Random Rail Shot
No it isn’t Sunday and I haven’t been keeping up with the Sunday Random Rail Shot posts anyway. What I do offer, on this very nice Monday, is an image of NS 718 racing through south-eastern Fort Wayne, IN (near the airport). I took this photo last fall, but only recently spent the time to get a closer look at it… partly because it isn’t in focus. I didn’t even realize until last night that one of the blurry locomotives was a rebuilt “road slug”.
According to AltoonaWorks.info (http://www.altoonaworks.info/rebuilds/ns_rpe4c.html), NS 718 is an RPE4C “road slug” rebuilt in 2010 from a GP38. These slugs offer increased pulling power, on trains not requiring high speed, where they are paired up with a powered unit, normally a GP40. The appeal is that only one prime mover is running in the set but you get a functioning cab on both ends so the combination is both versatile and economical.
This locomotive is interesting to me for two reasons. One, I guess I can’t recall ever seeing a slug in operation anywhere in person. Two, this train was running on a major NS mainline where six-axle GE’s and EMD’s are the norm and normally only through oil trains, pulled by foreign road power, break up the monotony (although to be fair, there are a few four-axle switching jobs from time to time).