An “Electric” Experience

Written by: Gary Dolzall

The New Haven’s remarkable EF-4 ignitron rectifier electric freight locomotive comes to Train Simulator!

Reppo and its master craftsman Ricardo Rivera now bring the remarkable New Haven General Electric EF-4 (GE E-33) freight electric to Train Simulator! Created in exacting detail, the NYNH&H EF-4 for Train Simulator faithfully recaptures the features and operating characteristics of this distinctive and notable electric freight locomotive.

To learn about the fascinating history of the EF-4 (also commonly called a GE E-33), be sure to check out our previous Train Simulator articles “Electric Vagabond” and “Coming to the Rescue”.

Reppo’s edition of the New Haven EF-4 electric is provided in both ready-to-roll “running” and “cold and dark” variations, the latter offering an authentic, multi-step start-up procedure. That process begins with raising the pantograph to access the power in NYNH&H’s overhead catenary by using a manual air pump located in the unit’s nose, then setting up the locomotive for duty. And once you’re ready to move, you’ll take the handles of the EF-4’s 17-position master controller and 24RL air brake systems. A fine and comprehensive replica of the locomotive’s original operating’s manual is provided to help guide you.

Constructed by General Electric in 1956-57 for the Virginian Railroad, these locomotives were purchased second-hand by the New Haven in the summer of 1963. The 3,300-horsepower EF-4 was an ignitron rectifier electric and employed 12 water-cooled ignitron rectifiers. NYNH&H’s 11,000-volt alternating current (A. C.) catenary power was reduced by a main transformer before being routed through the rectifiers for conversation to direct current (D.C.)., then used in the locomotive’s six General Electric 752 tractor motors. Stretching nearly 70-feet in length, the husky EF-4 electrics weighed 394,000 pounds, exerted 98,500 pounds of traction effort, and were geared for a 65-mph maximum speed.

Although few in number (12 of this type were built), the six-axle (C-C) road-switcher-style GE electrics were capable and successful. After serving the Virginian (and successor Norfolk & Western), the locomotives worked on the NYNH&H between New York City and New Haven, Connecticut until the railroad was merged into the Penn Central in 1968. But even then, the EF-4s careers were far from over, and the electrics worked for Penn Central and successor Conrail into 1981. Two of the distinctive rectifier electrics have been preserved: Ex-VGN 131 at the Illinois Railway Museum, and appropriately, ex-Virginian 135 at the Virginia Museum of Transport in Roanoke. The latter is beautifully restored to its original black-and-yellow Virginian livery.

One of the Train Simulator community’s finest artists, Ricardo Rivera of Reppo has outdone himself in creating the New Haven EF-4, which includes interactive cab and control features, a remarkable fidelity to details, and a magnificent visual representation of the EF-4, right down to its weathered but striking New Haven vermillion (red-orange), white, and black livery. Accompanying the EF-4 in the DLC pack are a 40-foot New Haven steel boxcar in “McGinnis” era livery, and a superb NYNH&H NE-5 class steel cupola caboose. New Haven operated more than 100 of the NE-5 class, which had been built in the early 1940s and, like the EF-4, enduring into the Penn Central and Conrail eras. And for AI-train use a New Haven Electro-Motive GP9 is included.

The New Haven EF-4 is also accompanied by four career scenarios for the Train Simulator NEC: New York-New Haven route (route available separately), which of course in the New Haven era was the primary stomping grounds of these big electrics. There’s no doubt, too, the EF-4 will be popular with Steam Workshop scenario creators, putting the electric to work not only on the NEC: New York-New Haven route, but on the electrified portions of the popular VNHRR Springfield – New Haven route (which includes catenary in portions of massive Cedar Hill Yard and the New Haven area).

A truly “electric” experience awaits you with the New Haven EF-4 (GE E-33) locomotive, available now at the Dovetail Games and Steam Stores! – Gary Dolzall

New Haven’s remarkable EF-4 electric freight locomotive is now available for Train Simulator duty thanks to the craftsmanship of partner programme member Reppo! Built by General Electric in 1956-57, the 3,300-horsepower, six-axle road-switcher-style electrics successfully served five owners (including the New Haven from 1963 through 1968) and remained in service into the early 1980s. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

With tonnage that no doubt originated at the railroad’s Brooklyn Bay Ridge Yard in tow, a pair of New Haven EF-4s glide down the northern approach of famed Hell Gate Bridge (above), then a short time later roll through the Bronx borough of New York City (below).

Dawn is just breaking at the Lamberton Street Shops in New Haven, Connecticut (above) as a pair of NYNH&H EF-4s await duty on Train Simulator’s NEC: New York – New Haven route. Later in the day in the city of New Haven, another set of the GE-built EF-4s lend their 98,500 pounds of tractive effort and 3,300 horsepower to eastbound tonnage (below). Top speed of the EF-4s was 65 mph.

Among the distinctive visual features of the road-switcher-style EF-4 electrics was a rounded roof overhang ahead and behind the cab to protect crew members on the walkways from potential power flashes from the pantograph above.

Partner Programme member Reppo has created a masterpiece with the EF-4, offering superb operational authenticity. As an engineer of the EF-4, you’ll settle in at a control stand rich in interactive details (above) and handle your train with the locomotive’s 17-position master controller and 24RL brake system (below).

The New Haven EF-4 is provided in ready-to-roll “running” and “cold and dark” variations. In the cold-and-dark version, your first task will be to move to the nose of the unit and use the manual air pump (right) to raise the locomotive’s pantograph. And yes, that object on the left is what you think it is!

Accompanying the EF-4 in this new pack is a selection of period-authentic freight rolling stock, including a 40-foot steel boxcar in New Haven orange “McGinnis era” livery, a New Haven NE-5 steel cupola caboose, and, for AI-use, an EMD NYNH&H GP9.

Weathered by age but nonetheless stylish in New Haven vermillion, white, and black livery, a duo of NYNH&H EF-4s trundle across the Hutchinson River on the Train Simulator NEC: New York – New Haven route. New Haven’s remarkable EF-4 freight electric is now ready for duty and available at the Dovetail Games and Steam Stores!

We’re always happy to receive your comments below but please ensure they are related to the subject of the article, we’ll remove any that appear to be unrelated.

Gary Dolzall


  • can u please release the old consolidation 2-8-0 please i had it and now mine is gone

    • Sorry Patrick, I’m not sure I understand what you mean, the Consolidation is still available on the Steam store.

      • He means the old Union Pacific Harriman Consolidation steam locomotive that came with the first version of the Union Pacific Challenger DLC Steve. Here’s a screenshot of it.

        I believe that it would be nice if the Union Pacific Harriman Consolidation could come back as a separate trainset DLC or be added to a new route and in either case have the locomotive be rebuilt from scratch with all of the latest features, details and physics.

        • Ah thanks for clarifying Tom, will look into it and see what I can muster.

          • You’re welcome Steve and good luck (in a serious way) on that! Now that Dovetail Games owns the rights to that locomotive outright, I’m sure the company can have some good fun with it on improving it and bringing it back in future DLC. I love Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Harriman Consolidations and I sure would welcome it back in new DLC with improvements to the sounds, cab, physics and lighting.

  • Any update regarding the CSX SD50 Steam release? It’s been almost a year since we last heard about it…

    • No news as yet TheRealSFC, we’ll let you know when we have some details to share

  • Is there a tutorial or guide on how to run this, I have no idea how to get it to move /start up (in Running and C&D mode)

  • Gary, is it possible to have a look at the Operators Manual before buying this very attractive engine? I’ve seen the Users Manual, but instead of describing, for example, the start-up procedure, it refers to an Operators Manual included in the package.

    Tom Pallen

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.