The Pennsylvania Railroad GG1: Friends of the GG1

Howard Serig, a rail buff and an economist for the U. S. Department of Transportation, gave the idea of restoring an operating GG1 to its original PRR livery its first public exposure through an opinion column in the November 1976 issue of "Trains" magazine.

The idea had been pitched to the Penn Central prior to the article and it was rejected. Through a friend of Serig's the idea was presented to Paul Reistrup, then president of Amtrak, and he like the idea and gave the official go-ahead on January 18, 1977.

An organizing meeting for the "Friends of the GG1" (FOGG) was held on January 22, 1977 in Philadelphia, PA. At the meeting, FOGG decided to ask several chapters of the National Railway Historical Society to help support the effort to raise over $10,000.00 to pay for the body work, painting, fund raising costs, publicity, commemorative activities and the dedication ceremony. The $10,000.00 goal was reached within two months and the fund raising efforts went on and ultimately topped out at $18,343.88. Later, Raymond Loewy agreed to serve as Honorary Chairman of FOGG.

Amtrak selected GG1 number 4935 for the project . This particular locomotive was selected because it was one of a few that had not been modified with the large intake louvers in the hood and because it had its original PRR number.

A Technical Committee was formed as one of the subcommittees of FOGG and it was given the responsibility of planning the restoration. GG1 number 4935 was built in 1943 and was in pretty good shape. Drawings were located in the Railroad Museum of PA as well as in the Willmington shops. Russell Wilcox, a retiree from the PRR Engineering Department was very helpful in providing technical assistance.

On March 9, 1977, Amtrak and FOGG signed an agreement and and on March 25 th, 4935 entered the Willmington shops and work began. The body was grit-blasted to remove several coats of paint, a coat of metal primer was applied, some sheet metal was burned out and replaced and the entire shell was undercoated. Some work was done to the running gear with the replacing of truck bearings, a rebuilt steam boiler replaced the existing one, a blower motor was replaced and cables and wiring were renewed. A paint-prep primer was applied, then the finish coats of Brunswick green paint, pin stripes, lettering and the keystones were applied.

On May 7 th, the refurbishing was complete and FOGG issued check #4935 in the amount of $8,712.00 to pay for the purely cosmetic work. Amtrak absorbed the cost of the mechanical repairs. On May 12 th, 4935 ran light to Perryville, MD to test its renewed mechanical and electrical systems and on Sunday May 15, 1977 a dedication ceremony was held at Union Station in Washington, DC and later 4935 made its inaugural run to New York pulling "The Murry Hill".


Much thanks to Richard Duley who has helped to provide a great deal of the information found on this page.
All material Copyright ©
Wes Barris