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Western Railroad Discussion > Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972

Date: 11/09/13 22:12
Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: highgreengraphics

So it is according to www.dieselshop that the WAMX 3021 GP-30 that is at the Swan Ranch Industrial Park at Speer, WY shoving oil tank cars coupled to the ex-D&RGW yellow Tunnel Motor is originally C&O 3017. It has since been CSX 4212, Palouse River & Coulee City (PCC) 4212, and came to Cheyenne a WAMX 3021 lettered for the Yellowstone Valley Railroad with an oval emblem in the middle of the hood with a bear emblem as shown in my 11/08/11 post, and shows faintly where it was scraped off in the third photo.

Back up to March of 1972. I was in 8th grade in Junior High School, and living in Traverse City, MI with my family, my hometown and my Dad's hometown, but our family had moved to other places then returned to live near my Grandmother. In the northwoods, the winters hung on forever it seemed. Bread, David Cassidy and Don McLean were constant sounds on the AM radio station. I could not ride my bike in the deep Michigan snow, so I would trudge around town on weekends on foot. My Dad had given me his old Argus C-3 that he brought back from his Air Force stint in Korea, but my parents both forbid me to go down to the railroad yard, which actually was quite sleepy on this C&O branch line outpost, as was the Penn Central that came to town only once a week. They could tell when the camera was gone that I was where I was not supposed to be. So I found another camera in a drug store that cost 26 dollars with some unidentifiable name on it, but it was partially metal and 35mm to boot. The Argus C-3 took better-quality pictures, but now I could sneak down to the tracks undetected. But gee PX-135-20 black-and-white film and processing were terribly expensive with the tiny bit of money I had from doing odd jobs, so I could not take many pictures. Yet I had to try this sneaky new camera. I went down to the C&O yard and after a couple of silent freight car photos I eventually heard a train horn returning from Petoskey, MI. I ran in the wet snow in my soaked shoes to a photo spot I wanted to try for some time at the bridge crossing the Boardman River. The Petoskey Local was short, and had only one GP-30 on it. The prints were processed at the same drug store which used some kind of strange print paper with small ridges. Yet the shot was one of my better ones, I was proud of the composition. My best friend had just turned from liking trains to being more interested in looking cool for the girls, so he acted not too impressed, so I filed the picture away in my 3 1/2 x 5 print box.

Then shortly in August of 1972, my family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Right then it was pointless for my parents to try to forbid me to go down to the railroad, and they knew it. Man, I was there anyway! I had been kind of bummed stuck away clear in sleepy northern Michigan when Amtrak began and correctly it seemed like the whole railroad world had just been changed in a quantum way forever. All I could do was helplessly read about all the last runs in the magazines. Being in Cheyenne soon made up for that to a large extent. I found another best friend who was similarly railroad-afflicted and we sure had fun, and we learned so much...

Now I am in my mid-50's, married for 35 years, 2 kids, and 3 or 4 railroad careers have come and gone for me after I was seriously injured as an Engineer. Yet I still carry the railfan flag and take pictures. I knew this GP-30 was at the Swan Ranch Industrial Park, but its heritage was not known. Somebody mentioned that the battery box slot suggested it was ex-C&O, but others said ex-Rio Grande or ex-Pennsy. Recently, I photographed it again, and checked on this wonderful computer invention, and finally found the list that said this unit was actually in fact originally C&O 3017. I thought I had several shots of C&O GP-30's in Traverse City as they were fairly common power, and today I came upon the old print box so I nonchalantly looked to see what I had. Turns out I had only 2 GP-30 shots, they were so common I did not use too much money buying film for them, the others were GP-7's and 9's, GP-35's and even a new GP-40. My Traverse City depot shot of a GP-30 leading the Petoskey Local was too far away to really see the engine number, then I found the other shot, and voila! I could scarcely believe my eyes. My only readable C&O GP-30 photo is in fact C&O 3017! 41 years later, I find out this is the same GP-30! Somehow it followed me here and I hadn't even realized it! What are the chances? Anyway, it made my day. I rephotographed the print and Photoshopped it as best as I could, I think I may still have this negative socked away somewhere, but like most kids I was lousy at saving them so we will see. Next time I see this locomotive, I am going to give it a big kiss! Maybe I will find a way to place this photo inside the cab, too.

Happy make-my-day railfanning! === === = === JLH

Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/13 20:13 by highgreengraphics.

Date: 11/10/13 00:49
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: SlwApprSlw

Well, it would be nice to see it back in C&O colors, but it's good to see it still running.

Cass Telles
"Slow-Approach-Slow" - 'Go by way of the B&O'
Railroads of NW Ohio
My photostream on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctelles/

Date: 11/10/13 05:59
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: SP8595

Wow, pretty unbelievable! Now I see why you like to shoot the bridges on the Ft. Collins branch so much:}

Date: 11/10/13 06:44
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: BrianA

Thanks for bringing us up to date on the whereabouts of the GP30. I photographed it in Cheney, WA 8-11-01 as the PCC 4212 but did not know it's heritage at the time. Later the 4212 disappeared as did the PCC. Now I know what happened to it.

Brian Ambrose
Renton, WA

Date: 11/10/13 06:52
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: highgreengraphics

Thanks for the nice shot of PCC 4212. I noticed in the C&O shot that the battery box cover slot that started the history search is not there, it has stock louvers or vents. So I take it that the slot was a later C&O modification? === === = === JLH

Date: 11/10/13 07:53
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: fbe

Sometimes it is such a small world, eh? Nice B&W. Is it scanned from an old print or did you find a negative after all these years?

Posted from Windows Phone OS 7

Date: 11/10/13 08:20
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: highgreengraphics

I just rephotographed the 3 1/2 x 5 print under the desk light. I have an old manual 55mm Nikkor that was supposed to be one of the best copy lenses around, but being manual it takes several times to come up with the right metering. The whites pop out in Photoshop with Auto Smart Fix, but one wishes the sharpening worked better. I cropped off the white borders. You can clearly see the ridges in the photo paper that the drug store used for a matte finish, I did not get into the glossy finish until later, after moving to Cheyenne.

Oh, yeah, the old C&O Pere Marquette line from Grand Rapids through Traverse City to Petoskey was torn out as a through route years ago, now served off the old PC line from Walton Jct. by Lake States which was Tuscola & Saginaw Bay. The PM, then C&O Boardman yard is gone as is the yard office and 2-stall enginehouse, the curved bridge is still there, but now the line only extends a short distance south of Traverse City. Mostly a truck economy up there now. === === = === JLH

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/13 08:48 by highgreengraphics.

Date: 11/10/13 09:06
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: GPutz

Great story, JLH. Thanks for tracking it all down. Gerry

Date: 11/10/13 15:55
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: SD45X

What, no before pic of the ex DRGW T-2? LOL.

Date: 11/10/13 16:42
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: highgreengraphics

Well, the WAMX 4155 T-2 was originally D&RGW 5395, then UP 9869. Never saw anything like that in Michigan, nor did I ever dream that GP-30 would ever be coupled to such a beast! The number 5395 is really familiar, bet I have photos, but buried away in slides and major project to find it. Anybody else have photos of the T-2? === === = === JLH

Date: 11/10/13 18:55
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: NH2006

Now that is very cool.

Date: 11/11/13 18:46
Re: Swan Ranch WAMX GP-30 as C&O 3017 in 1972
Author: grandroad

Highgreen>> Terrific story. Thanks for posting. Brought a smile to my face.

Paul Brennecke
Golden, CO

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