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NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/25/21 11:38 a.m.

Evoking memories of the Erie's own fleet of Berkshires, NKP #759 scorches the ballast on the Erie-Lackawanna at Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/25/21 11:41 a.m.

NKP #759 arriving at White River Junction, VT with a Steamtown USA excursion. When it wasn't out traveling with Ross Rowland, #759 was only used sparingly by Steamtown, since they had Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 coming out their ears, and #759 was a little on the big and heavy side for their ex-Rutland trackage.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/25/21 11:42 a.m.

Somewhere between Montpelier and White River Junction

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/25/21 11:47 a.m.

NKP #759 assaulting the grade at Mifflin, PA on the Penn Central mainline. The baggage car behind it had been converted to serve as an open air car/recording car for passengers on the High Iron Company excursions.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/25/21 11:50 a.m.

Running fast, like she was built to do, on the Penn Central mainline for a 2-day excursion between New York City and Buffalo.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/25/21 2:05 p.m.

Blowing down the boiler at the Lehigh & Hudson River yard in Warwick, NY.

NKP #759's career was ended in '73, after only 5 years of service. In late '72, Steamtown began planning a multi-day excursion over the Delaware & Hudson for the next spring, using NKP #759, Canadian Pacific #1246 and Canadian Pacific #1278. Delaware & Hudson knew that Steamtown did not have heated storage in Bellows Falls, so they offered to store the 3 locomotives in their heated roundhouses, #759 at Rouses Point, and #1246 and #1278 at Plattsburgh, so that Steamtown didn't have to winterize them.

Steamtown sent #759 down light to Rouses Point in November, but decided to keep #1246 and #1278 in Vermont for a couple winter events they had planned. In the meantime, people heard about the planned excursion and started calling up Steamtown, asking for the date and route, so that they could chase the excursion and get photos. Nelson Blount had died several years earlier in a small plane crash, and a gentleman by the name of Bob Barbera, whose father Andy was a retired DL&W engineer and primary engineer for Steamtown, had been placed in charge. Bob Barbera was from the insurance industry and was not a railroaders, and he became increasingly spiteful of railfans. His primary gripe was that the guys who chased the trains by car were not paying for tickets aboard, so he came up with a plan to mandate that when the locomotives were pulling the trains, they would have canvas shrouds over the running gear, that would only be removed for the photo runbys, which they would not disclose the location of. Ross Rowland said himself, Andy, and Bob's son Andy repeatedly argued with Bob over this ridiculous demand and could not get him to see reason.

Ross Rowland had actually returned the engine and cancelled the lease in late '71/early '72, due to this issue. He found it was just becoming too difficult to do business with them, and he wanted nothing to do with the whole canvas shroud nonsense. He had his crew deadhead the engine overnight from New Jersey to Bellows Falls, and then call him when they left Bellows Falls for the final 3 miles to Steamtown. Rowland then called up and said he was cancelling the lease, Barbera pitched a fit that he couldn't do that (despite the "lease" just being a handshake agreement made 4 years earlier) and as he was saying that Rowland heard #759's whistle blow as his crew rolled into the Steamtown USA yard and dismounted, and Rowland told him where he could stick his locomotive and hung up.

So, the railfans find out about this whole "canvas shroud" deal and start bitching to Delaware & Hudson about it. D&H is baffled and calls up Barbera and gets in an argument with him, even enlisting Ross Rowland to try and talk them sense into Steamtown management. Barbera refuses to see reason and says their his engines, he can do what he wants. D&H says they are their rails, and those engines don't roll on their rails unless they say so. D&H pulls their support and the excursion is cancelled. What Steamtown didn't realize was that with the D&H cancelling their support, they also were rescinding the offer of storing #759 indoors for the winter. #759 was shoved outdoors with water in it and when the Steamtown crew showed up in spring to bring it back to Bellows Falls, they found a bunch of freeze damage.

D&H ended up losing a lawsuit and had to pay to have #759 repaired and it was steamed up once more in the Bellows Falls yard, just to make sure everything was good, but it never made another trip under its own power, and it is usually hidden in the roundhouse at Steamtown's new location in Scranton. Ross Rowland had enough pleasant experiences with #759, that when he was planning his 1976 American Freedom Train, he envisioned doubleheaded NKP Berkshires for power and went as far as moving NKP #755 and #763 to High Iron Company's headquarters in New Jersey to begin a mechanical restoration, before he was overruled by the AFT comittee to use SP #4449 instead.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/26/21 11:24 a.m.

NKP #759 parked outside the N&W Roanoke shops

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/26/21 11:27 a.m.

NKP #759 passing an old barn on the Hagerstown line

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/26/21 11:42 a.m.

#759 at a crossing in Hackettstown, NJ. Check out the gondola full of coal behind the auxiliary water tank.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/26/21 11:45 a.m.

NKP #759 and #765 reunited at Scranton in 2015. #759 is more representative of the NKP Berkshire appearance, with the lower, yellow-painted bell and additional Mars light.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/27/21 7:33 a.m.

Boxcar graffiti'd for KFC using the Kansas City Southern logo, the F from BNSF and the Chessie Systems logo.

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/27/21 8:09 a.m.
kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
2/27/21 5:14 p.m.

Took Kazookid2 railfanning today.  Man, it was nice to get out of the house.  In about 2 hours, we saw 5 trains.  Highlights: A windmill blade train and a short local with an ES44AC as the only power unit.  The oddity is it was running long hood forward.  I'm sure it's done occasionally, but we've never seen it before.  It looks super strange given how long the engine is and the huge radiators on the tail end.  It basically looks like a hammerhead shark rolling down the tracks.  I can't believe the crew can see anything running that way.  I forgot to get a pic, of course, but here's one I found:

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/27/21 7:01 p.m.
NickD said:

Boxcar graffiti'd for KFC using the Kansas City Southern logo, the F from BNSF and the Chessie Systems logo.

That's actually really cool. Would have thought it was a legit paint scheme.

Donebrokeit
Donebrokeit UltraDork
2/27/21 7:22 p.m.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/27/21 9:01 p.m.
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) said:
NickD said:

Boxcar graffiti'd for KFC using the Kansas City Southern logo, the F from BNSF and the Chessie Systems logo.

That's actually really cool. Would have thought it was a legit paint scheme.

Also, although I doubt the painter knew it, Colonel Sanders was a railroad man. He had been a fireman on the Southern and worked the Norfolk & Western early in his life. He was a frequent passenger on a lot of the steam excursions in the '60s and '70s and could frequently be found holding court aboard excursions.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/28/21 9:56 a.m.
kazoospec said:

Took Kazookid2 railfanning today.  Man, it was nice to get out of the house.  In about 2 hours, we saw 5 trains.  Highlights: A windmill blade train and a short local with an ES44AC as the only power unit.  The oddity is it was running long hood forward.  I'm sure it's done occasionally, but we've never seen it before.  It looks super strange given how long the engine is and the huge radiators on the tail end.  It basically looks like a hammerhead shark rolling down the tracks.  I can't believe the crew can see anything running that way.  I forgot to get a pic, of course, but here's one I found:

Long Hood Forward operation is a rarity these days. Usually only happens on branch line work, or if the lead engine gets set out with some sort of failure and the second engine happens to be pointed that direction. Interestingly, CN must have planned on LHF operation with 2864, because it has ditch lights on that end. If an engine doesn't have ditch lights on the long hood and you are running it LHF, you have to reduce speeds to 20mph at crossings. CSX, for example, doesn't put ditch lights on the long hood end of their big SD70MACs and ES44ACs, but equips a lot of their old GPs and SDs so because they are secondary power and will likely see branch usage where they will be the sole power and there won't be turning facilities.

LHF was the industry standard on a lot of the early road switchers, like GP7s, GPS, RS-1s, RS-2s, RS-3s, RS-11s and H-15-44s. Railroads and manufactures felt it gave better protection in a collision, and it was just a natural progression from the configuration on steam engines. Some railroads paid extra for Short Hood Forward configuration or dual control stands to run either direction, and a lot of crews preferred running Alco and Fairbanks-Morse engines SHF to keep the exhaust fumes from blowing back into the cab.

Once the low hood high-visibility cabs came out on things like the RS-27 and GP18s, most railroads gave up on LHF and SHF became the standard. A few railroads held out, chief among them Long Island Railroad, Southern, Norfolk & Western and eventually Norfolk Southern. They also continued to order tall short hoods, when the low hood was the preferred configuration. It wasn't until GE and EMD began to charge extra for tall hoods that they really relented. Every once in a while, an NS train will still get dispatched "Southern Style".

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
2/28/21 11:35 a.m.

My son sent me a video from his tablet.  It was definitely running faster than 20mph and did have ditch lights on the long hood.  It appears it was an older ES44DC, number 2253.   (Not our pic)

CN 2253

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/28/21 2:57 p.m.

This guy caught a CN C40-8M, which is a C40-8 with a full-width cowl body, running in reverse, which had to have been hell for the crews, as rearward visibility is pretty much nonexistent

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
2/28/21 3:05 p.m.

The C40-8Ws were unique to Canadian National. They were also the first GEs purchased by Canadian lines, skipping the Universal Series and Dash-7s, and rode on trucks taken from trade-in MLW M630s

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/1/21 11:58 a.m.

Canada went big on the cowl units in the '80s, purchasing 5 different models from 3 different manufacturers. The idea was that by having a full body dropped over the frame, it would protect crews from the elements when walking between units or having to work on them. All of them had the body narrower just behind the cab and then it angled outwards. The idea was to improve rearward visibilty, and this tapered bodywork was nicknamed the "Draper Taper" after its creator William Draper, a former head of CN motive power who came up with the idea.

The first to be offered was the Bombardier HR616 in 1982. Bombardier had purchased Montreal Locomotive Works, which was all that really remained of Alco, with the idea of getting into the locomotive market. The HR616 used a 3000hp Alco 251E engine and 3-axle trucks, making it basically a continuation of the C630/M630. Ironically, despute the fact that the HR stood for High Reliability, they were very troublesome and Canadian National, the sole purchaser, retired all 20 of theirs after less than 10 years of service. All HR616s have been scrapped, although a bunch hung around at NRE's Silvis facility for something like 20 years, and Bombardier gave up on their locomotive builder dreams, bringing a close to Alco.

Canadian National returned for more cowls from GMD, the Canadian wing of EMD, with 60 SD50Fs. The SD50s did a lot of damage to EMD's reputation and the SD50Fs were not immune to this. After the crankshaft failures in the 3600hp 20-cylinder 645 engines in the SD45s, EMD tried making 3500-3600hp out of the V16 645. They suffered from broken crankshafts, excessive oil consumption and poor bearing wear, as well as electrical issues. CN ended up downrating them to 3200hp and finally retired their SD50Fs in 2008 and scrapped most of them, although 6 are still active on short lines.

After the SD50F, GMD then sold a cowl version of the SD40-2, called an SD40-2F, to Canadian Pacific in 1988. Canadian Pacific purchased 25 of these units, which earned the nicknames "Red Barns" for their outline and paint scheme. They were distinguishable by their 3-piece windshields, which were unique, all the other cowls using 4-piece windshields. The Red Barns were a much more successful unit, as they were mechanically an SD40-2. CP retired them all in 2016, but a few of them can be found rattling around with second owners, like the Central Maine & Quebec.

EMD regrouped after the SD50 with the SD60, which used the new larger displacement 710 engine making 3800hp. The SD60 was a much more reliable unit than the SD45 and SD50. Canadian National ordered 64 with a cowl body, called an SD60F. They were visually indistinguishable from the SD50F, other than the number series. The SD60Fs were retired in 2017 and mostly scrapped, although a few were sold off, including 3 to Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western, who already owns 5 SD50Fs.

The final entry to the Canadian cowls, and first GEs sold in Canada were the GE C40-8M. Canadian National bought 55, BCRail purchased 26 and Quebec, North Shore & Labrador purchased 3 of them. Canadian National ended up with BCRail's batch after they purchased them, and started retiring them in 2011. Weirdly, they retired the C40-8Ms and then replaced them with secondhand C40-8s that they purchased from UP and BNSF.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/1/21 12:03 p.m.
Donebrokeit said:

 

Wow, don't know where that is but it looks a lot like the Brandywine River valley, a little north of my neck of the woods.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/1/21 3:01 p.m.

A veritable cornucopia of paint schemes on this train in Conklin, NY in '88. We've got D&H, Guilford Lines, NYS&W, Chessie Systems and Family Lines/Seaboard Coast Line.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/2/21 8:14 a.m.

I just realized that the NYS&W unit in that lash-up is #4006, a GE C40-8, which (in)famously plastered a dump truck at a grade crossing while pulling an excursion during the 1988 NHRS convention.

Also, check out the cool NYS&W EMD F45. They acquired a couple from Burlington Northern, although they are sadly all off the NYS&W roster and scrapped now.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/2/21 8:16 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

That Delaware & Hudson livery is very handsome, but I bet it didn't weather well.

 

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