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Updated:   21 Mar 2016; 14:45  ET
[Page converted 07 Mar 2010;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
Update info on the top on ALL pages for your convenience.

URL:  http://sbiii.com/boxcabs.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/boxcabs.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 effective 31 Mar 2010 and I had to scramble to transfer everything by then.  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


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.]

  The Boxcabs Index Page,
  This page, the ALCo-GE-IR Boxcabs Page - the BOXCABS "home" page,
    with, in itself, has many continuation pages,
  Survivor Boxcabs (roster of those boxcabs still around),
  separate pages on each survivor.

[I added three pages of detailed photos of the CNJ #1000 (120 photos) and a page
 of detailed photos of the only surviving 108-tonner, Foley Bros. #110-1 (35 photos).

  Survivor Boxcab British Ford Thomson-Houston
    (with coverage of a "modern" 1989 Scots-built boxcab
      and other British boxcabs).
  the Boxcab Bibliography ( - 1989),
    now continued on Boxcab Bibliography (1990 - up),
  plus Ingersoll-Rand Boxcabs, with a 1929 I-R boxcab brochure and
  both I-R and GE Instruction Sheets for a 1929 600-hp, 100-tonner,
    and I-R Page 2 with a 1936 catalog of the 113 oil-electrics built to then,
  Baldwin (and Westinghouse) Boxcabs, with a 1930 catalog,
  AGEIR Focus Page, AGEIR details from this "home" page,
  and an original GE Demo Brochure,
  Other Boxcabs continuation page 2, with EMD, Brill, Porter
    and other oil-electrics/diesels,
    EMD E6 Boxcabs!, and
    GE Shovelnoses.
    McKeen Boxcabs? - Yup!
    1903 Boxcab!
  Odd Boxcabs continuation page 5, with
    air boxcabs,
    steam boxcabs, and
    odder boxcabs.
    Electric Boxcabs, with
    straight electric boxcabs, and
    a boxcab gondola (really!).
  Electric Boxcabs - Part 2, with
    Chilean Boxcabs, and
    Other Overseas Boxcabs.
  Electric Boxcabs - Part 2, with
    L&PS #L1 and #L2 and BAP units.
  Electric Boxcabs - Part 2, with
    survivor Piedmont & Northern #5103.
  Model Boxcabs page, with
    Boxcab Modeling Notes and
    Boxcab Dimensions.
  Model Boxcabs Continuation Page 1, with
    Monster Boxcab Models.
  Boxcab Photo Archives of Trains Unlimited, Tours.


  Boxcab History and Introductory matter - follows.
  Early Predecessors of the ALCo-GE-IR Boxcabs.

Links and credits are now on the Boxcabs Index Page.

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 ALCO / General Electric / Ingersoll-Rand (AGEIR) Diesel-Electric Locomotives" site {formerly http://www.execpc.com/~jcampbel/ageir.html}; I heartily recommended it to you!  John 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.  However, I deeply regret the passing on 23 Feb 2005 of John F. Campbell; click here for more information about John.  His work is again available (on this sbiii.com domain) at AGEIR Boxcabs Pages Index {http://sbiii.com/jfcageir/ageirdex.htm} and AGEIR History {http://sbiii.com/jfcageir/ageir.html - main page}, et seq. - see John F. Campbell for more about the re-created site.

I-R found an old brochure on the original boxcabs; it (a xerocopy) arrived 18 May 98 and is a gold mine!  I-R gave me permission (19 May 98) to reproduce it, which I plan to do on a new page (or pages), starting with my Ingersoll-Rand page, on which I've already listed the boxcab photos and illustrations therein.  I-R uses the term "box-type cab" and all units are double ended (2 engineer's control stands).

A note on usage - I have always used ALCo, in lieu of ALCO, for the American Locomotive Company and have been taken to task for the affectation; I don't remember where I first ran across it, but I'm not about to change now.

The first production diesel locomotive, then called an "oil electric" locomotive (to avoid the German), was one of four (Pinkepank, 1967, says five) built for speculation; an earlier demo unit, single-ended, with a prominently rounded nose, was fired up and ran in December 1923 and was released for demonstration in June 1924.  It toured on the following lines (for the hours noted): NYC (833, mostly on the West Side Line in Manhattan, 09 Jun - 23 Aug 1924), B&O (81), CNJ (with a run with two passenger cars from Jersey City to Harrisburg over the CNR/RDG); NH (271), Union Freight RR (40), B&M (132), LIRR (362.5), Bethlehem Steel (9), RDG (207), DL&W (120), Hoboken Mfrs. (26), New Jersey Zinc Co. (79), Alan Wood Iron & Steel Co. (32), and was returned to I-R's Phillipsburg plant; it never ran 'neath the streets of Boston but it's fate is yet unknown (after Pinkepank, 1967).  The first unit sold went to the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) in 1924.  It was built by a consortium of American Locomotive Company (ALCo), one of the world's largest steam locomotive manufacturers (itself an agglomeration of many smaller, but very significant, steam engine builders going back to the 1850s), the General Electric Company, already a well-recognized manufacturer of electric locomotives and components for electrics (and in co-operation with ALCo on these since the 1890s), and Ingersoll-Rand, a major builder of gasoline and diesel motors (and still famed for its air compressors).  After the initial four were sold, another eleven were built.  In 1929, ALCo acquired the McIntosh & Seymour Engine Co. and dropped the I-R engines, utilizing its own new M&S engines.

[Most early gas-electric and oil(diesel)-electric locomotives were basically standard electric locomotives with an engine grafted into the chassis.  Not until ALCo and IR got together with GE were there any purpose-built production units.]

Most of these early units were built for service in and around New York City harbor's many "vest-pocket" marine terminal yards (CNJ, PRR, Erie, B&O, D&LW, etc.).  The LIRR #401 was the world's first road switcher, for mainline use.  A few went to other harbor railroads and to major industries (Ford, IR, etc.) for in-house yard work.  To get some idea of just why they were so incredibly successful, especially in the float yards, take a look at Erie I-R boxcab #19 or 20 twisting cars around their Harlem Station (Bronx) carfloat terminal's tightly-curved track in John Armstrong's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" (Kalmbach, 1st Ed, 1963, p. 62, Fig. 7-4; p. 60, 2nd Ed., 1979; and p. 98, 3rd Ed.; and the CNJ's Harlem River freight house sitting completely inside its tightly-looped yard tracks, with the float bridges outside along the Harlem River (bottom):

Harlem Transfer

That first engine, CNJ #1000, not only started the irresistible swing to dieselization, it also spawned a small family of boxcabs which the author finds fascinating.  Originally, they came in two sizes, both with virtually identical bodies and fittings, with slightly-rounded roofs and flat ends (looking very much like boxcars with windows - thus "boxcab"); 60-ton locos with a 300HP IR oil engine, and 100-ton locos with two 300HP IR oil engines.  The first units also were fitted with tube radiators mounted symmetrically at each end of the roof and curved to fit.

CNJ #1000 in service
(photo provenance unknown)

CNJ #1000 was the 60-ton, 300HP type.  Bill Russell has added a Penny Bridge page about the CNJ Bronx Terminal - home of CNJ #1000.  It ran into the mid-1950s ( Bill Russell reports that it spent most of its life at the Bronx CNJ car float operation) and sits enshrined in glory, just as she was when she last ran, in the roundhouse at the B&O Museum in Baltimore, Maryland (oddly enough, it is neither pictured nor mentioned on their website).

Another very early 60-tonner, B&O #1 (later #195 and #8000)*, which, per Bill Russell, is the number it carried when it operated in the NYC area, such as at Pier 66 in Manhattan and in the B&O yard at 26th Street), is at the Museum of Transportation outside St. Louis, Missouri (but no longer in pristine condition), where you can also find that odd first passenger boxcab by EMD, B&O #50.

My 1941 Marks' Mechanical Engineers' Handbook states (page 1488) that there were 250 oil-electric locomotives in service in 1938, of which 235 were switchers (which cost $70,000 for the 600-hp units).

* - see Trains, November 1956, Six Cylinders Still Going Strong, pp. 26-27.

Even before the introduction of the 60-tonners into revenue service, the progressive little Long Island Rail Road allowed Ingersoll-Rand to demonstrate its #8835 (in February, 1925); the LIRR contracted for a 100-ton loco under its order #1494.  This was their #401, with two I-R 300HP engines, completed in November, 1925, which also soldiered on into the mid-50s but which, unfortunately, was scrapped ca. 1958.  It had the original look but was longer and had two sets of tube radiators at each end.  Later units developed all sorts of new shapes and protruberances, but for sheer simplicity of design and durability, few diesels (or steamers, for that matter), ever surpassed the ALCo-GE-IR oil-electrics (some of which still run - in museums).

New York City also hosted the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western's #3001, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum; Bill Russell reports that this unit spent most of its DL&W life switching cars at the Bronx DL&W car float operation and at Hoboken.  TRAIN SHED CYCLOPEDIA Number 43 (D. L. & W. Page) seems to disagree, showing service in "New York, N. Y." and "Brooklyn, N. Y.".

1926 60-ton, 300-hp DL&W #3001, the sixth unit built (B/N 66683/10026), which was later sold back to Ingersoll-Rand as a second Phillipsburg shop switcher, I-R #91, (to keep I-R's own #90 company?) and survives at the Illinois Railway Museum, appears to be a later ALCo-GE-IR boxcab; it has the as-built tube radiators but a center door on the end, a hallmark of later units; the CNJ #1000 does not and LIRR #401 did not have end doors, but the LIRR (second) #402, et seq., did.  See the SURVIVORS page for more on this particular engine.  DL&W also bought another 1926 unit (a twin, B/N 66684/10027 - both June production) which it sent to DL&W subsidiary Harlem Transfer as HT #2 and which lasted until replaced by a GE 44-tonner in Feb 1962.

DL&W also bought two 100-ton tri-power locomotives (with GE bodies), #3501, B/N 11208, in Sep 1930 and #3502, B/N 11209, in Oct 1930; they used their oil engines to charge storage batteries to bridge gaps in catenary (they were the only tri-power units to be equipped with pantagraphs) and weren't terribly successful, being scrapped early on.

Red River Lumber #502 was only the second 100-tonner, the twelfth oil-electric built, and the first in logging service and the first in the Pacific Northwest.  See ALCo-GE-IR Boxcabs Continuation Page 4 for more details about this unusual engine.

Here's 1931 Erie #25, one of the later GE 800hp 100-tonners:

1931 Erie #25 800hp 100-ton
Photo by George Elwood, courtesy of Matt Klemchalk.

There were five@ very much earlier predecessors; on 02 July 1913, GE finished building a gasoline-electric boxcab for the Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, and Dubuque Electric Traction Company (the Dan Patch Electric Line), a startup interurban line so poor it couldn't afford overhead wire!  The MStPR&D never did electrify, getting three* more gas boxcabs; one of the five* GE built was the June 1913 gas-electric boxcab, Dan Patch Electric Lines #100, which survives**!  It was the second GE demonstrator.  In 1917, GE completed its first prototype diesel-electric, first used on GE's own East Erie Commercial Railroad, followed by three units which were sold commercially but which were neither powerful enough nor successful.  Pinkepank (1967) disagrees, claiming that GE built two 200-hp switchers in 1918, sort of half-way between boxcabs with "bumps" at each end and center-cabs, with a single curved radiator over the cab, one for that unique little Jay Street Connecting Railroad) on the Brooklyn waterfront and one for a now-unknown Baltimore customer.  Then there were a 1918 armored boxcab for the U. S. Army and a 1919 boxcab that was used on the Jay Street.  This latter unit was an odd duck (not that the former wasn't!), single-ended, with a half-rounded, half-pointed nose and a flat rear and only one radiator set above the nose.  While they broke the ground, they were not commercially-successful (the engines apparently weren't the greatest and the cooling system definitely was't) and did not go into production.  The ever-pioneering little JSCRR did, however, buy its #300, an ALCo boxcab demonstrator, in 1931  Pinkepank (1967) tells it a little differently; he describes and pictures #300 as an ALCo experimental with an experimental M&S engine very similar to the later 244 and 251 engines and states that she was scrapped but that her frame and {very unique} trucks were then used by the JSCRR as an idler flat ("reach car")  #300 had no roof radiators; wonder how she was cooled?  "Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years - A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972, by Louis A. Marre (see Boxcabs Bibliography), devotes a full page (213) to this odd duck.

** - Not only does Dan Patch #100 survive, she scoons!

  @ - Olson (see boxcab bibliography) claims there were eight units!

See also more about Jay Street #3 at boxcabs page 6 and GE boxcabs.

I finally ran across a photo of that Oct-Nov 1918 Army unit, on page 140 of Marre (1995).  It is marked


and is lettered with a paragraph centered directly above the bottom of the side sill which I can't quite make out in the grain of the reproduction in Marre.

Marre (1995) also says that these first units were diesel versions of gas-electrics, being powered by a dieselized 225-hp version of the 175-hp GM16 engine, and that the Baltimore customer was, in fact, the City of Baltimore, itself, and pictures the little beast on page 140.

ALCo split away from the consortium in 1928 and produced boxcabs on its own; GE's later units were equipped with a vertical, radial fan in a flat, conical radiator housing at each end (LIRR 401 was later converted to these).  Boxcab production ceased in 1931 and GE and many other builders went on to make small locomotives for such service, including the Pennsy (class A6), Plymouth, Whitcomb, etc., culminating in the ever-popular GE 44-ton steeple cab locomotive.

According to Rick Blanchard's interesting da Trains Diesel Chronology, and modified per my further inquiry, these are the boxcab models ALCo and GE built:
[Moved to Continuation Page 3 - Models 20 Apr 00.]

  The 1913 gas-electrics built by GE for the Dan Patch Electric Line (as noted on the models list) are claimed by GE as the first internal combustion locomotives in the world (but may have actually been second - there was a 22-ton, 30" gauge, diesel-electric built in 1912; the Britannica says GE had built a V-8 gas-electric railcar (not a locomotive) in 1906, BUT - - - .

The simple fact is that the FIRST I.C. LOCO in the world was buiilt by Gottlieb Daimler, who built an internal-combustion-powered locomotive ca. 1890!  For more information, click HERE!

HOWEVER, Frank Hicks advised me on 03 Oct 2008 that there was an internal-combustion-engined locomotive working on the Macomb & Western Illinois Railroad in 1903, making it the first I.C.-powered locomotive in revenue service on this side of the water.  Frank shouild know; he wrote a book on that railroad; more on all this on Boxcabs page 2.

There were seven (see note following) long 100/108-ton ALCo-GE-IR boxcabs built, with two 6-cylinder engines for 600 hp.:  Long Island #401 and #402, GN #5100, Erie #21 and #22, Red River Lumber #502, the lone survivor - Foley Brothers #110-1 (see below), and American Rolling Mills #E-101.

I had written that LVRR #100 was also a 100-tonner, based on a badly distorted photo; it was most DEFINITELY a 60-tonner, as was #99 (ex-Utah Copper #600)!  Does anyone have pictures and more info. on the non-LIRR ones other than #600 and #110-1?  I now have a roof photo of GE-IR #600; it looks to be identical to LIRR #402.  See the Continuation Page 6 for the C&NW units, including the C&NW #1200, a later GE-IR 108-ton unit.

Marre (1995) pictures ARMCO GE 100-ton #E-101 on page 142 (and GE 60-ton #747 on page 143), as well as Erie ALCo 100-ton #25 on page 210.

Pinkepank (1967) lists the known ALCo-GE-IR production and known GE production (this information was moved to Continuation Page 4 on 16 Mar 99).

[Pinkepank reports five (5) 300-hp units built for stock in 1928 whose disposition is unsure; he thinks one may be the Union Carbide unit and some the Donner Steel and American Rolling Mills units.  The identity of the last few ALCo units and the first few GE-only units are somehat blurred in the mists of antiquity!]

Pinkepank (1967) and Marre (1995) also picture the 1931 one-of-a-kind 100-ton Erie #25, with a single 800-hp I-R engine (see another photo of #25, above).

The ALCo 0900 and HH600 hood models came out in 1931 and pretty much marked the end of the boxcab era (certainly for ALCo); however, there was a more modern boxcab built as late as 1989!

Some of these early engines, especially the 100-tonners, had cooling problems -
    see the continuation page.

You might also want to look at the ALCo rosters on Andrew Toppan's old site, now run by R. Craig.

While I'm not about to list all ALCo sites, another good one is JMech's ALCO NEWS AND INFORMATION page (don'cha just hate unsigned pages!), from whence cameth the great shot of I-R #91 at Phillipsburg ca. 1940 on the Survivors page.

See the ALCo LOVE SONG for more ALCo links.

There were even STEAM BOXCABS, a German pneumatic boxcab (of sorts), and the New York Central's one or more geared STEAM BOXCAB Shays for use on NY City streets.


See SURVIVORS continuation page.

It would now appear that there are seven (7) ALCo-GE-IR (and just GE-IR or GE alone) boxcab units surviving,
including at least one GE 20/23-tonner.  In addition there are three (3) ARMCO {Baldwin-Westinghouse} units
and CNR #77 and CP #7000 in Montréal {non-ALCo-GE-IR}.

There are also two 1915 GE boxcab electrics in Ontario!

For details on surviving ALCo-GE-IR boxcab locomotives, see the SURVIVORS continuation page.  Other survivors are noted on the Other Boxcabs continuation page.

O.K., folks, who knows when the last boxcab in series production (as opposed to the durable Dan Patch loco) ran at the end of continuous service?

Builder's Production Card for Erie Boxcab #20 (moved to AGEIR Focus page).

Rail motor cars ("doodlebugs") were originally little more than boxcabs with extended passenger or combine bodies; Mack was the builder of such rail motor cars; some of these were later converted into rail inspection cars and their story is told on the RR Ultrasonics Page.
  new (21 Mar 2106)

There is a Z-scale (1:220) boxcab model!

FR boxcab & hoppers
Development model from Freudenreich Feinwerktechnik
with FR Z-scale hopper cars!

I'm grateful for any help, but that's inappropriate for a diesel devotée -
steamers are grateful; internal combustors should just be exhausted!  :·)


  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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prevpage.gif = subjndex.gif frstpage.gif nextpage.gif
To tour the Boxcabs pages in sequence, the arrows take you from the Boxcabs index page to this first Boxcabs page, 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 - 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2016  - all rights reserved.

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