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The "Official" Alco/MLW Status UpdateJun 15, '10 12:22 AM
by Bruce for everyone
Everyone has been wondering about the Lake State Alco and MLW status. So I made a visit to the Saginaw Shops on Thursday, June 10 (computer problems prevented a quicker posting), to find out the official status for these seven locomotives.
Please see my folder in the photos section for a few shots that go along with this posting.
After the mandatory visit to the office, I received a release to enter the yard, take pictures, and arranged to meet with the staff at the shop.
Sure enough, only the Alco C-425MAC 1280 is active, and was working on the Flint Train #127 when I was there. The 1280 had led the southbound train to Flint very late on Wednesday, along with 1162-2003-2052. Late on Thursday, 1280 was set up again to lead the southbound Train #127, with 1162-2052 in the consist. Several of the staff explained that the 1280 is still running due to recent maintenance and “She’s a hell of a runnin’ and pullin’ engine.”
As for the other six Alcos and MLW’s, these locos are not retired, but are “stored serviceable” per the Shop Supervisor. There has been a shift in management and shop personnel, to a decidedly pro-EMD group. So these six units are in limbo, but several can be reactivated quickly, if needed. It has not helped their reputation that they have had some carbon build-up, leading to the past problems with discharged exhaust sparks, but I was informed that those problems were not confined only to these locos, and exhaust plenum cleaning is now emphasized with any routine service of all LSRC locos. (I have chosen my words carefully here, please consider your replies.)
Five of our subject locos were parked on the turntable leads next to the shop, all with stacks capped and stored for the short term:
M-420W 798 and 3504
C-425u 281 and 381
(RS-2 469 and RS-3m 974 are still stored there as well, although previously sold.)
M-420W 3500 is still in the roundhouse, with work being done as time permits to complete the recent overhaul of her trucks (new wheels, a couple broken springs replaced, etc). It is uncertain if she will be placed back in service or stored with the others after the work is done.
The oil cooler failure issues previously reported as death blows to the 281 and 381 have been addressed. Parts have been replaced, or are on hand to get these two back on the road.
So time will tell what the near future holds for these four Alcos and three MLWs. LSRC is tight on power right now, so maybe there are some more miles to be racked up pulling freight. But regardless, these venerable locomotives seem to be living on borrowed time.
Indiana LSRC Fan