Norfolk Southern to renumber executive Fs

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Norfolk Southern's classic ABBA cab units pass through Harrisburg, Pa., in August 2012.
Trains: Jim Wrinn
ALTOONA, Pa. — Norfolk Southern’s fabulous four — the F-units that were rebuilt for executive train service in 2007 — are being renumbered.

NS will drop the first digit from each unit’s road number to make way for General Electric AC44C6M rebuilds that will conflict with the Fs, which are numbered 4270 and 4271 for the cab units and 4275 and 4276 for the B-units, a source familiar with the subject tells Trains News Wire. The F9s will become 270-271 and the F7Bs will become 275 and 276.

The Fs, whose black, aluminum, and gold paint scheme is based on Southern Railway’s classic “tuxedo” look were numbered just above Southern’s last Fs.

Norfolk Southern purchased the units in 2006 from Kansas City Southern for business train use. KCS acquired the units in 2005 when it purchased the locomotives and rolling stock of special train operator Rail Cruise America, based out of St. Louis Union Station. While KCS retained the eight Rail Cruise America passenger cars it got in the deal, the Fs were never placed in service before their sale to NS.

The four units, two F9As and two F7Bs, have varied histories:

NS No. 4270 was Rail Cruise America (RPCX) F9PH 1010. It was built for the Baltimore & Ohio as B&O F7A 937 and was later renumbered to B&O 4580. It was sold to Morrison-Knudsen in 1975 and was one of six B&O F7 units rebuilt by M-K into F9PHs in 1980 for the Maryland Department of Transportation. It was numbered 7181 for MDOT, which used it in commuter train service on former B&O lines out of Washington, D.C. to Baltimore and Martinsburg, W.Va. When the Maryland Rail Commuter Service (MARC) was created the unit was renumbered to MARC 81. When MARC retired its cab units the locomotive was acquired by Rail Cruise America and numbered 101. NS 4271 was RCPX F9PH 1020. It followed a similar route; it was built as B&O F7A 947, later 4590, 4557, MDOT 7185, MARC 85, and RPCX 102.

The two F7B units were originally built for the Chicago Great Western. NS 4275 was RPCX 2010. It was built as CGW 113D in October 1950. CGW merged into Chicago & North Western in 1968, and it carried the same number on the C&NW until September 1971 when it was renumbered Chicago & North Western 317. In 1985 it became part of Chicago & North Western's business train fleet and was numbered C&NW 410. When Union Pacific acquired C&NW in 1995, it subsequently sold off the North Western's F units and the locomotive went to Rail Cruise America in 1998 becoming RPCX 201. NS 4276 was RPCX F7B 2020. It was built in December 1950 as CGW 114B, was renumbered in August 1971 to C&NW 318, became C&NW 411 in 1985, and RPCX 202 in 1998.

NS kept four former Southern Railway FP7s into the 1980s for excursions and office car specials, and all have been preserved, two at RJ Corman’s dinner train operation in Bardstown, Ky., and two at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad. One, No. 6133, was donated to the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer is still operational and retains its historic 1950s appearance.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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