Coming to the Rescue

Written by: Gary Dolzall

New Haven’s 1960s desperate need for freight electrics was answered by the distinctive EF-4, which is coming to Train Simulator!

Electric freight locomotives have always been something of a rare breed in the United States, but lack of quantity was never equated with a lack of appeal, and soon a classic of U. S. electric motive power is coming to Train Simulator with the New Haven EF-4.

In the recent article “Electric Vagabond”, we introduced the New Haven EF-4 (which is often also called a GE E-33). As recounted in that article, these 3,300-horsepower ignitron rectifier electric locomotives had been built in 1956-57 by General Electric for the coal-hauling Virginian Railway, then – after Virginian successor Norfolk & Western discontinued its electric operations – were purchased by the New Haven (New York, New Haven & Hartford) in 1963.

The chain of events that put the New Haven in the market for modern (if second-hand) electric freight locomotives is a strange tale. Financially troubled, the NYNH&H had, since the 1950s, endured much management turmoil and more than a few dubious management decisions. In 1956, despite the fact the railroad had just recently acquired new passenger electrics (the famed General Electric EP-5 “Jets” of 1955) management decided to largely phase out the railroad’s electrified operations which extended between New York City and New Haven, Connecticut. Under NYNH&H’s plan, only the dense commuter territory from Stamford to New York Grand Central Terminal would remain under the wires. While New Haven’s de-electrification plans thankfully never reached full fruition, by 1959 all freight operations – even those operating under fully energized catenary – were handled by diesels and the overhead wires were in fact de-energized in some freight-only sections around New York City and New Haven.

With new management in the 1960s, the questionable concept of operating freights using fuel-hungry diesels operating under energized catenary was thrown out and the railroad decided to reinstitute electric freight operations. The problem: New Haven’s existing freight electrics, such as its dual-cab, streamlined EF-3s, dated to the early 1940s and had been stored for several years. The old electrics would be costly to repair, and in any case, the railroad had closed its Van Nest (Bronx) electric shops in the late 1950s. The New Haven badly needed new freight electrics but, being in bankruptcy, had little money available. Thus, the ex-Virginian electrics, not even a decade old and available at a remarkable bargain price ($300,000 for a dozen units that had cost $267,000 each when new!) was nothing short of a miraculous rescue for the NYNH&H.

The six-axle (C-C) road-switcher-style electrics acquired by the NYNH&H from the Virginian employed 12 water-cooled ignitron rectifiers. NYNH&H’s 11,000-volt A. C. catenary power was reduced by a main transformer before being run through the rectifiers for conversation to D. C., then used in the locomotive’s General Electric 752 tractor motors. After arriving on the New England carrier in the summer of 1963, the electrics received mechanical work and application of NYNH&H liveries at the railroad’s Lamberton Street Shops in New Haven, then began entering regular service in October 1963. Eleven EF-4s were placed in service wearing New Haven road numbers 300-310, while one unit was retained as a parts supply. Nicknamed “Virginians” by NYNH&H crews, the EF-4s were assigned to freight duties between Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven and Oak Point Yard in the Bronx and Bay Ridge Yard in Brooklyn. Well-regarded by New Haven’s operating crews, the EF-4s dutifully served the New Haven until the railroad was merged into Penn Central in December 1968, and, as recounted in our earlier article, went on to work for both Penn Central and successor Conrail into the early 1980s.

Thanks to partner programme member Reppo and its master craftsman Ricardo Rivera, the remarkable New Haven General Electric EF-4 freight electric is soon coming to Train Simulator. Created in exacting and superb detail, the NYNH&H EF-4 for Train Simulator faithfully recaptures the features and operating characteristics of the EF-4 electric locomotive and the Reppo locomotive will be provided in both “running” and “cold and dark” variations, the latter offering a highly authentic, multi-step start-up process (and detailed operating manuals are provided). For appropriate equipment to accompany the EF-4, the pack will include a 40-foot New Haven boxcar in orange livery, NYNH&H’s classic NE-5 steel cupola caboose, and, for AI use, a New Haven Electro-Motive GP9. And the pack will also include four career scenarios for the NEC: New York – New Haven route (route available separately) which represents much of the electrified ex-New Haven mainline trackage over which the distinctive rectifier electrics operated. – Gary Dolzall

New Haven’s GE-built EF-4 electric freight locomotive is coming soon to Train Simulator through the craftsmanship of partner programme member Reppo. The 3,300-horsepower, six-axle EF-4 employed 12 water-cooled ignitron rectifiers. NYNH&H’s 11,000-volt A. C. catenary power was reduced by a main transformer before being run through the rectifiers for conversation to D. C., then used in the locomotive’s General Electric 752 tractor motors to deliver power to the railhead. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

Even though they weighed in at 394,000 pounds and stretched nearly 70-feet in length, the husky New Haven EF-4s electrics could be dwarfed by famed Hell Gate Bridge and its towering approaches. Nicknamed “Virginians” by NYNH&H crews for their prior ownership, the EF-4s were assigned to freight duties between Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven and Oak Point Yard in the Bronx and Bay Ridge Yard in Brooklyn. Note: Screenshots depict content still in development.

Bound from New York to New Haven, a duo of NYNH&H EF-4s swing off the Hell Gate Line and onto the New Haven main line at Shell Interlocking in New Rochelle, New York (above), then a short time later cross the Mianus River at Cos Cob, Connecticut (below). The General Electric-built locomotives each exerted 98,500 pounds of tractive effort and were geared for a top speed of 65 mph.

On the Train Simulator NEC: New York – New Haven route, NYNH&H EF-4 306 stands under the lights awaiting its next assignment at New Haven, Connecticut. New York City and the New England area were far different than the remote Appalachians where the electrics first went to work in the mid-1950s hauling coal on the Virginian Railway.

Rolling east with tonnage destined for New York, NYNH&H EF-4s 303 and 310 flash past the classic New Haven-style tower at Devon, Connecticut (above), then seconds later trundle though the Housatonic River bridge (below) on the popular Train Simulator NEC: New York – New Haven route.

A pair of NYNH&H EF-4 electrics stand outside New Haven’s Lamberton Street Shops in the company of an Electro-Motive GP9. The New Haven EMD GP9 is included in the upcoming DLC pack for AI-train use.

The EF-4 pack from Reppo will also include period-authentic freight rolling stock, including a 40-foot steel boxcar in New Haven orange “McGinnis era” livery (above) and New Haven’s classic NE-5 steel cupola caboose (below). NYNH&H owned more than 100 of the NE-5 class, which were built in the early 1940s and remained in service throughout the remainder of the New Haven era.

New Haven’s EF-4s began life on the Virginian Railway in 1956-57, served the NYNH&H during the 1960s, and eventually worked into the early 1980s – and now, thanks to the masterful efforts of Reppo, the distinctive electric is coming soon to Train Simulator!

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


  • Is there any way in which this engine could be authorized for use on the VNHRR as well as the NYNH, thus making it eligible for workshop scenarios for both routes?

    • Not sure I understand what you mean Tom, all locos in Train Simulator can be used on any route, with some exceptions (for example you can’t use an electric loco on a non-electrified route).

  • Let’s face it, if this engine came with 50 different freight cars, someone would complain about there not being 51.

    I, for one, am looking forward to operating this on the VNHRR, which includes both freight and passenger cars that I think will look good with it.

  • Will their be more paint jobs like Conrail?

    • I have no details on that Railfanning in Queensland, the developer may have some additional paint schemes in the making but we haven’t been advised if there are

  • Really hoping he’ll at least be the one doing the Budd M2 next. As it seems likely that there no plans for it be done as a first party effort. Also wondering what commuter equipment would run alongside these in the scenarios.

    • I believe Dovetail Games themselves will one day make the Metro-North M2/M4/M6 EMU cars. Maybe as a free addition to New York to New Haven like they did with the Multilevel cars for the North Jersey Coast Line, but I’m not promising anything about that, just predicting.

      Like I said in the first article, it will be awkward with this pack for the traffic passenger trains since there are no New Haven passenger trains included with this pack and how New York to New Haven only has modern Amtrak equipment for passenger trains; thus every traffic train and player train would be a New Haven freight train.

      Dovetail Games, in addition to the Metro-North M2/M4/M6 EMU cars, I believe another DLC for New York to New Haven you can easily make to make some easy cash that I will definitely buy is the North American tour version of the Flying Scotsman. Since Dovetail Games made several versions of the Flying Scotsman over the years, the North American tour version of it should be easy to make. The company also made the GG1 electric before and that can be re-included with the North American tour version of the Flying Scotsman, but this time, in the Penn Central livery since that would be good for traffic trains as well as for pulling the Flying Scotsman and its train from New Rochelle to New York City. The full set of passenger cars that the Flying Scotsman pulled in North America should also be included and some Penn Central streamlined coaches for the traffic trains to pull. The Flying Scotsman did run from New Haven to New York City in 1969 and so the New York to New Haven route would be perfect for it for the featured scenarios for it and I believe that should be a trainset DLC the company should make for Train Simulator 2017 before shifting over to exclusively Train Sim World production.

      • I would like to think the same. But it is just too far past the time that this route has been out. We’ve seen two NJT routes made, a good amount of their equipment released, and only thing to have shown up for this route in the last couple of years, is a loco (although very good looking) that will not have much variety in authentic scenarios, because apparently, there’s no suitable equipment to use alongside it. Although I’d hate to have wait as long as it took for anything NJT to be made since the NEC debut, it’s highly likely that the M2 will be a 3rd party effort, and like this Loco featured in this article, will probably be a good couple of years at most (or at least) if it is done by Reppo.

        Just way too many voids left in this sim that need to be filled.

  • This looks really well made, another great DLC by Reppo, can’t wait!

  • While I love the look of the GP9 way more than the Springfield Line version of it, it should have Hancock air whistles instead of horns on it, both cosmetically and audio-wise since New Haven GP9s had Hancock air whistles instead of horns.

  • This engine looks absolutely fantastic, but, we’re only getting ONE type of freight car and one caboose? I know that more than boxcars were hauled on the NEC (especially in more than one livery). Not saying I won’t be getting the loco (definitely will), but was hoping to see more variety than one box car…

    • We’ll raise your objections with the Developer Dash, I appreciate that this pack may not be for you and thanks for sharing your thoughts

  • Loving the way it looks! It’s great to see more New Haven content coming to TS. Can’t wait for its release!

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