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Nostalgia & History > Walking Through the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s


Date: 01/10/19 14:53
Walking Through the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: MartyBernard

The Rock Island had 5 BL2s numbered 425 through 429 and built in December 1948 and January 1949. "BL" stood for Branch Line.

Wikipedia says, "The EMD BL2 is a four-axle B-B road switcher built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD). Often considered the "Ugly Duckling" of diesel offerings from EMD, the BL2 led the way for the company's widely successful GP series of locomotives."

1. CRI&P BL2 426 in Chicago passing Englewood Union Station on April 21, 1965.

2 and 3. CRI&P BL2 427 in Chicago, IL from the Roosevelt Road Bridge on May 13, 1964.
 



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/19 19:36 by MartyBernard.








Date: 01/10/19 14:54
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: MartyBernard

4. CRI&P BL2 428 in Chicago, IL from the Roosevelt Road Viaduct on May 15, 1964.

5 and 6. CRI&P BL2 429 passing Chicago's Englewood Union Station on April 21, 1965.

Enjoy,
Marty Bernard

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/19 14:59 by MartyBernard.








Date: 01/10/19 16:21
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: stuporchief

I really enjoyed watching the ongoing dog's breakfast of power fielded by the Rock in my youth, but I missed the BL2 era ... maybe by just a year or two.

When were they retired?

And thanks for this series, Marty. It's great!



Date: 01/10/19 17:36
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: refarkas

Photos two and three are my favorites. I never thought I'd say this but 427 must have just left the paint shop because she looks "TOO CLEAN".
Bob



Date: 01/10/19 18:10
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: ironmtn

More great images, Marty. I have never seen a BL2 in the flesh (even preserved today in operation or in a museum), but they have always intrigued me. Neat to see these shots of them at work on the RI. I like the standard pinstripe paint, but that one in solid red, fresh out of the shop, sure grabs your attention.These must have been interesting to see on the Beverly Branch trains, which apparently was a regular haunt for them judging from your images the other day.

By the way, there was a BL1. I use the verb "was" because there was only one: EMD demonstrator 499. As a demonstrator it had an air-actuated throttle, later converted to the standard electrically-actuated throttle and redesignated then as a BL2 in February, 1948. It went to C&EI as their 1602. That's all per a quick Wikipedia lookup to jog the memory, but I feel sure that have seen this same information elsewhere, too. Rock Island had five BL2s. C&O in my current hometown of Muskegon, Mich. had 14 (the largest number of any road, I seem to recall), and they were regular power in my area. One regular service they held down were the short connecting trains between Muskegon and Holland, for connection to services to Chicago, and east to Grand Rapids and Detroit. The first six of the C&O units were actually ordered by the Pere Marquette, but were delivered to the C&O after Chessie bought the PM. Two of the C&O's BL2s had dual controls and steam generators. I'm told by old-timers in my area that they largely held down the Muskegon - Holland trains, and photos I've seen tend to support that.

"A face only a mother could love", as the old adage goes, but ugly ducklings though they may be, I like 'em. Looking for one or two of them in N-scale C&O paint for my model railroad, in fact. Thanks much again for sharing some great images of BL2s on the Rock Island. Keep these wonderful Rock Island images coming!

MC
Muskegon, Michigan



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/19 18:14 by ironmtn.



Date: 01/10/19 18:19
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: Prophoto

I ahte to anthropomorphize engines, but they look kinda sad. Maybe they knew what would happen to the Rock Island?



Date: 01/10/19 18:33
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: ironmtn

By the way, anybody know anything about that long cable hung on the back of the 427 (in fresh paint, third image)? Is that a power jumper cable to extend to the first car for train lighting? There's one visible also on the back of the 401, high in the upper right rear corner (second image)

I'm wondering if there was small generator set in the rear of the carbody, also perhaps indicated by the raised rectangular metal plate on the roof in the rear section of the carbody. I don't think that metal plate on the roof was for the steam generator, unless RI had theirs placed back there. Most BL2s that had steam generators had them in the nose, with a squarish vertical exhaust duct rather prominent on the pillar between the two windshield sections. On the RI BL2s, it looks like that duct got some sort of a fairing applied to it, with an outlet at roof level that looks sort of like an outlet duct that you see on some small heater or furnace ducts. Yup, interesting birds they were.

MC
Muskegon, Michigan



Date: 01/10/19 18:43
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: CPR_4000

ironmtn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> By the way, anybody know anything about that long
> cable hung on the back of the 427 (in fresh paint,
> third image)? Is that a power jumper cable to
> extend to the first car for train lighting?
> There's one visible also on the back of the 401,
> high in the upper right rear corner (second
> image)
>
> I'm wondering if there was small generator set in
> the rear of the carbody, also perhaps indicated by
> the raised rectangular metal plate on the roof in
> the rear section of the carbody. I don't think
> that metal plate on the roof was for the steam
> generator, unless RI had theirs placed back there.

The Rock's Alco RS3's had train lighting equipment (the box on the running board visible on the RS3 in the first photo), so maybe the BL2's did, too. I never heard that they did, but it makes sense.



Date: 01/10/19 21:12
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: roustabout

The front profile in #6 is interesting.  The question I have is (and there must be) whether there was adequate room to walk through the long hood to get to the rear platform.  Like others of its type, it had to be hot and noisy passing through there.



Date: 01/11/19 06:36
Re: Walking Trough the Rock Island Roster, Part 5, BL2s
Author: zr190

The "Al Capone" cars did not have generators or batteries and relied on
power for lighting from the engine.  As stated above, the RS-3's had a
generator that ran off  connection to the prime mover.  I assume that the
BL-2's were set up similar.
zr190



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