CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Monday, October 7, 2019

Roster Review: D&H C420s in 1984

#407 (March 1982)
Conrail's formation was a difficult time for the D&H. While they suddenly grew in route miles practically overnight, their resources were also stretched to the limit to cover the new territories. On paper, the government had a vested interest in keeping the D&H "competitive" with the newly formed Conrail. So, when Conrail was formed on April 1, 1976, the D&H was given several Alco C420 engines from Lehigh Valley (which was going into Conrail) as part of the deal. The D&H was so strapped for engines that it pressed them into service with minimal cosmetic changes, some of which were never fully corrected. Guilford later renumbered their engines but my comments above reflect the 1984 road numbers.

#414 (June 1981)
Engines #404-415 were originally built for the Lehigh Valley, and on the L.V. they had those road numbers. When the D&H received them they kept those numbers which presumably meant one less thing to have to paint out or change. The L.V. paint scheme was an attractive Cornell Red with a yellow stripe along the lower portion of the body and white diamonds on the front of the nose, with white flags on the sides of the nose. As the engines came to the D&H, most were in the red scheme. While most of them were finally being repainted into D&H colors, #409 and #414 kept their red with patch outs until retirement in 1986.

The L.V. also had an alternate scheme, nicknamed the "Yellow Jacket," which consisted of solid light gray with a yellow lower body and a yellow nose. Three of the engines inherited by the D&H arrived with this coloring, #412, #413, and #414. They too received hastily added patch outs.

#415 (November 1984)
The patch outs didn't really flatter the engines, but it allowed them to get to work quickly. Over time, most of the engines got their chance at the rainbow factory that was the D&H paint shop. In late 1977, engines #405 and #407 were repainted into the solid blue scheme with a yellow nose. This striking scheme was to be the new D&H standard scheme, but it didn't last long. Two years later in 1979, engines #405 (again!), #411, #413, #415 were painted in the striking blue scheme with yellow "zebra stripes" on the ends, and all four stayed like this until their end on the D&H.

Then, in the early 1980s when the lightning stripe became the default again for the D&H, they repainted engines #404#406#407#408, and #412 including large numbers on the sides of the hood. Interestingly, the numbers don't seem as large as those on the RS11 engines. The engine below has nearly all of its added lettering faded out, and the old "Delaware & Hudson" lettering is ghosting through. It will make an interesting prototype to model.
#412 (March 10, 1984)

#410 (December 31, 1983)

Another oddity in the roster class occurred when engine #410 was involved in a collision and severely damaged in the front sometime in the early 1980s. It sat at the Colonie shops for over a year before being repaired. To fix it a new nose was required, so the D&H reached out to the Norfolk and Western Railroad and purchased a spare high-nose replacement. Then, the D&H cut it down to make a pseudo-low nose hood and mounted it. It was unique to the C420 class as those short hoods did not have the characteristic Alco notches in the corners, though other Alco engines did. When finished in March of 1982, it was also given a coat of lightning stripe paint. Because of the hood, the engine is immediately identifiable.

#401 (February 26, 1982)
Finally, the D&H later acquired one more C420 engine in November 1980 from Conrail. It was an ex-Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad engine and came painted in light gray hoods and cabs with a darker blue long hood and area on the front hood. Again, the D&H merely patched out part of the engine and kept the road number of #401. It remained in this patch paint scheme through October of 1984, when it was renumbered #420 and became the first and only Alco to receive the Guilford gray and orange paint scheme (see the picture at the end of this posting). Why Guilford chose this engine is unknown, but there you have it.

#405 looking terrible! (December 30, 1984) 
Thankfully, modeling many of these engines is a snap thanks to Atlas. They offer #405, #407, #411, #413, and #415 in the correct D&H paint schemes, and #410, #409, and #414 in their appropriate L.V. schemes. They will require some patching, but it shouldn't be very difficult. #401 is available already in the patched out L&HR scheme. They also offer models of #410 but don't indicate whether the front hood is notched to represent the engine after its rebuilding. So, when the time comes that I want to collect some D&H engines that aren't blue or gray (or both), I think I will add a L.V. patch out or two.

#420 (February 1986)
Since the repainting of #420 (formerly #401) occurred in October of 1984, and I model in May of 1984, I won't be featuring this engine on my layout. That is too bad, as I think the paint scheme actually looks pretty good on it. It also appears that when they repainted it they added the ditch lights which are also present on a few other Guilford locomotives that were repainted in 1984.

No comments:

Post a Comment