Mack Truck Locomotive #4

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Discover the history of two vintage boxcab's #4 & #5, that were converted by the Mack Truck Company into Gas-Electric locomotives. 

#4 & #5 unique locomotives even in the early years.

The 30 ton mid-west style interurban boxcab locomotive #4 was originally built as a trolley freight motor for the Southwest Missouri Railroad Company. The S.M.R.C. purchased #4 from General Electric for $15,400.00 with a completion date of March 01, 1924 at the Erie, PA plant. The S.M.R.C. identically built boxcab #5 at their Webb City, MO shop complex in 1927. With the demise of the S.M.R.C. in 1939  the Mack Truck company of Allentown, PA then purchased #4 & #5, rebuilding them both into experimental gas-electric locomotives. The two retrofitted locomotives were then offered for sale as new products of the Mack Truck Company. However they were never sold causing Mack to exit out of the locomotive business. Both locomotives were eventually placed into switching service at the two Allentown 5-A & 5-C plants.

The journey of Mack #4 & #5 throughout Pennsylvania.

A trolley museum located in central PA acquired Mack #4 in 1967 and transported it to the town of Rockhill Furnace. Mack # 4 during the last two months of 1968 preformed the last switching duties over the rare ( 3' narrow & 4' 8-1/2" standard ) dual gage trackage at the EBT rail yard located in Mount Union, PA. Then in March of 1970 Mack #4 was again on the move, this time to assist the fledgling NH&I short line railroad located in eastern PA. Mack #4 was transported to Penndel PA in January 1971 where it was then placed into storage. A tourist line located about 20 miles west of Allentown PA obtained Mack #5 directly from the Mack Truck Company in 1978. Mack # 5 was then occasionally operated and provided motive power for that lines tourist trains. Then in 1986 the trolley museum that owned Mack #4 transfered ownership of it to the tourist line that owned Mack #5. Mack #4 was then moved to Kempton PA where it was placed on the ground less it's truck assemblies. 

An uncertain fate for both Mack #4 & #5.

Mack #5 while at the Kempton PA tourist line in the mid 1990's had a failure to engine #1 due to operating it with low oil. The Mack #5 was continued to be operated with only the engine #2 in service. This caused incorrect voltage to be supplied to the traction motors and the result was an electrical fire occured. An attempted was made to remove one of the operating engines from Mack #4 to replace the failed Mack #5 engine and to also make the other necessary repairs. The all volunteer Kempton, PA railfan group in 1997 abandoned the project, and the two Mack locomotives were then offered for sale to: railway & trolley museums, tourist railroads, the Mack Truck Museum,  and even private collectors. One railfan desired to make the two rare boxcab's into storage sheds, but this outrageous idea was declined. With no parties interested in saving either the Mack #4 or #5 as complete locomotives, it looked to be the end of the line for both units. The Kempton PA tourist line then began to strip both Mack locomotives of their useful parts, components, and truck assemblies with traction motors.

Mack locomotive #4 & #5 are scheduled to be scrapped.

In late 2007 the former owners of Mack #4 & #5 decided to scrap the two rare boxcab's because of the high prices that were being paid for scrap iron, and price offers were received from scrap dealers. Then during the third week of December 2007 JC McHugh became aware of the doomed fate of Mack #4 & #5, and over the next 2-1/2 months he negotiated to purchase the remains of the two boxcab's. An offer much higher than scrap iron value was made to the former owners, along with the statement  that the McHugh family would cosmedically restore one of these rare Mack locomotives within a year from the date that they would be purchased. One thing that the McHugh's had in their favor for restoring one Mack locomotive, was that they already had a replacement set of truck assemblies complete with traction motors.

A fondness for one of these rare Mack boxcab's saves it.

The McHugh family nostalgia for one of these rare old boxcab's, and that both Mack #4 & #5 were also a part of Pennsylvania's Industrial Railroading Heritage is why they wanted to see one of these Mack locomotives preserved. In June 1970, when Mack #4 was last in service, Jimmy McHugh placed his 9 year old son on the engineers seat and JC McHugh operated it 1/2 mile down the railroad yard tracks at New Hope, PA. Although a few volunteers at the former owners tourist line, along with several railfans had made comments that neither of these two rare Mack locomotives were worth the expenses involved to save even just one. These remarks did not discourage JC McHugh, who was adamant that his family would restore one of the two Mack locomotives when others felt it was not worth the effort to do so. On March 16, 2008 Jimmy, Ann, & JC McHugh purchased the two boxcab's with a favorable outcome for one Mack locomotive.

The restoration by the McHugh's of one Mack locomotive.

During the third week of May 2008 both Mack locomotives were loaded onto two tractor trailers at Kempton, PA and they where then transported to the McHugh plant in Fairless Hills, PA. Here both old boxcab's frames where then unloaded and placed onto cribbed blocking on the ground. Then both #4 & #5 were evaluated to see if one or two locomotives could be restored. Even know the former owners of #4 & #5 did not scrap these two rare boxcab's, the last two decades of neglect made it impossible to restore both Mack locomotives.  It was determined to disassemble both #4 & #5 with the parts and components from both locomotives to be combined together so one of these two identical rare Mack Truck, Inc. built boxcab locomotives would exsist and not be lost forever.

The Heritage of the old Mack #4 & #5 locomotives.

This last example of these rare Mack locomotives will be preserved by the McHugh family and the locomotive will wear the number '4' representing the unit JC operated in 1970 along with having a 'Mack Trucks, Inc. - Railcar Dept.' herald applied. The Mack company redesigned the two locomotives to handle a consist of 1 to 2 passenger cars, or a small train of 3 to 4 freight cars. This was the type of usage the Mack company intended the locomotives to be marketed and sold, hopefully replacing steam locomotives across America's shortline's and branchline's. The Mack Truck company's vision of a mass production of 'boxcab gas electric locomotives' did not materialize, however today the only Mack boxcab in exsitance is the McHugh family Mack #4 locomotive.

Displaying the Mack Boxcab Locomotive.

The McHugh family enjoyment of this vintage Mack locomotive comes from sharing it with others, and being able to provide the history of these rare Mack Trucks, Inc. built locomotives to people that also may have an interest to learn about them. The locomotive has been displayed at several historical equipment or railroad events over the past couple years, and it is planned to continue displaying it so the general public can discover this rare boxcab locomotive.

Mack Truck # 4 is a part of America's Indusrtial Railroading Hertiage, and this unique locomotive was almost lost forever. Then in 2008 old boxcab # 4 was saved, and restored privately by; Jimmy, Ann, & JC McHugh.


Historical information and over 100  photographs are located in the "six Mack locomotive date time line links" below.

1924 - 1939

 1939 - 1967  

1967 - 1969 

1970 - 1971 

1971 - 2008

2008 - 2012

If you have a question regarding the Mack boxcab locomotives or another subject that is covered in this website you can send an email to:

If you are interested in purchasing a rebuilt locomotive, locomotive crane, or require parts / service our business McHugh Locomotive & Crane website is:

At the Antique Equipment Show in Brownsville, PA, one could say this is a Macktastic reunion!

Mack #4 was displayed at the National Pike Historical Equipment Show in Brownsville, PA on August 9th & 10th, 2008 to celebrate  the cosmedic restoration of #4. The old box cab locomotive had been ravaged after decades of outside storage, and it had not seen any maintenance since 1971. This was also the first time that #4 had been fully repainted and lettered, since 1939 when it was last preformed by the Mack company.

The following websites have a link to our site;

Discover Live Steam, Jeff Z., S.Berliner III, Railserve, and McHugh Locomotive & Crane

Mack #4 displayed at the McHugh Co.

Website created August 2008.