Older locomotives, small fleets end up in storage at CSX

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CSX EMD SD60Ms, SD70MACs, SD50-2s, SD40-2s, and an assortment of other GE and EMD-built locomotives sit in storage at CSX Transportation's Russell, Ky., near Wurtland, Ky., in July 2017.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of locomotives have ended up in storage since CEO E. Hunter Harrison took the top spot at CSX Transportation earlier this year. A mix of General Electric and Electro-Motive products have accumulated into lengthy storage lines at rail yards across the system.

Since early summer, the railroad has been adding to its storage line at its Russell Yard in eastern Kentucky and similar moves are taking place at railroad shops and other yards throughout the network.

And it’s not only older, conventional cab locomotives, either. Newer locomotives with delivery dates of less than 20 years ago are also in storage.

Among the most common types of locomotives to be sidelined since spring include EMD-built SD50-2, SD60, SD60M, SD70MAC, and SD70AC locomotives. SD40-2s that have not already been rebuilt to SD40-3 specifications or sidelined for the rebuild program are also accumulating in storage lines.

And EMD locomotives are not the only products to be parked.

GE-built C40-8W locomotives in the 7000 and 9000 numbering series are also in storage lines and some of the railroad’s AC6000CW locomotives haven’t seen service since early 2017.

The decision to sideline hundreds of locomotives used in mainline service as recently as 2016 means that today’s mainline trains are operating with less variety.

A large percentage of the railroad’s GE AC4400CW fleet remains in service even though the locomotives are approaching 20 years of service. Newer GE products, such as the Evolution series ES40DCs, ES44AHs, and the Tier-4 equivalent models are predominant locomotives in mainline service today.

Similarly, EMD-rebuilt SD40-3s and their four axle equivalents, the GP38-3 and GP40-3s, are dominating local and yard scenes alongside GP38-2s and GP40-2s and road slugs. EMD MP15AC and MP15T locomotives, which accounts for a little more than 100 locomotives on the roster, are still dominating the local yard scene, while newer low-emission Gensets are in storage.

Even though some of the railroad’s secondary locomotives have been sidelined this summer, trackside enthusiasts are still catching an occasional glimpse of rare mainline power. A SD40-2 duo was spotted on the railroad’s former Louisville & Nashville mainline this summer and in July, a SD40-2/SD40-3 duo powered an eastbound manifest across the railroad’s former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline to Virginia.

It was estimated that the railroad’s storage lines were in excess of 900 locomotives at one point, though sources familiar with the situation say that number has since been reduced amid locomotive shortages.

As for locomotive maintenance and repairs, the railroad’s Huntington, W.Va., locomotive shops remain busy with GP38-3 and GP40-3 rebuilds, regularly scheduled repaints, and new preventive maintenance work acquired from workforce reductions at other facilities across the system.

As for where CSX is sending its out-of-service units, long storage lines have been seen at Russell, Ky., Cumberland, Md., Waycross, Ga., and other yards throughout the system.

It is unclear how long some of the locomotives will remain in service and what the railroad intends to do with its aging fleet. As of now, the railroad has not announced any plans to auction or sell its locomotives since divesting of its GE C40-8 fleet earlier this year.

The 7500-series standard cab locomotives were sidelined in early 2017, with some of them finding a new home on the Pan Am Railways in New England freight service soon thereafter.

Trains News Wire reached out to CSX Transportation for comment on stored locomotives, but had not yet heard from the railroad.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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