Pacific Electric 1648 utilized four Westinghouse 557E2 traction motors. See more information below.

(Craig Garver from Tucson, Arizona, United States, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)



The Westinghouse Electric Corporation was an American manufacturing company founded in 1886 by George Westinghouse. It was originally named "Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company" and was renamed "Westinghouse Electric Corporation" in 1945. The company acquired the CBS television network in 1995 and was renamed "CBS Corporation" until being acquired by Viacom in 1999, a merger completed in April 2000. The CBS Corporation name was later reused for one of the two companies resulting from the split of Viacom in 2005.

The Westinghouse trademarks are owned by Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and were previously[citation needed] part of Westinghouse Licensing Corporation. The nuclear power business, Westinghouse Electric Company, was spun off from the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1999.


Rail transit

The Westinghouse Transportation Division (est. 1894) supplied equipment and controls for many North American interurban and streetcar lines, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit, Washington Metro, New York City Subway equipment from the 1890s elevated era to the R68A in 1988, among many other heavy rail and rail transit systems and built locomotives, often in partnership with Baldwin, Lima-Hamilton as well as supplying electrical and traction equipment for Fairbanks-Morse diesel locomotives. The division designed and built Automated People Movers (APMs) at several major U.S. airports, including Sea-Tac. Tampa, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Orlando. The Transportation Division was sold to AEG of Germany (1988), which merged into a joint venture of ABB and Daimler-Benz named AdTranz in 1996. Ultimately, the unit was acquired by Bombardier of Canada in 2001 and is still headquartered in Pittsburgh.


Westinghouse Air Brake Company general office building in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, built in 1890, shown here in 2009.

(Leepaxton at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


The Westinghouse Air Brake Company

The Westinghouse Air Brake Company (sometimes nicknamed or abbreviated WABCO although this was also confusingly used for spinoffs) was founded on September 28, 1869 by George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Earlier in the year he had invented the railway air brake in New York state.

After having manufactured equipment in Pittsburgh for a number of years, he began to construct facilities and plants east of the city where homes for his employees were built. In 1889, the air brake manufacturing facility was moved to Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, and the company's general office building was built there in 1890.

In 1921 the company began manufacturing a modified air brake system for installation in trucks and heavy vehicles.

In 1953 WABCO entered the heavy equipment marketplace, buying the assets of leading equipment designer R.G LeTourneau. An entity known as LeTourneau-Westinghouse sold a range of innovative products, including scrapers, cranes and bulldozers until 1967, when it shortened its name to Wabco. In 1968 American Standard purchased Wabco.

WABCO's direct successor companies include WABCO Vehicle Control Systems, a commercial vehicle air brake manufacturer now owned by ZF Friedrichshafen; and Wabtec, a railway equipment manufacturer, which have been owned and operated independently of each other since the mid-twentieth century.


Pacific Electric 1648\

(See photo above).

This car started life as one of the two J G Brill distillate electric 72 foot combination cars built as Northwestern Pacific 903-904 in 1929. They were each powered by twin Hall Scott model 300 six cylinder distillate engines with four Westinghouse 557E2 traction motors.

The well worn cars were brought to the Pacific Electric in early 1943 to help with World War II traffic demands. NWP 904 was placed in service on the San Bernardino line as a test, but it was too long for switching the sharp spurs there. PE's Torrance shop made heavy modifications starting in April, 1943, including shortening the car by 30 feet by removing the passenger section. Electrical equipment was moved from underneath the car to inside the baggage section at this time. The car was back in service in July.

In November, NWP 903 was brought out of the deadline and modified the same way. At the same time, three similar cars, Southern Pacific 7-9, were also at Torrance, also for conversion to switchers.

NWP 903 entered service in February, 1944, but the Pacific Electric had had enough, and the three SP cars were refused. SP 7 went north to the Visalia Electric in April, and the other two were returned to the Southern Pacific.

Switch crews soon demanded footboards, and the distillate fuel was a constant source of trouble. Torrance again took the cars in, adding footboards and ordering carburetors to convert the engines to burn gasoline. NWP 904 was renumbered Pacific Electric 1649 at this time.

Slow speed switching didn't allow the batteries to fully charge, and in April, 1944, both cars were once again at Torrance to fix the charging issues and install the carburetors.

Both cars were formally bought by Pacific Electric on December 31, 1944, and NWP 903 became PE 1648.

In April, 1945, both cars were assigned lasting assignments. PE 1648 went to work at the San Fernando isolated trackage and 1649 was sent to the "island" at Orange.

PE was never satisfied with the performance of either engine, and scrapped 1649 in July, 1951. PE 1648 lingered two years longer but was scrapped in September, 1953.

(Source: - IRA Swett, Interurbans Special 37, Cars of the Pacific Electric, Vol. III: Combos, RPOs, Box Motors, Work Motors, Locomotives, Tower Cars. Service Cars. Glendale: Interurban Press, 1978. Pg 654-655, via Wikimedia Commons)


The Baldwin-Westinghouse Blue Goose No. 4000 was a jointly constructed Gas Turbine Electric Locomotive.

(Baldwin Locomotive Works, via W. Lenheim Collection)