Well, talking to the Terminal Superintendent at one of the terminals I'm qualified in, I found out that our illustrious CEO is a hard core railfan.
Despite the image NS has gotten, its quite possible that the new guy on top just might have a totally different view on how to run the railroad.
Besides, until NS pulled the plug in 1994, the NS Steam Program was infact a PROFITABLE venture in that it carried its own weight. Part of the program's quantification was that it had to at least cover its own costs. When the higher-ups terminated the program in 1994, it wasn't due to costs, it was due to the fact that they needed the railline capacity for increased coal business.
If they were even thinking about it, the smart thing to due would be to complete the new Part 230 upgrades include the Form 4 for the FRA (all that would be required for a return to service, however most likely both 611 and 1218 would be pretty close to up to date, just needing basic overhauls), but to also install GE/PRR cab signals with LSL's and to equip the engine with standard AAR MU controls... 3 hoses & 27-pin jumper. If that was the case, the next time you saw the OCS.. it would be the 611 leading with at least one canteen, an EMD A-B-B-A lashup, and the ENTIRE office car train.
You will notice, BOTH western roads command a MUCH larger chunk of territory, and both are associated with steam... UP with the 844 & 3985, and the BSNF with teh 4449 and 3751. It stands to reason that NS would want steam in the form of the 611 for their own public relations efforts.
__ J. D. Gallaway __
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