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Columbus & Greenville Railway

EMD General Purpose

The Columbus & Greenville Railway emerged from Illinois Central Gulf control in 1974 beleaguered but determined to survive, once again through the efforts of local shippers making local decisions. The venerated Baldwins survived ICG control, but by the late 1970s were well past their ability to provide regular daily freight service from the hills to the Delta. As such, in 1978, the C&G purchased through a locomotive dealer six second-hand GP7 road switchers, all ex Florida East Coast locomotives. Retaining their FEC numbers, the new Geeps were quickly put to work handling the mainline pulls across the state. The arrival of the blue Geeps eventually spelled the end for most of the remaining Baldwins, although 601 and 606 could be found in switching service into the early 1980s. The 80s also brought two more batches of B-B road switchers to Columbus. The first came in the form of several ex Southern Railway GP9s, interesting units in that each had dynamic brakes added by Southern shops long after their construction. The second batch of new power turned out to be ten CF7s, all rebuilt from "covered wagons" in the mid 1970s by the Sante Fe's Cleburne (Texas) shops. Although considered eyesores by most railfans, the CF7s proved to be dependable power for many Deep South shortlines ... and the CAGY was no exception. The boxy CF7s bumped the early Geeps to switching duties in Greenville, Greenwood, and Columbus, and on most daily freights of this era one could find a pair or trio of the ex ATSF rebuilds. In more recent years, but prior to the Gennesse & Wyoming purchase, Columbus forces acquired various small batches of B-B power: ex Chicago & Northewestern GP7r rebuilds, ex Illinois Central Gulf GP11 rebuilds, and two high-nose GP38s from the Norfolk Southern--these last units, the largest power the CAGY has even seen.

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