CH&FR Tests Six-Axle Diesels

  by BGTwinDad
, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

Residents in Glover’s Bend were awakened by a new Diesel rumble from the nearby Nolan Yard. The CH&FR, in its search for improved efficiencies in its crucial coal hauling operation, has leased two six-axle units from the GPF&F Railroad for testing and evaluation on the Glover’s Bend Division’s steep grades and tough curves.

Arriving yesterday evening were EMD SD35 B&O#7414 and EMD SD50 C&O#8625. With their weight distributed across more contact points on the rail, thanks to the three-axle trucks, these engines can start a heavy train easier and drag it up the tough grades in the Glover’s Bend area more effectively than the four-axle Diesels currently on the roster. With shipments on the rise, this will be a critical change to operations.

The two units will be tested extensively over the next few days operating trains in a variety of situations, and will be studied and evaluated by the maintenance crews as well. If the tests are successful, the CH&FR plans to either purchase or long-term-lease two or three units for regular use on the mine runs. Initial reactions were mixed.

“That SD35 is a sweet machine… good power, good traction, and a comfortable ride. But that SD50? It’s just too darn big. I don’t know how we’d get it into the maintenance shops. It’d be a bear to run it all the way to Frost River every time we need to fix something!” , one engineer was quoted as saying.

The next several days should certainly be interesting for railfans in this area, as these two big engines ply the local rails.

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