These beautiful railroad locomotives have been restored to their original appearance and road number when they were new on the Pennsylvania Railroad back in 1952. Today, they are privately owned by the Juniata Terminal Company who also did the full end-to-end restoration and they are based out of their facility in Philadelphia. They are often run on excursions and at quite a few special functions commemorating railroad history as they are here, running at Altoona PA’s annual Railfest.
These locomotives were built by the EMD section of General Motors; this model is known as an E8 and sometimes nicknamed “bulldogs” or “covered wagons” by the crews. Designed for high-powered high-speed passenger service, each one has two diesel engines inside that make a total of 2250 horsepower by powering DC electric traction motors with generators, which was a lot back in the day. At this showing in Altoona where they were giving rides on the train up around the Horseshoe Curve and back, two of these 60 year old engines paired had plenty of power to simply walk away with a very heavy and long train of vintage passenger cars. Passenger cars from that era had bodies made of steel and floors of thick concrete to make for a smooth ride, and their weight was considerable.
I spoke with an engineer a few years after this image was taken who had run this pair pulling an excursion on the New York to DC corridor. The marked speed for that section of mainline is 100 mph, but he claimed to have run these locomotives up to 110 for a little stretch, just to see how they’d do. Naturally, I asked him how it went and the reply was ”smooth as glass”…
In this scene, this pair are pulling away from the Altoona station with that heavy passenger train to begin the climb up the mountains. While idling a long time waiting for departure, diesel fuel has built up in the cylinders so when the throttle is notched open, black smoke pours out the exhaust when the pooled diesel is burned off.