Author Topic: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern  (Read 1454 times)

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Carolina Northern

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How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« on: January 03, 2010, 02:24:27 PM »
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Two things the Carolina Northern was always short of were money and motive power.

Management came up with an idea to help the first by offering to do maintenance on other company’s locomotives.

When asked if this was possible, the head mechanic (no fancy titles like Chief Mechanical Officer on this railroad), Angus Whyte was heard to say, “I don’t care what color the paint is, if it’s a broken engine, we’ll fix it.”

That seemed a bit over the top, but Angus had good reason for his belief. He had gotten his start at Southern’s Spencer shops and had been exposed to all kinds of repairs.

At first, the shops got an occasional locomotive from a short-line that didn’t have the facilities for an overhaul or repair. The management was not above using the restored motive power on a revenue run or two before returning them to their owners – sort of a test run. The locals got used to seeing strange locomotives at the head of Carolina Northern trains. The railfans regularly lined up at the Rocky River bridge to catch pictures of some of these strange locomotives.

The change came when the Western Maryland called to say that the 81 was broken down near the Northern’s tracks. Their repair crews were overloaded. Could the Northern give it an overhaul?

The Northern dispatched an RS-1, 301 to fetch it and bring it into the shops.


81 being pushed into the shops

They found dirty electrical contacts and a puzzling problem in the drive train.

There were chunks of what seemed to be green sponge rubber throughout the gears. After cleaning it out, Angus decided to replace the trucks with some Geep trucks they had just received from the Atlas Tool Company.

As they were completing the swap, Angus told the crew to Beardenize the 81  before turning it loose. The crew just stared at him and finally he threw up his hands and said, “OK, I’ll do it myself.”

The crew stood and watched as he worked, all the time muttering about the crew not keeping up with the latest in locomotive performance improvements.

The Northern’s management called the Western Maryland to tell them it was ready and settle the bill for the work. They were told that the decision had been made to scrap the 81 and perhaps a deal could be made in lieu of the repair bill. The Northern acquired the 81 at a favorable price minus the overhaul cost.

The crew was excited about the new locomotive type and the possibility of a new paint scheme. One ventured that maybe management would let them put a stripe on it like the old passenger power had.

Angus said they’d be lucky if the management didn’t send them down to the hardware store for a spray bomb.

As it turned out, Angus was closer as the ruling came down to cover the Western Maryland name, get some CN reporting marks on it and get it into revenue service. Since there were no 80 series diesels on the Northern, they left the number alone. A quick patch job, and it was off to work. A new paint job would have to wait for the next overhaul.


81 on it's first revenue run crossing Rocky River

The 81 soon proved to be a good performer for the Northern and popular with the crews. They gave the loco the nick name Cleo after the basset hound in the popular TV show, “The People’s Choice”.

When word came that the C&O wanted to get rid of a BL-2 at a good price, the management jumped at the chance to please the crews and incidentally, grab a bargain.


Found on a siding, nearly overgrown

This loco needed much of the same repairs to get it running. There weren’t any more new trucks, so it got the newly refurbished ones from the 81. The crew had no problem Beardenizing this one.

Angus knew this loco was staying and kept finding problems to fix until the paint shop boys had enough time to put a coat of Carolina Northern Blue on the old girl. It was decided to keep the series going and this one was renumbered 82.
This one acquired the nick name of Old Blue, I think named after one of the shop crew’s dog.


82 switching the mill

That’s the story of how the Northern came to have BL-2’s. Somehow this escaped all of the historical records of BL-2 owners published by the railfan magazines and scholarly books.

The BL-2’s have served the Northern well for many years.


John

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 02:40:39 PM »
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good story .. good pictures

Puddington

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 03:01:15 PM »
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That made me smile............ :)

Nice story and really great pictures....
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

wm3798

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 06:02:08 PM »
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That's a horrible story.  Everyone knows the 81 soldiered on into the early 1980's, and was retired to the B&O Museum!  It even came from Hagerstown to Baltimore under it's own power, and on the point of a revenue freight!

For sooth!

But I'll put aside my prejudices, and declare that a fate on the Carolina Northern is a good twist to take.  At least she'd be hard at work like her sister 82, instead of rusting away in a Chessie graveyard...

Lee :)
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

asciibaron

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2010, 03:03:06 PM »
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But I'll put aside my prejudices, and declare that a fate on the Carolina Northern is a good twist to take.  At least she'd be hard at work like her sister 82, instead of rusting away in a Chessie graveyard...


meow!
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How long will it be before they show us how to add DCC to a tree?

Blazeman

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2010, 08:24:06 AM »
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Your rocks are outstanding. Are they real?

Carolina Northern

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2010, 07:39:33 PM »
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Thanks for the comments guys.

I was hesitant to post this after a run in with a well known member of this board at a show in Raleigh last year. He turned down an invitation to see my layout with a comment that I couldn't be much of a modeller if I used Unitrak. I've been back to my lone wolf mode since then.

Two of the sets were built just for the pictures and all but one piece of the track is Unitrak.

I was afraid that I'd upset Lee, but as a small consolation, the RS-1 is the one he helped me fix and there are lots of his dollar dollar tree trees in all but one of the pictures.

The rocks are pebbles from my back yard. Behind the stack in the last picture is a piece I picked up in the NC mountains.

The weeds are leftover fibers from the bump chennelle trees.

After seeing the pictures, I'm not happy with the truck color on the second unit. I'll have to tone it down some - too red.

As I posted in the Oak Creek tread, this version of the Northern is about to be history. As soon as the weather warms a bit, so I can build some benchwork, I'm starting a new version - but that's a different story.

Mark5

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2010, 07:57:02 PM »
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Nice story, pix. ;D

Mark

Blazeman

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 12:06:30 PM »
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Shame that person dissed you and your layout regarding your track choice. Must be tough to be so picky. But good for you for soldiering on.

Clubs lose a few members along the way due to comments of a similar nature by those who feel a sense of superiority and belittle others.

wm3798

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Re: How BL-2's Came to the Carolina Northern
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2010, 01:41:20 PM »
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Frankly, I had to go back and look twice to see that it was Unitrak.  I guess my eye was distracted by all of those devastatingly handsome trees... ;D

Soldier on... 

Typically around here we try to challenge you to challenge yourself.  To some this may look like snubbery, but we tend to be a group that strives for a higher level of achievement.  We're also not afraid to let the guard down and learn a thing or two from you!

Thanks again for your post.
Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net