Posts Tagged ‘NS F7B’

R&N Cancels F unit Excursions

July 15, 2020

The Reading & Northern has canceled two excursions that were to feature its new F unit locomotives.

The excursions, both of which were near sell outs, had been set to run on Aug. 1 and Sept. 5.

Each was to feature a photo runby and have onboard food service.

In an announcement posted to its Facebook page, the railroad cited health and safety reasons for canceling the excursions, noting that the number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania have been trending up in recent days.

The announcement also cited unspecified “additional mandates/recommendations.”

Calling the decision to cancel “uneasy,” the railroad said its management concluded there was no room for social distancing aboard passenger cars, making photographs in lines during the photo runbys, and serving food aboard the train.

R&N acquired the F units, an F9A No. 270 and F7B No. 275, in November 2019 from Norfolk Southern, which used them for several years to pull its executive trains.

The Pennsylvania regional railroad also owns two former Bessemer & Lake Erie F7 locomotives.

NS had acquired four F units in 2006 to use to pull its executive trains starting in 2007. It decided last year to sell them through an auction.

NS Selling Its F Units

November 13, 2019

Norfolk Southern is selling the distinctive and iconic F units that have pulled its executive train for the past several years.

Word of the sale has been circulating around Facebook for a couple of weeks and Trains magazine reported on Tuesday having obtained a copy of the assets-disposition bidding sheets that NS distributed on Nov. 6 in advance of an auction of the F units and other oddball equipment on its roster.

The F units were acquired in 2006 by former NS CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman and had been a favorite of many railfans due to their Southern Railway-inspired “tuxedo” livery.

The A-B-B-A locomotives were rebuilt to GP38-2 standards by the Juniata Locomotive shop in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where the units and the 20 car executive train fleet is based.

Two of the NS A units (Nos. 270 and 271) were built as F7s by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in 1952 for the Baltimore & Ohio.

The NS B units, Nos. 275 and 276, were built by EMD in 1950 for the Chicago Great Western.

NS also acquired three other F units of Chicago & North Western, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific linage to use as parts sources.

The NS A units initially were given roster numbers 4270-4271 while the B units were numbered 4275-4276.

Earlier this year the digit “4” was dropped in order to free roster numbers for rebuilt standard-cab General Electric C40-9 DC-powered units into wide-nose AC44C6M AC-powered units.

The NS F units were regulars at such high-profile events as the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia in April, and the Kentucky Derby in May.

At both events, the executive train served as a hospitality suite.

The units also pulled the executive train for other purposes both business and public relations related, including employee appreciation specials and appearing at special celebrations at railroad museums.

The Trains report described the pending sale of the F units as not necessarily a surprise, saying that this past September the NS executive train operated without the F units for the first time since they took to the rails on NS’s behalf in 2007.

NS owns a power car to provide head-end power to the executive fleet passenger cars so they can be pulled by any type of locomotive.

Other units that NS has put up for sale include former Reading Company EMD SW1001s Nos. 2104-2105; six former-Southern Railway EMD MP15s Nos. 2362, 2386, 2393, 2398, and 2403; modified EMD MP15E No. 2423; RailPower RP20BD gensets Nos. 100-101; RP20CD genset No. 3830; NS BP4 No. 999, a battery-powered experimental unit built by Juniata in 2014; and partially disassembled SD40-2 No. 3463 (former BN/CEFX No. 7083).

Bidding in the motive power auction will end on Nov. 20.

Chasing Down the NS OCS Train

July 16, 2019

Back in May Norfolk Southern ran its executive train on the Fort Wayne Line through Northeast Ohio.

I chased it to get some new views and as many old Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals as I could.

I also went out because NS has repainted and renumbered the engines so they wouldn’t conflict with new diesels they had bought.

My first photo location was the curved bridge in Massillon.  It’s probably the most famous spot on the line and a must have photo.

Next was Wooster but the train was going through just as I pulled up.  I then went to Lucas, which is just east of Mansfield.

After a crew change I got it passing under a signal bridge in town.

My final stop was North Robinson passing an intermediate signal.  This ended the chase as it was getting dark then.

Photographs by Todd Dillon


Tracking Down NS Varnish in NE Ohio

September 13, 2016
The Norfolk Southern executive train rushes through Salem late on Sunday afternoon.

The Norfolk Southern executive train rushes through Salem late on Sunday afternoon.

Norfolk Southern doesn’t operate passenger trains in the traditional sense. It doesn’t offer scheduled trains for which the traveling public can buy a ticket.

But like other major railroads, it has a fleet of passenger equipment for use in its executive train fleet and for other purposes involving track inspection.

When the word got out on Sunday that the NS office car special was traveling through northern Ohio en route to its home base in Altoona, Pennsylvania, it seemed that everyone and their brother went trackside to get it.

The OCS had been in the St. Louis area and traveled on the former Wabash mainline to Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Saturday night.

It had F9A 4271, F7B 4275 and F9A 4270, and passengers cars NS 23 (Buena Vista), NS 24 (Delaware), NS 7 (Pennsylvania) and NS 21 (West Virginia).

I first heard about the move of the OCS, which operated under symbol 956, from Marty Surdyk, who joined me in Sebring for an afternoon of railfanning on Sunday afternoon on the Fort Wayne Line east of Alliance.

Marty’s nephew Henry was chasing the train around Cleveland and sent us OS updates.

We elected to photograph the executive train as it passed through Salem because the tracks here are on a northwest-southeast alignment and the lighting would be better.

Train 956 was following intermodal train 20E and both were crossed over from Track 1 to Track 2 at CP Murph to run around grain train 52T, which was stopped ahead on Track 1 at CP Lum near Columbiana.

The intermodal train and OCS went back to Track 1 at Lum to continue their journey toward Pittsburgh. A report on indicated that train 956 reached Altoona around 10:30 p.m.

My other sighting of NS varnish came late Friday afternoon in Olmsted Falls. It was a track geometry train with NS 38, a track test unit that railfans have nicknamed “the brick” because of its rectangular shape.

No. 38 was behind NS GP40-2 No. 3035 and was accompanied by NS 36, an open platform passenger car that carries the name “Research 36” on its flanks.

I could see NS personnel wearing safety vests sitting in the rear-facing seats and watching the tracks unfold behind them. It may be a research train, but it carries passengers and wears the same Tuscan red that adorns the NS executive fleet.

Traveling under NS symbol 906, the track geometry train tied up for the weekend at Rockport Yard. It left Cleveland on Monday morning headed for Pittsburgh.

A report on HU indicated that “the brick” would be inspecting Track 1 from Pittsburgh to Altoona.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders