Editor’s Note: We have renamed our podcast to match the new branding of our blog. “Lubetkin on Communications” better captures the goal of our blog and podcast series, which is to provide a forum for discussion of important communications and public relations issues with newsmakers in the field.
But in this episode, we depart from our coverage of public relations to chat with an old friend, David Kwechansky of Toronto, about the most famous electric locomotive in railroading history, the GG-1.
David commissioned Grif Teller, the Pennsylvania Railroad’s legendary calendar artist, to paint the image above for David’s personal collection.
Then he got a bright idea.
Wouldn’t it be cool to ask NJ Transit for a ride on that exact GG-1 locomotive?
I was doing public relations for Conrail. Conrail was the contract operator of commuter rail service for NJ Transit in New Jersey when I was assigned to make the arrangements for David’s engine ride. David’s journey to New Jersey to ride GG-1 #4884 and pick up his painting from Grif Teller’s Little Falls, NJ, studio were the subject of an extensive article in Trains Magazine in December 1981.
Three years later, Judy and I got to ride in the cab of GG-1 #4877 when NJ Transit sponsored a special railfan excursion to celebrate the retirement of the last GG-1 from regular rail service. There were several railfan rides on October 29, 1983, but Judy and I were lucky enough to be in the cab on the very last run of the day…and I had a microcassette recorder with me to capture some of the sounds – decades before podcasting became available.