At a given signal the two powerful steam locomotives started pushing the big electric engine ahead of them, the latter having no current on at the start. Then the engineer in the electric locomotive gradually turned on the current and the powerful motors responded nobly. In the meanwhile, the throttles on both steam locomotives were opened up to their full capacity. The two powerful steam locomotives achieved full momentum and finally came to a complete stop, still with their throttles wide open, puffing and chugging as if under an extraordinary strain. Then what appeared to be the impossible happened, and a great cheer went up from the crowd as they saw the steam engines forced backward, first only by inches, but gradually, as the full power of the electric was brought into play, the procession became almost a rout, and when the test ended a few minutes later the steam locomotives were moving steadily backward and the electric locomotive was declared the victor.
Interesting and spectacular as this test was to the laymen present, it was more significant to the engineers of the General Electric Company’s Transportation Division in Erie, who had devoted years to the perfection of this powerful electric locomotive. It was a conclusive test of power between steam and electricity. This new locomotive was one of the most powerful passenger locomotives in the world. It used 3,000 volts direct current and its horsepower was 3,240. There were fourteen axles on which were mounted direct connected motors.