CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Monday, November 11, 2019

Roster Review: D&H C424s in 1984

#463 (December 1984)
The next entry on my "Roster Review" series are the Alco C424 engines. Yawn. Out of all of the engines that the D&H had in 1984, these are probably the most uninteresting to me. I don't know why, as I love the classy paint scheme. In my opinion, for reasons that will be discussed shortly, they kept their good looks for longer than other engines. But, they were all the same. Literally. Aside from road numbers, there weren't any funny variations like paint schemes, lettering styles, chopped hoods, rebuilt parts, etc. But, three of them have a special connection to a local shortline I like so maybe they will grow on me.

#462 (June 1980)
They were all (#451-456) acquired secondhand between 1979-1980 from Conrail because the D&H was hurting for engines and needed some fast. Even though Alco had closed a decade before the D&H still loved its Alcos. Their workforce was also pretty well familiar with maintaining them so perhaps the D&H saw a good deal and jumped in. Most of the engines were originally ex-Erie Lackwanna, but a few were ex-Reading. I am not an expert in either railroad so any outward differences are lost on me. Things like horn location, classification and headlights, sun visors, etc. all seem the same.

#452 in Enola, PA (June 08, 1985)  Ooh, I love that Conrail!
As a result of Conrail and the D&H's routes expansion, the D&H had haulage rights to take loaded salt trains to interchange with the Genesee & Wyoming at Retsof in western New York. This was, of course, when the G&W was just a small shortline. Apparently the D&H motive power wasn't always up to the task and the G&W demanded something more reliable so they financed the rebuilding of three C424 engines (#461-463). Some sources say that there were ex-G&W engines, and other resources say that they came directly from Conrail. Regardless, after the D&H became part of Guilford in 1984 the three engines were returned to the G&W.

#452 & #4075 on a passenger special (October 08, 1980) 
The units were rebuilt by General Electric in the old Erie Railroad shops in Hornell, NY. At the time, G.E. had a locomotive rebuilding facilities there. To my knowledge these were the only D&H engines that went through the Hornell paint shop. G.E. must have done a better job of stripping and cleaning the frames and bodies of the already-well "seasoned" engines before applying new coats of the Zebra stripe paint, as these nine engines looked a lot better years later than other D&H painted blue dip engines. The paint didn't wear and peel off like engines painted in Colonie by the D&H.

All lasted through 1984 in much the same condition as they arrived in 1980. I mean really, what could have happened to them in the span of just four years? Except for the three engines returned to the G&W, the remainder lasted on the D&H until 1994.

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