NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/4/24 8:14 a.m.

I had to swing over to the east side of Rome yesterday on my lunch break and as I was driving by, I spied Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern #2455 switching out cars at American Alloy Specialties, so I stopped and took a quick photo. I wish I'd had my camera, and I'd had more time to chase them, but I was still pretty happy to finally get a photo of the #2455 out and about. I typically only catch the other two C425s, #2453 and #2456, and the M420W, #2042, operating on the MA&N. The #2455 is painted in BCRail two-tone green, as a nod to the unit's heritage. In 1975, the Erie-Lackawanna had defaulted on the loans for their C425s that they'd purchased, and the financing company had some sort of misgivings about the units being conveyed to Conrail. At the same time, British Columbia Railway was looking for new motive power, and had been considering buying new C424s from Montreal Locomotive Works, but then heard about the E-L units being up for sale, and for a good price. They bought the ex-E-L units, which were marshalled west to Chicago ahead of Conveyance Day, stripped of any E-L-owned material (fuses, flags, etc.) and then moved off the property on the day Conrail was formed and sent northwest. From what I've heard, the C425s were in such poor shape, due to E-L being bankrupt, that BCRail had to perform pretty extensive overhauls, to the point where the overall cost ended up higher than buying new MLW C424s. In the end though, they worked out well, and they provided roughly 2 decades of solid service up in British Columbia. Then, in the early '90s, BCRail was retiring them, and at the same time, David Monte Verde, president of Genesee Valley Transportation, was starting up the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern with the acquisition of what was left of the NYC's St. Lawrence Division from Conrail. GVT already had Alco experience from their first railroad, Depew, Lancaster & Western, so the C425s seemed a perfect fit. A deal was struck, and they ended up with E-L #2453/BCOL #803, E-L #2454/BCOL #804, E-L #2455/BCOL #805, and E-L #2456/BCOL #806. Originally delivered in BCRail green, over the years they were renumbered to the original E-L numbers and repainted in GVT corporate colors, but the #805 held onto it's BCRail paint and numbers until two years ago, when it was renumbered to #2455, but was repainted into fresh BCRail green in honor of it's heritage.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/5/24 12:26 p.m.

Photos show that Arcade & Attica #18, the only operational large steam locomotive in NY, is getting closer to operation. It passed it's FRA hydro test a few weeks back, the domes are back on, they've had the tender hooked up (not in these photos), and recently they reinstalled the air compressors and have begun prepping it for paint.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/5/24 4:00 p.m.

I hope they get the #18 running fairly soon, but not too soon, since I am currently without a camera. If you saw my post in the Minor Rants Thread, my camera was stolen out of my car in broad daylight at work yesterday, and hasn't been recovered. Also a real bummer is that my memory card with two years of these photographs was in it. I have the best, edited photos saved on my laptop, but the thousands of raw images are gone.

02Pilot
02Pilot PowerDork
6/5/24 5:24 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Wow, that sucks, especially the photos. As someone who has thousands of archived photos, I suggest going forward that you just dump all your raw photos onto a hard drive dedicated to the purpose. I've done it with external drives, but right now I've got an internal one that's just photos, and that automatically backup to another drive. Overkill? Maybe, but I've lost photos before, and I absolutely don't want to do it again.

Any video of the parking lot at work that might help track it down?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/5/24 6:17 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

The camera resolution at work is too poor to make out any distinguishing features and Oneida County sheriff's office hasn't ponied up for the CSI "Enhance" button. I found the camera for sale on Marketplace for $150, verified it was mine, right down to the tripod mount, called the police and gave them the guy's name and the ad and they never responded and the ad vanished an hour later, so I'm guessing it's gone now.

02Pilot
02Pilot PowerDork
6/5/24 6:31 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Wow, that's awful. I wish I had a spare digital to send your way, but I sold off the ones I wasn't using a few years ago.

I'll keep my eyes open to see if anything crops up. Do you have any preferences for brand or model?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/6/24 10:11 a.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

I had a Sony Alpha ZV-E10, which I really liked. It took good videos, pretty good photos and was fairly easy to use for a neophyte like myself. I really hadn't started diving into all the settings yet, and still needed to tinker with a few things (The auto-focus could be a little bizarre at times, as in "Hey, there's a large object in the center of the frame, but I'll focus on this tiny tree branch in the distance off in the very corner.") But I'm not really beholden to any one brand or model. I didn't have any lenses or any other accessories that I need to match to the new camera.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/6/24 10:14 a.m.

That camera I had is actually on sale for $100 off currently, and part of me is thinking, I should just order it, get it while it's on sale, and sit on it until my trip down to PA on June 21st/22nd. If it doesn't show up by then, then at least I don't have to pay full price for a new one. If, by some miracle, the police find mine, then I can just return it. I'm not feeling to confident that it will be found though. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/6/24 1:05 p.m.

Well, the CPKC #2816 trip had been going very well. She crossed over into Mexico late last week and has been heading down towards Mexico City. Unfortunately, near Nopala, Hidalgo, Mexico an unfortunate event occurred, as a young woman ran up and knelt down for a selfie within about 6 inches from the rail head, with her back to the approaching train, taking a selfie with her phone. She was hit in the back of the head by the edge of the pilot and has passed away from the injuries. I had seen another video, after crossing into Mexico but before this occurred, of another young woman standing close to the gauge trying to take a photo who had the phone swiped out of her hand by the engineer's side cylinder because she was that close.

Definitely a very different culture down there, related to the dangers of railroading, with people climbing on equipment (including #2816's tenders), climbing on infrastructure, standing in the gauge until the last second like stage rally spectators., etc. There was a time in the U.S. where people took similar risks, but still seemed to have the basic common sense to not get too close. There were also photos of it with the marker lamps, numberboards and headlight wrapped in cloth and with plywood enclosures over them to protect them from rock-throwers. As Mr. Sammy King, an American who did railfanning and even some railroading down in Central America said, he was cautioned by trainmen to watch for rock throwers when taking pictures out the dutch doors in Mexico in the late '80s. KCS de Mexico also had "ghetto grille" rock guards installed over the windshields of a lot of their motive power that was habitually assigned to Mexico.

As I've seen pointed out, its worth noting that CPKC hasn't published the schedule for it's transit through Mexico and other than Mexico City, there were no scheduled public display dates in Mexico, all likely for good reason.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/10/24 9:24 a.m.

Finally re-found photos of the #2816 in Mexico with protective measures over the lights and number boards. They had been posted on Reddit and then were removed later on. Videos also show them heading back north out of Mexico, with the CPKC GE leading, then the two FP9s, and then the #2816 behind them, perhaps as a protective measure and to avoid any more unfortunate incidents.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/10/24 11:00 a.m.

Well, ordered the same camera again, since it was currently on sale. I think it's highly unlikely it's going to turn up, especially with the value of the stolen items being under $1000.

I'm hoping to use it this Saturday, with the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners doing a trip over the Finger Lakes Railway from Canandaigua to Solvay, and then hopping on CSX at Solvay to go to Albany. That means it'll be a string of private vintage railcars running over the FGLK, hopefully pulled by those neat NYC-painted B23-7s.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/10/24 11:42 a.m.

I'm also hoping to get some more Finger Lakes Railway experience in July. I signed up for an Evolution Performance Driving School at Seneca Army Depot, in Romulus, NY, on a Saturday and I planned on staying in Geneva. Then I have an autocross an hour south at Chemung Speedrome, in Chemung, NY, the next day. Originally my plan was to head the 2.5 hrs northeast back to Rome after that autocross, but then I realized if I took Monday off, I could instead just go back to Geneva that night, spend the night there again, and then the next day chase Finger Lakes Railway symbol freight GS-1 (Geneva-Solvay) back east to Solvay/Syracuse, and then go from Syracuse to home.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/10/24 12:52 p.m.

Finger Lakes Railway's roster isn't as interesting as, say Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern's, since it's almost entirely GP38-2s and B23-7s, but the fact that they're all painted in New York Central lightning stripes and seem to be kept pretty well cleaned and maintained makes them a lot nicer. They had some early Geeps, but those are all gone except for one that's on the property but out of service, and they do have a GP40, although it's rebuilt to GP38-2 specs, and a U23B, but those are outliers. 

Can't complain about B23-7s too much either, since they look neat, with the radiator flares, and I like the GE U-series/Dash-7 short hoods better than the EMDs. B23-7s don't exactly grow on trees these days either, although it seems like they're the only GE Dash-7s that are going to have long lifespans. I think all the other 4-axle, and most of the 6-axle, Dash-7s are extinct or museum pieces.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/10/24 1:24 p.m.

The U23B that they have in a paint scheme inspired by the early Lehigh Valley livery used on the FAs, PAs, F-Units, RS-3s, GP7s, etc. The Lehigh Valley did have U23Bs, but they never wore this paint scheme, and this one isn't ex-LV either. It's actually an ex-L&N unit. I think there is still one or two ex-LV U23Bs still around, but they're down to the last few. The Lehigh Valley historical groups have tried to save one but have never been able to secure one. Those U23Bs were significant since they were the last new power for LV, and were financed by the United States Railway Administration, since the LV was too insolvent to buy new power of their own. The whole move was a precursor to Conrail. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/11/24 4:23 p.m.

For a long time, the big show for GE U-boats and Dash-7s was on the Transkentucky Transportation Railroad, which ran on the old L&N hauling coal from Paris, KY to a transload facility on the Ohio River at Maysville, KY. They got their start using weird stuff like ex-MoPac "GP12s" (an RS-3 with a chopped hood and a 1200hp EMD 567) and Baldwin VO-1000s, then transitioned to U28Bs from Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, Rock Island and CB&Q/BN, then later on moved to using U36Bs that CSX sold them for a song when CSX took an interest in the TTI, and then later CSX they sold them B36-7s.

They actually had both series of U28Bs. The ex-P&LE and ex-RI U28Bs were the earlier body style, pretty much indistinguishable from a U25B, with the longer short hood with an angled top.

The ex-CB&Q units, like the #257, had a stubbier nose, like the later U30/U33/U36s, and were a bit busier on the long hood around the radiator area.

Sadly, all the ex-P&LE units and ex-Rock Island U28Bs were scrapped, but one of the ex-CB&Q units was saved by IRM, who eventually restored it to CB&Q Chinese Red and gray. The TTI itself is also on life support; when coal user Dayton Power & Light closed its J.M. Stuart Station and Killen Generating Station, bot major TTI customers, it left East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s Spurlock Power Station as one of the few remaining users. Scrubber limestone trains in August 2015 rounded out the last unit-train business to the Maysville dock. Soon after, the railroad was shut as a through route and used for car storage and the Maysville transload facility was dismantled. Trans-Flow transload operation at the Paris yard currently rounds out the sole customer, and normal TTI operations are just switching the yard on rare occasions..

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/11/24 4:51 p.m.

A six-pack of U28Bs being fired up at Paris for an outbound hopper train to Maysville in December 1991

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/11/24 4:55 p.m.

A six-pack of U28Bs chugging along in the fall of 1993, with all of the radiators plastered with fallen leaves. 

02Pilot
02Pilot PowerDork
6/11/24 6:30 p.m.

No photo unfortunately, but I saw what I think was a UP SW1500 behind three larger, more modern engines heading westbound through Nebraska a couple days ago (I was driving east and had no chance to get a picture). I want to say the number was 1483, but my recollection is not as precise as I would like.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/12/24 11:54 a.m.

The Transkentucky came into existence in 1979, when Family Lines/L&N abandoned and sold off their Maysville Branch from Paris to Maysville. A consortium of local businessmen purchased the line and went to work restoring it to operation while maneuvering in court against CSX, formed shortly after the sale when Chessie System and Family Lines merged, between its L&N-served mines to the TTI Ohio River Terminal. The route required trackage rights and a mainline reverse move of several miles on CSX’s ex-C&O Cincinnati-Russell main line to serve the TTI port, which was what caused a real issue. Family Lines had no issue selling off the line, but then when the merger went through, it would be competing against CSX's lines from the Chessie System. Years in litigation, the formal merger of CSX divisions, the passing of the Staggers Act of 1980, favorable economics and energy policy, and luck finally cleared a path and TTI entered the coal hauling and transloading business in 1981.

By 1993, CSX acquired a majority ownership of Transkentucky Transportation, Inc through its Three Rivers Railway subsidiary, which came in handy. The U28Bs were expiring at a rapid rate, since two, and sometimes three, daily turns between Paris and Maysville, using up to eight U-boats each, left little time for maintenance, painting, or washing the fleet. The heavy coal trains were also beating the daylights out of the roadbed. The CSX acquisition kept TTI as a separate, independent entity but gave TTI access to needed capital, as well as new, more powerful locomotives. CSX sold them a number of freshly-retired ex-Seaboard GE U36Bs. They were kind of an odd choice for coal drag service, since, with 900hp per axle, the U36B was intended for high-speed freight service and had always had a reputation for being slippery, but CSX had adapted it for years of lugging heavy phosphate traffic at low speeds in Florida, making the unit an ideal candidate for the TTI. These dumped the silver and blue livery for a dark blue with bright yellow noses and large TTI lettering.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/12/24 12:47 p.m.

The U36Bs were followed closely by a batch of B36-7s, which, as the name would indicate, were the Dash-7 evolution of the U36B. Again, an odd choice for coal drag service, but they seemed to work well for TTI. Fresh out of the CSX intermodal pool, TTI ended up with 15 of the B36-7s, and trains of this era often consisted of eight units, a mix of U36Bs and B36-7s, with four on the head end and four more shoving on the back.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/12/24 12:50 p.m.

The #5815 was the most repainted B36-7 of the TTI pool. It was first delivered in Seaboard System gray and repainted into the original CSX YN1 paint by 1991. The unit then got full CSX bright future paint in 1994. The #5815 then entered TTI service soon after, and was repainted into this attractive blue and red paint before finally getting the new white and dark blue treatment, except this unit was the only one to get platinum mist gray instead of the white. Taken at  Flemingsburg Junction on August 12th, 2012

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/12/24 12:51 p.m.

Passing by the old abandoned L&N depot at Flemingsburg Junction, where another branch split off of the L&N Maysville Branch. The depot was demolished not long after this photo in 2010.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/12/24 12:55 p.m.

A four pack of B36-7s, in the final white and blue livery, gently ease down the former CSX (C&O) Cincinnati-Russell main line in an effort to get the rear end completely out onto the CSX line, before changing directions with another four B36-7s on the rear end. They then pulled east to the dumper riverport on the east side of downtown Maysville. By August of 2012, the operation had cut back from multiple runs a day to a couple runs a week, and the downtime allowed for the units to be kept painted and washed.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/12/24 12:59 p.m.

TTI did borrow two GE B40-8s from CSX as a test to see if they would work on the line as a replacement for the aging U36Bs, but found that the further 100hp per axle made them too slippery and the microprocessor controls made them too expensive to maintain. The two B40-8s, #5959 and #5951, were ex-Conrail units, and were eventually derated to half the horsepower, classified by GE as B20-8s, and used in yard and local service. The #5959 ended up at Pickens Railroad, the same operation that still runs those neat old GE U18Bs, and the #5951 was in the GE lease fleet as recently as 2021

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/12/24 1:16 p.m.

The B36-7s posing for a night photo shoot at the 1918-built ex-L&N roundhouse at Paris, KY that TTI still used

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