Posts Tagged ‘Historic diesel engines’

Diesel Day Set at Western NY Museums

August 9, 2014

It will be a celebration of diesel locomotives on Aug. 17 at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in partnership with the New York Museum of Transportation.

Among the locomotives appearing will be Rochester Gas & Electric No. 1941, a General Electric 45-ton side-rod switcher once used to shuttle coal hoppers for local power plants; U.S. Army No. 1843, a Fairbanks Morse H12-44 retired from the nearby Seneca Army Depot; and R&GV No. 1654, a rebuilt GE 80-ton switcher formerly assigned to the Defense Distribution Depot in New Cumberland, Pa. Also on display will be Lehigh Valley No. 211, a high-hood Alco RS-3 originally built for the Pennsylvania Railroad, as well as Kodak Park Railroad No. 9, an Alco RS-1 retired from the company’s sprawling film products factory located in Rochester. The museums will operate two diesel trains over their shared demonstration railroad, meeting a shuttle provided by NYMT’s electric trolley. The site is located 15 miles south of Rochester.

“It can be a challenge keeping up with a locomotive that is 50 years old or more,” said Joe Nugent, R&GVRM motive power superintendent. “Diesel Day is our chance to shine a spotlight on the collection and highlight the accomplishments of our volunteers as well.”

Visitors will ride behind vintage diesels aboard the museum’s restored Erie Railroad and Penn Central cabooses.

Supervised cab rides and visits will also be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The train ride connects the extensive trolley and transportation displays at NYMT with the restored 1909 Erie Railroad depot and exhibits at R&GV.

The special event also has extended hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Directions, ticket information, schedule, and full event details are available at

Diesels on Parade at Illinois Railway Museum

July 28, 2013


The Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Ill., held a diesel days celebration on Saturday, July 20.  The museum had about 20 engines out for a parade including CB&Q Silver Pilot, an ex-AT&SF Alco RSD15 “alligator,” a Milwaukee Road Fairbanks Morse switcher and many others. Also on display but not in the parade was my favorite, the MNS “blue dragon,” a Lima Hamilton Center cab.

Photographs by Todd Dillon











Lake Shore Museum Gets ‘Scrapped’ Engine

March 9, 2013

A diesel engine thought to have been scrapped decades ago has turned up alive and well, and will be donated to the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pa.

The engine is a 1,200 horsepower Cooper-Bessemer FVBL-8T and it had been languishing for years at the former Cooper-Bessemer facility in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

The historical significance of the engine is that it served as a test bed that led to the development of subsequent engines by General Electric at its Erie, Pa., plant.

Cooper-Bessemer had in 1953 sold to GE the rights to develop larger versions of C-B engines. The GE-built engines were installed in a four-unit, 6,000-horsepower experimental locomotive that was leased to the Erie Railroad. Nos. 750A-750D had streamlined car bodies painted in Erie’s black and yellow livery.

The locomotives operated on the Erie for five years in road service, helping GE accumulate operating data that was used to make refinements to GE’s prime movers and electrical systems. These changes were incorporated into the GE U25B locomotive that was introduced in 1959.

Ray Grabowski Jr., president of the Lake Shore Railway Historical Society, said the experimental locomotives were sold to the Union Pacific.

“The original prototype engines, removed from the locomotives, were subjected to further testing,” Grabowksi said.

One engine was sent to Cooper-Bessemer’s factory in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, for testing and disposal. Although C-B reported to GE that the engine had been scrapped, it had instead been adapted by C-B shop forces for use inside the Mt. Vernon plant as power for air compressors. It continued in that role until a couple months before Rolls Royce bought the C-B plant in 1996.

“The gentleman in charge of plant maintenance was originally involved in the GE test bed project,” Grabowksi said. “He contacted Lake Shore Railway Historical Society to see if there was interest in saving this ‘engine that no longer existed.’ The rest is history and the engine is in storage in a warehouse in Erie, Pa., waiting to come to North East to be added to the museum’s collection.”

Locomotives built by GE in Erie can trace their lineage to this preserved engine. Museum officials hope that their latest acquisition will help them attract more visitors.