What a Catch! A Pair of Tunnel Motors

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Since the weather has been perfect this week I drove to Wellington after work on Wednesday.

I figured I would hang out and catch some CSX action and, hopefully, a Wheeling & Lake Erie train.

While there I saw a post on Facebook that a Wheeling train was headed west from Brewster with the 5413 leading.  I recognized that was one of the remaining Denver & Rio Grande Western-painted tunnel motors.

The 5413 and sister 5391 are the last two Rio Grande-painted tunnel motor engines in service.  They are pretty common in our area and are often paired together as they were on this afternoon.  That said, they are quite a special catch in 2015.

These two had many trips through Moffat tunnel and Tennessee Pass during their careers.

Since coming to the Wheeling and being put out to pasture, so to speak, they still haul freight in daily service.

How long until the Wheeling decides to repaint them I don’t know, but it will happen eventually.  The Wheeling had seven engines in original Rio Grande paint and now just four remain, including two GP40s.

I decided to drive to Spencer and intercept the train.  It had already finished switching and was tying back onto its train when I arrived.

I caught it at the Ohio Route 162 crossing and then chased it west as it took the Akron, Canton & Youngstown route to New London.  I caught it several more times, finally passing a farm before I gave up.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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