The "Big" diesels of the modern
New England 2-footers.







 

Mike Mueller Collection, from Bobs Photos.........




 

In 1949, three 2-foot gauge diesel locomotives were built by GE in Schenectady, NY.
for the Whitin Machine Works in Whitinsville, Mass.
The three locomotives are of an identical design, and are 23 Ton GE switchers.

(I found an on-line reference that said they were built at Erie..but that is incorrect, the builders plates say Schenectady.)
(I have also seen them listed as 25 ton..that is also incorrect..they are 23 ton)

The three locomotives were built for the Whitin Machine Works, were built new as 2-foot gauge locomotives, and are the only 3 locomotives of this specific design ever built.

23 ton
50" (4' 2") wide maximum (for clearance inside the Whitin Machine Works.)
150 HP
Classified by GE as type: B-B-46/46-4GHM844

Today they are 84" wide (7 feet) due to the side walkways on #1 and #2 that were added
by Edaville. The Whitin photo above shows their original configuration without the walkways.

The numbering scheme of the three locmotives while at Whitin is currently unknown, but we can see by the above photo that one of them was given the number 5.
Which Whitin road numbers correspond to the future numbers 1,2 and 3 is unknown.

The three units toiled in relative obscurity inside the Whitin Machine Works until 1967, when Whitin closed its doors for good. The three units were then put up for sale. They all quickly found new careers!

Locomotive #1 (the current #1) was brought to Edaville in 1967.
Locomotive #2 (the current #2) was also brought to Edaville a few years later.

Locomotive #3 (the current #3) took a more adventurous path than her two sisters..She was used by "Steam Village Railroad" in Gilford, NH for a time in the 1970's. Number 3 also once belonged to "Koppers"..a railroad tie manufacturer. Im not sure of the exact dates for #3's Koppers and "Steam Villiage Railroad" careers, but its clear she must have worked for "Steam Village Railroad" first, then Koppers, because today her cab side is still lettered for Koppers.

Finally, in 1980, number 3 was ready to settle down and join her two sisters at Edaville, but sadly, she was severely damaged by a low bridge during the move by truck to Edaville in 1980, she was not repaired and never operated again.

Today, all three locomotives still exist!

# 2 remains at Edaville to this day, and is still operating.

# 1 was moved to the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum in Portland Maine on September 19, 1993
and operates today as the main workhorse for the MNGRR.

The damaged # 3 was also moved to Portland, where she continues to be used as a parts source for her two operating sisters.
 

A short article about these engines, with "as built" drawings, appeared in the November 1974 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. A second article appeared in the April 1983 issue of RMC:
"Edaville's diesels: a scratchbuilding project in On2"
the second article has updated drawings, showing the wide walkways that were added by Edaville.
 

I visited the MNGRR in Portland on August 14, 2004, and took many detail shots of Diesel 1 as an
aid for future modeling of this engine. I plan to build this engine in 29n2 scale, or maybe On2 (or both)
the guys over on the On2 forum got to talking about these engines, and modeling 2-foot diesels,
so I put this page together to benefit all modelers and anyone interested.

My pictures were shot on film, and it was an overcast, cloudy day, as a result, shadow detail was lacking...so I had to mess with the contrast and lightness to bring out details...as a result, many of these photos appear a bit murky..but I did that purpose so the detail can be seen for modeling..
these are "record" shots..not fine art! ;)

On to the pictures! :)


 


 


 


 



 



 



 



 


"Yours truly" checking out the locomotive!
(with permission, of course.)
 



 



 



 



 




 

The sad remains of diesel 3. But she donates parts so that her sisters may live.



 


 

thats it! :)

If anyone knows more details about the history of these engines, please let me know!
I would like this page to gather as much information and history about these locomotives as possible.
please email me at: sscotsman (at) yahoo (dot) com

thanks,
Scot Lawrence
Rochester, NY
December 2005
 

Related Links:

Moving from Edaville to Portland

Maine Narrow Gauge Museum

MNGRR photos

Edaville

Edaville photos

Locomotive 2 at Edaville

builders plate of Locomotive 2
 

For lots more info on the Maine 2-footers. the real thing, and modeling them:

Maine On2 forum

Maine 2-foot Quarterly forum

Maine 2-footers forum
 

The museums and historical societies, 2-foot related.

Maine Narrow Gauge Museum

Edaville

Sandy River & Rangely Lakes

Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington Railway

Boothbay Railway Village

Albion Historical Society
 

oh yeah..and why did I refer to these three locomotives as "Big"? as in: The "Big" diesels of the modern New England 2-footers?

Because even though they are very SMALL locomotives, as locomotives go, they are the LARGEST diesels ever used on American 2-foot railroads! There are many very small "critters" in use by the various 2-foot museums and historical societies, small 4-wheel gas Whitcombs and the like, but these three GE's represent the only real "mainline" diesel power of the American 2-footers..the type of locomotives that might have been used by the real 2-footers as mainline power if any had survived beyond WWII and into the diesel era..that makes them the BIG diesels of the Modern New England 2-footers! :)

 

 


Update!
January 2008.

I said at the top of this page:

(I found an on-line reference that said they were built at Erie..but that is incorrect, the builders plates say Schenectady.)

I assumed that if the plate says Schenectady, the unit was built at Schenectady, and not Erie.

I later recieved an email stating that is incorrect..even though the plate says Schenectady, the units were actually built at Erie...hmm..I dont know.

Were all GE switchers built at Erie? even though the plates say Schenectady?
did the plates say Schenectady only because GE was headquartered there at the time?

Or..were some switchers actually built at Schenectady..(and those plates say Schenectady on them)
while were others built at Erie? and if a unit was built at Erie, would the plate SAY Erie?

several posibilities:

1. all units built at Erie, but all plates say Schenectady anyway. (because GE was based in Schenectady)

2. some built in Schenectady, some in Erie, but all plates say Schenectady anyway.

3. some built in Erie, some in Schenectady, and plates reflect the place unit was built.
some plates say Erie, some plates say Schenectady.

number 3 seems the most logical to me,
but number 1 or 2 would need to be true if our 2-footer GEs were built at Erie but the plates
say Schenectady.
 

I dont know the answer!
 

So I posted a question on the GE forum at railroad.net

I recieved a reply stating:

Scot:

The Second Diesel Spotters Guide has a brief sentence on page GE-137 which says "Heavy Locomotives have always been produced at the GE plant at Erie, Pa. Light locomotives were produced for a period at GE's Schenectady plant."

Not definitive for this locomotive but makes it plausible.

Bill

thats helps!
based on that, I went looking for photos of GE builders from roughly the same era that say "Erie".
found one!
here is the plate:

http://www.wpyr.com/railfancorner/engineplate.html

From this locomotive:

http://www.whitepassfan.net/whitepass/engines/dieselengines/class90/93.html

Built in 1956, only 7 years after the three 2-footer GE's.

Based on the builders plate evidence, and the book that states "Light locomotives were produced for a period at GE's Schenectady plant." In my opinion it is very logical to conclude that the three 2-foot GE's were
built at Schenectady, and not Erie. There are clearly builders plates that say both Schenectady and Erie, and I think it is safe to conclude the city on the plate reflects the city where the unit was built.

So there it is..im going to presume "built at Schenectady"..since that seems the most logical based on all the evidence...unless proven otherwise.

 

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