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Old Dog, Young Pup

November 21, 2015

I got out this past Thursday, 11/19/15, to take advantage of some fine weather. There was a decent amount of traffic which I’ll cover at a later date, but I wanted to share the highlight of the day.

I was waiting for the second of two eastbounds at my usual location, MP 20.6, in Stafford. I hadn’t heard any radio traffic to clue me in to its identity until it was but a few minutes away when I hear the DS call the MKBHO-18 (manifest Kirby-Houston), CSXT 7531 East.

Hot Dayum! I’m always in the mood for a standard-cab leader! Within a few minutes, it comes into view.CSXT 7531-1_WEB

CSXT 7531-2_WEB

To the extent it was a beautiful day, I don’t think the engineer minded the lack of A/C.

CSXT 7531-3_WEB

As the trailing unit passed me, I noticed that it seemed to be fairly new. Being occupied with image capture, I didn’t grasp exactly what I was witnessing.

CSXT 7531-4_WEB

Unbeknownst to me as I was snapping away was that this consist was made up of one of the oldest and one of the newest GE locomotives in Class 1 service in the U.S. Lead unit 7531, a 6/89 vintage C40-8, is over 26 years older than trailing unit CSXT 3304, a 9/2015-built ET44AH. It’s one of the first production Tier-4 units.

CSXT 7531-5_WEB

I found it fitting that the old dog was leading the young pup, as if a gesture of respect from a unit just beginning its career to one that’s running out its last miles.

In doing the research to prepare this post, I came across a shot of this consist taken less than a week prior, but the roles were reversed. Matthew Griffin captured it on empty auto rack train AMLSJR (Auto Mira Loma,TX-San Jose,TX) at Banning, CA on 11/13/15. San Jose is UP’s designation for the Toyota Tundra assembly plant just south of San Antonio.

CSXT 3304 AMLSJR-13 Banning

The consist got switched around, probably at San Antonio, before being assigned to the MKBHO on the 18th. Regardless of their sequence, it’s exceeding rare to see a lash-up of GE’s spanning over 25 years between them.

When you consider how few Tier-4 units and how few C40-8’s are in service, it qualifies as a consist not likely to be repeated.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2015 10:10 pm

    Even at 26, that paint scheme still says “real railroad”, and even faded and rusty looks better than the Dark Futures scheme.

    Maybe the switcheroo in the last photos has a bit to do with crew preference for AC.

  2. Jimmy Barlow permalink
    November 30, 2015 11:01 am

    Rare catch indeed, Robert. I’m assuming where you said San Jose, TX you meant San Jose, CA?

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