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Multiple Units... Multiple Units... Multiple Units

By Bob Mintz
(Summer 2005)

During the 1920s and 1930s, electrification of the then steam-powered railroads was not uniform. The competition between PRR, NYNH&HRR, DL&W, and NYC was to provide the best service at the lowest possible cost.

The dissimilar voltages and cycles were the result of our capitalist society of most notably GE & Westinghouse.

And furthermore, there was competition between these two major railroad suppliers for the railroad's business, as each company was offering what was thought to be and best and most economical solution.

GE was always geared as a DC oriented company. NYC & PRR, both being a rather conservative bunch and possibly the only thing that they had in common except an air of competition, picked proven 600V DC technology, much of it from GE.

New Haven was a wee bit more adventurous, and with longer distances to be electrified, picked up the then high tech, though untried HVAC (11KV/25 cycle), mainly from Westinghouse.

Despite all the posturing in the technical press at the time, the differences between the two were rather small in effectiveness or economic terms. Either method was way better than steam, in energy efficiency or pollution control, turnaround time or any other evaluation.

After WWII, diesel power, such as the Budd cars, took over many of the commuter routes in the northeastern United States.

Lionel Multiple-Unit Commuter Cars:

What came out in 1991 was brand new, having never been done before. It was roughly based on the long Madison-style heavyweight cars. Like, for instance the EP-5s, the pantograph on the powered unit could be wired for overhead cantenary operation.

What started out with a two car set and later two car add on to make a handsome four car set with both coaches and combine cars, eventually dwindled down to just a two car coach only set, and eventually, just a single coach car. This uncatalogued JC Penney is the most attractive of the lot in my opinion.

18304 Lackawanna #2401 powered and #2402 dummy coach
18305 Lackawanna #2400 dummy combine and #2403 dummy coach
18306 Pennsylvania #4574 powered combine and #483 dummy coach
18310 Pennsylvania #484 and #485 dummy coaches
18328 New Haven #4082 (18329) powered coach and #4083 (18330) dummy coach
18334 New Haven #4054 (18335) and #4055 (18336) dummy coaches
18331 Reading #9109 (18332) powered coach and #9110 (18333) dummy coach
18337 Reading #9111 (18338) and #9112 (18339) dummy coaches
18344 Long Island #1163 (18345) powered coach and #1164 (18346) dummy coach
18347 Illinois Central #1204 (18348) powered coach and #1205 (18349) dummy coach
18352 Southern Pacific #1214 powered coach
Second Decade.
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