll mention them here:

  #9421- South Brooklyn Ry., NYC, built by Middletown in 1903, 2-truck, 38' long, wood.
  #9425 - South Brooklyn Ry., NYC, built by Middletown in 1903, 2-truck, 38' long, wood.
  #1504 - Rhode Island Co., Providence, RI, road-built in 1904, 2-truck, 37' long, 45,000 lbs.
  #4* - South Brooklyn Ry. NYC, built by Brooklyn Heights Ry. in 1907, 2-truck, 31', 114,000 lbs.

[* - good grief, Charlie Brown!  #4 is the one I mistakenly listed as an internal combustion loco when I started all this!]

Not quite overseas, but up in Canada, as noted on the previous page, there were also boxcab electric locomotives, apparently similar to the surviving #6711, pulling trains through the 1890 St. Clair (Sarnia) tunnel on the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada's St. Clair Tunnel Co. between Port Huron, Michigan, and Sarnia, Ontario (about 40 miles NNE of Detroit, Michigan/Windsor, Ontario).  There is an excellent photograph of StCT #1308* from the collection of the Canada Science and Technology Museum at Railways > Before CN 1850s-1919 > Locomotives and Equipment.  The StCT also had different paired units in the 9150-series ca. 1927 or earlier.

Here is an excellent photograph of #1308* {see above}, from the collection of the Canada Science and Technology Museum at Railways > Historic CN 1919-1963 > Locomotives and Equipment; it is the property of the Museum and I have received specific, written permission to reproduce it here (for which I am exceedingly grateful):

St. Clair Tunnel #1308
(photo property of, and reproduced here by special written permission of,
the Canada Science and Technology Museum - all rights reserved to the Museum.
This image may NOT be copied or reproduced without specific, prior, written permission of CSTM.)

CSTM caption:  "St. Clair Tunnel Company electric locomotive No. 1308
exiting Sarnia Tunnel Sarnia, Ontario, Canada ca.1915, Photographer: unknown
Subject: Electric locomotives / Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada /
Saint Clair Tunnel (Port Huron, Mich. and Sarnia, Ont.,
Image No.: CN000384, CSTMC/CN Collection ".

William Miller advises (05 Aug 01) that the original electrics were delivered as #1305 to #1310, inclusive.

Mystery Canadian G.E. Electric Boxcab

Here's a weird one for you!  Whil(e)(st) rummaging for other photos of an old vacation, I ran across four electric boxcab shots I didn't even remember ever taking!  Three are shown here; these were taken in the late summer of 1971 (September?) at the "Ottawa Transportation Museum"*, back when I didn't even know I'd be a boxcab maven!  Worse yet, I can't even tell what loco it is and didn't take an overall view (wonder why?).  Those are my daughters on the platform and step:

* - Actually then the "National Museum of Transportation" and now the "Canada Science and Technology Museum", noted and linked above.

Ottawa Can. GE El Box 1 Ottawa Can. GE El Box 2 Ottawa Can. GE El Box 4
(Photos ca. Sep 71 by and © 2001 - S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

The truck looks just like that on the 60-ton oil-electrics.

The only lettering visible seems to be "PS" and "LI", but it sure as heck isn't an LIRR loco!

It's clearly not one of the Montréal-Deux-Montagnes locos nor one of the St. Clair Tunnel motors; I was going to ask the Canada Science and Technology Museum what I saw and photographed (I assumed it still survives).  WOW!  Does it ever!

[Also, I note it looks virtually identical to the WWI-era Chilean GE electric boxcab loco shown immediately below.]

WELL! - on 06 Jun 01, a volunteer at the Illinois Railway Museum (Union, IL) who works in the Electric Car Department spotted this, did some checking, and put me on to the identity of this engine and, not only does it survive, but a sister loco survives as well!

Suffice it to say for the nonce that it is L&PS (London & Port Stanley) #L1, and I have created a separate page for her and the surviving sister and transferred most of the material there.

CHILEAN BOXCAB ELECTRICS - Señor Guillermo Burgos kindly sent me these photos from Chile (31 Jul 99) - muchas graçias, Señor!

        [missing images retrieved   rev (25 Jun 2019)]

GE El Tofo 1917     GE Tocopilla 1997

They were identified only as "GE el Tofo 1917" (left) and "GE Tocopilla 1997" (right - a thumbnail, click on the picture for a larger image); I asked for more info.  They appeared to be pantagraph-electric equivalents to the 100 and 60 ton oil-electrics.  Sr. Burgos came through magnificently:

GE at el Tofo mine ca. 1917
(Large thumbnail of a huge picture; click on the picture for a very much larger (890Kb) image.]

"The B/W picture is from the Ferrocarril de Caleta Cruz grande at el Tofo, which was a large iron mine constructed by The Bethlehem-Chile Iron Mines Company in 1916.  Technically, this was Chile's first mainline electrification and it used three GE boxcabs 120 tons (Nº 6, 7, and 8) standard gauge and isolated from the other lines.  The mine was closed in 1977 and the locomotives scrapped in 1978.  Class Bo-BoRWE, 120 ton, 2400 volts, Nº 4922 to 4924, from 1916."

"The 60 ton locomotive is one of seven GE boxcabs of "Ferrocarril de Tocopilla al Toco" which hauled nitrate from Oficina Maria Elena to the port of Tocopilla.  They worked from 1928 or 1929 to this day; they made 12 round trips daily from Tocopilla to the Estacion Tigre, where a diesel-electric continues the trip to Maria Elena.  It is a fascinating railroad with an incredible history as well, with incredible motive power.  Most of the earlier steam locos were articulated (Kitson-Meyer).  Only one survives at the port of Taltal, near Antofagasta.  The GE boxcabs climb from sea level to 3,600 ft. in 30 miles with a 4% gradient."

(both texts only edited slightly from Sr. Burgos' text for clarity - ¡Bravo, Señor!)

Normally, I wouldn't bother loading such a memory-intensive picture but this one is of such historical interest; no dinky banana-republic mine this!  This is big-time mining and high-mountain railroading!  Note that the empty heading back to the mine, with the jaunty gent riding flag in the rear car, is pulled by a companion engine just visible in the left rear.  Note also the terrain; not exactly hospitable, is it?

06 Dec 2008 - A friend's comment about this great shot led me to review this page; that picture is awfully dark, so I artificially lightened it and brought out some interesting detail - click here for a <900Kb image or just look at the crop below:

GE El Tofo 1917

No one's riding anything; the two trains appear to have stopped on the grade just so the picture could be taken, probably by a photographer who'd been riding on the speeder.  Would YOU want to be on a speeder out that vastness?

30 Aug 00 - in came a flyer for Trains Unlimited Tours (of Portola, CA, no less!), advertising a Northern Chile Railfan Adventure tour 16-24 Jun 2001 of "the nitrate mine roads" and "the Atacama Desert, driest place in the world", where there "are areas where it has not rained for over 100 years"!  On the afternoon of Friday, 22 Jun 2001, you are to see the station at Bariles "where the nitrate trains are switched from diesel to GE boxcab electrics for the steep 4% grade down the mountains to the Pacific Ocean at Tocopilla".  "The Tocopilla Al {sic} Toco Railroad will provide us with a charter train so that we can experience the spectacular 4% ride down the mountain with 1927 built GE box cabs."  {Emphases mine in preceding quotations.}  There are two color photos of the boxcabs on the flyer.  I will be posting these and more on the TRAINS UNLIMITED, TOURS, PHOTO COLLECTION page.

From across the pond (Atlantic, that is) comes Nick Slocombe, who visited the mine in Nov 1998, and offers this picture (and vista):

detail GE Tocopilla Nov 98
(This and the following FCTT/SIT photos are courtesy of N. Slocombe - all rights reserved)

GE Tocopilla Nov 98

I show both a detail of the loco and train and the overall vista because of the imposing (awesome and fearsome) landscape.  Nick wondered if I wanted "another picture of the 42 inch gauge GE box cabs which work the hill section of the FCTT - Tocopilla al Toco Railway in Chile's 2nd Region?"  Guess!

[N. Slocombe narrative only minimally edited for format.]

He continues, "Although well past retirement age, they're 76 years old, they remain in service hauling nitrate for SOQUIMICH (Chilean Chemical Company) although the railway is operated by a subsidiary - SIT (Servicios Integrales Y Transports).  The FCTT mainline between Tocopilla and the nitrate processing plant at Maria Elena is approximately 50 miles long, the electrics simply work the hill section, 17 miles from Tocopilla to Barrilles, a climb of 3000 feet, with a switchback at Reverso {clever!}, a few miles out of Tocopilla. It is a very remarkable operation, possibly one of THE rail wonders of the world."

"This picture, of a loaded train descending from Reverso into Tocopilla, was taken on my last visit in November 1998."

Thanks, Nick; do return there, and to us, please!  That was written on 10 Jan 2003; no sooner said than done!  Nick, it turns out, has "a family interest in Chile and the FCTT in particular"; his "grandfather worked for both the Anglo-Chilean Nitrate & Railway Company, the original London based owner of the railway, and the Anglo-Chilean Consolidated Nitrate Corporation, after it was bought by the Guggenheim Brothers of New York at the end of 1924".  Subsequently, his "mother was born in the company hospital in Tocopilla in 1926, although the family actually lived at Maria Elena where the mining operation and ore processing is based."

His "grandparents left Chile in late 1927", his "grandfather's railway career taking him on to Baghdad in Iraq where he spent the rest of his working life."

"The railway runs through a lunar landscape, only a paved road and power lines indicating that it's really planet earth!  The railway can be followed quite easily from the road connecting Tocopilla with the Pan American Highway.  It's paved and well maintained although the turning off to Maria Elena, just before the PA Highway is reached, is a bit pot-holed, but nothing that a four wheel drive truck can't negotiate.  Maria Elena itself is a company town, if it wasn't for SOQUIMICH it simply wouldn't exist.  It's the sort of dusty town which, if it wasn't for the presence of Toyota Hilux pick ups, would serve as the back drop for a Clint Eastwood western.  It's dominated by the Guggenheim process extraction plant which is served by a comprehensive rail network, using US/Japanese centre cab electric switchers with auxiliary battery power to enable them to work 'off' catenary, and small GE diesel switchers."

"It's a truly remarkable part of the world."

Having favored us with this fantastic description on 13 Jan 2003, Nick went on to send these three photos, fully captioned:

"The first is of a single unit heading downgrade through the back streets of Tocopilla.  Despite appearances it's a busy, engaging, friendly town with a couple of adequate hotels and restaurants.  Don't expect much English to be spoken but the welcome, like everywhere in Chile, is warm and genuine."

"I think I took this picture a trifle early, a couple of more seconds would have revealed the entire locomotive from behind the catenary post.  But I was very, very excited, this being my first encounter with the FCTT (and a tangible reminder of my grandfather)" {and no wonder - who would not have been}:

GE Tocopilla 02 Nov 98 1

"As I mentioned before the railway climbs the coast range behind Tocopilla, crossing the east/west highway, until it reached Reverso, which I suppose is three or four miles out of town to the north.&nsbp; Reverso is visible from the coast highway and, presumably, could be reached on foot; from what I remember the walk/climb along a track from the coast highway didn't look too difficult."

"The railway then reverses and follows the quebrada - dry river valley - inland, accompanying the road as far as Barrilles where the loco change takes place.  Initially the road is well below the railway, which follows a ledge high above the valley floor.  There is another 'stop' on the railway, between Reverso and Barrilles, at a 'place' called Quillagua, which is merely a passing loop (and in steam days a watering point) on a ledge above the road.  Heaven knows where the water came from.  Again, like Reverso, it could be climbed to but not without plenty of water to avoid dehydration."

"The second picture was taken in late afternoon between Quillagua and Barrilles.  Two boxcabs, lettered FCTT, on a long train of empties near the top of the climb.  I had to scramble up the hillside from the road to get in position but it was worth it.  A brakeman, seemingly asleep, rode in the very last wagon.  It was a still day with little or no wind so the approaching whine of the box cabs could be heard long before they hove into view.  Brilliant!":

GE Tocopilla 02 Nov 98 2

"And finally another picture of an empty working uphill.  Taken shortly after the picture I sent you last week, this shows a single unit, in SIT livery, on the approach to Barrilles.  I think the barren nature of the countryside is very evident!" {Oh, is it ever!}:

GE Tocopilla 04 Nov 98 3
(This and the preceding FCTT/SIT photos are courtesy of N. Slocombe - all rights reserved)

"With my family connection, I find it difficult to be sanguine about the FCTT.  Operating with a range of equipment which can only be described as elderly, it functions in a most inhospitable, though stable, environment and continues to perform the task for which it was built over 100 years ago."

"Maybe one's only regret is that one of it's Kitson-Meyer steam locos has not survived, to be trotted out on high days and holidays to share the spotlight with the box cabs.  Now there's a thought..............."  {And quite a thought at that; one might also wish that the entire operation was not at the other end of one's world! - SB,III}

And, again, thank you, Nick Slocombe!  But - wait a minute, here!  We BOTH missed what Sr. Burgos wrote (above): "Most of the earlier steam locos were articulated (Kitson-Meyer).  Only one survives at the port of Taltal, near Antofagasta."!!!  Go for it, Nick!

Better and better, not only is there a Kitson-Meyer at Tal Tal, the ex-Transandine one "takes pride of place in the railway museum at the Parque Quinta Normal in Santiago.  It sits, in pristine condition, on a turntable in a pit which is lined with bedding plants.  A sight to see."  The "Tal Tal Railway did take a number of ex-Anglo-Chilean steam locos including some K-Ms when steam was eliminated from the FCTT in 1959" {the foregoing also from Nick Slocombe}.

Not only did Nick return to Chile, he brought back more photos; see Electric Boxcabs page 3.

Mexican boxcabs were by ALCo-GE and will appear on the Continuation Page 4 (and that's NOT overseas).


In my Boxcab Bibliography, I have Hollingsworth's 2000 book, "The Illustrated Directory of Trains of the World ".  There are a number of boxcab electrics (or what I have dubbed "honorary boxcabs") in the book, but two foreign (to the U.S.) electric boxcabs and one Canadian locomotive REALLY caught my eye:

On pp. 344-347, there is depicted a Swedish State Railways Class Dm3 9,650HP triple-unit, jack-shaft, side-rod electric 1-D+D+D-1boxcab with about 210,000lbs tractive effort!  It runs 295mi. north from the iron mines around Lulea to the ice-free Norwegian port of Narvik (the Norwegians also use an identical loco, their Class el 12).  See The European Railway Picture Gallery for the Norwegian and Swedish sets.

On pp. 420-421 is the South African Railways 168-ton Class 9E Co-Co, a 5,460HP Narrow Gauge monster operating on 50,000VAC.  Normally run in threes (16,350HP!), they haul iron ore 529mi. from the interior to an Atlantic port and carry a motor scooter in a compartment below the running boards to inspect the mile-and-a-half long trains they lug!  See CLASS 9E ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE (an unidentified site).

Another really big electric (not really a boxcab) is the British Columbia Railway Class GFC6 Co-Co running coal down from the northern Arctic, as shown on pp. 442-445.  These also run in threesomes to pull 98 cars under 50,000VAC.  This one's hard to find, see BC Rail's Film Office page, ENGINES - DIESEL/ELECTRIC, and click on the two red, white, and blue thumbnails.

Hollingsworth also shows a few other electrics I would like to call "honorary boxcabs", the famous NYC "Lionel" S-motor Class S-1 1-D-1 and the CMStP&P Class EP-2 "Bi-polar" 1-B-D-D-B-1 (pp. 140-141).

Actually, 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!

For outstanding photos of early Swiss electric boxcabs, see the 3/2002 issue of Märklin USA's "märklin Insider" Märklin Club magazine, pp. 24-31, "100 Years of the SBB, Part 2: 1920-1927: SBB Electric Locomotives in the Pioneering Days - A Wide Variety", celebrating the centennial of the Swiss railways.


  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 the previous page, to the Boxcabs index, to the first boxcabs page, and on to continuation pages 3 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, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2019  - all rights reserved.

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