Piedmont & Northern
 Boxcab Electric Locomotive
Numbers 5100 - 5105

S Scale       and       O Scale

Kit P&NO-5100-S Kit P&NO-5105-S
High headlight end
Kit P&NO-5105-S
Low headlight end
The Piedmont and Northern Railway was a heavy electric interurban company operating over two disconnected divisions in North and South Carolina, respectively. The trackage ran 128 miles all told. The northern division had 24 miles of track from Charlotte to Gastonia, NC, plus a 3 mile spur to Belmont. The P&N operated three electric passenger trains a day between these two cities. The southern division was the larger of the two and was electrified at 1500 volts DC. Its main line ran 89 miles from Greenwood to Spartanburg, SC, plus a 12 mile spur to Anderson.  The P&N operated two electric passenger trains a day between these two cities. The P&N, though involved to some degree in passenger operations, was primarily a heavy freight carrier.

During the period 1914 to the 1950's, passenger service used heavyweight steel cars in MU operation or sometimes pulled by electric locomotives. Carload freight service consisted primarily of coal, coke, cotton, cotton waste and paper (which continued beyond the 50's). In 1950, the P&N began converting from electric to diesel power with a 10-unit order with the America Locomotive Company. The first 2 units (Nos. 100 and 101) were delivered in September to the company's Greenville, SC shops. The South Carolina division was the first to dieselize, followed a couple of years later by the North Carolina division.

Charlotte to Gastonia traction freight service (1912-1954, downtown Charlotte service 1912-1958). The P&N used a variety of purchased and shop-built electric locomotives which included B-B+B-B units that they pioneered. The final mainline electric operation in North Carolina occurred in May 1954 with Alco RS-3's and S-4's replacing the electric units. The Alcos were too heavy for the line running down the old Mint Street trolley line in Charlotte, so box cabs 5101 and 5103 were used and survived in service until May 21, 1958. The system was finally absorbed into the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1969.

THE CARS   5100 - 5105
Six of these boxcab electric locomotives were built in 1914 by General Electric for the Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson Division of the P&N Lines. They were built for heavy freight service. Each locomotive weighed about 127,000 pounds and developed a tractive effort of 17,500 pounds. This was sufficient to move a train of approximately 30 cars over the line at 21 miles per hour. GE equipped each locomotive with four traction motors specially insulated for use on the P&W 1500 volt system. The control apparatus was mounted inside a sheet metal enclosure built into the middle of the cab. This apparatus was arranged for multiple unit control so more than one unit could be used to pull heavy trains. The MU system effectively connected all the unit controls in parallel so a single engineer could control all of the units from one cab. Each locomotive was equipped with both a pantograph and a pair of trolley poles. On some local lines, the overhead current was reduced to 500 or 600 volts and the wires were not adapted for pantograph operation. In these areas, the locomotives were run with trolley pole collection.
Type: B-B                            Total engine weight: 133,800 lbs.     Control: M Type
Builder: General Electric     Weight/driver axle: 31,750 lbs.       Horsepower: 250HP/Motor
Date built: 1912-1913           Gear ratio: 16:57                            Tractive force: 13,000 lbs cont.
Length overall: 37'-4"           Wheel dia.: 36"                               Track adhesion: 25%
Width overall: 9'-6"              Trucks: Baldwin                              Speed: 21mph on tangent track
Height overall: 12'-4 3/4"      Motors: 4-GE 212L                        Brakes: Westinghouse EL