Saturday, February 12, 2011

End of the Line

Union Pacific's Lake Transfer with Montana Rail Link locomotives entering Albina Yard in Portland.

It's the end of the line for these "pretty blue ones" (in the words of the yardmaster): Montana Rail Link locomotives coming to Portland to be scrapped. This afternoon the Lake Transfer brought a total six MRL SD45-2s into Albina Yard, nos. 313, 304, 303, 302, 314, and 310; they will go to Schnitzer Steel next week to be reduced to raw material for some other products for the future. The 314, in particular, looks fresh from the paint shop, although she is in fact the oldest of the group, having rolled off the assembly line in 1969 for the Southern Pacific. The other five date from 1974. The 302-304 entered service for the Clinchfield Railroad, where they once hauled coal in Virginia and Kentucky, the 310 came from the Santa Fe, and the 313 from the Seaboard Coast Line. Most recently they hauled tonnage across Montana, often in helper service, assisting everything from lumber to coal to grain over Rockies. Montana's diminished lumber market and the arrival of new SD70ACe locomotives, which burn less fuel and develop more power, have rendered these road warriors redundant.

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