Saturday, February 4, 2012

Leased Locomotives on CN 1994-1998

In the mid- to late-1990's, both CN and CP were power-hungry, at times leasing hundreds of locomotives from leasing companies and other railways to haul increased traffic resulting from an unexpected economic turn-around.  Soon after, both railways would embark on major revitalization programs for their locomotive fleets, thus reducing the average locomotive age.  By buying new instead of remanufacturing in-house, CN planned to replace 543 units with 394 in the next 15 years.  CN also used power from GT, DWP, CR and NS. One of the earliest- and longest-leased units was GATX 3702 (ex-B&O), repaying horsepower hours owed to CN by St. Lawrence & Atlantic, switching flat cars on May 12, 1992:
Conrail purchased 60 C40-8W's built in 1994 for joint leasing service with General Electric Locomotive Management Services (LMS).  Each year, LMS 700-739 spent six-and-a-half months on CR and five-and-a-half months on Canadian National, on a lease that was set to expire in the year 2012.  At the Conrail split, the lease arrangement was terminated and all units were sub-leased through Conrail Corporation (CRCX) with LMS 700-714 to CSX and 715-739 to NS.  This arrangement was then terminated again in 2001 and re-written, allocating LMS 700-711 to CSX, LMS 712-727 to NS and LMS 728-739 to CN, the latter units since renumbered to CN/IC 2455-2466, with the CN logo on the long hood and IC sub-lettering and large numbers on the cab side.  My sister spotted CN/IC 2463 on a CN intermodal train during the Christmas break, with LMS initials still visible on the nose.  The second order of C40-8W's arrived in the standard Conrail Quality scheme.  In the summer of 1997, Conrail transferred 740-759 from lease service to the regular fleet and renumbered them 6266-6285 respectively.  
My first LMS sighting: CNNA 5379-LMS 734-LMS 722 on a westbound intermodal train at Queens February 12, 1995 (below).  Locomotive consists including these interesting leased locomotives can be found here. At the time, CN's North America scheme was being applied to large numbers of locomotives but only a handful of freight cars.  All photos in this post taken at Kingston, Ontario except as noted.
In a power consist between a CNNA unit and a GP9RM heading to Toronto for servicing: CNNA 9508-LMS 738-CN 7221 on May 11, 1995 at 1638:
LMS units also led CN freights.  LMS 734-CN 5530 eastbound at Mi 179 Kingston Sub on April 21, 1996:
LMS 718-LMS 738-CN 5604 same direction and location on May 5, 1996:
CN 5414-LMS 735-CN 5041 are powering CN train No 361 on March 28, 1998:
Other fleets were leased by CN throughout 1994:
-EMD 200, 201 (ex-GO Transit)
-EMD Leasing GP38-2 763, 772, 775, 790, 794, 795, 800, 806, 813 (ex-CR) maintained at Battle Creek, Michigan, May 1994 off-lease by late 1995
-Helm Leasing SD45-2 900-910 (ex-CSX) May 1994 off lease by mid-1995
-NRE SD40 869, 870, 872, 882, 886, 889, 892 (ex-C&NW) December 1994
-LMSX C40-8W 715-739 seasonal lease, November 1994 most off-lease by 1995, some still in use until 2001
EMD Leasing SD40 400-432, November 1994 off lease May 1995, to CR lines
-Morrison-Knudsen SD40-2 (ex-SP) 9000-9010, 1995
EMD Leasing GP38-2 (ex-Conrail) trails CN 2100 at Belleville, Ontario March 16, 1995 with its Conrail 'can-opener' logo showing (above).  Ex-CNW National Railway Equipment SD40's weren't the most photogenic.  Between CN 94xx and CR 6662, NRE 878 with silver truck sideframes on January 21, 1998:
Another three lease fleets were added in 1997:
-EMDX Locomotive Leasing Partners SD40 6403, 6407, 6410, 6419, 6420, 6426, 6427 (ex-CR)February 1997
-EMDX Locomotive Leasing Partners GP40 182, 187, 193, 195-197 (ex-MKT and Soo) September 1997
-Helm Leasing GP40 425-429 (ex-CSX) November 1997.
Locomotive Leasing Partners EMDX 196 is between CN 5376 and  CNNA 6416 on CN train No 390 on October 14, 1997 (above) and CN 9633-CNNA 9657-EMDX 195 on CN train No 335 February 1, 1998:
Helm Leasing GP40 (ex-CSX) 427 trails CN 9673-CNNA 9404 on a 103-car CN train No 369 on January 17, 1998:
Running extra...

Progress Rail, formerly Electro-Motive has closed in London.  Once upon a time, General Motors Diesel Division (GMDD) would respond by mail to young railfans with glossy 8x10's of CN GP40-2L(W)'s and CP SD40-2's.  Now owned by Caterpillar, it's all about shifting production out of Canada.

Progress Rail's last passenger locomotives produced for the Canadian market were F59PHI's for Montreal's AMT in 2000.

The LMS units are sometimes confused with locomotives of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in England, yet I haven't referred to them as LMSX in this post because only 'LMS' is visible on the locomotives. I also refrained from using their nickname, "llamas".  Bad pun time I go railfanning, alpaca lunch and make a day of it!


Zartok-35 said...

Do you know if they LMS Dash-8s ever made it out west? I don't think they ever did; which is a shame, because video evidence indicates THEY WERE AWESOME.

In recent years, I have seen a couple of the re-badged CN units; I call them "Ex-Conns".
Some people think "Blue Devil" is a better moniker, but I fail to see what is so very devilish about them.

Eric said...

Not that I'm aware of, Elijah. One interesting use of these units was when three of them powered CN's Montreal Auxiliary south to a derailment in New York state in the 1990's. 'Llamas' was the only nickname I ever heard used, but yours are equally clever and appropriate. The units were certainly eye-catching in their blue livery.

Thanks very much for your comments, questions and links.

Lord Darth McIan said...

Hey Elijah & Eric;

I remember seeing the LMS units in Winnipeg when they were around, so they got that far west at least.


Eric said...

Thanks Ian, I should also add that CN employed lease units out west that never made it past my camera in the east, if they did indeed make it this far.

I guess like CN's Alcos, Winnipeg was like 'crossing the Rubicon' for a lot of motive power, meaning it was no farther west, time to send them back east. A lot of the eastern leased units were used on CN's lines in the US, and I believe some were maintained at Battle Creek, Michigan.


Manny said...

Hi Eric, thank you for another interesting post. I was just down the line from you in Cornwall during those years and can remember those LMS units vividly. They had a different horn and a high headlight and could be seen leading from time to time. Your 427 shot was taken in the aftermath of the ice storm. Was that train moving or was it parked? I seem to recall the line didn't reopen until a couple of weeks after the ice storm. For some reason the 26th sticks in my mind but it may have been different in Kingston. There were more and more CNNA repaints in these years, as I recall and the big alcos were dying off. Then the SD70s and later 75s came. I remember one of the first or rare occurences of a Dash 9 in the summer of 1997. I have photos around Cornwall of a few of these leasers from these years but glad to see the view from down the line. Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.


Eric said...

Manny, thanks for your comments. The ice storm descended on Kingston Jan 7-10/98. VIA was cancelled east of Toronto, and there were no CN trains from Jan 8-10. An RTC said "We're single-tracking half the railway", and crews were vigilant for downed wires and inoperative signals. Operations were very irregular, with the first train I saw being CN No 131 with a 5700 at 1715 on Jan 10.

The photo of HATX was indeed in the wake of the ice storm, as was the photo of NRE 878. I was waiting to photograph Expo86-painted boxcar CN 557417 on CN train No 395, but it must have been repainted, so I was able to photograph the leased units. Note ice/snow on ballast, and since the HATX 427 photo was on the 17th, trains were moving again.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien flew into the Kingston airport, where there was a military command post and helo detachment set up and we saw him there. Desperate times, and we had a very mild repeat a couple of weeks ago. Come on spring!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Another very interesting post, Eric. I never knew CN used that many leased units. CP has used leasers for decades but the CN ones never seem to get much press. I didn't start railfanning until 1998-1999 so I missed the CN leasers. I have caught a couple of the "big blue" ex-LMS units over the years. Thanks for this.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Steve. The use of lease units ramped up rather quickly in the nineties on both CN and CP. CP was more in need, and a post on their lease units would have probably been a three-parter. I did catch a few CP lease units on visits to Smiths Falls. CN's widening of their scope to use their US roads' power increased as well. Watch for future posts featuring power consists featuring lease units and GTW, DWP and even NS and CR units.


Manny said...

And who can forget about the eastern CP freights with VIA F40PH-2s in the lead. That was another thing that happened in 1994-95. Any chance you'll be featuring a post about those trains? Did you ever get photos Eric? They mostly ran through Smiths Falls I think.

Eric said...

You're quite right about the VIA units, Manny. I didn't personally the VIA units CP used, but I have seen others' photos and it's kind of weird seeing passenger units used on freight. Plus the GO units used years before that. CP never turned down a creative approach to turning a profit while keeping the overhead down.

Thanks for your comment,