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Everything posted by Mike_Walker

  1. Here’s the balance of the ‘L’s. Longhorn Railway. Based out of McNeil, TX, this company operated around 162 miles of former SP trackage in central Texas owned by Capital Metro. It took over operations from the Austin & Northwestern in 1996 but was short-lived and was replaced by the Austin Area Terminal Railroad in 2000. This in turn was replaced by Watco’s Austin Western Railroad in 2007. 2008 was an EMD SW1200 (30253 4477-15 1965) appropriately of SP origins, 2286 later 1621. It is seen at the GWR’s Loveland CO shop on 11 May 2000 just a few days after the Longhorn’s demise. The TC logo on the cabside is a reference to the Central Tennessee – the Longhorn’s parent. Louisiana & North West. This old established concern dates back to 1889 and operates 62½ miles from McNeil, Arkansas to Gibsland, Louisiana plus another 6½ miles from McNeil to Magnolia AR leased from the UP. Independence ended in 2008 when the company was acquired by Patriot Rail. The LNW was renowned for its well-presented locomotives as represented here outside the shop at Gibsland on the balmy evening of 5 October 2000. Left to right 56 and 57, the former GTW 6402 and 6400, GP40s (33912 7099-3 and 33910 7099-1 6/68) new as Detroit Toledo & Ironton 402 and 400, both recently arrived and yet to be repainted; 53, GP7u built in 1/51 as Santa Fe 2666 (13187 5054-12) and rebuilt in 2/79 as ATSF 2152 and 54, a GP35 (29742 7762-5 3/65) new to the Cotton Belt as 776, later 6516. In the background, stored out of use, is 50, a GP7 (18570 5245-2 6/53) which was new as UP 111, later 711. Earlier, the LNW had made use of F units. Still sporting traces of its former glory, F7A 48 (18372 3167-A4 3/53) sits at the Chadbourne NC yard of its later owner, Carolina Southern on 14 May 1997. It was new the SP’s Texas & New Orleans subsidiary as 379 and later served as Wellsville Addison & Galeton 2400. Louisville & Indiana. Operates freight service between Indianapolis, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, with a major yard and maintenance shop in Jeffersonville, Indiana. It is owned by Anacostia Rail Holdings. The 106-mile line was purchased from Conrail in March 1994. Previously, it was owned by Penn Central, and before that, the Pennsylvania Railroad. It also serves the former Clark Maritime Center, now Port of Indiana, Jeffersonville. In Louisville, the LIRC interchanges with the Paducah and Louisville Railway and CSX Transportation. In Indianapolis, the LIRC interchanges and the Indiana Rail Road at the Senate Avenue Terminal. 220, a Canadian-built GP38-2 (A4063 C432 3/81) which was new to Nova Scotia’s Devco Railway. It is seen at shop in Jeffersonville on 21 October 1996. Former Conrail SW1200 9378 (21478 4334-16 1956) was new as New Haven 655 and later Penn Central 9195. It too is at Jeffersonville on the same day. Louisville New Albany & Corydon. Based out of Corydon, Indiana this little line extended a little under 8 miles to Corydon Junction where it connected with the Southern Railway’s Louisville to St. Louis main line. Founded in 1881, it was sold to its main customer, Lucas Oil Company in 2006 and is now known as the Lucas Oil Rail Line. For many years it hosted the Corydon Scenic , tourist operation whose Budd RDC1s 9801 and 9802 were at Corydon on 21 October 1996. 9801 (5806 4/53) was originally New Haven 48, then Amtrak 16 and finally MARC 9801 whilst 9802 (5502 4/52) was NH 21 then MARC 9802. Lowville & Beaver River. Located in upstate New York, this line connected Lowville NY with Croghan, 10½ miles. Incorporated in 1903, it connected with the Mohawk Adirondack & Northern (originally the NYC) at Lowville. In 1991 it was acquired by the Genesee Valley Transportation, which also controls the MA&N, but has been inactive since 2007 following the closure of a paper mill which as its main customer. 1947, a classic GE 44 Ton (28345 4/47) was acquired new – hence the number – and is seen at Lowville in September 1998. Luxapallia Valley. This 38 mile line connects Columbus, Mississippi with Belk, Alabama. It started operations in 1996 as a subsidiary of the Columbus & Greenville taking over former Southern Railway trackage and along with that company was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming in 2008. GP38 2880 seen at the C&G shops in Columbus on 4 October 2000 has an interesting history. Built in 6/66 (31782 7895-1) for the original Norfolk Southern Railway as its 2001; it became Southern 2880 when that company absorbed the NSRY in 1982. Originally low nose, the Southern naturally rebuilt it with a high nose and, of course, it passed to the present Norfolk Southern retaining the number 2880.
  2. Hi Brian, I'll pass on this too as I have no requirement for any autos. But thanks for all your hard work on these pols, let's hope they bring forth some fruits. Mike
  3. Oops, looks like a SPAD or the Bobby's extremely keen!
  4. Hi Jamie, I think you'll find 50 is a General Electric U6B dating from 1959 and the track gauge is 3' 6". 34 in one of the above photos appears to be an earlier GE possibly a 70 Ton.
  5. I duck when l put my car in the garage! Yes I know it's stupid but I can't help myself...
  6. The one I've been waiting for! 5, 6 and 7 all would be of interest enabling me to replace my Airfix et al B Sets with something better. Fingers crossed someone grasps the nettle! Mike
  7. When I did a PTS course at Crewe it was taken by an exile from Somerset. Apart from myself, all the others were rookies to the rail industry so the course started by explaining what is meant by Up and Down then the tutor went on to explain Fast and Slow lines. He paused and explained that "in some parts of the country they don't use Fast and Slow but Main and Relief. So why's that, Mike?" Without pausing for thought I replied that "on the Great Western our Relief lines usually have higher permissible speed than the Fast lines up here in narrow gauge country so the term Slow seems inappropriate". "Exactly" came the reply " if everyone had listened to Brunel we could have had high speed trains years ago without all this tilting malarkey"! And before anyone starts, yes, I know that's not strictly true but it caused us both a good laugh and left more than a few students completely perplexed.
  8. May be, but it is generally accepted in this area that if BNE-HWY had not closed in 1970 it would be viable today and be a major contributor to reducing road congestion along the route. Sadly, for many reasons, reinstatement is not possible despite what some locals think.
  9. True, but it has to be viewed from the perspective of the period. The coming of the railways provided an opportunity for small communities to be connected to the outside world as never before and therefore there was a mad scramble to get connected much like the desire to bring high-speed broadband to the remotest of communities today. Until then they'd been reliant on horses or their feet. Remember too, it wasn't just passengers that were served by these branch lines, many were promoted primarily for goods. They enabled a wider range of products to reach all parts of the country and had a dramatic effect on the cost of transporting coal, slashing costs for the consumer. As for the "dubious" figures used by Beeching to justify his plans, it did not stop with his departure. As an example: After the Bourne End to High Wycombe line closed in 1970 as a result of an obvious attempt by BR to discourage use, the same started to afflict the remaining section. As a result the Marlow Maidenhead Passengers Association was set up which quickly formed a unique bond between its officers and certain senior managers at Reading. All have long since passed away but even so I'll not go into specifics. Suffice to say that following one particularly "convivial" meeting BR agreed to open the books to prove the branch was losing money. Fortunately (unfortunately for BR) the MMPA could call on the services, pro-bono, of some very experienced accountants who were commuters on the branch. Their findings included the fact that the only revenue assigned to the branch was that for journeys wholly within the branch. For any journeys from branch stations to Maidenhead or beyond 100% of the revenue was assigned to the main line and not a penny to the branch despite the vast majority of journeys being to Maidenhead or beyond. Likewise, the cost of the alterations at Bourne End were shown as a recurring annual cost rather than a one-off capital investment amortised over several years as any other business would. Once this was made public in the district, BR admitted the true loses on the branch were a fraction of what they'd claimed and the line has thrived ever since. Today it helps that the current MD of GWR was brought up in Marlow and for a few years actually served on the MMPA committee! Another thing that didn't help the survival of many lines was the failure to modernise and stick to the old way. For example, despite the introduction of Diesel railbuses or railcars, the stations remained fully staffed and fully signalled for may years meaning the only real saving was in the cost of a fireman, fuel (?) and motive power maintenance.
  10. From this I would conclude that it was repainted from SR brown with BR(S) markings to BR grey with black patches sometime between 1955 and 1958. Peter Gray's photo of it taken on 31-5-58 (above) shows it to be very clean and therefore probably no too long after repainting and does include the NOT IN COMMON USE lettering. The shot in Michael Messenger's Bodmin & Wadebridge book was taken in August 1961 and shows the same livery with only minor weathering but with COND added. I conclude therefore that it was always NICU since at least 1955 possibly back into SR days which makes the Kernow version incorrect but thankfully John Isherwood has come to our rescue.
  11. Interesting. Does the book give any idea of the date? The livery appears to differ from the pictures we've seen elsewhere or on the model and could possibly still be in SR brown with the SR removed (do I detect traces?) and the S prefix added.
  12. Well I don't know of anywhere else in the Devonport area where they could load it.
  13. Armour Yellow is a deep, rich shade of yellow when freshly applied but as I said earlier it does fade badly in some conditions as shown by this pair. So any shade in between would be OK. Santa Fe's yellow also faded badly and don't even mention the effect of sunlight on some batches of BNSF orange applied by GE! CNW used two shades of yellow, the earlier darker shade and the later "Zito Yellow" which was quite pale.
  14. Truck has now been removed and seems to have suffered remarkably little damage.
  15. Quite right. A friend of mine drives the Oxford Tube double-deck coaches along the M40 and was peeved at train drivers earning around double what he does. He reckoned his job was far more complex and stressful - "train drivers don't even have to steer"! He was taken to Reading and given a few hours on GWR's HST simulator (this was a few years back) which quickly changed his view and shut him up. It was bad enough for him to just "drive" the thing let alone have to take the route and rule book knowledge into account. Incidentally, he tells me that if for any reason they have to deviate from their prescribed route due to a road closure, they have first to contact the depot by radio and be given instructions exactly which alternative route to follow. Failure to do so is a firing offence.
  16. UP yellow does fade badly after a few years. I've seen locos that are closer to cream than yellow!
  17. This time we have the first group of ‘L’s. Lake Superior & Ishpeming. Located in the Upper Michigan peninsula, this shortline was founded in 1892 and today operates as independent concern still serving the iron-ore mining in the area. At its peak it operated nearly 120 miles but that has now reduced to around 25. My only visit, on 7 September 1990, was the day after I’d had an unpleasant encounter at the Escanaba & Lake Superior. I called at the LS&I offices in Marquette, introduced myself and enquired about visiting the railroad. This caused some mirth in response. It seems I’d turned up in the middle of an industrial dispute in the mining industry and as a result nothing was moving on the railroad! However, I was welcome to visit the yards at Eagle Mills and a pass was issued – the only restriction was in actually entering the workshops. They also explained that the hostile reaction at the E&LS was probably down to so-called “enthusiasts” removing builders plates and other parts from their Baldwins. To add to the gloom, it was a vey wet day! Stored at Eagle Mills was ALCo RS3 1608 (80737 5/54) which was purchased new. It was later sold to the Michigan Northern. The LS&I operated a number of less-common General Electric “U Boats”. 2303 was a U23C (37572 9/70) again purchased new and still wearing its original dark red livery. 2501 is an example of the U25C (35063 7/64). Another new purchase it wears the later bright red livery with the stylised initials on the hood side. U23C 2300 (36706 3/68) wears the final green livery whilst 2301 (36707 4/68) is still in the bright red. All these early units were replaced by a fleet of former BN U30Cs. The ore dock at Marquette where trains unloaded their cargos into Great Lakes steamers. Several LS&I steam locomotives survive. The best known is 18 which retained that number with the Grand Canyon Railroad. The 2-8-0 was built ALCo-Pittsburg (46941 1/10), drivers 4’ 7”, boiler 200 psi; cylinders 22"x28", tractive effort 42000lbs. Seen at Grand Canyon in 5/91, it has since moved to the Coalbrookdale RR at Boyertown PA where it is currently stored. Lancaster & Chester. Known as The Springmaid Line, the L&C operates 29 miles in South Carolina and started as the 3’ gauge Cheraw & Chester RR in 1873 becoming the L&C in 1896. It became part of the Gulf & Ohio family in 2010. For many years the line was operated by EMD switchers. SW900s 90 (30759 4489-1 10/65) and 91 (30760 4489-2 11/65) and SW1200s 93 (24132 4414-1 11/57 ex-CR 9354 nee-PRR 7900) and 94 (24149 4414-18 11/57 ex-CR 9336 nee-PRR 7917) are seen switching at Chester SC on 28 April 1999. Laurinburg & Southern. In neighbouring North Carolina, the Laurinburg & Southern was founded in 1909 and comprises 28 miles from Johns NC to Aberdeen , although the connection at Aberdeen has been abandoned. It also operated an extensive locomotive leasing business but was acquired by Gulf & Ohio in 1994. Much of the line is now out of service and used for car storage. Laurinburg & Southern 116, an EMD SW1 (7510 E1070-9) new in 8/49 to the Union RR in Pennsylvania (463) outside the shop at Laurinburg on 15 May 1997. Leadville Colorado & Southern. This company provides tourist service on 13¾ miles of the old narrow gauge Denver South Park & Pacific between Leadville and Climax, Colorado. The line was converted by standard gauge in 1943 and was operated by Burlington Northern until 1988. 1714 is a chop-nosed GP9 (20644 5043-1) new as Northern Pacific 241 in 8/55 and latterly BN 1714 seen at Leadville on 19 September 2000. Lewis & Clark. Located in Washington state, this line connects Chelatchie with a connection to BNSF at Rye Junction, around 30 miles. Once part of the Northern Pacific, it has had several owners in recent times including the Longview Portland & Northern and Chelatchie Prairie. When the latter sought to abandon the line in 1986, the county bought it and leased it to the Lewis & Clark which is, of course, named in honour of the two pioneers who did so much to explore the northwest. SW8s 82 and 83 (18350 4179-4 and 18353 4179-7) both built in 1953 for the Southern Pacific 4615, 4618 (nee-1120, 1123) at Battle Ground WA on 18 April 1998. Little Rock & Western. Another line to emerge from the ashes of the Rock Island, the LR&W connects Danville and Pulaski, Arkansas, a distance of around 79 miles. Shortline operations started in 1980. It is now part of Genesee & Wyoming. ALCo Century C420s 101 and 102 at the company’s headquarters in Perry AR on 28 March 2004. 101 (84529 2/64) was originally Long Island 207 with a high short nose whilst 102 (3467-1 8/66) was new as Louisville & Nashville 1306 and was built with a low nose. Livonia Avon & Lakeville. Operates 8½ miles of former Erie RR track between Avon, New York and Lakeville. It commenced operations in 1964 and in addition ti its “home” operation, the company is parent to the Bath & Hammondsport and the New York & Pennsylvania Railroad. ALCo S2 72 at Lakeview NY in September 1998. Built in 7/41 (69535) it was originally South Buffalo 72. More ‘L’s to follow…
  18. Apologies for the long gap since the last instalment but I’ve been kept busy with other things. Kalamazoo Lake Shore & Chicago. This Michigan shortline operated 4¼ miles of former Pere Marquette track between Hartford and Paw Paw it took over from CSX in 1987 reviving the name of an early railroad. It was short-lived and went bankrupt. Since 1995 the line has been operated by Pioneer Railcorp under the West Michigan banner but sold it to local interests in 2015. The only locomotive to receive KLSC livery was former Santa Fe GP7u 85 seen at Paw Paw on 13 September 1990. Built as ATSF 2890 (18907 6546-12 12/53) it was rebuilt by the Santa Fe in 11/77 becoming 2110. 2067 is another GP7u clearly of Santa Fe origins, in fact from the same order. It was originally ATSF 2893 (18910 6546-15 12/53) and was rebuilt as 2067 in 4/73. Note it carries the reporting mark, NRRC, of the Narragansett Railroad on the cabside. In addition to freight service, the KLSC also hosted the Michigan Star Clipper dinner train until that moved to COE Rail in 1991. The Michigan Star Clipper was noteworthy for the stock it used including three cars from the Pennsylvania Railroad’s experimental low-slung Keystone train built by Budd in 1956. Of the original eight cars, coaches 9064 and 9065 were used along with power car 9600. Splicing the coaches was diner 8022, probably ex- AMTK 8022 nee-SCL 5922 built by Budd in 1947. Kankakee Beaverville & Southern. In December 1977, Conrail was set to abandon 25 miles of their ex-New York Central Railroad trackage between Kankakee and Sheldon, Illinois, when instead it was purchased by Beaverville businessman Fey Orr to service his lumber and agricultural products industry based there. Eighty miles of the bankrupt Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad's trackage from just north of Donovan and Danville were purchased in 1981. These two lines cross near Iroquois. The Norfolk Southern abandoned its ex-New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad trackage between Cheneyville, Illinois (north of Danville) Boswell, Indiana and Lafayette, Indiana, which KBSR purchased in 1991. Several other abandonments occurred in the area by Class I railroads which the Kankakee, Beaverville were able to capitalize on. Currently, the KBSR operates about 155 miles of trackage in a vaguely triangular shape between Kankakee, Danville, and Lafayette, with numerous sidings. The KBS was a firm supporter of ALCos from the start although more recently a switch has been made to EMDs. On 23 October 1995 RS11s 318 (83583 6/60 ex-BN 4193 nee-NP 913) and 321 (81777 4/56 ex-N&W 321) were outside the shops at Iroquois Junction. The KBS took advantage of the Wisconsin Central’s clear-out of ALCo power following its take over of the Green Bay & Western by acquiring one of the latter’s “RS20s” and a RS11. The former, 308, stands at Iroquois Junction on the same day. It was built as a RS3 (81287 6/55) but was rebuilt with a 2000hp 251 series prime mover and chopped nose. Just under a year later, on 16 October 1996, 308 and RS11 318 (83583 6/60 ex-BN 4913 nee-NP 913) were switching at Iroquois Junction. Later that day, 318 and 308 are seen passing the large Cargill elevator at Sheldon IL and its resident GE 80 Ton #2 (17751 2/43 USA 7851). The KBS train was coming to a stand to wait for a Toledo Peoria & Western freight to cross the diamond ahead of it. This second visit was part of a tour Steam Powered Video organised and the visit was hosted by the KBS president Fey Orr. This remarkable gent started out as a school teacher and inherited a local grain elevator. As mentioned above, he went on to acquire several other local lumber and agricultural businesses. He told us that when the railroad was facing abandonment he decided to buy it but had trouble arranging the finance from his bank. So, as you do with America’s small-town banks, he got himself made president of that and lent himself the money! He treated his guests like royalty with a slap-up lunch at a local diner (he owned that too, naturally) and led our convoy of minivans chasing 318 and 308 to various locations as they went about their business. In return we helped push the trucks back under one of the ALCOs that was being repaired. Sadly, Fey passed away in 1997 aged 85. Vice President Kevin Stroo then took over as President of the KBS until his death in 2009. Current President is Tyler Stroo. Vice-President is Neil Stroo. Talk about keeping it in the family. Kansas & Oklahoma. A Watco subsidiary, the K&O started up in 2001 replacing the Central Kansas Railway, an OmniTRAX subsidiary, which operated nearly 900 miles of former Santa Fe track in western Kansas and Oklahoma from 1993. Both wearing WAMX (Webb Asset Management – closely affiliated with Watco) reporting marks; GP7u 7001 (16387 5145-21 8/52 ex-ATSF 2743 r/b 2206) and GP35 3521 (29965 7776-2 1/65 ex-DRGW 3050) switching at Orient Yard, Wichita KS on 18 April 2002. Two less pristine members of the roster, WAMX 7018, GP7m (11123 6074-7 3/50) which was new as MKT 1601 and carrying remnants of the livery of its previous owner, South Kansas & Oklahoma; and Helm 3611, GP38 (53913 7191-88 8/69 ex-CR 7762 nee-PC 7762), at Orient Yard, Wichita KS on the same day. Kiamichi Railroad. Headquartered at Hugo, Oklahoma, this shortline operates 231 miles formed of two former Frisco (SLSF) lines. It started in 1987 and was later purchased by RailAmerica and therefore passed to Genesee & Wyoming. Kiamichi GP7 706 was built in 10/51 (7897 5001-5) as Louisiana & Arkansas 154, later being absorbed into the parent KCS fleet as 4154. It is seen off line at the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union shop in Sapulpa OK on 16 April 2002. Kyle Railroad. Formed in 1982 and named after its owner Willis B. Kyle, this took over operations of the former Rock Island main line between Phillipsburg, Kansas, and Limon, Colorado; 777 miles. It is now part of Genesee & Wyoming. Again off line at Nebraska City, Nebraska on 11 April 2002, Kyle 1828 is a rare EMD GP28 (28945 5659-9) built in 9/64 as Illinois Central 9437 and later ICG 9437 then Iowa RR 9437.
  19. As promised here is the text of an article I prepared for the March 2020 issue of The Marlow Donkey, the magazine of the Marlow & District Railway Society: As GWR launch their new high speed services between Paddington and Bristol it’s worth remembering a short-lived earlier attempt by BR’s Western Region to speed up services on the Paddington to Bristol and South Wales routes. The genesis of this idea came whilst the legendary Gerry Fiennes was General Manager of the Western Region (1963-65) and some test runs were made in 1964. However it was to be from the 18th April 1966 that a speeded up timetable was launched allowing certain trains to run at 100mph when the general maximum limit on the WR was 90mph. Two train sets were provided, one of them formed from the experimental XP64 set the other a set of freshly overhauled Mk1s riding on ‘Commonwealth’ bogies. Both carried the then newly introduced blue and grey livery. The former worked the 08:20 Swansea-Paddington, the 12:45 Paddington-Bristol Temple Meads and 16:15 Bristol TM to Paddington whilst the other covered the 08:45 Paddington-Bristol TM, the 11:15 Bristol TM to Paddington, 14:45 Paddington-Bristol TM and 18:15 Bristol TM-Paddington. Motive power was a complete break for the WR which allocated eighteen of its then recently acquired English Electric Type 3s, D6875-D6892 to the trains operating in pairs. Normally, these were limited to 90mph but this group received additional maintenance and were specially authorised to operate up to 100mph. The 100mph running was allowed on two sections in each direction. On the Down Main it was permitted from MP 11 (Hayes & Harlington) to MP 29½ (Ruscombe) and from MP 43 (Lower Basildon) to MP 63¾ (Challow). In the Up direction it applied from MP 63¾ to MP 43¾ and from MP 43¼ to MP 10. The experiment didn’t last long. Timings were tight, for example Paddington to Chippenham in 72 minutes but time was often lost and by January 1967 single Brush Type 4s were mostly in charge.
  20. No, they weren't, just a small group that got enhanced maintenance. I have details of the locos involved and will look them up in the morning.
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