C&O SD40 heading to Virginia museum

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C&O SD40 No. 7534 and an eastbound CSXT freight train in Clifton Forge, Va.
Clifford Clements/COHS
CLIFTON FORGE, Va. — Nearly two years after being cosmetically restored by CSX Transportation’s Huntington locomotive shops, Chesapeake & Ohio EMD SD40 No. 7534 is almost home at the Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society’s Clifton Forge Heritage Center.

The locomotive recently arrived in Clifton Forge after sitting in storage at the Buckingham Branch Railroad in Staunton, Va., since late 2017. The society originally had plans to lease the locomotive for operation on the Buckingham Branch, but society’s leadership decided that the donated locomotive will better serve as a revenue generator through a museum piece, as opposed through any kind of operational lease agreement.

The blue-and-gold SD40 will join other artifacts in the C&OHS collection, including C&O EMD GP7 No. 5828, C&O 4-8-4 No. 614, and several freight and passenger cars.

The SD40 was donated to the nonprofit organization in 2017 and spent much of summer 2017 at the former C&O locomotive shops in Huntington, W.Va., where it was cosmetically restored. It was then transported dead in tow to Staunton, Va., where it has remained until recent weeks.

C&OHS President Mark Totten says the organization is excited to place the locomotive on display at its Clifton Forge heritage center and is grateful to CSX for a first-class restoration and craftsmanship.

Totten says the locomotive display will drive new visitors to the Heritage Center in 2019. The locomotive will serve as a visitor attraction and teaching tool.

C&O No. 7534 is one of 63 SD40 locomotives purchased by the C&O between July 1966 and March 1971. The locomotive’s C&O paint survived the CSX era and went on to become the last-painted C&O SD40 in revenue service for CSX as SD40 No. 4617. In its latter years, the locomotive would be repainted to CSX’s blue-and-gold before it was retired in Cumberland, Md., and later transported dead-in-tow to Huntington for restoration.

Totten says the locomotive will be interchanged to the C&OHS Smiths Creek Yard in Clifton Forge in the coming weeks.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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