What Was that FL9 Doing in Ohio?

FLNX 484 and Orrville Railroad Heritage Society No. 471 are shown backing onto the Media Loop excursion train on Saturday (October 10) at Spencer. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

FLNX 484 and Orrville Railroad Heritage Society No. 471 are shown backing onto the Medina Loop excursion train on Saturday (October 10) at Spencer. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

If you were out on Saturday chasing the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society Medina Loop passenger excursion, then you saw a critter that we don’t see much of around these parts. For much of the trip, FLNX 484 trailed ORHS’s No. 471.

But at Spencer, the power ran around the train and the FL9 was the lead unit from Spencer to Orrville.

FL9s are better known for their work on New York City commuter and intercity passenger trains running in and out of Grand Central Terminal, although some also served Penn Station.

The ORHS now has the use of FLNX 484, a former New Haven Railroad FL9 that also served Penn Central and Amtrak. The unit is owned by Ohio Railway Supply (R.P. Flynn, Inc.), hence the initials FLN with the X denoting that it is not owned by a railroad company.

FL9s were notable for being able to operate in diesel and electric mode. Small pickup shoes were located on the trucks so that the locomotive could operate from third rail electricity in and out of Grant Central in compliance with a New York City anti-smoke ordinance.

The FL9 were ordered by the New Haven to pull Boston-New York passenger trains. Their dual-mode capability eliminated the need to switch out diesels for electric locomotives for use in New York City.

The locomotives served a similar function for Amtrak, although by the late 1990s the last Amtrak FL9s had been replaced by P42AC-DM locomotives in the Genesis series.

The Heritage of FLNX 484 is a long one. It began life in 1957 as New Haven No. 2029. Along the way it became Penn Central 5029, a number it carried into the Conrail era.

Amtrak acquired it and renumbered it 484. It was rebuilt in 1979 by Morrison-Knudsen in Boise, Idaho. After retirement from Amtrak, the unit apparently spent some time at the Morristown and Erie Railroad in New Jersey before being purchased by R.P. Flynn.

He contracted with the Florida East Coast Railway to have No. 484 rebuilt. It arrived at the FEC shop in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in fall 2007 in rather poor condition.

During the rebuilding, it was given its current cream and green livery, which is reminiscent of “Grinstein” livery once used by the Burlington Northern executive train.

FLNX 484 was sent north on Norfolk Southern in late June, arriving in Ohio on June 30. After testing on the Wheeling & Lake Erie at Brewster, it was declared fit for service.

The Medina Loop train of this past Saturday is thought to be No. 484’s first revenue service trip for ORHS. The Orrville group plans to use FLNX 484 in excursion service in 2010.

Although FL9 sightings in Ohio are unusual, they are not unheard of. FL9s occasionally worked on the Lake Shore Limited at times and some Metro North and Connecticut Department of Transportation-owned FL9s were ferried through northern Ohio by Conrail en route or returning from the M-K shops in Idaho.

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4 Responses to “What Was that FL9 Doing in Ohio?”

  1. Steve Says:

    Saw the 484 three days ago at 10:45PM on a Northbound CVSR train at Akron Northside.
    B&O 800 and a coach with 484 trailing.

    A (dark) photo on my Facebook

  2. Fred Stuckmann Says:

    I thank you for your greater insight into where this unit will show up next.
    Look forward to seeing it again. Had the piviledge of seeing it on CVSR a number of times and the photos are on rrpa in albums called, “Come see what I found”, and “Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway, Akron”. Drop by, if you haven’t already. Thanks.

  3. jon Says:

    Just caught 484 as second unit on the CVSR pulling. What a beautiful locomotive!

  4. Antoine Says:

    Today, this locomotive is in Quebec Canada, and serves as The “Orford Express” a tourist attraction train. It’s been repainted, and it looks beautiful.

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