Toys for Tots train Saturday will be last for PRR E8s

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The Toys for Tots Train is put together at Oak Island Yard, N.J., earlier today.
Juniata Terminal
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — This year's version of the New York Capital Region Toys for Tots train offers a special treat for railfans in addition to gifts for children: perhaps the last mainline run of two privately-owned former Pennsylvania Railroad E8s.

Railroad preservationist Bennett Levin’s PRR Nos. 5711 and 5809 are set to be part of the power for the 8-car "South Distribution Train," running Saturday, Dec. 1 on Norfolk Southern trackage from Binghamton to Delanson. After this trip, the locomotives are set to be retired from mainline travel, Levin says.

"I'm not going to make the investment in [positive train control]," Levin says. He expects the engines to be put into long-term storage.

The E8s, led by an NS locomotive, will be pulling a special version of the Marine Toys for Tots train, which is making its 20th anniversary run delivering toys and clothing to Capital Region children. Amtrak announced in August that it would no longer operate the train [see "Amtrak nixes New York's Toys for Tots Train," Trains News Wire, Aug. 6, 2018]. Levin says he was asked by an intermediary if he could help organize a train.

Levin approached NS and offered to supply the equipment if the railroad would supply the crews. NS agreed, and Levin set about rounding up additional cars for the train. Other donors include John Webb, who provided two cars; the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad and the Morristown & Erie Railroad, which supplied an additional car; and Amtrak, which donated two baggage cars.

The train is scheduled to make these stops:
10-10:30 a.m., Binghamton Yard
11:45 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Bainbridge
1:15-1:45 p.m., Oneonta
3-3:25 Cobleskill
4-5:30 Delanson

At Delanson, the power will run around, and the train will head back to Binghamton, Levin says.
On Dec. 9, two buses, six tractor-trailers, and 20 other vehicles will make their way from Saratoga Springs to Rouses Point, to drop off gifts.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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