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Reincarnation Is A Fact! SSW GP35 6502- Before & After

September 11, 2010

I’ve never believed in re-incarnation. Until now.

Cotton Belt GP35 6502 pulling hard on a BEHOM manifest at Dawes,TX on Sept. 20, 1988

The lead unit above, Cotton Belt GP35 6502, is quite the senior citizen. It was manufactured in January, 1964, making it nearly 25 years old in this photograph.

That’s 25 locomotive years. Converted to human years, it’s almost 75 years old!

Yet it was still out there, generating revenue for the SP. On the main line, to boot!

Nothing lasts forever, though. The 6502 was retired in early 1991. Typically, that would be the end of the story. But not this time.

By the end of 1991, through the miracle of re-incarnation*, the 6502 came back to life as BN GP39M 2896.

*Re-incarnation defined as re-manufacture of the locomotive by Morrison Knudsen Rail Corp. BN received 30 GP39M’s in 1991 from M-K. They were all originally GP30’s and GP35’s that were upgraded with 645E3 prime movers, Dash-2 electrical systems and rated at 2300 HP. Of these 30 units, 24 came from GP35’s retired by the SP. The other 6 came from GP30/GP35 ‘s retired by BN or NS.

BNSF GP39M 2896 rests at Seattle, WA on 6/14/2008.

It later became BNSF 2896, and to this date, is still out there pulling freight over 45 years after departing the EMD erecting bays in La Grange.

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