Friday 27 March 2020

Burlington Northern at La Crosse, WI, 10th February 1990

A trip to La Crosse, Wisconsin, escorted by a local rail enthusiast colleague and his sons, to whom I remain grateful. Very cold, wearing two pairs of trousers was the norm. At that time, some degree of access close to, or walking over, the tracks was accepted liberally, this has changed, especially after 9/11 and areas can be seen to now be fenced off for security.

Many different varieties of GP (General Purpose) locomotives were seen. Not a bad haul for only a few hours, and these are only part of what was seen at BN.

GP38-2 EMDX 810 was switching for BN in the North La Crosse Yard (over which, a drone flight). To the right is a 300 mile post as measured from Chicago. This loco, EMD builder number 7354-71, was completed in August 1972 for Penn Central as 8010, at that time going through what was then the largest American bankruptcy in history, leading into Conrail from April 1976. The locomotive was returned to the lessor, probably at the 15 year point, and became part of a lease fleet, placed into odd jobs across the railroads. Later LLPX 2340, in UP yellow, then GMTX 2193.Locomotive Leasing Partners was a GATX & GM joint venture. GMTX is another branding of GATX. Last working at the Chemin de fer Roberval-Saguenay, then noted in a yard at Montreal in February 2014.

The first box car is Cryo-Trans 1099, and may have been in usage to move fries for McDonald's.

GP38-2 specification has a EMD 645E 16-cylinder engine, with a Roots blower, which generates 2000 hp through an alternator with dc motors.

BN 3508 is a GP40M assigned for maintenance to Havre, MT, a railroad town, have a look here. Built in February 1968 as a GP40, EMD builder number 33751 as CB&Q 630.  It became BN 3030 in 1970, and was rebuilt by Morrison-Knudsen at Boise, ID, in October 1988 becoming 3508 as seen above. It became BNSF 3007 in August 1998, was repainted in 2017, and still appears to be on the roster, still sometimes noted at La Crosse one two.

The original GP40 specification is for a EMD 645E3 16-cylinder engine, turbocharged, set at 3000 hp. The GP40M package replaced the dc generator with an AR10 alternator with locomotive  generally updated to -2 specifications. The article of page 21 of this magazine explains the 1988 period BN rebuild programme, of which more below.

LMX was a vehicle of GE Leasing, used primarily for a lease of 100 B39-8 locomotives to BN, on a power by the hour basis, with maintenance provided at Lincoln,NB as part of the contract. This was seen as a novel approach in the late 1980s. Known at the lineside as 'Sharks', they were not considered reliable, and were all returned by June 2001 - " The LMXs rode really rough, were slow loaders, and had really small cabins.". LMX 8587 as completed in March 1988 with builder number 45496. After the BN arrangement, it was noted stored in a yard at Chicago in February 2002, then it became Relco RLCX 8587, National Rail Equipment NREX 8587 and is now Seminole Gulf 593.

The B39-8 have a GE 7FDL-16 engine set at 3900 hp.

GM also arranged a comparable lease from an entity called 'Oakway' of 100 SD60 units on similar terms, which lasted 20 years on BN and into BNSF.

BN SD9 6192 was an old-timer remaining in Class 1 railroad service, mainly for switching service, but sometimes seen on road work. Originally delivered to CB&Q in September 1957 as tbeir 445, EMD builder number 23624. Renumbered as 6192 in 1970 after BN was formed. In the 1970s it received a chopped nose and a second fuel tank. Into BNSF days later acquired ditch lights, noted in 2002, and last recorded in 2006.

BN 210 was a SW1200, EMD builder number 22753 delivered by EMD as Northern Pacific 151 in June 1957, later BN 210, and BNSF 3541. Now RLPX 3541 seen switching around Great Western Malting, Vancouver, WA.

BN 2702 GP39-2 EMD builder number 806037-3, new to traffic in March 1981 and still on the BNSF roster with the same number, last pictured in 2016. The GP39-2 has a EMD 645E3 V12 turbocharged diesel set at 2300 hp, the same unit as in Class 57 in the UK.

BN 2131 is a GP38AC builder number 37438 delivered in April 1971 to the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway as 655, and absorbed into BN in 1980. Still on the BNSF roster, seen here at Kansas City in August 2018. The GP38AC is essentially a GP38 with an alternator, delivered before the -2 series.

BN GP39M 2826 arrives from the southerly direction from Dubuque and Chicago with a piggyback train. This locomotive was originally delivered to CB&Q as 955, a GP30, builder number 27166 in May 1962. Later renumbered 2232 under the BN merger in 1970. The GP30 specification has a EMD 567D3 engine, set at 2250 hp. Rebuilt by Morrson-Knudsen as a GP39M in December 1989 with an engine uprated to 2300 hp and a -2 electrical installation (see note above) and still on the BNSF roster, active in 2019. The "white face" higher visibility scheme was first introduced in 1989.

The 2nd unit was BN 3104, a GP50 originally ordered by SLSF as 794, but delivered as BN 3104, builder number 796331-5 in December 1980. Retired by BNSF in July 1997 it became Indiana & Ohio (IORY) 3104 and later Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia (CBNS) 5004, although it saw service in the USA, then back to IORY as 5014 seen in 2018 in a G&W scheme. 

The GP50 is powered by a 16 cylinder EMD 645F3B set at 3500 hp.