CLIFTON FORGE, Va. — Chesapeake & Ohio blue-and-gold will once again haul freight through the Commonwealth of Virginia. CSX Transportation is donating ex- Chesapeake & Ohio SD40 No. 7534 to the C&O Historical Society in Clifton Forge.
The locomotive is known most for serving as the last C&O-painted locomotive in active service as CSX SD40 No. 4617. The locomotive was retired from service several years ago after being repainted from C&O into CSX’s similar blue-and-gold ‘YN3’ scheme.
Now, the locomotive is being restored to its original paint before headed to Virginia.
“We are restoring the engine back to its former C&O paint scheme and making any minor cosmetic repairs that may be necessary,” says Laura Phelps, manager of media relations at CSX, in a statement for Trains News Wire.
The restoration work is taking place at the railroad’s Huntington Locomotive Shops in Huntington, W.Va., one of CSX’s largest former C&O facilities in the region.
Phelps says the railroad does not have an estimate for when the paint and cosmetic work will be completed.
Once the locomotive is restored as C&O SD40 No. 7534 and towed to Clifton Forge; the society plans to lease it to the Buckingham Branch Railroad for revenue freight service.
Rob Catlin, project manager at the C&O Historical Society, tells Trains News Wire that the arrangement with CSX No. 4617 is a win-win-win for all organizations.
Catlin says that CSX can make the charitable donation, the society can lease the locomotive to the Buckingham Branch to help with its motive power needs, and the society can use the rental income to help reduce the operating deficit at its Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge.
Catlin says that one of the few things keeping No. 4617 from being returned to service is the rebuilding of its traction motors. Ideally, once it is restored as No. 7534, it would serve as local road power for the Buckingham Branch tri-weekly local between Staunton and Clifton Forge – a former C&O route.
No. 4617 arrived at the Huntington shops early last fall after being transported dead in tow from Cumberland, Md.