• Local/Switching power for CR in NY

  • Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.
Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.

Moderators: TAMR213, keeper1616

  by fiend540
I wondering what the typical local and switching power would have been for Conrail, from 1978-1983 or so in NY specifically from Buffalo east to Rochester and Syracuse? Are their documents that would have listed what locos were typically assigned to a certain area or region? Any information, memories or pictures would be very appreciated, thanks.
  by Backshophoss
Local/switcher power tended to be what 4 axle power was avaible,since Selkirk had mostly GE power,
4 axle U-boats to B23-7's were Road switcher(local)power along the ex-NYC main in upper NY State,
and to the New England Region of CR,along with the rebuilt RS-3's(aka,the Dewitt Geep) that
were used on some branches/Industry tracks.
True switchers tended to stay at major yards(Selkirk,Buffalo,Dewitt,etc...) and
some city industry trackage. After CR's first year,Much of the 1st gen power and
Alco's started to get purged/traded in for newer power from GE and EMD.
  by scottychaos
I cant speak for '78 - '83, but I was track-side along Conrails Southern Tier main in Waverly NY, '83 to '87:

Locals: mostly 4-axle GP's and 4-axle U-boats.

Mainline trains: basically any road diesel Conrail had: 4-axle and 6-axle EMD's, and 4-axle and 6-axle U-boats and dash-7's.
most common '83 to '87: GP38-2, GP40-2, SD40-2, SD50, U23B, U30B, B23-7, C30-7, C30-7a, C32-8, C39-8.
any and all of those were very common on road trains..
GP35's and "non dash 2" EMDs had mostly faded out by that timeframe.

and as Hoss said, I also only saw switchers in yards..an EMD SW-something was based in the Elmira yard.
I never once saw a Conrail switcher in Waverly or Sayre.

  by scottychaos
'83 to '87 was an interesting "transition era" on Conrail.
All the "older" power was gone, No Alcos, most "non dash-2" EMD's gone, and the very last sightings of the high-hood GP8's and GP10's were seen, although very rare.
The last regular "predecessor paint" sightings happened about '84..a few stragglers still in PC black.
I dont think I ever saw one after '84 though..
the last cabooses on mainline trains happened up to '86, then cabooses were gone after '86.
And it was the last era with no widecabs.

  by scharnhorst
I remember B23-7's, GP8's and GP10's being used for local power along side of a small hand full of SW and NW type units scattered about in the mid to late 80's.
  by Engineer Spike
I grew up in CT, and MA. The line in my town was sold to B&M, but the power was GP15s, and EMD powered RS3s. It should be the same as NY, since Selkirk was the main shop for the area.

Later on, I would see mostly B23-7s. There was one time when B&M had a single unit fail on Amtrak. They borrowed a Conrail GP15, in order to clear the train from Amtrak's Hartford Line.

As a college student, my buff friends and I would camp out trackside, in the Berkshires. On the weekends, Conrail would marry up several B23-7s for road jobs. I guess they did this to get them to Selkirk for servicing.
  by Flat-Wheeler
Exactly, Scotty was just about spot on. I believe 1984 was the last of the remaining black "PC" units from the families of SD40, GP35, GP38, GP9, & RS3. By 1980/81, just about all first generation stuff was sold, traded in, retired or mothballed for traffic surges. This included alot of worn out U25B, U28B, U33B, C630, C425, RS3's, GP7/9, NW2, SW1, SW7/8. A few dozen GP7 & GP9's were rebuilt buy IC Paducah shops with a chopped down high hood, and others into GP10 high hood.


Most Typical engines for Road Freights:
SD35, SD40, SD45, SD38-2, SD40-2, C30-7, U33C, U36C
GP38, GP40, GP40-2, B36-7, GP38-2, B23-7, (occasional U30B, U33B, U36B, GP30, GP35)

Branchline Local Switching, and light industrial work:
GP38, GP38-2, B23-7, U23B, SW1500, GP15-1 (occasional GP7m/8/9/10, GP20, GP35)

Yard Mules & Slugs:
SW1500, MP15, MT-6, MT-4 (occasional SW8/800/900, GP20)


Most Typical engines for Road Freights:

SD40-2, SD45-2, SD50, C30-7/a, C36-7 (occasional SD40)
GP40-2, B36-7, GP38-2, B23-7 (occasional GP38/40)

Branchline Local Switching, and light industrial work:
GP38-2, B23-7, SW1500, U23B, GP15-1 (occasional GP10, GP38, GP40)

Yard Mules & Slugs:
SW1500, MP15, GP10, MT-6

In addition to Railpace magazines and Conrail's own magazine “Update”, I had the privilege of listening to the scanner in my bedroom while I did my homework after school. Just the mention of unit numbers on the radio told me what was roaming the rails and where, and how frequently. Then of course, I spent many of my summers along the CR Mainline between Rochester & Lyons around 1980, up until my last years of High School in 1990. Then I went to Buffalo for my engineering degree at UB, where I found GP10's mated with slugs were common doing yard work and local transfers for several years into early '90's. I believe the GP20's were commonly used with a slug for the hump at Syracuse until about '82 or so. A pair of SW1500's were commonly used on locals in Rochester (to Kodak on WBRO-26 or to RG&E on WBRO-16). Sometime in the late '80's, a magazine showed a picture of a Conrail GP30 doing a local turn out of Philly or the Jersey area. But that was a rare situation when a power shortage came up, and a few mothballed GP30's and GP35's were briefly brought back from retirement.
  by TB Diamond
Here is a list of CR local trains with EMD switcher locomotives for power from my slide files. All subjects were photographed by myself.

1.) ConRail Train EX-1 at Honeoye Falls, NY with Penn Central SW1500 No. 9564 on 06 April 1976.
2.) ConRail Train LI-2 at Ithaca, NY with Lehigh Valley SW8 Nos. 252 & 274 on 27 May 1976.
3.) ConRail local at Newton Falls, NY with Penn Central SW1500 No. 9517 on 05 June 1976.
4.) ConRail local crossing Niagara Falls Blvd. at North Tonawanda, NY with a E-L SW7(?) on 20 January 1977. Unit number mostly illegible except for 4--.
5.) ConRail Newark & Marion job just west of Newark, NY with ConRail SW1 No. 8411 on 24 October 1977.
6.) ConRail local at Owego, NY on the former E-L main making set outs with ConRail SW8 8668 (patched LVRR) on 02 June 1978.
7.) ConRail train tied down on the former PRR Elmira branch at the Holding Point switch with cars and SW900m 8650 (full CR paint) 28 September 1986.

Here is a list of ConRail EMD switch locos that were photographed in use at Sayre, PA:

1.) SW8 No. 253 (unpatched) at the engine service facility, late September 1977.
2.) SW8m No. 8655 (patched LVRR) in the yard taken from the Lockhart Street Pedestrian Overpass on 26 February 1978.
3.) SW8 No. 8690 (patched LVRR) taken from the Milltown bridge on 23 June 1978.
  by Matt Langworthy
Former EL RS3m #1060 (which became CR #9998) was used frequently in the Gang Mills/Elmira area in the late '70s and early '80s. She was used on the Bath Secondary. Gang Mills local/yard power tended to be SW7s, SW9s, GP7s, GP9s and occasionally non-modified RS3s during that same time period. B23-7s, GP35s, GP38-2s and GP40s gradually replaced them during the '80s.
  by Alcochaser
Later on, in the 90s. Conrail made a concerted effort to assign certain types of units to a particular region.
For example, NY and new england local wise was almost the exclusive domain of the 1900/2800 series B23-7
There were a couple reasons for this. This kept Conrail from having to stock B23-7 parts anywhere except upstate and Juniata.

(The exception to this was the 1933. Which was the geometry train unit)

The entire B23-7 fleet was based out of Selkirk.

The U23C fleet spent a lot of time in Selkirk too.

The Boston line also presented a opportunity to sequester oddball road units. The C30-7A and the C32-8 ruled the Boston line.

More then any road, Conrail was a master at doing this. Terminal by terminal, CR would assign one type of unit for local service. You would show up to somewhere in the midwest, and all the local switchers would be GP15-1, show up to a terminal in Pennsylvania, and you would see a bunch of GP38s.

Only the road units (outside the Boston line oddballs) would wander the system completely.
  by Backshophoss
In the late 80's,early 90's,U23B's and B23-7's became the normal power for the road freights to/from Selkirk and the remaining local
freight power out of Croton north, Oak Point, and Danbury yards.
CR stopped using Put Jct and North White Plains yards for freights.
When the Metro Region was spun out of CR,MTA(MN) was to get a bunch of U23B's,some "last minute" back door deal
swapped the U23B's for the B23-7's that joined the MN fleet.
  by Bigt
Going along with this thread......up here on the old Montreal Secondary, after the takeover, Conrail
continued using ALCO RS32s on their locals and in the yards. At some point in time I remember rebuilt
units coming here. A crewman told me they were old GP7s and GP9s rebuilt into GP8s and GP10s. I
recall seeing the 10s on the Canton Local many times. However, they did not seem to last long up
here and were replaced by U-boats, possibly U23Cs? Does anyone know where these units were moved to?
Also, some of the rebuilt units had a white star above the cabside number...anyone know what the star represented?
  by Cactus Jack
In the 1976 - 1980 period in the DeWitt / Utica / Binghamton area they used:

GP-7, GP-9, Various SW and NW's on branch lines sometimes as a second unit with a GP-7 or such and sometimes alone although many tended to overheat, U25B's were common, both EL and PC, ex NYC mostly, occasionally a U23B or a new B23, GP35, GP 38 but the newer power was rare in my experience. RS32, RS-11 (ex New Havens), RS-3 both EL and PC, RS-3m (9900's) a mix of black and blue by 1978. SW-1's still hanging around for light work and sometimes seen on the road with light trains and transfer cabooses.

By 1980 there were changes with the GP8's, more of the road power like GP35's and 38 / 38-2's, still U25B's, B23's, Alcos gone, SW1500's and some SW units but NW-2's getting scarce. Some GP40's showing up, almost always in blue as I recall but the 38's tended to be black and some into 1982 full PC or close enough. Last EL paint I saw was in Spring 1981 - GP35 in interim scheme. Many of the U25Bs were ex EL and they were blue but quickly bled bad showing their EL colors - some it looked like they painted with water colors. And around the early 80's probably when the 9900's disappeared they ran the GP15's.

Hope this helps.