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NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 10:48 a.m.

A big, clean-lined Missouri Pacific 2-8-2 leads a string of refrigerated boxcars near Pueblo, Colorado.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 10:50 a.m.

Double-headed MoPac Mikados on an eastbound freight.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 10:52 a.m.

Handsome, Baldwin disc drive-equipped MP Mountain #5325 with the joint Western Pacific/Denver & Rio Grande Western/Missouri Pacific Royal Gorge passenger car

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 10:53 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 10:53 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 10:54 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 11:06 a.m.

Missouri Pacific 4-8-2 #5335 backs the Sunshine Special past New York Central power and down into St. Louis station.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 11:07 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 11:09 a.m.

Earlier, Elesco-equipped MP Mountain #5308 picks 'em up and puts 'em down with the Scenic Limited at Pueblo, Colorado. These were rebuilt into the MT-75s, like #5325, around the same time they were rebuilding the BK-63 Berkshires into the N-75 Northern's, and again the term "rebuilt" is used just as loosely. Only small portions, which included the back ends of their boilers, their domes, their cabs, and their stacks, were retained from their as-built state.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 11:10 a.m.

MP Ten-Wheeler #7508 clears it's cylinders leaving Nebraska.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/22 11:12 a.m.

One of the fearsome 2-10-4s of MP subsidiary Texas & Pacific, the namesake of the Texas wheel arrangement, thunders through El Paso.

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
7/11/22 6:46 p.m.

Given the time period, I can only imagine the stories that aren't recorded or were recorded but been damaged or just lost to time. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/12/22 12:44 p.m.

In reply to DjGreggieP :

Yeah, there was a lot of history lost, for a number of reasons. You had the early color photographs, where the film had some instability issues and would wildly shift colors after a few years. During the entirety of WWII, shooting photographs of railroads was a risky proposition and required special permission, because there was a possibility that you were an enemy spy. Even outside of wartime, some railroads had very strict railroad police that would chase off anyone on the property. More remote railroads or locales were often completely neglected, and even fairly large railroads were nearly entirely ignored because they were surrounded by more famous railroads (Erie, Lehigh Valley, CNJ and DL&W being passed over for PRR and NYC is a big one). Often, when more famous photographers passed away, their collections were scattered to the winds or even just taken out and thrown in dumpsters by their families.

But also, railroad preservationists haven't done the best job either. They tend to be too reactionary. While they were saving every last steam locomotive they could get their hands on, with no real plan for what they were going to do to them, they completely ignored a lot of early first-generation diesels, like Alco DL-109s or Babyface Baldwins or F-M Erie-Builts, and let many of them go extinct. And then they did the same thing with trying to save every last E- and F-Unit and let a lot of second-generation diesels, like nearly every variant of GE U-boat, slip through their hands. And its happening again with the GE Dash-7s and Dash-8s. And then, a lot of that stuff they saved sits around rotting into the earth because they had no real plan for what to do with it. Even in 1973, Ron Ziel called out Steamtown USA for having a collection that was composed of a lot of duplicate engines and that there was no real long-term plan for the operation. A little less kneejerk preservation, and a bit more selective collecting would have done wonders.

And that's just the tangible preservation. In terms of actual historical accounts of people who were there, the cupboard is pretty bare. A gentleman on RYPN talked about how in the late '70s he went to a library in Schenectady, NY and found that the former head of R&D at Alco was working there as a volunteer. He said something about "Oh, you must have been interviewed a lot" and the gentleman said "Nope, no one has talked to me once, but I'd be willing." The person recounting the story passed along contact information to the local NRHS chapter to have him come to a meeting and do a seminar and have it recorded. A couple years later, he saw where he had passed away and he contacted the NRHS chapter and asked if they had ever had him come in and speak. Nope. They never even bothered to contact him. All that history and knowledge, like the stillborn 241 and 260 and 270 engine programs, completely lost. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/12/22 2:40 p.m.

There is one story that I wish I could find some sort of confirmation on, whether it was another contemporary account or photographic evidence. In David Page Morgan's The Mohawk That Refused to Abdicate, there is a chapter where Morgan and photographer Phillip Hastings take a trip over the Canadian Pacific to Chipman, Alberta in 1954 for the purpose of catching the trio of CPR 4-4-0s still in service on the Chipman Branch. During the course of their trip, Morgan mentions speaking with a CP engine crew, who mentioned that the year before, CP had leased some of the M-63 Mikados from Central Railroad of New Jersey. The same employee said that the CNJ engines were cold in the winter (no all-weather cabs) and were prone to pipes freezing up but that they "had better steel in them."

The brief paragraph in the book has been the only place where I can find a mention of such a lease. David Page Morgan was certainly not the kind to make up tall tales, and it seems a weirdly specific story for the CP employee to make up. But it seems like somewhere there would be an account of this, or photos of them operating north of the border. The sight of those CNJ Mikados with their wide fireboxes in Canada would have had to have drawn the lens of at least one shutterbug, even in the days before the internet. And it seems odd for CP to borrow power from CNJ, who they did not interchange with at any location. NYC or D&H or B&M would seem more logical.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/12/22 4:13 p.m.

An interesting tale that I recently learned was that in the mid-'50s, Nacionales de Mexico did a cost comparison between continued investment in steam or conversion to diesels. Their idea was to buy up all the Van Sweringen Berkshires and spares they could get, and there were a lot of them stacked up like cordwood, and then convert them to oil-firing for long term use. The diesels won out, but not for the reason you would think. The Berkshires would have required expensive improvements to track and bridges to support them, while the diesels didn't. And so the only Berkshires south of the border were the odd little pocket Berkshires they purchased from (the original) Norfolk Southern

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/12/22 4:40 p.m.

Also, on the topic of the original Norfolk Southern, one of their Baldwin AS416s has been brought back to life. NS was the biggest purchaser of the rare A1A-trucked 1600hp road switcher, buying 17 of the 25 built, the #1616 is preserved at North Carolina Transportation Museum. This weekend, they fired up the prime mover for the first time in over 4 decades, and moved it around their yard. From NCTM's own post "At the age of 7, Lane Baker got his first ride in a locomotive aboard Norfolk Southern Baldwin AS416 #1616. Today, Lane serves as our VP Rail Operations and was at the throttle to move the #1616 under its own power after many years of being on static display. “When we tried to open the throttle and the traction motors kicked in, we couldn’t believe it.” There is still work to be done, but today was a huge step forward thanks to the mechanical talents of Brad and Ryan Wujcik and Donnie Smith. Norfolk & Western #620 came along for braking assistance as a safety precaution." So, Nevada Northern is reviving their ex-Bingham & Garfield VO-1000 and now NCTM is bringing back an AS416. A good year for Baldwin fans.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 1:37 p.m.

NS #1616 in the original red, yellow and black livery. The Baldwin AS416s and RS12s hung around the Norfolk Southern right up until the line was purchased by Southern in 1974, at which point they promptly found themselves out of a job.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 2:32 p.m.

Norfolk Southern #1616 alongside the Norfolk Southern heritage unit operated by Norfolk Southern. The #1616 is an unusual machine in that it is a very late build by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton, and by that point parent company Westinghouse had left the locomotive electrical supply business, so Baldwin instead had to contract with GE for generators and traction motors. GE even designed a main generator, the GT-590, to mate with the Baldwin engine and sold 22 of them to Baldwin. Two of them were used in NS #1616 and #1617, eleven were used in the final S12s built, and the remaining 9 are simply marked as "sold" with no disposition. Perhaps they were sold as service replacements or use in stationary generating plants? Also distinguishing #1616 from her 15 earlier sisters was that the hood was the same height as the very top of the cab, versus foot or two shorter on the earlier models.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 2:34 p.m.

Two of Norfolk Southern's earlier AS416s with the shorter hoods.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 4:13 p.m.

Norfolk Southern #1615, #1601 and #1613 crossing a bridge at Raleigh, North Carolina. Like most early road switchers, the AS416s were configured for long hood forward operation.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 4:16 p.m.

Norfolk Southern also purchased examples of the AS416's predecessor, the DRS-6-4-1500, like #1501 in the lead. This spindly wooden trestle was why the Norfolk Southern was a purchaser of A1A-trucked power.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 4:18 p.m.

NS #1604 leading the way across the Seaboard and Southern main lines at Raleigh.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 4:23 p.m.

You can see the difference in the hood heights between the #1615 and the later GE generator-equipped #1617 in this photo taken near Varina, North Carolina.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/22 4:24 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/14/22 10:21 a.m.

Something weird happened over at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad last week. They made a big announcement on Facebook that they were getting an ex-Norfolk Southern GE B32-8 to use on trains (which would give them a very weird roster of two GP30s, an F40PH, and a B32-8) and even said they were taking donations to repaint it and were looking for suggestions in what livery to repaint it to.

And then, a couple days later they deleted the Facebook post without warning or any explanation. I wonder what happened. The unit had been ex-Norfolk Southern, then had done some time on the Everett Railroad, then was sold to the Northern Illinois & Wisconsin, who never took delivery of it, and was now supposed to be leased by the NI&W to the Western Maryland Scenic.

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