LC-2 vs EL-3a

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Wed Jun 10 07:16:18 EDT 2015

Dave et al:

Of course, you’re correct about the sale date of the EL-C’s to NH!

I suspect there are other issues in the spreadsheet—and I would appreciate any corrections and additions that any member can offer.  I’ll keep the document updated and re-publish it to this forum from time to time.


-Eric Bott

From: NW-Modeling-List [mailto:nw-modeling-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Modeling List via NW-Modeling-List
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2015 3:02 PM
To: nw-modeling-list at
Cc: NW Modeling List
Subject: Re: LC-2 vs EL-3a


The NH bought the Vgn EL-Cs, which they classified as EF-4, in 1963, not '56 as you show.

Dave Phelps

In a message dated 6/9/2015 2:20:29 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, nw-modeling-list at<mailto:nw-modeling-list at> writes:

I am occasionally startled by insight when putting timelines to specific technologies.  So it was when your comment about “N&W and Virginian using Westinghouse’s latest design” prompted me to look at my cheat sheet of US heavy electric events (attached.)

What surprised me was that N&W’s LC-2’s were delivered in 1924, and VGN’s EL-3a’s in 1925—the opposite of the order I had previously assumed.  But the dates were so close that I wonder why the two railroads did not combine designs and orders to save money.  In any case, it is very clear that these designs were nearly contemporaneous, as you pointed out.

Marklin??  Interesting!  Have they done any US prototype electric before?  I’d love for Broadway Limited to put the effort into an LC-2 project that they did into their GG-1.  That remains one of the best heavy electric models ever produced, including nearly all brass.  I’d certainly go for a Bachmann model, if they did as good a job with it as they did with the VGN/N&W/NH/Conrail EL-C’s (EF-4’s) or their GG-1.

And BTW, thank you for your N&W Electrics book.  It is very well done, and I’m always glad to return to it for a “refresher course” when and as needed!


-Eric Bott

From: NW-Modeling-List [mailto:nw-modeling-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Modeling List
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2015 8:56 PM
To: 'NW Modeling List'
Subject: RE: LC-2 vs EL-3a


From my research when writing the Electric book I found both models were designed for N&W and Virginian using Westinghouse’s latest design. Any differences between them are only the design improvements that were made between the construction dates. As for the prices, this is why I have been attempting the interest Marklin in the model. Some of the tooling they use for Swiss electric locomotives would fit right into this project.

Mason Cooper

From: NW-Modeling-List [mailto:nw-modeling-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Modeling List
Sent: Monday, June 8, 2015 4:05 PM
To: NW Modeling List
Subject: LC-2 vs EL-3a


This is my follow-up to your thought that a VGN EL-3a model would make a good starting point for a N&W LC-2 model.  Enough of the drawings I requested from the Archives have arrived for me to elicit the following facts:

The pony wheels of the LC-2 and EL-3a are both 33”.  The LC-2 driver diameter was 62”, whereas the EL-3a’s was 61”.

The spacings of all axles are identical between the two classes.

The distance between the front coupling face and rear buffer of the EL-3a is 609” vs 583” for the LC-2.  Front coupling face to lead axle distance is 93” for the EL-3a, 85” for the LC-2.  Trailing axle to rear buffer distance is 66” for the EL-3a vs 48” for the LC-2.  My conclusion from this is that the frame of an EL-3a model would have to be cut back substantially at both ends to represent an LC-2 frame credibly.  Shortening the rear of a pair of ALCO frames by 18” looks pretty straightforward, but shortening the 8” up front doesn’t.

The LC-2 body OAL is only about 4” shorter than the EL-3a’s, but has very significantly different window and door placements, so a new body would have to be fabricated for the LC-2 in any case.  The LC-2 body bottom is also 3.625” closer to the rails.  (This is interesting, because the floor of the LC-2 seems to have pockets in the floor to receive the upper ends of the spring hangers when the springs are fully compressed, whereas the tops of the EL-3a spring hangers sit well below the body floor.  I’m guessing the tunnel clearances in the N&W electrified zone were much tighter than on the VGN’s, and with the 1” extra driver diameter, ALCO had to get creative to lower the LC-2 body enough to meet the clearance plate.)

I have attached a spreadsheet showing the key dimensions available from the materials I have so far.

I find that I’m daunted by the scope of effort needed to make this work.  I would much rather PSC or Division Point produce a new LC-2 set at $2200 for a pair (painted), than to modify a pair of Alco EL-3a’s (orphaning the 3rd) at a net cost of ~$600, or a pair of Overland EL-3a’s (orphaning the 3rd) at a net cost of ~ $1800.  Maybe if somebody wants to surplus a couple of Alco EL-1a’s (cheap) I would put this one in my job jar.

But if somebody had the skill and inclination to photo-etch new body and roof sheets for LC-2’s, I’d probably get much more enthusiastic about this!

Best Regards,


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