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Electro-Motive: 1910

Electro-Motive: 1910

Circa 1910. "Electric engine, Detroit River tunnel." With a plug for Royal Salad Dressing. Dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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NYC/MCR 7501

7501 is a class R-1 electric locomotive 45206 built by Alco-General Electric in February 1910.

What is it Lassie? Oh, Timmy is in the tunnel!

Aerial view of the tunnel entrance, which is just beyond the fenced-in parking lot and down twenty feet or so.

Electric Railroad with Lanterns

Note the kerosene lanterns on the backs of the signals.

Shoving them through

Looks like the electric is performing the role of rear end helper, based on the position of the engineer, dwarf signal and flying flags on the pilot. He is coasting now, but will start to shove as the drag nears the bottom of the tunnel.

Subway steam

Despite the smoke problem steam engines were used in the London subway (Underground) system during the 19th century. Special vents were built at regular intervals with many disguised as houses. Some of these still exist.

Third rail shoe

There were sprung contact shoes mounted on the engine trucks. On the New York Central and its subsidiaries, the shoe contacted the bottom of the third rail, which was covered by wood on top to make it a little bit safer.

Most other rail lines and most of the subway and "El" trains use an over-running third rail -- the shoe contacts the top of the bare third rail. You do not want to fall on it!

Time machine malfunction

I would believe and not even question it if you had a date of 1940 on this one. Also, I guess the engine must be electric because there would be too much smoke in the tunnel with a coal burning steam engine. I would love to see how the engine connects with that third rail.

[Below, a setup similar to the one in our photo. - Dave]


Looks like a 100-ton General Electric loco, delivered in 1910 to Michigan Central. Operated at 600 volts DC off the shrouded third rail. Trains were standard gauge, with the third rail at one half gauge width outside.

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