FEC 1594 sitting in our yard in 2008. Photo by Kevin Andrusia.
The Florida East Coast Railway never owned an E8. No. 1594 was built for the Pennslyvania Railroad in 1952 as No. 5794A. After we acquired it in December 2002 and repainted it in FEC colors, we renumbered it 1594, which would be the next FEC road number for a locomotive of this class.
All the FEC's diesel-electric motive power and "name" train passenger coaches were painted in this distinctive red and yellow with silver trim from 1939 to 1962.
The FEC was developed by Henry Morrison Flagler, an American tycoon, real estate promoter, and railroad developer, and was known for many years as "The Flagler System." The final link from Miami to Key West, including the famed 2.7 mile Long Key Viaduct often touted as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," was completed on January 22, 1912, just weeks after Flagler’s 82nd birthday.
Pennsylvania Railroad E8 No. 5794A some time in the mid-1950s. Photo from the July 1993 Railmodel
Journal, courtesy TrainLife.com. Note the skirts still in place over the fuel tank, and the lift rings on the
nose just above the coupler.
This E8 A unit is one of forty-six built for the Pennsylvania Railroad by General Motors Electro Motive Division in 1952.
Four hundred and twenty-one of these "bulldog" nosed A units were built by EMD between 1949 and 1953, four hundred and nineteen for U.S. railroads and three for the Canadian Pacific (the only E units ever bought by a Canadian railroad). Forty-six cabless E8 B units were also built, all for US railroads.
The PRR never bought any E8 B units, but it was the largest purchaser of the A units, buying seventy-four between 1950 and 1952, all designated Class EP-22.
This picture of PC No. 4254 was taken by Bruce Phillips in 1976 for the Penn
Central Railroad in New Haven, CT. The classic, E unit porthole side panels
have been replaced.
No. 5794A was delivered in June 1952. In 1966, it was renumbered No. 4254. It retained that number when the PRR E8s joined Penn Central, formed from the merger of the PRR, New York Central Railroad, and the New Haven Railroad in 1968. At some point, either while it was with the PRR or, more likely, Penn Central, the side panels with the E units' characteristic round portholes were replaced by panels with no portholes.
Penn Central had been created in response to challenges faced by all three railroads, including growing competition from automobiles and buses, high labor costs, and heavy regulation of rates by the Interstate Commerce Commission; but attempts to integrate operations were difficult from the start because of very different corporate cultures and incompatible systems. Poor track, run-down equipment and excess capacity aggravated problems, pushing costs to intolerable levels. After just two years, Penn Central declared bankruptcy on June 21, 1970.
But Penn Central was not alone. Although government-owned Amtrak took over passenger services in 1971, during the early 1970s, the country's freight railroad system was collapsing: between 1970 and 1973, four other Class I railroads also went bankrupt and, in 1973, Penn Central actually threatened to cease all operations entirely!
MBTA No. 4254 somewhere in the Boston area in the Summer of 1982.
Photo taken by Bernie Feltman.
Congress responded with the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973, which provided interim funding to the bankrupt railroads, and defined a new Consolidated Rail Corporation. As a result, Conrail was incorporated in Pennsylvania on October 25, 1974, and operations began on April 1, 1976.
Conrail took over a number of then bankrupt railroad carriers, including Penn Central, the Lehigh Valley Railroad (controlled by Penn Central), the Erie Lackawanna Railway, Erie Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the Reading Company. At that time, Penn Central No. 4254 became part of the Conrail roster, but appears to have immediately been acquired from Conrail by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which bought most of the Penn Central assets and equipment in the greater Boston area, including eight ex-PC E8s, although Conrail took over operation of the lines.
No. 4254's life on the MTBA was comparatively short, however. As MBTA No. 4254, it hauled commuter trains for only three years, and was retired in 1979. It was later acquired by a private purchaser.
No. 1594, renumbered as No. 1796, with ex-CBQ No. 9988, renumbered as
No. 1996, at the head of the Tennessee Bi-Centennial Train in Nashville, TN,
in this June 1996 photo by Ed Hopson.
At some point, No. 4254 was sold to a movie prop company in Saugus, CA, known as the Santa Clarita Railway. It was then leased as PPCX No. 4254 to Tennessee 200 Inc., a company set up in 1993 to prepare for celebration of Tennessee's 200th anniversary in 1996.
Along with ex CB&Q E9A No. 9988, also in our collection, it was painted in the old Louisville & Nashville Railroad blue and cream colors and lettered "Spirit of Tennessee." The two units pulled the Tennessee Bi-Centennial Train, a traveling exhibit focusing on Tennessee's historic, commercial, and industrial achievements, making thirty-five stops across the state during 1996.
We bought No. 4254 in 2002, and it was moved out of New Orleans on November 25 on northbound Norfolk Southern train No. 314. Joining it on the trip were ex-CB&Q No. 9988 repainted as CB&Q No. 9913, and a chop-nosed EMD GP7 painted in Atlantic Coast Line colors, No. 1804, also joining our collection. The engines arrived in Florida East Coast’s Bowden Yard in Jacksonville on November 29, and stayed until December 2. Shipping them to Miami created a bit of a stir amongst FEC employees and railfans: the bright red and yellow EMD E8, painted just like the FEC’s E3s, E6s, E7s and E9s when the railroad ran passenger trains, must have seemed like a ghost from thirty years ago!
Status: Down for Service, Needs compressor repair.
Acquisition Date: December 2002.
Built: EMD 1952.
Weight: 315,000 pounds.
Length: 70 feet 3 inches.
Height to Top of Engine Hood: 13 feet 11 inches.
Height to Top of Cab: 14 feet 7 inches.
Engine: Two Winton 567B 12 Cylinder.
Generator: Two GM-D27.
Traction Motors: Four GM-D37.
Trucks: Two 6-Wheel.
Truck Wheelbase: 14 feet 1 inch.
Wheel Diameter: 36 inches.
Air Brake: Westinghouse 24RL.
Compressor: Gardner-Denver WXO.
Starting Tractive Effort: 56,500 lbs @ 25%.
Continuous Tractive Effort: 31,000 lbs @ 11 mph.
Top Speed: 85 mph.
Below: No. 1594 and No. 9913 at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum during our "Experience the E-Units day in 2008". Photo taken by Kevin Andrusia.
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