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May 1995


CSXT Adopts Orange (Pumpkin) Scheme for Work Train Engines

CSXT has renumbered six of its older 4-axle locomotives into the 9500 series for use in work train service and repainted them into an orange (Pumpkin) scheme to match the railroad's ballast cars. The six units include 9500 (x-1984), 9501 (x-1977), 9502 (x-1918), 9550 (x-3242), 9551 (x-3257), and 9552 (x-3288).


CSX Orders "Iron Highway" Train

CSX has awarded a contract to MK Rail Corporation to develop and manufacture a prototype train for "Iron Highway" with testing to begin this fall. Iron Highway employs a continuous platform with a split-ramp design to permit easier loading and unloading, and is intended to make short and medium hauls of containers more competitive with over-the-road trucks.


CSXT Names Locomotive Engineer School for Retiring Officer

CSXT's locomotive engineer training school in Cumberland, Maryland, has been named in honor of Richard A. Fliess, vice president-operations support, a 32-year veteran railroader who began his career on the C&O. He retires this summer.


CSX Reports First-Quarter Earnings

CSX Corporation posted its fourth consecutive quarter of earnings growth in the first three months of 1995. Earnings were $121-million, or $1.15 per share, a 64 percent increase over the same quarter in 1994.


John Andrews Named President of CSX Technology

John F. Andrews was appointed president of CSX Technology Inc. effective April 1. He replaces George Sekely, who has retired.


Ports of Seattle and Tacoma Support BN/SF Merger

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, have agreed to support the pending merger of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Pacific.


Conrail Plans to Downsize Trackage

Conrail has announced plans to downsize by approximately one-third of its trackage, which it hopes can be sold to other carriers.


CSXT Locomotive News - CW44AC Update

As of April 29, there were 114 CW44AC units on the CSXT roster. All are now numbered in the one, two or three-digit series, beginning with 1. Only unit 2 is missing from the roster, that one remaining at the factory for truck testing. Accordingly, the units now on the property are 1, and 3 through 115. CSXT locomotive engineers have been getting regular updates through company newsletters which describe test results and problems that have been encountered.

The first newsletter reported on lower train speeds, slower acceleration, lower balance speeds on ruling grades, and stalling. Subsequent issues addressed these problems. All of the areas where stalls have occurred have been investigated. One location was on the first grade running east from Bostic Yard, North Carolina, to Ellenboro. The stalls have occurred with good rail conditions at 180,000 pounds (maximum rating) of tractive effort on each unit. There is a 10 MPH speed restriction coming out of the yard going into the grade that prevents getting a "run" at this five-mile segment.

Another segment where stalls have occurred is going into the Harlee, Georgia, power plant, according to the second newsletter. Other problems being investigated were lunging and lurching, jerky starts with light units, wheel squealing, and cab vibration.

In the third newsletter, dated April 1, it was reported then that units 31 through 90 had been shipped from the factory. It was further reported that due to numerous stalls experienced in the Erwin corridor with two AC units replacing three Dash-8 units, it had been decided to move the AC's over to the Corbin/Atlanta side of the railroad where the basic two Dash-8 consist would be replaced on an even basis by two AC units on 90-car coal trains. It was expected that the AC's would be a significant improvement over the Dash-8's due to the AC's higher tractive effort and adhesion capabilities, and should improve performance over the Dash-8's in wet rail conditions or when traversing flange and rail-oiled areas. Meanwhile, the Seminole coal trains have been performing well with two AC units and the fuel tender, and it was planned to keep them in this service.

The fourth newsletter, dated April 20, explained: "AC4400's represent a significant investment for CSXT and can displace a large number of lower performance locomotives in the fleet. Locomotives displaced from heavy haul coal service can be deployed in other areas, ultimately resulting in the retirement of the highest cost, lowest reliability locomotives. Operating trains with fewer locomotives and eliminating high maintenance units makes CSXT more competitive."



Dear Allen,

I have just received the B&O Tower video [Towers, CSX's Living Relics - Revelation Audio-Visuals, Tallmadge, Ohio], and it's about time SOMEONE did something to show off these installations. My only criticism of the video is too many "weasel" engines and not enough tower operations. Still, one has to appeal to the average rail nut since most enthusiasts view towers as places they've been thrown out of. Not so where I was concerned, and I always encouraged people with railway interests when I worked on the railroad, and I have 47 years of railway service, most of it in towers. I worked on the East End between Philadelphia and Washington. The only familiar towers that appeared on the video were JD and QN whose electric GRS push-button interlockers were new to me. JD had levers, and QN had a GRS pistol-grip machine. F Tower was still working then, with a wood-handled pistol-grip machine in a wooden case.

The remark on the video that it was a two-hour each-way drive for you to work Miller Tower brought back memories. I lived at Singerly, Maryland, and was occasionally sent to one of our many towers in Philadelphia. I had to get up about 3:30 AM, drive to Wilmington, Delaware, and then take a PRR train to Philly's Broad Street station, and then a combination of subway trains and streetcars to the job, which started at 7:00 AM.

I worked most of the towers between Philly and Baltimore, and yes, it was mostly pretty good fun. It would be interesting to collect some of the "stories" that operators have to relate regarding their experiences, although some of them might not pass muster with the censors. I discovered that third tricks were handy for romancing, and I wouldn't go to work alone! Second tricks were my favorite; I always hated getting up early, and I spent most of my tower service on the 3-11 turn.

My stay with the B&O was only about three years, and this was probably fortunate. Diesels were being introduced, Morse was vanishing, and it was clear that towers would succumb to the hated CTC. In 1951 I quit the B&O and went to the picayune New York & Long Branch, and in 1954 I transferred to the Jersey Central, which later became "Clownrail," and then N.J. Transit. There were 33 towers in 1954, and when I retired there were none, apart from the drawbridges. I packed it all up in 1991 and frankly was glad to see the back of it all. Everything that had attracted me to railroading had long since vanished - steam engines, Morse instruments, Saxby-Farmer levers, semaphores, etc. It was really all over long ago.

Westfield, New Jersey


Dear Allen,

On a recent visit to "NS" in Lima, Ohio, I noted that progress is being made on automation of this classic ex-PRR landmark. The PRR position-light signals that guarded the B&O diamond are still in service (3/11/95) but are to be replaced soon by NYC-style searchlights. I noticed that quite a bit of the work has been started on the wiring, and the replacement bungalows are in place for the electronic gear. Sadly, this will mean another gap in Ohio for us tower fans, with very few of the small to medium sized cities with an active tower left to enjoy.

Lapeer, Michigan