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International Railroad Discussion > mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico

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Date: 01/02/19 03:03
mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

Mexico's Ferrocarril de Chihuahua al Pacifico (Chihuahua Pacific) rostered a total of 37 Fairbanks Morse H16-44's.  It wasn't the largest fleet and definitely not the most photographed, but it was distinguish by a number of "lasts."  CH-P had some of the last H16-44's in service, their fleet included FM's last new locomotive, and two of the three surviving examples of the model came from CH-P.
Chihuahua Pacifico bought its first H16-44's in 1955, fairly late in FM's production history, and the 30 units they eventually bought new all had the final carbody style with high walkways all around.  FM ceased building new locomotives for the US market in October 1958, but 22 additional H16-44's rolled out of their Beloit, WI plant for CH-P after that date.  When new locomotive production at FM finally ended in March 1963, CH-P turned to the used market, picking up six H16-44's from Erie Lackawanna and two from Penn Central (via GE).  These units, built in 1952 for Lackawanna and 1951 for New York Central respectively, had early Loewy-styled bodies with low walkways, sloped hood ends, and raised headlight receptacles.

Five of the H16-44's CH-P bought new carried steam generators for passenger service and were numbered 600-604.  The rest were freight units numbered 501-533 (the second-hand DL&W and NYC units were 526-533).

On various trips to Mexico for excursions in the 1970's and 80's, Ed Von Nordeck, TO user mundo, photographed a number of CH-P H16-44's in service and otherwise, and his collection also contains slides taken by the late Bill Farmer.

1-2) An excursion called the Chihuahua Choo-Choo, co-sponsored by Great Western Tours, the Pacific Railroad Society, and Let's Travel Tours, was at Nuevo Casas Grandes on March 29, 1972, CH-P 512 switching the consist.  The black smoke in the background isn't coming from the FM or steam locomotives, but from smudgepots keeping fruit trees warm.

3) While Ed was there, a freight arrived pulled by FOUR H16-44's, #511, 503, 518, and 519.


Date: 01/02/19 03:04
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

4) A going-away view of the set of four.

5) Two more FM's were at the Nuevo Casa Grandes shops, 507 and an unidentified unit.

6) This appears to be another Great Western tour at NCG in 1976, featuring CH-P 512, 507, and 601.


Date: 01/02/19 03:06
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

7) The 601 and 603 in passenger service in 1976.  Relative to the 500's, the 600's had larger underbody tanks partitioned to hold both fuel and water.

8-9) Nine CH-P H16-44's were rebuilt in-kind by United Railway Supply in Canada in 1973-74, as seen in these old threads:


The units came back painted with block CH-P lettering on the short hood and script "Chihuahua Pacifico" on the side of the long hood, complete with drop-shadows.  Ed caught 517 working at Nuevo Casas Grandes in April 1974

Date: 01/02/19 03:09
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

10) Another URS rebuild, 513, leads passenger-equipped GP28 #808 with what appears to be another excursion in April 1974.  CH-P started buying GP28's in late 1964, and continued to buy EMD two-stroke-cycle power until it eventually pushed FM's two-stroke-cycle power into retirement.

11) Factory paint jobs and the URS rebuilds aside, CH-P's own repaints tended to incorporate minor variations in lettering and other details from one unit to the next.   H16-44 #518 sported this large emblem on its short hood in March 1975.

12) Ed caught one of CH-P's "used," Loewy-styled H16-44's, #532 (ex-NYC 7005), at their La Junta shops in 1972.


Date: 01/02/19 03:15
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

The H16-44 was one of the models spotlighted in J. David Ingles' article "Ten Distinctive Diesels" that appeared in the December 1971 issue of Trains Magazine.  The piece asserts that, "FM, incidentally, offered a low-nose H16, but did not sell any as-such, although CH-P chopped a few noses on its own."  The exact details of the program are elusive, but it appears to have ended around 1970 after only a few units were completed - David R. Sweetland's H15-44 and H16-44 - Fairbanks Morse's Distinctive Road Switchers (there's that word again) lists 506, 514, 515, 520, 521, 522, and 524 as the known examples.  Chopnosing by railroad shops seldom improved a locomotive's aesthetics, and that was certainly the case with the H16-44's.  As with CH-P's in-house paint jobs, their chopnoses likewise exhibited a number of variations in terms of hood slope and windshields, as well as numberboard, classification lamp, and headlight placement.  

13) Ed caught 506 with a more-or-less level nose and the headlights and number boards on the cab in December 1970.  Note also the difference in the underbody tank size between this "freight" H16-44 and the passenger-equipped 602 behind it.

14) By contrast, 515 at Nuevos Casas Grandes in 1972 features a steeply sloped nose with the headlight and numberboards in the positions they occupied when the hood was full-height, but with the class lamps up on the cab.

Date: 01/02/19 03:19
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

Sweetland indicates that CH-P began retiring H16-44's in 1971, and in the July 1978 Trains, John C. Benson reported being told that only six were still active - he personally saw 512, 522, and 523 working and 604 in a deadline.  Fourteen GP40-2's delivered in 1981 and 1982 pushed the last FM's into deadlines...but thankfully not to scrap, at least not immediately.  According to piece on Mexican Railroads by James W. Terrell in the June 1984 Trains, "Also at La Junta is the last reminder of the Fairbanks-Morse diesel era on the CHP, where all FM units still in existence rust away in a deadline.

A reprieve for a couple of those veterans came around two years later with the 25th anniversary of the completion of CH-P's line through Copper Canyon.  According to a piece by Bill Farmer in the January 1987 issue of the Pacific Railroad Society's newsletter Wheel Clicks, "602 had been on display at the entrance to the La Junta shops, and 525 had been in San Rafael and used as an emergency lighting plant.  They were both rebuilt at the railway's shops in La Junta for use in the celebration."  On November 22, 1986, the 602 along with GP40 1007 and GP40-2 1021 lead a special train of railroad officials, press, and invited guests from Los Mochis northbound to Temoris Station, site of the 1961 ceremony that marked the completion of the line.  The 525 along with GP40-2's 1013 and 1022 lead a similar train southbound from Chihuahua.  A third H16-44 also took part in the ceremonies, in body if not in spirit.  The engineless, truckless hulk of chopnosed 524 had been incorporated into a 25th anniversary monument at Temoris that also included a number of hopper cars arranged in the shape of the state of Chihuahua.

15-16) Ed rode the train from Los Mochis lead by 602.

17) The southbound from Chihuahua lead by 525.

Date: 01/02/19 03:22
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

18) The two trains pose at the bottom of the canyon as 524 in the new monument and AutoVia 104 on the main line look down from the upper level.

19) A closer look at 524 and the AutoVia, with the 1961 monument marking the line's completion above both.

20) A better view of the 1961 monument, taken in 1969.

Date: 01/02/19 03:25
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

21-23) Some views by Bill Farmer showing the remains of 524 in its new home on the hillside taken in 1987-88.  There's no prime mover, radiators, or trucks, but it looks like the control stand and engineer's seat are still intact!

Date: 01/02/19 03:29
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

24) A final view taken by Ed in 1987 showing 524 from above and behind with Temoris station in the valley below.  

25) The ceremony wasn't the end of the FM story on CH-P, either.  The following year, the two rebuilt units were repainted and relettered "SCOP Division Norte" for a movie role in 1987 (title unknown).  Bill Farmer found the partially disassembled "102" (former 602) at Nuevo Casas Grandes in May 1987.

26) The former 525 got into the act as "SCOP 101."  Both units retained the pieces of sheetmetal between the third and second-to-last handrail stanchions that held the upper portion of their 25th anniversary emblems.


Date: 01/02/19 03:33
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

The 602 was eventually put back together and its old number restored, but with a fresh coat of NdeM two-tone blue and orange.  It was in use as a switcher at La Junta when one of Ed's Let's Travel Tours trips caught up with it.  The railroad was unsure about the locomotive's reliability and decline to allow its use over an extended portion of the trip, but they did hook it up to the excursion consist (with an EMD on the far end for insurance) and took it to the outskirts of town for a photo runby.  Some video of this can be found on Youtube, along with some shots of Mexico's other H16-44's on the Bosques de Chihuahua (we'll cover Ed's tours to visit those units in a future thread).


27-28) Some Bill Farmer photos of 602 at La Junta on May 17, 1988.

29) Meeting GP40-2 #1036 on Train 4 at La Junta on the same day.

Date: 01/02/19 03:36
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Evan_Werkema

30) H16-44 #525 also got two-tone blue when it was put on display at Nuevo Casas Grandes.  It is one of only three H16-44's known to survive, together with the shell of 524 at Temoris and Canadian Pacific 8554 stored by a private entity along with other rail equipment near Mazeppa, Alberta, Canada.  Some Google Maps aerials showing the locations of the surviving H16-44's:

CH-P 524: https://goo.gl/maps/6D8xzmfzNLu
CH-P 525: https://goo.gl/maps/7AjgXSii9yK2
CP Rail 8554: https://goo.gl/maps/EvozbgJn9272

31) This Bill Farmer shot of CH-P 604, the last locomotive built by Fairbanks Morse in March 1963, shows the sad fate of the rest of Chihuahua Pacifico's H16-44's.  Like a beached whale stripped of its blubber and meat, the carcass awaits its fate at La Junta on May 17, 1988.

32) One other lingering legacy of the FM's were their C-liner-style trucks, which wound up under a handful of CH-P's EMD units.  High-hood GP28 #809 is wearing somebody else's shoes at Los Mochis on April 15, 1987.

Thanks as always to Ed for sharing his photos with us!

Date: 01/02/19 04:18
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: sp8234

WOW, thanks for posting


Date: 01/02/19 07:31
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: King_Coal

Remarkable set of photos. THanks for sharing.

Date: 01/02/19 14:41
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: SD80MACfan

Thank you for this. I've been wanting to know more about the CH-P's chop nose FM units, and you provided it.

Date: 01/03/19 08:37
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: Ray_Murphy

I've got to say I've never seen anything like that mountainside monumrnt. Is it still there?


Date: 01/03/19 16:06
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: PasadenaSub

Amazing group of photos!

Thanks Evan for putting it all together - and the wonderful pictures from Ed and Bill Farmer.


Date: 01/03/19 16:53
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: mundo

Yes, the monument is still their.  

Date: 01/03/19 17:17
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: boejoe

Quite a fantastic photo story.  Have never seen a chop nosed F-M until now.  Unbelievable scenery too.

Date: 01/03/19 18:41
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Amazing photos and detailed information!  

I think I"m about due for another ride on that incredible railroad.  I never rode from La Junta to Juarez and deeply regret it.  Is the line north out of La Junta still in operation?  

Date: 01/03/19 21:33
Re: mundo: H16-44's on Chihuahua Pacifico
Author: mundo

The entire line   CD Juarez to La Junta is torn up, except for some industrial track around CD Juarez.   You should have come on one of my many trips over the line. About nine of them.


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