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May 1998


C&O Painted Locomotive Returned to Service

CSXT's last C&O blue locomotive 4617, which was "retired" on March 24 of this year, has returned to service. Not only was the unit restored to the active list, but for awhile it was even seen working with YN2 unit 4615, another locomotive that had been deleted from the roster and came back. The news of 4617's rebirth was welcomed by the purists who delight in seeing some vestige of CSXT's component carriers still at large on the system. Never mind that 4617 has for some time sported a yellow nose -- on an engine that had not had a yellow nose in its C&O days -- it is still a C&O blue-painted locomotive, and it still has C&O proudly painted upon its sides. Unit 4617 -- formerly unit 8393 -- had been 7534 in its waning C&O days. Except for its yellow nose, which was applied in 1996 to brighten its appearance for safety reasons, the engine has survived the CSXT paint brush. Coincidentally, 20 C&O locomotives actually did have yellow noses. According to locomotive historian Bob Michaels, C&O units 7550 through 7569 inclusive originally had yellow noses. They were very much sought by photographers for their distinctive appearance, almost as much as the Western Maryland (black & gold, and red & white) engines that sparingly roamed the former Chessie System in the 1980s. Unit 4617 is back, but probably not for long. It's getting old, and it had been reportedly on the recommended retirement list for a while prior to its alleged deletion in March.


CSXT's Detroit Division Becomes a Service Lane

CSXT has established the Detroit Service Lane replacing the name of the Detroit Division. It has also been expanded to include the territory from Lima to just south of Walbridge, Ohio, formerly a part of the Louisville Service Lane. The Detroit Division was the railroad's last operating unit to be called a division. CSXT now has 12 operating units, including eight service lanes (Appalachian, Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Florence, Jacksonville, Louisville, and Nashville), one service unit (Chicago), and three business units (C&O, Cumberland Coal, and Florida).


CSX Reports Lower First-Quarter Earnings

CSX Corporation has reported first-quarter earnings of $91-million, or 41 cents per share on a diluted basis, compared to $151-million, or 69 cents per share in the same quarter last year.


Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern Open Intermodal Facility

Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern have opened a joint intermodal facility in Port Arthur, Texas, to serve the Texas Gulf Coast region. KCS began operating in the facility on March 31, followed by NS on April 20.


Camas Prairie Railroad Sold

Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe have sold their jointly-owned Camas Prairie Railroad in Idaho and Washington to Camas Prairie RailNet, Inc.


Burlington Northern Santa Fe Eliminates Torpedoes for Engineering Forces

Burlington Northern Santa Fe has eliminated the use of torpedoes as flagging equipment by its engineering forces. Trainmen will still carry torpedoes when going out to flag, but this use is now minimal.


Boyd Robinson Retires

Boyd Martin Robinson, veteran Western Maryland Railway agent and tower operator, has retired after 38 years of service. He ended his career as the daylight-shift operator at CSXT's HO Tower at Hancock, West Virginia, where his deep and booming voice on the dispatcher's wire had become a hallmark. Known simply as Robbie, he began with the former Western Maryland Railway in May 1959 on the operators' and agents' extra list, working his first assignment at Williamsport, Maryland, after only two days of training. Back then, there was not as much emphasis on training as there is today. Anyway, Robbie already knew most of the duties from visits he had made to many of the stations before joining the railroad. He remained on the extra list, off and on, for about 18 years, during which time he worked most all of the assignments within his seniority district. He had learned the Morse code as a member of the Boy Scouts, and he used it on jobs when, early in his career, this form of communication was still an option. Eventually, the rosters of the Western Maryland and the B&O were combined, and Robbie went on to work B&O positions in Brunswick, Maryland. These included WB Tower, the callers' office, and the storeroom. He displaced onto the daylight job at HO Tower in September 1990, and he remained there for the duration of his career. His last day worked was August 4, 1997, when he left on a disability, and his official retirement date was February 1, 1998. Robbie doesn't admit to being a railfan, but he has been an avid modeler since about the age of 21. His collection, all of which he operates, includes N, HO, O-27 and G scales. He often sets up his G-scale outside at his campground in Little Cove, Pennsylvania.