Saturday, 2 February 2013

An American Interlude

I was privileged to visit America in the 80's and 90's, mainly through my work. Here is a selection of motive power, all related to the mid-West.

Waseca, Minnesota, on DME (Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern) on 3rd September 1989. This was a former CNW (Chicago & North Western) route, from Winona, Minnesota, on the west bank of the Mississippi, through about 600 miles to Rapid City, South Dakota, and a short distance beyond. During the grain season, extra power was required, and these CNW SD45's were re-activated from storage to cover the additional traffic.

6549 is seen in Conrail blue scheme, marked up for CNW stencils, number and cab logo. It is an EMD SD45, originally Pennsylvania RR 6226, delivered in January 1968, builder's number 33850. This became a Penn Central and then Conrail locomotive retaining its number. It came to CNW on 31st March 1983, and was retired in 1994, being sold to National Railroad Equipment of Dixmoor, Illinois and moved from Boone, Iowa, to Morrison Knudsen at Mountain Top, Pennsylvania for rebuild into  SD40M-2 for Southern Pacific, emerging as 8613 on 18th November 1994.

The SD40M-2 programme saw the cylinder blocks cut-down from the 3600hp 20 cylinders to 3000hp 16 cylinders, and the locomotives re-engineered to DASH2 specifications, therefore becoming rather similar to what lies within Class 59.

8613  was subsequently assigned Union Pacific numbers UP 4659 and  UP 2689, and is still understood to be on the roster. However it seems to be stored as 8613, reflecting the US economy, and was pictured at North Platte, Nebraska in September 2010.

6540 seen behind it had similar lineage, as PRR / PC / CR 6217, builder's numbere 33841 arriving on CNW on 4th April 1983. Retired in 1994 and moved from storage at Marshalltown, Iowa during June 1994, sold to Montana Rail Link, moved to Livingston, Montana on 30th June 1994, becoming MRL 373. Sold to Progress Rail in February 2007 for scrap.

In storage at the Livingston Rebuild Center (LRC) on 20th June 1994 is GMDD GP9 4520. This locomotive, builder's number A-422 was built new in Canada in March 1954 for Quebec, North Shore & Labrador Railway as their 126, being retired in 1971-2, later sold to Bellequip Corp and operated in lease service in Canada. In 1973 was resold to Precision National, and operated in lease service in both the USA and Canada. Purchased by CNW in April 1976, and delivered in July of that year.

CNW did not rebuild the locomotives 4514-4528. 4520 was retired on 27th October 1989 following storage at Oelwein, Iowa, and sold to the LRC in December of that year. No further information is recorded apart from some photos in similar location to mine, so I assume that it was disposed of here at Livingston.

One tip from an American railroad photographer was not to bother taking photos in June, as the sun would be high in the sky, with the trucks in shadow, as seen here, and caused by more southerly latitudes than in the UK.

My notes from this trip, uploaded on Compuserve in 1994, are still online.

Wisconsin Central GP30 715 arriving at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, 26th May 1990. This was previously Soo Line 715, builder's number 28335, delivered in May 1963 as part of a batch of 22 locomotives.

This locomotive is running on AAR Type B trucks (Alco trucks), through a trade-in of Alco FA-1 2220-B of 1949. The traction motors were from GE.

715 is now preserved at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, following retirement in November 2001.

This Wisconsin Central company was created in 1987 as a spin-out of the Lake States Transportation Division from Soo Line, soon after Soo Line acquired many assets from the Milwaukee Railroad. 18 of the GP30s were part of the sale to WC, who also acquired second hand power, including SD45s, many from Burlington Northern. Stevens Point was a great place to visit for traction variety.

Stevens Point is known for Point Beer, but this was then reputed not to travel well.

Working from Portage or Milwaukee, a Soo Line train approaches Grand Crossing at La Crosse, Wisconsin, and then the La Crosse yard, on the 24th March 1990.

The lead locomotive is in the "bandit" scheme, where the Milwaukee colours were painted over in black following the acquisition by Soo Line in 1985. It is GP40 2010, built in March 1966 as 190, builder's number 31676. Renumbered 2010 in 1968, later rebuilt by Milwaukee Shops, and still active with CP Railremaining in "bandit" colours.

Following is Soo 4401, a GP38-2, builders number 777020-2, delivered in September 1977, and still active with CP Rail, as a late survivor in these Soo colours.

2010 and 4401 are seen here close again in 2011.

La Crosse was also a brewery town, in this case Heileman, probably best forgotten, and matters have now changed. It is busy place for trains, with Soo Line crossing BNSF, the former also carrying trains for UP.

Diesels of the Chicago & North Western, Withers, 1995
Soo Line Railroad Company: Locomotive Roster No. 1, July 15 1987