Thursday, 2 April 2015

Throwback Thursday #10 – GT 4612 at Palmer, MA In January 1992

A snowless January 24, 1992 finds GT 4926 on the point of a switching move while interchanging cars with CSX. David Simmons photo, author's collection.

OK so a little late, but it’s still Thursday (on the west coast) – today’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to January 24, 1992. We’re at Palmer, Massachusetts, the location of the crossing between CSX’s former Boston & Maine Selkirk-Boston mainline and the Grand Trunk (Central Vermont) line from St. Albans Vermont to New London Connecticut. In this photo by David Simmons, taken on January 24, 1992, the CN-controlled GT is making a reverse move to the interchange yard located adjacent to the CSX tracks toward the east side of town. The GT’s own yard is located to the west, on its’ own north-south line. The power for this move is GT 4612-CV 4926-GT 4605.

In the intervening 23 years, a good deal has changed at Palmer. The most obvious change was the takeover of the CV by Railtex’s New England Central Railroad in 1995. Gone were the blue and red (or green and yellow) geeps, replaced by GP38’s in an attractive yellow and blue paint scheme. Railtex was folded into RailAmerica in 2000, itself taken over by Genesee & Wyoming a few years back. Another shortline, Massachusetts Central also interchanges with CSX at Palmer, utilizing trackage rights over NECR south from their own line north of town. Power for the Mass Central is (among others) a pair of leased GP38-2’s in a retro-B&M paint scheme, a GP9 in the same paint scheme, and an eclectic ex-Southern NW5. Not only have the railroads changed, but the former GT station is now a popular local eatery, the Steaming Tender Restaurant; I’d be hard-pressed to find a better railfan-friendly restaurant!

What about the locomotives? GT 4612, a 1989 graduate of the GT GP9 rebuild program at the railroad’s Battle Creek Michigan shops, was no stranger to the area, having been built at CV GP9 #4923 in March 1957. The Battle Creek shop forces overhauled the mechanical systems on the engine, but more noticeably chopped the nose and applied an EMD Spartan-type cab; additionally, the unit lost its’ distinctive “torpedo tube” rooftop air tanks. Following its’ rebuild, the engine served the CN North America system until 2011 when it was sold to the Carolina Coastal Railway, and became CLNA 4612. Photos on the internet reveal that the engine is alive and well on the CLNA in and around Wilson, NC, still largely in its’ early-90’s blue and red paint. CV 4926 was likewise built in March 1957 and also eventually got chop-nosed (retaining existing cab and getting new number boards), but interestingly retained its’ green and yellow paint scheme. Evidently not as popular as the GT rebuilds, the unit was sold to the Arkansas & Eastern Railroad in 1993. GT 4605 began life as CV 4551 and similarly went through the GT rebuild program in 1989. The unit survives today as SSRX 4605 (Manning Rail), a grain elevator switcher at Fairmont, NE – a long way from its’ New England background! The unit is painted in a nice red and blue paint scheme.

A couple of my photos from a day spent railfanning the junction on July 8, 2014:

NECR 3015, the former CN 9457 is probably not a stranger to the rails through Palmer. Here is is seen shoving a good-sized cut of cars to the CSX interchange on July 8, 2014. Photo by author.
Mass Central 1751, in a nice modern rendition of the classic B&M paint scheme, has set off the interchange cars for CSX and heads back to home rails with a handful of cars for the shortline's customers. Author's photo, July 8, 2014.

‘Til next time,

1 comment:

  1. Truly a great place to railfan in New England...and also have a burger trackside with a beer on the old station patio at Steaming Tender in good weather. Thanks for sharing you photos...George Dutka