New York Central T-Motor (Class T-3a) No. 278 preserved south of Albany. No. 278 is the only surviving T-Motor and was built in 1926.

(Sturmovik at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



T-Motor was the class designation given by the New York Central to its ALCO-GE built T-1a, T-1b, T-2a, T-2b, and T-3a electric locomotives. The T-Motors were the New York Central's second electric locomotive purchase after the original class of S-Motors. The T-motors continued on in service with the New York Central and a few continued on with the Penn Central after the 1968 merger.


The "Twentieth Century Limited", electrically hauled by a T-Motor, leaving New York for Chicago in 1928.

(N. Y. Central Lines, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



ALCO and GE co-built T-Motors from 1913 to 1926 to take over the main line passenger duties from the earlier and somewhat less capable S-Motor classes. Like the rest of the eastern electric fleet T-Motors were only used on the third rail territory from Grand Central Terminal on to the Hudson and Harlem Divisions. Compared to the S-Motors the T's had more power and with no unpowered wheels all of the locomotive's weight could be transferred into tractive effort. The T-Motors were also faster than the S-Motors and hauled everything from commuter trains to the flagship 20th Century Limited.

The first major blow to the fleet of T's was when the Cleveland Union Terminal electrified operations shut down in the mid 1950s, freeing up the fleet of 22 P-Motors for conversion to 3rd rail power. Although reduced to secondary duties 6 T's survived into the Penn Central era when they were finally replaced by New York, New Haven and Hartford FL9s on the Penn Central roster.

One T Motor, NYC 278, survived in derelict condition near Albany, New York for years until it was recently secured for transport to the Danbury Railway Museum in Danbury, Connecticut for preservation. During January 2024, it was safely delivered to Danbury where it awaits a cosmetic restoration. The remainder of the T-Motors were scrapped.



Type and origin
Power type Electric
Builder: ALCO-GE
Build date: 1913-1926
Total produced T-1a: 1
Total produced T-1b: 9
Total produced T-2a: 6
Total produced T-2b: 10
Total produced T-3a: 10
Total produced : 36
​• AAR B-B+B-B
• UIC Bo'Bo+BoBo'
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter: 36 in (914 mm)
Length T-1: 55 ft 2 in (16.81 m)
Length T-2, T-3: 56 ft 10 in (17.32 m)
Locomotive weight T-1: 236,000 lb (107.0 t)
Locomotive weight T-2: 265,000 lb (120.2 t)
Locomotive weight T-3: 285,000 lb (129.3 t)
Electric system: 660 V DC
Current pickup: Third rail
Traction motors: 8 × GE 91-A 380 hp (280 kW)
Transmission: Resistance controlled DC current supplied to gearless DC traction motors mounted directly on the axles.
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 75 mph (121 km/h)
Power output: 3,040 hp (2,270 kW) Starting
Power output: 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) Continuous
Tractive effort T-1: 59,000 lbf (260 kN)
Tractive effort T-2: 66,000 lbf (290 kN)
Tractive effort T-3: 71,000 lbf (320 kN)


Help save the NYCS electrics

Your help is needed to save the two locomotives (shown in top photo) at the Danbury Railway Museum.

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New York Central Railroad Electric Locomotives - Loading for move off of Beacon Island

On Thursday November 2nd,2023, Flach Crane & Rigging of Selkirk NY and Dagen Trucking of Castleton-on-Hudson NY successfully loaded the Prototype S-1 and last remaining T-3a onto trailers, and prepped the historic locomotives for transport off of Beacon Island. The S-1 was separated into two parts; the car body, and chassis. The T-3a was separated into three components, the car body, and two separate wheel-set assemblies.