CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Sunday, March 5, 2017

D&H diesel engines in 1984

D&H's roster in 1984 was diverse. The diversity of locomotive types (Alco, GE, EMD) and paint schemes really interested me. Some railroads (ex: Union Pacific, Conrail) have had a mind-numbing assortment of engines, they were pretty much all painted the same way. Boring! The D&H wasn't like that at all, though it took a bit of research to find out just how diverse they were.


I first started with the D&H's historical group, the Bridge Line Historical Society, whose website (www.dhbridgeline.org) had some information and pictures about their all-time roster. This allowed me to make the spreadsheet above. The year is along the top, and the type of engine on the left. I sorted out the RS-11s by nose height (high and low). I also added a couple of other things that appealed to me (when the Adirondack passenger train ran, the one-week period when the D&H repainted an Amtrak dome, and the I love NY boxcars). While I am happy with my decision, I do miss the U23B class- especially the "Gray Ghost" #2311. However, I can still add that as a Maine Central patch paint job.

To further narrow down what was on the roster in 1984, I relied heavily on the book Bridge Line Blues by Hal Reiser. This excellent work had a section on motive power from the late 1970s to the early 1980s which gave specific road numbers and paint scheme histories. With this information, I started making charts by type (RS-3, GP-39-2, etc.) listing each road number that was supposedly around in 1984. Next, I went online to the Railroad Picture Archives  (RRPA - D&H engine page) and hunted down pictures of these engines. I also scoured Ebay for relevant slides. Those pictures were also helpful for determining how to weather the engines as they looked in 1984. A couple of things immediately jumped out at me.

First, though the D&H had 9 types of locomotives in 1984 all but three were Alco, and usually a class size was a dozen or less. Surprisingly, through attrition and rebuilding into RS-3m engines the large class of RS-3s had been whittled down to just four in May of 1984. 


Second, the diversity of paint schemes was astounding. The classic "Lightning Stripe" design in the early 1960s was modified by the N&W when they controlled the D&H through their holding company "Dereco," as N&W insisted that road numbers be painted on the sides of the engines. This was not done consistently done though. Then, in 1977 in an austerity move the D&H went to solid blue scheme nicknamed "Altschul Blue" or "Blue Dip" (referring to D&H president Selig Altschul who served briefly in 1977). There were variants such as the color of the nose, frame trim, truck colors, and even one engine had script lettering. Then, in 1979 to spruce it up yellow chevrons were added on the ends, creating the "zebra stripe" scheme. 

Then, the side numbers were enlarged beginning with the lightning stripe repaints at Colonie beginning with the 5012 on 3/15/1981. Units which were still in blue and grey paint were usually re-stenciled in this fashion by patch painting out the original lettering and applying the new standard numbering over the top. Unfortunately, this weathered poorly and peeled or washed off revealing the older lettering.

So how did this all play out? A perfect example is the six low-nose RS-11s. By 1984 every one was different. One was in its original lightning stripe scheme with small hood numbers (#5000), one was in a blue dip with yellow nose (#5001), one was in solid blue with silver trucks (#5002), one was in a solid blue with yellow nose chevrons (#5003), one was in the lightning stripe scheme with large hood numbers (#5005), and one had its nose chopped/modified (#5004)! Consider RS-36 #5015, which featured three different paint schemes from 1977-1979.

Third, many of the Alcos by 1984 on borrowed time. The influx of reliable GP-38-2s and GP-39-2s made it economically and mechanically smart to congregate all of the remaining Alcos near the Colonie shops. So, even though some escaped to other parts of the system most were based in the Colonie Main area. Some made it into the late 1980s, but they were likely on the Colonie dead line at that point. And, the engines were filthy by 1984. The striking zebra stripe scheme looked dingy, anything with the lightning stripe scheme was severely faded, most had their numbers worn off, and the Geeps frequently had their previous owner's scheme coming through.

The D&H also had patch paints (LV red, L&HR blue and white, CR blue engines), the Bicentennial #506, and several one-offs. That being said, I plan to use restraint in compiling my HO scale roster. Because I like Alcos, I will lean heavily on the four classes that were prevalent in the area: RS-36s and RS-3Us for mainline and yard trains, RS-3s for yards, and RS-11s for mainline and local trains.
I would be remiss without mentioning Scot Lawrence's (a fellow railfan from Rochester) compilation of engines that the D&H owned prior to Guilford's takeover on 1/04/1984. (Scot's website) While our lists aren't a perfect match, it is certainly very close. I likely had resources he didn't have and vice versa, and his list is for January while mine if for May. Still, it is very useful.



There were also engines acquired from Guilford (transferred from the B&M or Maine Central), including types that would normally not have been found the D&H. I haven't fully tracked everything down yet that was painted for Guilford but lettered for D&H. However, the one I am most excited about modeling in their high-nose Geep #569, which was used for their executive and special railfan trains during the early period of Guilford's ownership. In January 1984, MEC GP7's 569 & 573 (which had recently been repainted in the new Guilford paint scheme) were relettered D&H. The #573 was relettered back to MEC later in 1984, but D&H 569 kept its D&H lettering until 1988. They also leased six Conrail U33B engines in 1984 which were patch painted and lettered. They lasted a couple of years. 


Here is the roster with paint schemes as best as I can put it together in 1984:

RS-3
Road #
Notes
4075
Blue Dip with yellow stripe along frame, large yellow numbers on hood
4099
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
4103
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood (in 1981… what about 1984?)
4118
Blue Dip with yellow stripe along frame, large yellow numbers on hood
  
RS-3m
Road #
Notes
501
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
502
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
503
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
504
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
505
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
506
"Bicentennial scheme" with white script lettering and stars on cab.
507
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
508
Lightning stripe, but no evidence of any numbers on hood
  
RS-11
Road #
Notes             (#5000-5005 originally high nose, #5006-5011 originally low nose)
5000
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood
5001
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
5002
Blue Dip with large yellow numbers on hood
5003
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
5004
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood; nose chopped
5005
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
5006
Lightning stripe, but no evidence of any numbers on hood
5007
Blue Dip with large yellow numbers on hood
5008
Lightning stripe, but no evidence of any numbers on hood
5009
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
5010
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood
5011
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood
  
RS-36
Road #
Notes
5012
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
5013
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood
5014
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
5015
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
5016
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
5017
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
5018
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
5019
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood
5020
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood
5021
Lightning stripe, but no evidence of any numbers on hood
5022
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood
5023
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood

C-420
Road #
Notes
401
L&HR colors with D&H patch-outs on front of hood and cab numbers on sides of hood.
404
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood
405
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
406
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
407
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
408
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
409
LV red with white diamonds on nose, D&H patch-outs on front and sides of hood.
410
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood. Notched nose from high-nose N&W C-420
411
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
412
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
413
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
414
LV red with white diamonds on nose, D&H patch-outs on front and sides of hood.
415
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
  
C-424
Road #
Notes
451
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
452
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
453
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
454
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
455
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
456
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
461
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
462
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
  
U-33C
Road #
Notes
754*
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
755
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
756
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
757*
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood
758
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
759*
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
760*
Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood.
761
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
762
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
* After 1981, generally stored inactive at Colonie


GP38-2
Road #
Notes
7314
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7315
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7316
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7317
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7318
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7319
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7320
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7321
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7322
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
7323
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7324
Guilford gray with orange band and large white “G” on side of hood.
7325
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood


GP39-2
Road #
Notes
7401
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7402
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7403
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7404
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7405
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7406
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7407
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7408
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7409
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7410
Reading green with yellow diamonds on nose, D&H patch-outs on front of nose and cab sides.
7411
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
7412
Reading green with yellow diamonds on nose, D&H patch-outs on front of nose and cab sides.
7413
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7414
Lightning stripe with large blue numbers on hood.
7415
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7416
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7417
Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large yellow numbers on hood
7418
Reading green with yellow diamonds on nose, D&H patch-outs on front of nose and cab sides.
7419
Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose, yellow stripe along frame, and large yellow numbers on hood.
7420
Guilford gray with orange band and large white “G” on side of hood.

As for the #7600 class (#7601-7620) of GP39-2 engines, Hal Reiser's book states that they were sent in 1984 for rebuilding by Morrison Knudsen and when they returned they were painted for Guilford and lettered for the B&M. I have found no pictures online of any surviving in D&H paint to May 1984, and very few pictures exist of them after 1983. 

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