Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by Conrail4014/EL825

I was wondering if you can help with a question I have: PC E8A 4300 was the only former PRR unit that was built with dual headlights. I know from seeing early pictures of the unit in PRR Brunswick Green that it was this way when new. Despite its original number (PRR 5700A), it is not the oldest of the PC/PRR E8s but I can't quite understand what accounted for the difference in this locomotive and the rest of the former PRR fleet.

Does anyone have any ideas? Also, did this unit wear Brunswick Green until PC began?

Thanks for any info,

  by atlpete
My understanding re 4300 (ne 5700) was re-painted in the same loosely applied succesive scheme manner as the remainder of the E-Unit fleet, I recall at least one photo of it in the single stripe dual keystone versions, and the dual headlight variation as an early company experiment regarding operational visibility vs maintenance expense (significant given the eventual size of the fleet) and ultimately short lived. I don't recall ever seeing the unit with both in operation (though I don't own a lot of books on the PRR either )
The whole Gyra-Mars-Pyle extra oscillating headlight equation is an interesting one to consider, as a kid I recall seeing Milwaukee Road, IC and C&NW E-units so equipped and it always seemed to be most beneficial at really extreme distance, one often could see the beam before the train's lead unit actually broke the horizon, close up not so noticeable, more like an an early warning device for track gangs. At night; obviously a lot more noticeable.