NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/18/22 4:40 p.m.

Bangor & Aroostook F3 #42 and two BL-2s, #51 and #56, at Glenburn, Maine in March of 1980. Consider that the #42 was built in 1947, and the BL-2s only two years later, and all of them were still on the job.

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
1/18/22 7:12 p.m.
NickD said:

In reply to Recon1342 :

Yeah, I saw a video today of a Union Pacific train with several cars on the ground at LA, because debris had derailed them. How long before someone gets hurt, either from a derailment or some of the looters attack a UP operating crew or yard crew? Or UP crews go on strike because they don't feel safe? The problem is, will California see that Union Pacific is correct? Treading carefully here, California has been on this trajectory for a long time and makes these idealistic decisions without seemingly any thought of real-world implications, and continues to do it. Will this wake them up and make them go "Yeah, this isn't working" and fix their legal system, or will they let UP walk out the door and pat themselves and claim they got rid of another dirty, pollution-generating industry?

If I was a UP lawyer, I'd be looking for everything I could to take LA county to court over this one. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/18/22 8:03 p.m.
Recon1342 said:
NickD said:

In reply to Recon1342 :

Yeah, I saw a video today of a Union Pacific train with several cars on the ground at LA, because debris had derailed them. How long before someone gets hurt, either from a derailment or some of the looters attack a UP operating crew or yard crew? Or UP crews go on strike because they don't feel safe? The problem is, will California see that Union Pacific is correct? Treading carefully here, California has been on this trajectory for a long time and makes these idealistic decisions without seemingly any thought of real-world implications, and continues to do it. Will this wake them up and make them go "Yeah, this isn't working" and fix their legal system, or will they let UP walk out the door and pat themselves and claim they got rid of another dirty, pollution-generating industry?

If I was a UP lawyer, I'd be looking for everything I could to take LA county to court over this one. 

Supposedly UPS, FedEx and other companies that partner with Union Pacific are standing with Uncle Pete on this one. BNSF is weirdly refusing to comment on the situation and no one knows how bad they are being hit by theft.

In a letter to LA County DA George Gascon, Union Pacific general director of public affairs for California and PNW said "Like our customers, UP is now contemplating serious changes to our operating plans to avoid Los Angeles County. We do not take this effort lightly, particularly during the supply chain crisis, as this drastic change to our operations will create significant impacts and strains throughout the local, state, and national supply chain systems.”

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/19/22 10:53 a.m.

BAR F3s in both the old blue and yellow and the new gray, red, black and white are parked at Oakfield, Maine, with a mix of other power, including at least two BL-2s, stretching behind them. This photograph was taken in 1973, and at the time there was a paper mill strike that had pretty much shut the Bangor & Aroostook down as a result. The photographer noted that this was the only time he was in the area to see the BAR and both days the weather was miserable and the railroad wasn't running any trains.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/19/22 12:08 p.m.

BAR #40 leading a GP7 and a GP38 at Masardis, Maine in 1977. The GP38s were the newest power owned by the BAR, and although they rostered 18 of them , only 9 of them were purchased new. The other half were secondhand from Conrail and ATSF.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/19/22 12:22 p.m.

A pair of GP7s at Northern Maine Junction in May of 1981. While the GP7 could never be considered a rare locomotive, to find one in 1981 on a Class 1 railroad that hadn't had it's nose chopped or 645 power packs installed or a Dash-2 electrical rewire was a rarity.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/19/22 12:34 p.m.

One of the Bangor & Aroostook's BL-2s was repainted to the BAR's original grey, dark blue, and yellow scheme and named "American Railfan", an unusual tribute to railfans.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/19/22 12:43 p.m.

A collection of BAR power at Northern Maine Junction. That unusual orange unit is a Morrison-Knudsen TE50-4S, which was an ex-UP GP7 that M-K rebuilt with a Sulzer-Busch 1500hp engine. Why M-K thought that replacing one of the most common and reliable engines around with a weird Swiss-designed marine engine was a good idea, I have no clue. There were several attempts by various companies to crack the railroad market with the Sulzer engine (sold in the US under rights owned by Adolphus Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame) and none of them ever found any purchase.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/19/22 4:40 p.m.

I still wonder what BAR #502's fate is/will be.  In the early '80s, Bangor & Aroostook retired their F3As but held onto one and cleaned it all up, renumbered it to the original 500-series number block and repainted it to the BAR's first diesel livery, a two-tone light gray with yellow striping (this was followed by the gray/dark blue/yellow livery when they were renumbered to the 40-series block, then the dark blue/yellow livery, and then the red/gray/black/white livery). They ran it in excursion use and for special events. It was taken out of service sometime around 1994, and then in 1995 the BAR was purchased by Iron Road Railroads. The #502 was tucked away inside the Derby, Maine shops. Iron Road Railroads went bankrupt around '02, and was sold off to Rail World and incorporated into the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic. Rail World/MM&A had plans to return the #502 to operation and even purchased some spare traction motors for it, but then the MM&A went bankrupt after the infamous Lac-Megantic disaster, at which point it was sold to the Central Maine & Quebec. The CM&Q then sold off the BAR's remnants to Canadian Pacific in 2019. Through this all, the #502 continued to be tucked away inside the Derby, Maine shops. When CPR stepped onto the scene, they began making moves to leveling the old Derby facilities. It was supposed to be moved to Brownville Junction, and there were rumors of a purchaser, but it only made it as far as Milo, before being set out with brake issues. It eventually made it to Brownville Junction, and then kind of fell off the radar there. It apparently made it up to CPR's St. Luc yard where it is sitting in a dead line with a bunch of other units while CPR "evaluates it's condition to see if it's worth restoring", according to one person on the internet . Weird that CPR is even interested in it, although maybe they want to use it in their heritage fleet with CPR #2816 when she makes her return. Also strange that it's value is even in question, since unmolested F3As are pretty rare, and this one was tucked indoors for decades and supposedly just needed brake work. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/20/22 10:16 a.m.

And now another railroad faces the threat of forced abandonment to be converted into a trail. Roaring Camp, Inc. which is the, operator of the Santa Cruz, Big Trees & Pacific Railway is facing forced abandonment of the in-operation Felton Branch Rail Line by the Regional Transportation Commission to be converted into a trail. 

Incorporated in 1958, privately held Roaring Camp, Inc. operates two railroads, including the Redwood Forest Steam Train and the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railway. Roaring Camp also owns the historic Felton Branch Rail Line, which is eight miles long and runs across a 1909 steel truss bridge and passes through a tunnel in Santa Cruz that was built in 1875. Norman Clark founded Roaring Camp and ran the business until his passing in 1985, after which his wife, Georgiana assumed ownership and management responsibilities. She was succeeded as CEO by Georgiana and Norman’s daughter, Melani Clark. Roaring Camp is a woman-owned business, with majority shareholders that include Melani Clark and her two sisters.

Roaring Camp’s diversified business operates in both North County and South County, and includes freight and tourist trains. Forced abandonment of the Felton Branch Rail Line will cause multiple adverse impacts for Roaring Camp, beginning with a permanent end to freight operations, which removes rail service as an option for local businesses. Currently Roaring Camp is under contract to provide freight service on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line through an agreement reached with the freight operator in 2021, including in South County where they are currently seeing growth in their services for multiple local industries. However, due to inaction by the RTC to repair two bridges, currently freight service is prevented from running the full distance between Santa Cruz and Watsonville (and beyond). Responsibility for the lack of access to freight services for local businesses north of Watsonville rests with the RTC under its agreement with the freight operator. In North County, the threatened loss of Roaring Camp’s right to freight service is especially shortsighted as it serves communities that the CZU Lightning Complex fire destroyed, and rail service would be incredibly helpful in being able to ship in supplies for the rebuilding process.

Roaring Camp’s tourist train operations are also threatened by the RTC’s forced abandonment plans. Their tourist trains carry approximately 200,000 - 250,000 guests per year (pre-pandemic), with a very large portion of those guests staying in area hotels, contributing to the local economy and tax base. Their beach train operations that run from Felton to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk remove approximately 9,000 cars off the road during busy summer months. 

Roaring Camp is also saying that should the Felton Line be declared abandoned, Roaring Camp’s rail line will be the first domino to fall in a series of moves that would conclude with abandonment of the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line that runs the length of Santa Cruz County. Abandonment of the SCBRL will result in the permanent end to any possibility of passenger rail service for Santa Cruz County.

According to Roaring Camp, the RTC’s forced abandonment of the Felton Branch Rail Line also represents a breach of trust and a betrayal of a commitment. Roaring Camp was urged by local elected officials to give up its right of first refusal to purchase the Santa Cruz Branch Rail line from Union Pacific. They were assured the rail line was an extremely important asset to the county, that the RTC had worked hard to line up funding from the state and that the sale to the RTC was for the benefit of the entire community. Roaring Camp was assured the line would be used for rail, thanks to funding from Proposition 116, which specifically calls for a commitment to rail service. In response, Roaring Camp cleared the way for the RTC to purchase the line. Now, the RTC is targeting Roaring Camp’s Felton Branch Rail Line as the first step toward forced abandonment of the full Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line and a betrayal of a commitment made to future rail that was made to Roaring Camp, the people of Santa Cruz County and the State of California.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/20/22 11:35 a.m.

Apparently the NYS&W GP40 assigned to the local Utica Division, #3040, is getting temperamental in her old age. Last winter it was down and out for some mechanical ailment for about a week, resulting in the NYS&W borrowing an Alco C425 from Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern while repairs were made. Then last week, the #3040 spent a couple nights tied down in New Hartford after some sort of electrical issue stranded it. It was fixed and seemingly back to normal, only to suffer another mechanical failure while out and about today. I know that the Suzie-Q shipped #3618, an SD45 that still retains it's V20 engine, up to Utica for some extra horsepower on trips to Sangerfield this spring, but I believe it only was used once or twice. I did see it still in the NYS&W yard at Utica, but someone said that some of the industrial track in Utica is restricted to 4-axle power. I'm going to guess that the switch into F.X. Matt Brewing is probably one of those. An SD45 isn't like an SD39-2, where it's a small light machine. An SD45 is a big, heavy bruiser. And the #3040 is the only 4-axle unit left on NYS&W's roster these days, after the short-lived GP40 #3042 was retired in 2014.

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
1/20/22 12:22 p.m.

 

That unusual car that NickD was pondering a while back took me some time to figure out, but I'm reasonably certain it's a "butter dish" milk tank car. Pretty fascinating equipment, with only one known survivor.

 

http://nyow.org/Articles/Butterdish/butterdish.html.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/20/22 3:26 p.m.

In reply to Recon1342 :

Interesting that the article is from an NYO&W modeler. I know that the O&W served a couple Borden's dairy, including this one at Edmeston and another at Earlville, but of the photos I've seen of the O&W, I don't think I've ever seen one with a Borden's butter dish car. Most of them are are just the old refrigerated box cars with the Borden's script on it. I've seen the Borden's cars on the Erie, DL&W, and Lehigh Valley.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
1/20/22 4:02 p.m.

The Smithsonian Channel has a program called Mighty Trains.  It's pretty good, this is a trailer.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 12:03 p.m.

Chicago & North Western Fairbanks-Morse road switchers hold court at the Escanaba, Michigan turntable in 1974. The H-16-66 "Baby Train Master" on the right wears a 3-digit number as a result of being built for C&NW subsidiary, Chicago, St Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha, reporting mark CMO, and commonly just called the Omaha Road. Also, compared to it's 1600-series H-16-66 sisters built for C&NW, the #170 has some of the earlier styling flourishes that Raymond Loewy included in his design, but were later omitted by F-M for cost-saving and ease of production.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 12:36 p.m.

C&NW and Milwaukee Road both had Fairbanks-Morse's factory at Beloit, Wisconsin as an on-line customer and so the two purchased a fair amount of F-M products. By the late 1960s, C&NW had gathered all their their remaining F-Ms up and sent them to the Upper Peninsula to haul taconite ore.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 12:39 p.m.

An endless string of ore jennies at Rock, Michigan.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 12:45 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 12:46 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 12:46 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 12:47 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 2:28 p.m.

This last stand of Fairbanks-Morses came to an end in 1975. Long in the tooth and orphans for nearly 20 years, they were simply too far gone, even by Cheap & Nothing Wasted standards. But this was the C&NW we're talking about, they weren't going to run out and buy new power. They briefly leased the big GE U50 "Whirlybirds" that Union Pacific was in the process of retiring, and while they had the horsepower for hauling ore, they were problem childs. Meanwhile, Norfolk & Western was in the process of rationalizing their roster, which meant they were unloading all their oddball equipment, and they had a sizable collection of high-hood Alco C628s and C630s. N&W had loved the C628s and ran them as standard power in coal drags, while the C630s they had been less impressed with and those had been relegated to reserve power. The C630s were therefore in nicer shape, but N&W wanted more money for them, so the C&NW purchased the cheaper but rougher C628s and sent them north, along with pretty much all their remaining Alcos on the roster, and the Fairbanks-Morses went to the scrapyard.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 2:49 p.m.

The big C628s crossing the Soo at Hermansville.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 2:57 p.m.

At the old coaling tower in Escanaba

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 4:01 p.m.

C&NW RS-11 #4251 at Springfield, Minnesota on a local job. The #4251 was a real oddity, in that it was formerly Carolina & Northwestern #11, where it was the only RS-11 on the Southern Railway's roster (Carolina & Northwestern was a Southern subsidiary), and then was sold to Chicago & North Western and became the only RS-11 on the Chicago & North Western's rosters. What are the odds that one RS-11 would be owned by two railroads with the initials C&NW and on both be the only unit of that model on the roster?

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