Skip to content

SP B23-7 5111 – Before & After

March 5, 2010

The SP acquired 15 B23-7’s in June of 1980. Numbered 5100-5114, the 2300 HP units were intended for service on the relatively flat east end of the railroad.

Interesting power for a shooter, B23-7 5111 brings an NOLXT into West Colton CA on Nov. 7 1987

Nevertheless, they could end up anywhere on the system, as evidenced by the 5111 on the point of an NOLXT (New Orleans – Long Beach Trailers) about to pass under the Pepper Ave. overpass at the east end of SP’s West Colton Yard.

SP 5111 has the NOLXT on the move again at South Fontana, CA on Nov. 7, 1987

After a couple of hours for a crew change and making a head-end set-out, the NOLXT was on the move again. Fortunately, the haze had cleared up a bit allowing a much nicer shot of the train at South Fontana.

Fast forward 18 years – Christmas Day 2005. It’s a beautiful day in Houston, so I ask my wife and sons if they want to go for a ride. They accepted the offer, so we piled into the SUV.

Now, my family knows that any and all rides may involve some railfanning, especially when it’s sunny. They’re OK with that.

We ended up at UP’s Pierce Yard in North Houston, where we saw a string of locomotives that required further investigation. It was a string of about 20 units, all 4-axle GE’s that were retired.

As we drove along the line of retired power, I spotted the 5111 and instantly recalled seeing it in Southern California back in the day.

SP B23-7 in a dead line of retired power in Houston, TX on Dec. 25, 2005.

I felt a twinge of sadness knowing that the 5111 of my youth would never run again.

Unbeknownst to me, this would not be the absolute end of the line for the 5111. It became the core, providing the frame and trucks, for UPY 2644, an RP20GE Gen-Set unit built in 2007.

Obviously, I’d rather have SP 5111 still out there. But that’s not an option. So it’s nice to know that the 5111 didn’t get scrapped into bits of metal for export to China.

PS- I’m amazed at how good the 5111 looked in 2005, after 25 years of continuous service.  None of the B23-7’s were ever re-painted, yet this 25 year-old paint job aged much better than most 5 year-old  BNSF H3 paint jobs.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s