Like all railroads, the Milwaukee Road faced the impending prospect of replacing its aging and inefficient fleet of steam locomotives with more modern motive power during the early 1900s. The less costly and more efficient value found in electrification of many of its routes would ultimately lead the Milwaukee to center its motive power upgrades around General Electric locomotives.
The GE Motors, or as they were often called, GEs, Freight Motors, Passenger Motors or Box Cabs, were part of a 42 two-unit locomotive fleet that stayed in service an amazing 58 years. Though slow, these reliable units, sometimes nicknamed pelicans, black cows or mules, began first appearing in 1914 as part of a package deal with General Electric. Over the years, the units were reconfigured into three and later four-unit trains that, until their very end, outperformed most diesel engines they competed against.
Until 1932, the units were only operated as two-unit AB sets as per Milwaukee's chief Electrical Engineer Rainier Beeuwkes wishes. Stubbornly sticking to his belief that three-unit consists would only serve to compromise the excellence the Milwaukee had demonstrated in efficiency, it wasn't until Beeuwkes assistant Laurence Wylie proved through exhaustive tests how much better the GEs could perform in three and four-unit sets. When so configured, the road assigned different classes to the consist. An EF-1 was an AB set, an EF-2 a three unit set made up of three control cars, an EF-3 substituted the middle control car of a three unit set with a car with no control cab or pilot trucks. EF-5s were the biggest of the GEs with four units made up of two control cars and two middle units (some of which had cabs and some which did not). No EF-4s were classified using GEs since that class had been assigned to Milwaukee's Little Joe.
The Milwaukee Road EF-3 sports crisp O Scale detail durably produced in all die-cast metal. Fully equipped with the legendary power and performance of Proto-Sound 3.0, the control units in your set will feature fully automatic pantographs that automatically raise and lower as the set's direction is changed. Adding an optional non-powered "Bobtail" Booster unit gives you the opportunity to create an EF-5 for an incredible sight on any O Scale layout.