PRR OEG415 Doodlebug
Branch line passenger service had become a serious financial problem for all railroads in the early 1900’s, and the Pennsy was no exception. Long before automobile and motor buses, the PRR began experimenting with self-propelled equipement which could operate without a separate locomotive and without a full crew. After nearly 20 years of experimenting with various trolley look-alikes, the PRR finally turned it’s attention to the gasoline railcar. In 1930, a series of (5) cars were delivered by Brill, #4666-#4670. These were classified as GEG415: Gasoline Engine, Electric drive, G.E. Motors at 415 hp. They stretched 75′ in length, stood 14′ 2″ in height, and weighed in at 139,000 lbs. They had a combination of seating for 62 and a baggage/cargo area. They acquired the nickname: “Doodlebug.”
In the early 1940s, the PRR began upgrading the Doodlebugs with diesel engines. Why? One word…..fire! On July 31, 1940, an earlier Doodlebug from 1928, #4648, was involved in a head-on collision with a steam locomotive in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. The majority of the 43 casualties were burned to death when #4648’s massive gas tank was ruptured, then exploded. By 1942, all (5) of the GEG415’s were refitted with Hamilton 425 hp diesel engines. They were reclassified as OEG415: Oil (Diesel) Engine, Electric Drive, G.E. Motors. Since they replaced steam trains on many branch lines, it became necessary to tow extra passenger cars. They were just powerful enough to move themselves, as well as a maximum of (2) additional trailer cars. As built, these cars were rated at 60mph running singly, 50mph with (1) trailer, and 46mph with (2) trailers. Assignments of the Doodlebugs were spread throughout the system. They could be found on the branches radiating from Camden, Clayton, Baltimore, York, Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Alliance, Indianapolis, Logansport and Grand Rapids.
The Doodlebugs were often found towing PRR P54 coaches. These P54’s were lightweight, and were readily available since most major routes utilized the larger P70 coaches. A number of steam heated P54’s were fitted with coal stoves to provide heat since the Doodlebugs were incapable of providing steam heat. These were known as P54 Trailer Cars.
By the early 1960’s, all of the Doodlebugs were retired.
#4666 was sold to a number of tourist railroads:
• New Hope & Ivyland Railroad in New Hope, PA – 1970
• Black River & Western Railroad in Ringos, NJ – 1975
• Allentown & Auburn Railroad in Kutztown, PA – 2016
#4668 was sold and stored at the Illinois Railroad Museum in Union, IL., and was later sold to Clint Jones.
PRR OEG415 Doodlebug set includes: (1) Motor Car & (2) PRR P54 Trailer Cars
Cab Interior: <kuid2:523:55555:1> MN ACMU Interior – Available for download from the Download Station (DLS)
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