Knoxville Locomotive Works units start service in California

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Richmond Pacific SE15B No. 2016 shoves down Wright Avenue with a fresh swing shift crew on board, beginning chores in the Levin Terminal port area of Richmond, Calif., on Feb. 3, 2018
Davis Strench
RICHMOND, Calif. — In late 2017, the Richmond Pacific Railroad Corp. took delivery of two Knoxville Locomotive Works SE15Bs. These locomotives were funded in part by environmental grant money with the requirement that they replace older locomotives with cleaner Tier 4-compliant models. This meant the end for two of railroad’s veteran EMD end-cab switchers, as to receive full funding, the displaced units must be permanently disabled. This decommissioning process usually involves drilling irreparable holes into the prime mover. Many Class I and shortline railroads have taken advantage of similar grants, electing to acquire NRE and Railpower gensets. With Knoxville’s single high-rpm MTU engine receiving Tier 4 certification, a new and attractive option became available to railroads looking to take advantage of grants. Being distinctly not a genset, the simplified Knoxville design incorporates mostly standard EMD parts while utilizing an innovative high-speed prime mover with a low-speed AR10 traction alternator. Richmond Pacific is the first California short line to take delivery of a Knoxville product, but it may not be the last as other Northern California short lines, as well as a few grain elevators, could be in line for SE10B and SE15B models in the near future. — Davis Strench

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