The trouble-free EF-3s were the New Haven's most powerful electrics, and they deserved a better fate than they got. Built in 1942 and 1943 by both Baldwin-Westinghouse and General Electric, the ten EF-3s were replacements for the road's aging fleet of freight motors, the newest of which had been built in 1926.
Externally, the EF-3s were near-identical twins of the EP-4 passenger motors delivered by General Electric in 1938. But New Haven passenger electrics were limited in weight by their need to enter Manhattan's Grand Central Station over the weight-restricted Park Avenue Viaduct. Free of that restriction, the EF-3 freight motors were heavier and more powerful than their passenger sisters. Continuous horsepower rating for an EF-3 was 4,860 at its top speed of 65 mph, and short-term maximum horsepower (for starting heavy trains and for hills) was 9,100 - both figures beating the Pennsy's GG1. In service over the NH electrified division from Bay Ridge, Long Island to Cedar Hill, just outside New Haven, an EF-3 could haul 125 cars northbound and 75 cars southbound.
The EF-3s were also intended to work passenger trains if needed, on the New Haven's alternate New York entrance via Pennsylvania Station. Although designed with space for a train heat boiler, they were built as freight-only engines due to World War II restrictions. But after the EF-3s proved their mettle hustling 20-car wartime passenger trains from Penn Station to New Haven, five of the class were equipped for train heat and reclassified EF-3b.
While the EF-3 class served faithfully through the war and for years after, they were unfortunate victims of the McGinnis/Alpert mismanagement of the New Haven in the 1950s. Still in their prime, the EF-3s were retired in 1959 in favor of less-efficient diesels, and the freight-only catenary from Bay Ridge to Cedar Hill went dead. Although none of the freight motors made it into New Haven red, white and black, our McGinnis version allows you to model what might have been, had this magnificent electric been given its due.