Friday, July 6, 2012

alpha and omega

One of the favorite things I got to do at Conrail, was keep the new locomotive specs.  I had to make sure the specs contained the proper description of the locomotive including options and additions needed for each model each year.  It also included communicating with the locomotive builders and some minor negotiating on details.  But, the best part of the job was getting to visit the builders, particularly when the first production sample was ready.

There were lots of changes in 1990 when Conrail started taking delivery of new, GE "wide cabs".  I went to Erie to witness some noise level testing in April of that year and got get a good look the first unit.

C40-8W number 6050.  Here it is sitting on the East Erie Commercial  prior to delivery.  About the only thing missing here is the white sill stripe on the anticlimber.  It'll get that before final delivery.  

Fast forward.  Conrail took delivery on 180 of these beasts plus another handful lettered for LMS - a leasing company that Conrail was part owner of.  Then came the aborted merger with CSX and the ripping apart by CSX and NS.  NS got their 60% and slowly, the blue was painted into black. Only a few remained in blue at the start of 2012.  The end was near.

But, then NS announce their heritage locomotive project.  Twenty locomotives to be painted in NS's heritage road paint schemes.  The Conrail unit was to be the first - at Junaita Locomotive Shop where a good number of the 180+ had been painted - a GE wide cab.

So,  here it is.  The very last GE "wide cab" locomotive to get painted in a Conrail Scheme seen here in July 2012. 
At NC Transportation Museum

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