Primer Noses

Several years ago Norfolk Southern needed to get some of its new locomotives out on the road so badly that it sent them out in primer paint with the NS initials and a road number.

Eventually, those units were painted black and white and the “primer boats” as some wags called them became a thing of the past.

NS has been power short in recent months and turned to the lease market for help. But apparently the “primer boat” look is back, at least in a modified form.

Chris Toth, who operates a website ( and Facebook page devoted to NS motive power, reported that AC44C6M Nos. 4120 and 4121 were rebuilt by the shops in Roanoke, Virginia, from Dash 9-40C Nos. 8883 and 8864 and released for duty with their electrical cabinets, noses and cabs still in primer paint.

When I caught up with No. 4121, it was the last unit in the daily light power move from Columbus to Bellevue as it passed through Marion.

Chris reported that the units will be painted at the Juniata shops at Altoona, Pennsylvania, but I’ve seen some photographs online of them working in the field in the meantime.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: