Sep 1, 1999
Conrail was the largest owner of EMD GP15-1's, receiving 100 units between July and December 1979 and placing them into series CR 1600-1699. All were equipped with an Automatic Train Control box and had a normal aspirated inertial air filter. They also had a radiator cooling fan arrangement like those of regular road switchers, using electric fans rather than the unreliable belt driven type. All the units were equipped with MU capabilities and cab signals, allowing the locomotives to work road assignments as well as yard and local duty anywhere on the system.
From my experience, it seemed as if Conrail assigned these locomotives to some area other than others. For example, in Eastern Pennsylvania during the late 1990s a number of GP15-1's were assigned to the Lancaster and Lansdale area. But they only occasionally showed up in Harrisburg, Reading, or Allentown. Nor did Conrail really like using them in road service, though EMD designed them for such duty. Of course, there were probably exceptions. After all, we are talking about Conrail!
Still, I always liked these locomotives. The "tunnel motor" arrangement of the radiator fan was always a thrill to me. I loved looking straight through the locomotive to the other side. Conrail took care of these locos like they took care of their GP38's and GP38-2's. Most were usually rusty and dusty, except for CR 1699 which in 1998 was repainted into Operation Lifesaver colors.
Comprehensive Roster [Download PDF Version ]
The roster below is comprehensive for these units, which were purchased beginning in 1979 and survived on roster until 1999. The roster does not contain retirement dates and dispositions. This roster based on information from Conrail Motive Power Review: Volume 1 and CR Locomotive Data books.
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