Chessie 8272 comes home

A former CSX Transportation locomotive painted in heritage colors finds temporary refuge in its birthplace
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Chessie System-painted C&O No. 8272 poses in Building 10 at GE Transportation's Lawrence Park, Pa., shops for a reunion picture with GE workers who were on site when the B30-7 locomotive was built — in 1980.
Greg McDonnell
LAWRENCE PARK, Pa. — It wasn’t supposed to happen. When the CSX shop in Huntingdon, W. Va., completed repainting retired B30-7 No. 5554 to its original Chessie System colors and identity as C&O No. 8272, the donated locomotive was billed to move directly to its new home at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East., Pa. However, fate intervened and the B30-7 made an unexpected stop at its birthplace.

Just prior to the much-anticipated arrival of C&O No. 8272, the North East museum’s CSX connection was temporarily embargoed by local track work — stranding the locomotive at Erie, Pa., just a dozen miles from its destination. Notified of the predicament, GE Transportation offered safe haven. The beautifully restored B30-7 could sit out the delay in the secure confines of its locomotive plant on the east side of Erie. The very plant that built the locomotive more than 37 years ago.

Aware of the historic significance and the personal and family connections between the brightly painted B30 and workers at the Erie plant, GE didn’t just stash the 8272 safely away. Instead, it was spotted in front of the Customer Innovation Center on the Erie campus. Employees were encouraged to stop by and have a look. And they did, by the dozens.

In a most fitting gesture, plans were made to bring the 8272 back onto the Building 10 erecting floor where it had been constructed in January 1980 and to invite any current Erie employees who had been on the job when the locomotive was built to join in a family portrait on the shop floor.

On June 9, more than 50 workers took up the invitation and filed alongside C&O 8272 for a family reunion photograph. It’s a tribute to the rich history of GE in Erie, and to the pride taken by generations of workers who’ve been building locomotives on the Building 10 floor for more than a century.

“At a quick estimate,” observed a GE worker as the group milled alongside the 8272, “there’s more than 2,000 years of experience right there.”

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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