Rails Northeast had a story on this G in the July 1976 issue. Several names were mentioned as being responsible for the bi-cen repaint. It says it was painted at Harrisburg, unveiled on April 11, 1976, then went to Harrisburg Station to be displayed for a few days. There are two photos of it in the paint shop and one photo in Harrisburg on April 12, 1976. The June 1976 issue (previous month) also has two photos, with another one being taken at Harrisburg Station on April 12, 1976.
Since the story says the Harrisburg Chapter of the NRHS was largely responsible for the repainting, that would explain why so many railfans knew about it. So I would suggest contacting that group as a source for photos of the maiden run.
I received the following email to the PCRRHS mailbox. I know some of you have pretty large slide collections, and was wondering if anyone might possibly have a slide to help this gentleman out. There's a pretty amusing story behind this locomotive and it's paint scheme as well.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: GG-1 # 4800
From: J1025w -AT- aol.com
Do you know if there are any pictures around of the GG-1 #4800, on its *maiden run* in 1976 wearing the bi-centennial colors?
I was the fireman on that job. I don't recall the date. I also forget who the engineer was, maybe Ernie Galanogt. We were assigned to run a freight from Enola Yard to Waverly Yard. When we went over to the yard office at Enola, we were assigned to take the 4800 and another G coupled behind it. When we went to the ready track there was this GG-1- the 4800 all done up in red,white, and blue. It had just come out of the shop the day before. The paint was still tacky. Everybody who saw us remarked that it looked like a circus engine. All the way back to Waverly, wherever we stopped for train orders or to be switched -every railroader who came within talking distance of us asked us, "Where'd you get that curcus engine?" or "Are you pulling Barnum and Baily?" It was the stars all over it that did it.
We found out from a couple of hostlers back in Enola that the guys in the paint shop out there came up with the idea for the stars at the last minute, I think over the weekend. They were told to get that engine finished and get it out there before the fourth of July. Everybody else already had their bi-centennial engines out there- the E-L, the CNJ, the Reading, etc. Supposedly the 4800 had the red and blue paint put on it, but they couldn't make up their minds about how to apply the white. Allegedly in the 11th hour, the paint shop forman thought of the stars and told his men to just paint them on. They did it without any real planning, not knowing how it would turn out.
It seemed rather amusing at the time the way they were applied, but now that I look back on it, the 4800 with that paint scheme became a classic and was well photographed. Now it is something to be admired and remembered.
Most astonishing is- I don't know how, but people with cameras along the right-of- way seemed to know that that engine with that peint job was going to pass by on that day on that train at an approximate time. We were the engine crew on it and we didn't even know about the paint job until we walked over to the ready track and saw it. Even the crew dispatcher never said a word to us about it. The railroad must have put it in the newspapers or something -that it would be passing through these towns. We took the short cut up the Morrisville Branch.
If there are any pictures in your archives of that engine on its maiden run with that paint scheme, see if there is a long haired kid sitting on the firemans side, wearing a traditional solid blue demin railroaders hat. That will be me. If such a picture exists, I would like to get a copy of it for my collection. Please let me know if you can help.