TS20: Beast of the East!
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
The burly and powerful commuter-hauling General Electric U34CH diesel – and Comet I equipment – is coming soon to Train Simulator!
The distinctive, burly, and powerful General Electric U34CH diesel that toted commuters in New Jersey and New York for more than two decades is coming soon to Train Simulator – and the U34CH will be accompanied by Pullman-Standard Comet I cab cars and coaches!
Meticulously created for TS2020 by DTM, this upcoming DLC will include the GE U34CH diesel in NJ Transit livery and feature Pullman-Standard Comet I equipment for “push-pull” operations.
In the early 1970s, the commuter rail lines radiating from Hoboken (New Jersey) Terminal which now comprise NJ Transit routes were primarily operated by Erie Lackawanna on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). Equipment renewal was an imperative and in 1970-1973, NJDOT funded the purchase of 32 diesels for use on non-electrified commuter routes. The selected diesel locomotive was the General Electric U34CH, a six-axle (C-C) behemoth based largely on GE’s 3,600-horsepower U36C design, but with the addition of HEP (head-end-power) equipment for train lighting, air conditioning, and heating. As a result, the locomotive provided 3,430-horsepower for traction, thus its U34CH designation. In their early years, the husky U34CHs (which originally carried NJDOT road numbers 3351–3382) often handled Erie Lackawanna freight duties on the weekends.
Purchased with the U34CHs in NJDOT’s equipment renewal program was Pullman-Standard Comet I commuter equipment, constructed in cab car trailer configurations for “push-pull” service. A total of 155 Comet I cars were acquired, including 110 coaches, 35 cab cars, and 10 snack/bar cars.
Over their careers, the U34CH and Comet I combos could be found working virtually all of the non-electrified routes out of Hoboken, with what are today’s NJT Suffern and Morristown lines being regular haunts. In the turbulent railroad environment of that era, Erie Lackawanna became part of Conrail in 1976 and in 1983 NJ Transit assumed commuter rail operations in the region. During the Conrail years, one U34CH was given a “Bicentennial” livery and renumbered 1776 while the rest of the fleet was renumbered into 4100-series road numbers (4151-4182). One additional U34CH (No. 4183) was built in 1978. Beginning in the early 1980s, NJ Transit’s flashy livery of silver with tri-color stripes was applied to a number of the big GE diesels.
By the early 1990s, with the toils of two decades of service behind, the U34CHs themselves became the target of another fleet renewal as NJT acquired remanufactured GP40s for diesel-hauled commuter services. The U34CHs were retired from NJ Transit commuter services in August 1994 and a few served a short period longer in M-O-W duty. Three units were briefly leased to Philadelphia’s SEPTA commuter operation and several of the units made their way to Mexico as second-hand power. One U34CH, No. 3372, has been saved for restoration by the United Railway Historical Society of New Jersey. NJT’s Comet I equipment was rebuilt in the 1980s and some cars served until 2009. Several Comet I cars are preserved at the Whippany (New Jersey) Railway Museum.
Coming soon to Train Simulator, the U34CH DLC from accomplished partner programme member DTM will include the U34CH with a range of realistic features including the throaty, chugging sounds of GE’s 4-cycle FDL-series power plant, and the locomotive is dressed in NJ Transit livery. The Comet I cars will likewise appear in NJT colors. A selection of four career scenarios will be included for commuter operations on the Morristown Line of the Train Simulator North Jersey Coast & Morristown Lines route (the route is available separately).
Get ready to tame the “beast of the east” – the big General Electric U34CH – and accompanying Comet I equipment, which are coming soon to Train Simulator! - Gary Dolzall
The distinctive, burly, and powerful General Electric U34CH diesel that toted commuters in New Jersey and New York for more than two decades is coming soon to Train Simulator in NJ Transit livery – and the U34CH will be accompanied by Pullman-Standard Comet I cab cars and coaches! Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
The General Electric U34CH (above) was a six-axle (C-C) behemoth based on GE’s 3,600-horsepower U36C design, but with the addition of HEP (head-end-power) equipment for train lighting, air conditioning, and heating. As a result, the locomotive provided 3,430-horsepower for traction, thus its U34CH designation. The U34CH’s cab and engineer’s controls (below) have been authentically re-created by developer DTM. Note: Screenshots depict content in development.
Joining the NJ Transit GE U34CH in the upcoming pack for Train Simulator is Pullman-Standard Comet I commuter equipment including cab car (above left) and coach (above right). The Comet I equipment features full interiors (below).
A “push-pull” set of NJ Transit Comet I equipment departs Dover, New Jersey on the Train Simulator North Jersey Coast & Morristown Lines route with a U34CH on the rear providing the power (above). The Comet I cab car features realistic controls (below).
NJ Transit U34CH 4182 departs Summit, New Jersey westbound (above), then strides past the junction with the Gladstone Branch on the Train Simulator North Jersey Coast & Morristown Lines route (below). The upcoming U34CH DLC includes careers scenarios for the North Jersey Coast & Morristown route (route available separately).
The GE U34CHs were constructed to power diesels on commuter lines radiating from historic Hoboken Terminal, and such is the case on a wintry morn as snow-dusted NJ Transit U34CH 4168 begins its pull while sister 4173 awaits its scheduled departure. Get ready to tame the “beast of the east” – the big General Electric U34CH – and accompanying Comet I equipment, which are coming soon to Train Simulator!
Screenshots and images displayed in this article may depict content that is still in development. The licensed brands may not have been approved by their respective owner and some artwork may still be pending approval.
TS20: Beast of the East!