Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Window Into The Real Norfolk Southern

The original Norfolk Southern Railway Co. operated in Virginia and North Carolina between 1981 and 1974 when the Southern Ry bought it but kept the name.  The Southern  merged with the Norfolk & Western to form the current Norfolk Southern Ry.  It's identity is gone but some pieces of the original Norfolk Southern operate as short-line railroads operated udifferent names and separate from the Norfolk Southern.

The map below shows the original Norfolk Southern in its maximum extent prior to 1974.
My window into the Norfolk Southern was 1968, 69, and 70 when I lived in southeastern Virginia.  I knew little about the railroad but it would once in awhile show up as I was scouting for trains in various cities.  Locomotivess 1 through 17 were GP18s.  Number 6 below kindly waited on May 24, 1970 in Plymouth, NC for me to show up and take its picture.

Geeps 8, 3, 2001, and 13 are about to pull in Charlotte, NC on October 27, 1968.  2001 is a GP38.  The following pictures show the other units on the train.  Also note the NS boxcar #1311 to the right in the first shot.

I was surprised to learn that the Southern rebuilt the NS geep with a high short hood and long nose forward.  Was there some sort of union agreement?

Here are two pictures of #11 working in Norfolk in May of 1969.

I volunteered at the North Carolina Transportation Museum last winter and guess what was there?  NS 1616, a non-operable Baldwin AS416.  I had taken NS 1617 in Chesapeake, VA in May of 1969.  And yes I duplicated the picture as nearly as possible.

During the summer of 1963 I worked for the CB&Q filling in for vacationing agents, operators, and levermen.   As the agent at Leland, IL for a couple of weeks, I found NS 28226 on the team track.  I no doubt handled the waybills for the car.  I doubt I knew anything about that NS.  Didn't know I'd be photographing it by the end of the decade and 50 years later photographing its metamorph.

I hope you enjoyed this peek through the window my camera made.

As you might expect the original NS has a historical society.  Their website is here:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

EMD E5s and E6s I Have Known

I Have Known

Well "known" is really stretching the term.  I'll show you E5s and E6s where photons from the sun bounced off the locomotive and impinged the Kodachrome in my 35mm camera.  So it wasn't an intimate relationship.

I've photographed Rock Island and Seaboard Coast Line E6s and CB&Q E5s.  The main difference between an E6 and an E5 is the stainless steel body of the E5s.

Where to start.  Well, with the most recent, the years I spent in Ashland, VA (1968 to 1972) during the transition from SCL passenger trains to Amtrak passenger trains.  Then I'll bounce back to my roots in Chicagoland and present the Rock's two contributions.  And then the ones I love.  The ones with names starting with Silver.

But First a Tad of Background

E5s and E6s had two 1000hp model 567 Diesel engines each running a generator to power the traction motors.  16 F5s were built (11 As and 5 Bs) in 1941 and 42. C&S and FW&D each had an A and a B and the CB&Q had the remainder.   91 E6As and 26 E6Bs were built between November 1939 and September 1942 for 14 roads.  ACL had the most, 22As and 5Bs.

Considering that there were a total of 1,251 E7s, E8s, and E9s built.  The probability of finding an E5 or and E6 heading a train was small unless you knew where to look.

Seaboard Coast Line's E6s

This is actually a very special locomotive. She was built as an E3 in November of 1939 but wrecked in the late 1940s and rebuilt to E6 standards.  She still exists, painted in her original Atlantic Coast Line "The Champion" (modern NYC/Miami passenger train) purple motif at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.  In the above picture she is on the ready track at Broad Street Station (Richmond, VA) waiting her next assignment.  It's January 17, 1970.  Below she is be washed by volunteer Noah last spring (2013) for a special event at the Museum.

Actually she was built by EMC (Electro-Motive Corporation) before in became a division of GM, i.e., EMD (Electro-Motive Division).  One could argue she is the last remaining E3.  She ran over 6 million revenue miles before she was retired circa 1970.  Then tourist railroads put more miles on her.

This shot in Richmond clearly shows why they were called shovel nosed.  The F-units and higher numbered E-units had much flatter "bulldog" noses.

Both Seaboard Air Line and Atlantic Coast Line had E6s.  When those lines merger to form the Seaboard Coast Line only the ACL 6s remained.

And a close-up also in Richmond.

Out on the road their 2,000 hp would knock down the miles with ease.  Here E6A 514 is mated with an E7A with Train 85, The Everglades, on September 15, 1969 in Richmond, VA.

Here's 514 again this time with the northbound Glades near Ashland, VA, also in September of 1969.

On this March 1969 day, E6A #518 has charge of Train 22, the Silver Star at Richmond.  Quite a train as the next two pictures show.

518 also on the ready track at Broad Street Station.

Here E5A 519 is north of Ashland, VA the northbound Everglades in September 1968.

521 is at the Ivy City Engine Terminal north of Washington Union Terminal waiting the evening southbound parade of trains.

The Rock Island E6s

The CR&P had five EAs.  Only 630 and 631 hung around long enough for my camera to capture their photons.  I photographed 630 in Chicago/Joliet commuter service many times in three different paint schemes but she was never painted during that period in the classic "Rocket" scheme which she now wears.  The last photo I can find of her was taken at Mid-America Car in Kansas City in May 2012.

My two favorite shots of 630 were taken the same morning at Englewood Union Station on Chicago's south side. It was Easter Break 1965 on a beautiful April morning.  The first shot is an inbound commuter and the second an outbound.  WOW, in the second she sure looks good in the morning sun for a 24-year old dame.  She's crossing the Pennsylvania RR diamonds.  Behind her is a transfer of piggy-back cars to the small downtown piggy-back yard the Rock Island had near the Loop.

I caught 630 in another paint scheme in March of 1971 working a commuter train in Joliet, IL.  This surely was a plain Jane scheme.  In the first picture she is at the platform and in the second beginning her pushing toward a green signal and on to LaSalle Street Station.

Six years later 630 was caught delivering an afternoon-commute train to Blue Island.  The paint scheme has been spiffed up with a gold nose and redder flanks, al beit dirty.

I only caught E6A 631 once.  Here she has just started to hustle the Golden State (Tr. #3) toward the Golden State seen passing the 99th Street commuter stop.  The Rock Island will hand the train off to the Southern Pacific at Tucumcari, NM for the remainder of the run to Los Angeles.  631 and the two E7B units behind her will no doubt be turned to that the eastbound back home to Chicago.

 Now the Silver E5s

By far my favorite shot of the CB&Q's E5s is this one of 9912AB shooting the eastbound Morning Zephyr across northern Illinois through the sleepy town of Chadwick just after lunch with a 129 miles to Chicago on August 24, 1964.  Their names:  Silver Meteor and Silver Comet.

I worked for the CB&Q during a couple summers my college years and was the agent at Chadwick that day.  The dispatcher's line gave me the heads-up on what the Zephyr's power would be.  That gave me time to set up this shot.  Below are three more shots of 9912A. The first two are at St. Paul Union Depot on June 27, 1964.  Don't call that  Northern Pacific SW1200 switcher #155 ugly just because it's sitting next to such a beauty.  They both had their job to do.

Here is the 9912A and two E7s at Prescott, WI on June 30 1964 about to cross the St. Croix River into Minnesota.  Because the train is coming off double track for the single track bridge, the passenger cars can not be seen.


I was also fortunate to capture Silver Clipper 9915B several times.

On July 5, 1963 the Silver Clipper lead the Galesburg Local (Train #2) at 9:45 a.m. (9 minutes late) at Sandwich, Illinois -- 56 miles west of Chicago.  Her name had been blanked out and Note 5 in the "Official Guide" says "Checked baggage will not be handled."

And a profile at Sandwich that morning,

Wishing for a wider angle lens so I could get closer and get her all in (Minneapolis in June 1964).

Here she and an E7A were taking Train 21, The Morning Zephyr to the Twin Cities through Milledgeville, IL on August 20, 1964.   Note the four domes.

What 5s and 6s Survive?  Only 4 A-units!

  • Atlantic Coast Line 501, built as an E3, rebuilt as a E6 after a wreck, at the North Carolina Transportation Museum
  • Chicago Burlington & Quincy E5A 9911A at the Illinois Railway Museum
  • Louisville and Nashville E6A 770 at the Kentucky Railroad Museum
  • Chicago Rock Island & Pacific E6A 630 hopefully being rebuilt in Kansas City
Note, of the 511 E7s built, we have only saved one.  Many E8s and E9s survive.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Last Decade of the CB&Q on the Racetrack in My Hometown

I lived along the CB&Q racetrack during the 1960s in suburban Westmont, Illinois -- high school, college, and marriage.  I had a decent camera which took good 35 mm slides.  I was a railfan.  I started taking color slides for documentation for model railroading.  I soon took pictures for their own sake.

Westmont is about midway down the Q's three-track race track between Chicago and Aurora.  That section of the Q was called the East End and was dispatched by the East End Dispatcher.  Commuter trains were dominant especially on weekday mornings and evenings.  But there was lots of freight, including locals, and, of course, there were the Zephyrs.

The "Q", along with other roads, was merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad on March 2, 1970.  The pictures I am going to present in this blog were all taken between the early 1960s and the merger date.

So how to present them.  Well I sorted my slides in a big metal slide box by locomotive number, so that's the way I'm going to present them which put the F-units first and the E-units last.  Freight first and a big windup with Zephyrs and Dinkies.  Actually I end with a few odds and ends.

The Freight Trains

CB&Q F3A 122D headed for Clyde Yard, just outside Chicago with a typical freight of that era of mostly box cars through Westmont on June 25, 1965.  In all my track-side time during the '60s I can't remember a unit train.

That's the eastbound commuter platform a city block or so short of the Cass Avenue grade crossing.  Cass was the town's main north/south street and the only street in town that crossed the tracks.

CB&Q bought its FTs and F3s in four unit sets, i.e., ABBA where "A" designates a cab unit and "B" a booster unit.  The second unit in the picture would have been 122C.  The full four units were 122A, 122B, 122C, and 122D.  Soon the "Q" realized four units were more than sufficient for an essentially flat railroad and broke the four unit sets in half and added an F7A.  So the third unit in the picture is an F7A.  122A and 122B were mated with another F7A.

122D was built by EMD (Electro Motors Division of GM) in 1948 and traded in in 1967.  You will have to look really hard to fine a non-EMD unit in these pictures.

This picture of 128D is the same combination of an F3A, F3B, and an F7A at the same spot but taken in January 1966.

This was the east bound East End Way Freight (other roads would call it a local) on July 15, 1966. The way freight seemed to run weekdays in both directions between Eola Yard near Aurora and Clyde Yard near Chicago.  It had to dodge dinkies (commuter trains) all day.  The "Way of the Zephers" GP7 218 is a EMD product of 1951.  After the merger it became BN 1574 and was retired in1983.

CB&Q began applying the Chinese Red scheme to the Geeps in the 60's.  Here GP7 259, about to cross Cass Ave., works the west bound way freight.  She became BN 1615 and was retired Dec. 1981.  On the rear is not a caboose.  It was a way car.

SD24 #502 heads a freight with lots of power through the Westmont station area. She was built in 1959, became BN 6242, and was retired in 1982.  Unfortunately I never caught a Q SD7 or SD9 leading a train in Westmont.

For me, the GP20s brought in the second generation of diesels.  CB&Q's first low nose geep.  She was built in the sixties (1961), I caught her in Westmont in 1962, she became BN number 2058, and was retired  in 1997.  She was really red!

GP30s were unique because of the curves in their cab roof.   Built the year after the GP20s, we see 942 coming through town with a sister GP30 and a relatively short freight in 1965.

 CB&Q GP30 943, SD9 333, and another GP30 wast east bound with a long freight in 1966.  The GP30s lasted well into the BN era and some survived to be part of the BNSF.

GP30 #955 crosses Cass Ave.  Note the first car has a piggyback!  I surely remember that National Food Store.

Often the East End Way Freight was handled by switch engines instead of geeps.  This and the next picture show EMD model NW2 and both are westbound in approximately the same place just east of Cass.  Both were built just after WWII and retired in 1983 as BN units.  The above was captured in 1964 and below in 1962.

Two models used on the east end I did not capture on film at Westmont were General Electric U-boats and Baldwin VO1000s switch engines.  The VO1000s were used in the coach yards of Chicago Union Station.  Mentioned above I didn't catch SD7s and 9s leading trains.  My camera caught them however in other locations.


The Passenger Trains 

With minor exception passenger engines were numbered in the 9900 series beginning with the Pioneer Zephyr now on display in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.  By 1960 all the early units up to the E5s were retired.  While there were active E5s in the 1960s, and they came through Westmont, none did when my camera was around so we will ponder the E7s, E8s, and E9s that pulled the dinkies and the zephyrs.

Here is an express dinky skipping Westmont and other intermediate stops pulled by E7A 9918B on a cold January 4, 1965.  She was built in November of 1947.  Note the power car at the far end of the train because 9918A has no head-end electric power, only a steam generator for heat.  The Budd gallery cars (we called them double deckers) were steam heated and had Waukesha self-contained A/C units. The cars also had a 32 volt lighting system and received current from the  power cars.  The older suburban cars needed steam and had a small generator which ran off an axle of the car for lighting. The headlight for the next local can be seen at the next station west, Fairview Av.

All CB&Q E-units were members of the "Zephyr Pit" next to the Q Coach Yard south of Union Station.  All were rotated in and out of Zephyr Service and Suburban Service.  During the '60s all had steam generators for heating the intercity trains, the older commuter coaches, and initially the gallery cars.  The transition to all-electric gallery cars and locomotives with head-end power was slow and was eventually completed by the BN.

Oops, a B&W snuck in.  But that's OK because it is the eastbound Empire Builder lead by CB&Q E8A 9938A and two sisters on June 15, 1962.   We lived on Park Street in Westmont which was perpendicular to the tracks and would have crossed the tracks right about here if there had been a grade crossing.  With spare time I'd often walk, camera in hand, down to the tracks, cross all three to get to the south side and the sun and wait for what would come.  And something always did.  More often two or three somethings in a half hour.

Westmont is on a subcontinental divide.  West of approximately Park Street water runs into the Illinois then Mississippi Rivers.  East into Lake Michigan and out the St. Lawrence Seaway.   Thus the Chicago River flowed into Lake Michigan and because of all the industry along it and poor sewage treatment it was severely polluting the lake and the fresh water.  Thus a series of canals and locks were dug about 10 miles south of Westmont to reverse the flow of the Chicago River into the Mississippi watershed in 1900.

E8A 9945B and a sister running elephant style take the Empire Builder west on the Zephyr Track on a cold December 23, 1967 afternoon.

Here was a strange dinky because it ran with a baggage car to distribute baggage from intercity trains that arrived in the morning to patrons who took earlier suburban trains to the suburbs.  It didn't last many years.  Note the home-made power car (converted coach) next to the one gallery car.  The date is 1/26/66.  The power is 9946B, and E8A.  Built in 1950, she had an interesting life after her CB&Q service as BN 9946 and then Amtrak 340.

 9947B is heating all the train except the last two cars as she makes her station stop at Westmont.  She also made it to become an Amtrak locomotive.

The California Zephyr, 5 domes, zips through Westmont to make its afternoon arrival in Chicago on June 15, 1963.  BN rebuilt several CB&Q E8s and E9s with head end power for its continuation of the Burlington's commuter service and finished the conversion of the gallery cars to all-electric.

Today, most or all diesel-powered commuter rail operations do not change the length (number of cars) of trains during off-hours thus accumulating many extra miles on empty cars and using many gallons of extra diesel fuel.  It seems to be a trade-off between today's labor costs vs. fuel and equipment costs.  Here E8A 9973 leading a commuter run on Sunday July 5, 1964, and the Q obviously didn't expect many riders and cut the train to one push-pull gallery car. Also some E-units by this time were converted to be able to generate enough power for two or three gallery cars' hotel load.

You are looking at the front and rear of the Nebraska Zephyr taken at about Park St. That's either observation car Juno or Jupiter. This train set, which originally was one of the second pair of Twin Cities Zephyrs.  One of the sets, with fewer cars, is now at the Illinois Railway Museum and has recently run down this very track.  Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if it is this set. Look at all the head end (cars between the locomotives and the passenger cars).  They are carrying mostly mail and Railway Express.  Captured May 20, 1962.

CB&Q E9A 9993 is in charge of the April 29, 1962 Morning Zephyr from the Twin Cities (afternoon when it passed Westmont).  Budd Domes, Silver E-units, that was the Burlington image in the 1960s.  9993 was among the last passenger locomotives built for the Q in 1954.

Westmont is a commuter stop.  Oh, the way freight stopped there to pickup and set out freight cars.  But only commuter trains stopped, and not all of them either.  The census of 2010 put Westmont's population at 24,685 but the station serves a much larger area north and south of town.

About 17 miles from the Union Station bumper post, this midday train's cab car faces east.  With all gallery cars, the locomotive was on the outer end for easier servicing in Chicago,  The conductor checks his watch before giving the highball on January 26, 1966.

Because of track work, or maybe the way freight got in the way, the station stop was made from the middle track.  Detraining and boarding took extra time and delayed the train this fine Westmont June day in 1965.

Let's look at one more big inbound commuter train.  The gold circle to the left of the Burlington Route emblem on the noise of the diesel was for the centennial of the railroad running between Aurora and Chicago.  The first four older coaches had ice air conditioning and were steam heated by the steam generator in the locomotive.  As mentioned they had a generator on an axle and batteries for internal lighting.  The next car, the gallery car was steam heated but needed electricity for lighting provided by the last car, the power car.  Inbound not too dinky May 20, 1964.

Here is one of the power cars.  Originally a "combine", part baggage and part coach, the diesel generator was placed in the far front of the car.  The roof vent is obvious however the door cut in the side to slide the diesel in and out is not except upon close inspection.  The two big hinges help.  Generator cars were unique to Q commuter trains because the diesel locomotives were all in the pool and would be also assigned to intercity trains.   Other railroads used diesel locomotives dedicates to commuter service thus the steam generator could be swapped out for an electric generator called head-end power (HEP).  Amtrak's first order of cars were the first all electric intercity cars and its diesel locomotives had HEP.  As noted, BN wasted no time upgrading the Q's locomotives including HEP conversion.  Amtrak locomotives handled the intercity trains.

Some Odds and Ends

Periodically run-through power from western roads would roll through Westmont to Chicago.  If you like GP30s, here are four Rio Grandes returning home on January 26, 1966.

I'm sure I was elated in April of 1962 when I caught this brace of Great Northern F-units heading back to the Pacific NW.  Must have been a Sunday since the commuter parking lot is nearly empty except for the family station wagon.

More GP30s, the middle two cabless, are returning with tonnage to Union Pacific tracks on August 30, 1968

UP Geeps Chicago bound with a Q unit tucked in third, roll through the commuter stop in August of 1969.

And there were passenger extras.  Here's one on June 25, 1965 with a GN Super Dome and GN and NP business cars.

And finally steam.  During the 1960s two CB&Q steam locomotives, 5632 and 4960, pulled fan trips, most of which were based out of Chicago and went through Westmont.  Here is one headed by 4960 returning to Chicago on July 5, 1964.  Luck us who rode a few.  4960 still operates periodically on the Grand Canyon Railroad, unfortunately altered to look more like a passenger engine.  I don't understand that blotch on 4960's front.  I'm sure it is not dirt on the slide.

Now you have seen how the last decade of "my" CB&Q looked in Westmont.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride.


When I posted the existence of this blog to the Train Orders Nostalgia & History Forum I received many comments, several with corrections which I have made.  But I want to especially thank CJV in Aurora for several clarifications on the heating and lighting systems of the gallery cars.