In my recent survey, someone posted they liked MLW locomotives and would like to see more. For those who don't know, MLW was the Montreal Locomotive Works, originally a subsidiary of the American Alco company and later owned by Bombardier. Alco/MLW engines are revered by many railfans for the smoke they produced as well as a certain sound the diesel engines made.
My personal exposure to MLW engines comes from two main sources: the former New Brunswick East Coast Railway's extensive roster of MLW locomotives and the Salem and Hillsborough Railroad's pair of MLW locomotives.
I've decided to feature NBEC 1821 in this post, as it was the NBEC RS-18 locomotive I happened to see the most, and also one of the two NBEC locomotives I saw first.
I first saw NBEC 1821 on July 5, 1999 in Miramichi (Chatham) paired up with NBEC 1866. I took some truly bad photos of the pair of them at sunset.
|Well before I learned how to pan|
|The best of the lot|
I didn't see 1821 again until January 9, 2001 when she was paired up with 1840 and 1864 for local switching. By then I think my film camera was broken so I really had nothing to photograph with.
The next photo I have of NBEC 1821 dates from July 22, 2003 when I was using the 1 megapixel digital camera in my Sony DCR-TRV25 video camera. I still hadn't learned to stand on the sun side of the train.
I'll take a moment to explain what type of locomotive NBEC 1821 was. MLW produced a series of locomotives designated RS-18 (Road Switcher 1800 horsepower). It was essentially the Canadian version of the Alco RS-11. CN bought the vast majority of the RS-18s (225) and ran them long-hood forward, while CP bought 72 and ran them short-hood forward. The PG and E (which became BC Rail) bought 29 and various resource railways bought a few each. All of these were delivered with high short hoods like CP 8743 here (Greg Brewer slide):
|CP 8743 in Fredericton, slide by Greg Brewer|
OK, moving on. My next photo of NBEC 1821 was from October 6, 2003 in the Miramichi yard. 1821 was paired up with NBEC 1849 and was nicely parked in the sun.
|Still only a 1 megapixel photo|
Note the long string of BCOL and CN boxcars. This was after the CN-BC Rail deal was announced...
Later that month I photographed it and 1814 in the Miramichi yard on January 28, 2004. I was taking some detail photos, I guess.
Note the class lights above the number boards, the bell mounted right in the middle, the red safety stripes (some of NBEC's engines had black stripes) and the "NBEC" painted over the CP in "CP Rail".
On February 18, 2004 she was paired up with NBEC 1867 as yard power in Miramichi. The yard power tended to change fairly frequently as they went back to Campbellton for servicing and reassignment. The only constant seemed to be that black NBEC 1857 stayed close to Campbellton most of the time.
|Hadn't really mastered night photography...|
|So much better quality|
Next we fast forward to May 28, 2007 with NBEC 1821 at the head of an empty ore train in Bathurst, NB. You'll note yard power NBEC 1845 to the left and a string of blue ore cars to the right.
|Finally, NOT Miramichi!|
Here's a video from 2007 featuring three RS-18s including 1821 in Bathurst, pushing some ore cars back across Golf Road.
A few months later I was photographing the loaded ore train in Bathurst from the St. Anne Street overpass on September 14, 2007.
|Ready to roll!|
I chased this train... I caught it on a curve at Madran on its way to the smelter in Belledune.
|A little pop of fall colours..|
Note the black box behind the cab. This is new and I believe NBEC 1821 was one of the engines to get retrofitted with smart start but I could be wrong. 1821 was behind two SD40 engines on the main line train. For some reason I was back to using the Fuji camera on this trip so the resolution is not as good.
I saw 1821 again the next day (February 22) in Bathurst by the station.
I didn't know it but NBEC 1821 had less than a year of operation before she would no longer grace these rails. In fact, I would see it only for three more months.
Here's a Bathurst video from the spring of 2008 featuring NBEC 1821 and 1819.
Here it was on May 26, 2008, the last time I saw it. It was on the empty ore train, heading out of Bathurst toward Brunswick Mines.
But 1821's story doesn't end there. My friend David Morris photographed it in Gaspe meeting the Chaleur on December 2008, after CN bought the NBEC and its sister railways back.
|Photo by David Morris|
|Photo by Michel Boudreau|
It was purchased by the railroad of Le Massif de Charlevoix (together with NBEC 1868) and pulls the tourist train in Quebec.
Still operating, after 57 years. Not too shabby.