Nov 11, 1999
In 1976 Conrail inherited thirteen 3,600hp SD45-2's from the Erie Lackawanna, which had purchased the units in 1972 and were the EL's last new locomotives before Conrail. The EL purchased the locomotives for fast freight service, equipping them with an extra-large 5,000 gallon fuel tank so the units could run without refueling between New York and Chicago. Plus the larger fuel tank added to the overall weight of the locomotives, thereby increasing their tractive effort. When the EL moved the engines' airhorns to a position in front of the cab and below the roof line, the SD45-2's were allowed to work in ore service in the Cleveland, OH, area.
Unfortunately, the units did not see the same freight service under Conrail as they did under the EL due to the SD45-2's HT-C trucks. As mentioned on the SD40-2 Prototype page, Conrail was wary of the new HT-C trucks that EMD had been placing on their all their six-axle Dash-2 locomotives. As a result, in 1977 Conrail mandated that all SD40-2's be delivered with the older, proven Flexicoil trucks. Since the SD45-2's had HT-C trucks, Conrail restricted them to pusher duty over Horseshoe Curve in Central Pennsylvania. Some other locomotives to serve pusher duty over the years were SD35's, SD40's, SD40-2's, SD45's, SDP45's, SD50's, SD60's, C30-7's, C36-7's, and a handful of ALCos.
During the early 1990s, the aging SD45-2's were removed from full-time pusher duty and helped on Black Lick coal trains in the Altoona area, though they did reappear in pusher duty from time to time until 1997. By 1996 all the units had been repainted in the Quality scheme. Shortly after that, all 13 units were leased off to the Canadian National and other railroads. I've heard that they appeared on the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern, for example. I also began sporadically seeing them in regular Conrail freight service in Eastern Pennsylvania by late 1996.
In 1998 while on lease to Canadian National, CR 6656 and 6660 suffered an engine failure, were repaired, then sold off to northeastern regional, Reading & Northern. On a similar note, sometime between 1995 and 1997 CR 6661 was rebuilt with a 16-cylinder 3,000hp and reclassed as an SD40-2. The remaining units eventually found their way back into general freight service until the end of Conrail until they were transferred to CSX and Norfolk Southern in June 1999.
Comprehensive Roster [Download PDF Version ]
The roster below is comprehensive for these units between April 1976 and May 1999, and contains all predecessor units of the locomotive class that Conrail inherited. If numbers are missing from the roster, Conrail intentionally left them open. Sources used for this roster primarily come from several years of Conrail locomotive data books, Diesel Era, and X2200South. Thanks to John Durant, Rob Russell, and Bryan Jones.
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