To replace their aging fleet of P5a electrics in 1933, PRR commissioned the design of a more powerful, lighter axle load, streamlined body, 100mph electric locomotive. The Westinghouse R-1 and GE GG-1 prototype electric locomotives were built and tested by the PRR in 1934. Famed designer Raymond Loewy, who would later design the iconic 1939 S-1 Passenger steam locomotive, was hired by the PRR to add an aesthetic carbody to the winning GG-1 design. The result was the classic, weldedbody with five gold pinstripes and a Brunswick green paint scheme.

PRR ordered an initial production run of 57 locomotives that were completed in 1934. PRR built an additional 81 locomotives at their Altoona works from 1937-1943. In the years following, the GG-1 proved to be the most rugged, reliable, and versatile electric locomotive ever produced.

Following a successful career on the PRR, Penn Central sold 30 GG-1ís, and leased another 10 units, all taken from series 4890-4938, to Amtrak in 1971. Upon Conrailís inception in 1976, CR inherited all other remaining GG-1ís, assigning them their ex-PRR series 4800-4937.

Conrail ran the GG-1ís in both emergency commuter service, as during the SEPTA strike of April 1977, and in freight service from 1976-1979. The last freight service run for the GG1's was on November 21, 1979 when 4859 and 4887 pulled Train ENWI-1 with 113 cars out of Enola, headed for Wilmington.

CR also assigned GG-1ís in series 4872-4884 to use by contract to NJDOT until 1979, when NJ Transit was created. A continuing contract with Conrail saw NJ Transituse the former CR GG-1ís into the fall of 1983, when the remaining three GG-1's (4877, 4879, and 4882) were retired on October 31, 1983.

The longevity of Conrailís inherited almost ageless fleet of GG-1ís was between 36-45 years.

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