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Edition #210  November 15, 2013

Eulogy for One

Photographer: Eric Clark

                                                                      Photo by Eric Clark

Eulogy for One

Built in October of 1948 as Pennsylvania RR #9169, frame number E897-15, just another post war NW2 blending in with the masses. Later it was renumbered to 8669. From there on it piled up the miles for the PRR, Penn Central and Conrail as number 9258. Then on to Citizens Gas and Coke number 4 and Indianapolis Coke number 4 before landing on the GMRY as engine number 1372 in the late 80s. There it received a nice silver and black paint job before it was given an updated maroon and black paint scheme and renumbered and sublettered FLSX 1. Its final paint job carried its heritage in small letters below the number “NW2 Ex-PRR 9169”.

The engine remained camera shy for most of its life. There was nothing particularly special about it. It didn't perform glamorous duties. Like so many of the wide cabs today, I suspect it just blended into the background without being given a thought. It did its job, was fueled, filled with sand, overhauled now and then, and every once in a while, given a new coat of paint. And I'm sure a few times in its career; it was cussed up and down.

I first saw it when it arrived at Hamilton in the 80s and shot it a few times as 1372. Then I became better acquainted with it in 2007 when I hired on as engineer at the operation. By then, it was showing its age mechanically. It drank oil, only one of the sanders worked, and in wet or snowy weather it was a pain to both get it to pull and to get stopped. By March of '08 it was showing serious mechanical issues. It would shut down at random. Our company seemed unwilling to put any money in it and when another company was due to show up to see about storing some cars on our property, it was shut down for good and replaced temporarily with a former Conrail GP38-2 until a replacement could arrive. The 1 was shoved into a siding with a couple other engines that management didn't think were worth fixing, where it sat and became a target for local vandals.

Fast forward to 2013, not long after the plant we served shut down, the other engines were gradually shipped out. The interplant cars were cut up for scrap followed by the rail and entire yard. The mill itself is in the process of being torn down. But not far away, the 1 remains, left behind after all the rest have gone. Left behind to be picked clean by free lance vultures who'll run its guts and anything else that comes loose over the scales for a buck. The revenue miles racked up on the Pennsylvania now a faded memory. Forgotten by most who operated it.  A machine past its prime and out to pasture. Out of site--out of mind.

Top photo shows the unit in January '08. Bottom in May of '13.

Eric Clark

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