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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Week - 02/10/2008

SEPTA Main Line North Wales PA January 30 2008


A number of circumstances caused a domino effect that resulted in a rare daylight run of CSX B738 from Lansdale to Warminster and back on January 30 2008. The morning before, a SEPTA local on the Warminster Line ran into some wire trouble between Hatboro and Willow Grove. A temporary repair was made that allowed service to resume, but a more permanent solution required the wire train, which was working the Main Line near North Wales, and would have tied up the single track line during evening rush hour. So Tuesday night the wire train made the repairs north of Willow Grove, completing them before the morning rush. This however prevented CSX B745 out of Lansdale to work the only CSX customer on the Warminster Branch, Conte Luna Foods, and as luck would have it, they would run out of flour early on January 30, halting production at the plant. So SEPTA and CSX coordinated to make a special run to bring a covered hopper down from Lansdale to join a loaded covered hopper already there, shift the plant and bring back four empties, all between SEPTA local runs on both the Warminster and Bethlehem Branches. With the skill that comes from years of experience, everything went like clockwork, with the train returning to Lansdale just after noon.

A southbound MU from Doylestown passes the wire train and bucket truck stringing wire in North Wales. Single tracking on the Main Line between Dale and Gwynedd complicated the special move, which saw B738 leave Lansdale at 9:00 so it could get through the area before the wire train arrived to take Track 1 out of service.

Following the northbound MU, B738 with CSX GP38-2 2813 leading exits the Gwynedd Cut and approaches North Wales. The yellow paint on the outer edges of the plow denotes that the unit has a cutout plow and is equipped to operate in third rail territory, the yellow paint in the center was added just days before and its purpose is unknown.
B738 passing Main Street in North Wales with the four empty covered hoppers.
Trailing was CSX GP40-2 6156. From this side by side view, you can see why many people presume that the RL-1 is a EMD product, but despite the similarities, we are assured that both units were in fact built from scratch by Republic Locomotive.
Throughout, the wire train crew continued their work without missing a beat.

All pictures January 30 2008 Copyright © 2008 John P. Almeida

Photographs for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.

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Last Updated February 10, 2008

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