GG1 Dedication Program from the
National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) - Harrisburg Chapter

 

Dedication Ceremony
Saturday, Nov. 15, 1986

9 A.M.



Welcome and Introduction ......................................................................................................................Dan Cupper
Chairman, Save Harrisburg's GG1 Committee
Welcome to Harrisburg ..............................................................................................................Stephen R. Reed
Mayor
............................................................................................................Bernard Hammer
Chairman, Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority
...............................................................................................................Wilmer C. Faust
Executive Director, Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority
Remarks and Reflections ....................................................................................................Robert A. Gleason, Jr.
Secretary of the Commonwealth
....................................................................................................Dr. Larry E. Tise
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
....................................................................................................Bruce R. Heard
Senior Director, Special Projects, Amtrak
....................................................................................................Nelson W. Bowers
President, National Railway Historical Society
....................................................................................................W. Gary Sunday
President, Harrisburg Chapter, NRHS
Dedication ....................................................................................................Gladys B. Johnson
Niece of Oscar Buck, Engineer on No. 4859 during
1938 inaugural electrified Philadelphia-Harrisburg trip
....................................................................................................Ed Wade
Conrail engineer on last run of No. 4859

Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 electric locomotive No. 4859 earned a footnote in railroad history when it inaugurated electrified railroading between Philadelphia and Harrisburg on Jan. 15, 1938, with engineer Oscar Buck of Harrisburg at the throttle of the 13-car Pittsburgh-bound Metropolitan passenger train. Built at PRR's Altoona shops just a month earlier, the 238-ton streamlined giant returned to Harrisburg and Enola Yard hundreds of times over the next 41 years, including assignments with the New York-Chicago flagship run, the Broadway Limited, and the premier New York-St. Louis train, The Spirit of St. Louis. No. 4859 also frequently sprinted between New York and Washington, occasionally pulling the popular Congressional. Designed as a 100-mph intercity passenger locomotive, it also hauled commuters, troops, mail, express, milk cars, coal and general freight before being retired by Conrail. Teamed with another GG1, No. 4887, it pulled the last GG1-powered freight train, from Enola Yard to Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 21, 1979, with engineer Ed Wade of Camp Hill in charge.
In early 1982, No. 4859 was just weeks from being towed to a New Jersey scrapyard to be cut up when a band of state and local officials and the Harrisburg Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society stepped in to acquire and restore it. That same year, No. 4859 won a listing on the

National Historic Register. The Chapter coordinated the $50,000 project, with heavy financial aid from the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which now becomes its owner. Restoration at the Strasburg Rail Road shop in Lancaster County began on Aug. 11, 1986, and was completed Oct. 7, returning the locomotive to its '30s Art Deco appearance devised by internationally known industrial designer Raymond Loewy. The project culminates this weekend with No. 4859's placement for permanent display in Amtrak's Harrisburg station trainshed, near the spot at which it completed its most historic trip.


Editor Note:
Mr. Hammer was not able to appear at the ceremony and did not speak.

back