Saturday, August 30, 2008

More On The Rotting NYC Electrics

For several years now I've been trying to follow the saga of the decaying S-1 and T3-A former New York Central locomotives that Marc has posted about.

A little background as this relates to toy trains: Lionel, as we all know, based much of their prewar toy train electric locomotive production on the S Class electric locomotives that the New York Central used to pull trains in and out of Grand Central Station starting ca. 1906. In Standard gauge they made the 42, 402, and 408E, among others. Needing to be competative in the 20s, American Flyer used a different, more modern prototype from the same railroad, the T series boxcab, known as "T-Motors," which did the same duty during the mid-1920s that had previously been done by the S class electrics. This is the locomotive that served most famously as the inspiration for the 1928-on 4689 Rolls Royce Blue President's Special loco, the 1927 light blue enamelled 4687 President's Special loco, the ultra rare chrome "Mayflower" loco, and the beautiful dark blue 1929 Flying Colonel ("The Ace") locomotive, among others. So the T series New York Central T-Motor boxcabs played an importand role as prototypes in prewar electric train production, along with the S series electric boxcabs.

From what I've been able to learn via online research, there are SEVERAL surviving S series boxcabs in various locations throughout the country. However, there appears to be only ONE surviving T-Motor, the T3-A (former NYC #278), the one that sits decaying near Albany. I don't know the ownership status, but here's a website that has a lot of photos and updated information as of about a year ago: S. Berliner. III's site

Like Marc, I am worried about the fate of these historic locomotives, especially the T3-A. Maybe the tinplate community could become involved and have a role to play in helping to insure their survival.

Something to ponder: there is not ONE surviving New York Central Hudson. Imagine that.


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