Lake State Receives first GP40-3/Road Slug Set

Lake State Railway has taken delivery of its first GP40-3/road slug set manufactured by Metro East Industries Inc. and equipped with the ZTR NEXSYS™ III-I system.

With a slug set, one supplies power to an attached unit lacking a prime mover.

The Michigan-based Lake State had several GP40M-3 and rebuilt GP35 locomotives that were sidelined with various mechanical issues and in need of rebuilding to bring them back to service. The railroad chose Metro East to do the work based on its experience installing the ZTR system and producing road slug sets for other railroads.

“We have been doing business with Metro East for many years and their product and services is very good,” said Mike Stickel, vice president of business management for Lake State. “The units we chose for the slug sets were a GP40M-3 and a GP35, so we needed to either upgrade to Dash 2, or a new microprocessor control system.

“The decision was made by Lake State to convert to ZTR Nexsys III-i based on projected increase in tractive effort over older technology,” he said.

Work on the road and slug pair was done in East St. Louis, Illinois., where the units became the first four-axle locomotives to wear the attractive blue and grey lightning stripe scheme that was based on the Great Lakes Eastern model railroad and adapted for the prototype by owner Kevin Burkholder for Lake State.

The first mother unit – designated as a GP40-3 – is No. 4303 and was originally constructed for the Chesapeake & Ohio as GP40 No. 3780. It later became CSX No. 6555, before becoming Texas-Mexican 1178 and Lake State 1178.

Road slug 303, began life as Detroit, Toledo & Ironton GP35 No. 351. It was owned by Grand Trunk Western and the Wabash & Erie ownership before being added to the Lake State roster as GP38M No. 371.

It was then rebuilt to be a GP38M designation. Because it was due for another rebuilding, Lake States decided to use it as a road slug.
“We believe this is the first application of the ZTR system in a road slug set, but we had a comfort level going with ZTR,” Stickel said. “The Nexsys III system has been deployed on a large scale with the Class I railroads and feedback has been very positive. We expect the road slug set to perform as well or better than a pair of GP40’s on our road trains, with much less fuel consumption.”

The slug set offer operational control stands in both units. Although the slug retains the outward appearance of a GP35, it does not have an operating prime mover.

The prime mover remained inside the unit, railroad officials said, because it was more economical to leave it in place than to replace it with a different form of ballast/weight.

The slug’s fuel tank is operational and a fuel transfer allows the mother unit to draw fuel from either tank.

A second slug set will be released by Metro East Industries in the coming week and carry Lake State numbers 4304 and 304.

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