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Columbus & Greenville Railway

EMD Special Duty

By mid 1960s, the Columbus & Greenville's famous Baldwin fleet -- first of its kind in the nation -- was well into middle-age years. Baldwin #602 had been knocked out of service by a terrible derailment near Maben in 1961, and C&G crews were struggling to add tonnage to their daily freights that plied the rails between the road's namesake terminals. Consequently, in the fall of 1965 the C&G purchased from General Motors' Elctro-Motive Division a pair of handsome SD28s -- 1800 horsepower road switchers riding on 3-axle trucks. In the same way that the Baldwins gained notoriety for being first in a small batch of early BLW road switcher models, so too the new SD28s claim a noteworthy position among a handful of units produced in this series. Only six SD28s were produced by EMD during a two-month span in 1965. Reserve Mining was the only other customer for the model. Unlike the C&G units, the Reserve models were ordered with dynamic brakes and full-size fuel tanks. Together with the more popular SD35 model (360 units produced), the SD28 represents EMD's maximization of its venerable 567 prime mover. Subsequent SD units carried the 645, the next generation of power in the EMD motive power evolution.

Nos. 701 and 702 served the Delta Route quite well, allowing for increased train tonnage leaving Columbus and shorter travel times for movements across the state. In fact, it is quite likely that these two units would have enjoyed a long career on the Mississippi shortline, except for an ill-timed wreck and the Illinois Central Gulf absorption. In late 1971, the two SDs were involved in a bad grade crossing accident at Kilmichael. Less than five months after their return from Paducah Shops, the beleaguered C&G was officially absorbed into the new ICG system. Although the ICG would retain ownership of the line for less than two years, much of the better equipment left the C&G for work elsewhere on the new Class 1 system -- the two SD28s being prime examples. Their small tanks were quickly upgraded by the ICG for mainline use, and they were soon spotted in mainline lashups all around the southern region of the ICG system. When the CAGY formed again as an independent operation in 1975, purchasing the line back from the ICG, 701 and 702 did not return to Columbus.

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