EL C424 2407
- Group: Erie Lackawanna 2401-2415
- Railroad class: MFA-24D-6
- Builder number: Alco 84549
- Builder date: May, 1963
- Horsepower: 2400
- Weight: 260,000 lbs
- Prime mover: Alco turbocharged V16 251B
- Main generator: General Electric GT581
- Traction motors: General Electric GE752
- Production: 190 units from April, 1963 to May, 1967
- Erie Lackawanna ownership: 15 units
Erie Lackawanna 2407 > Conrail 2481 > Delaware & Hudson 454 > (Springfield Terminal 73) > Maine Central 454 > Livonia Avon & Lakeville 454 > Livonia Avon & Lakeville 423
Built as Erie Lackawanna 2407 in May, 1963, part of a single order for 15 units. It became Conrail 2481 in the 1976 merger and was retired in 1979. All but two of the C424’s were traded in to General Electric for new B23-7’s.
General Electric rebuilt nine of these ex-Conrail C424’s in 1980 with new 2000 hp Alco 251 prime movers as Delaware & Hudson 451-463. Conrail 2481 became Delaware & Hudson 454.
Delaware & Hudson was acquired by Guilford Transportation Industries in 1984, which had already bought the Maine Central in 1981 and the Boston & Maine in 1983. One of the Boston & Maine’s subsidiaries was an obscure 6.5 mile ex-interurban line known as the Springfield Terminal.
As the Delaware & Hudson’s finances worsened, a complex set of transfers occurred within the Guilford system. Delaware & Hudson 461-463 were taken back by the Genesee & Wyoming in 1985, which had financed them for a joint run through salt train operation. Those units became Genessee & Wyoming 61-63.
To generate cash for the Delaware & Hudson, the remaining units were leased in 1987 to the Springfield Terminal, which Guilford had turned into an mechanism for imposing a non-union system. Delaware & Hudson 451-460 became Springfield Termial 70-75. Not all of the units were physically renumbered, however, and Delaware & Hudson 454 was among them.
The Delaware & Hudson entered bankruptcy in 1988 after two labor strikes, and these units were returned from their lease on the Springfield Terminal, and returned to their original D&H numbers. The Interstate Commerce Commission ordered the New York Susquehanna & Western to take over operation of the Delaware & Hudson until a buyer could be found, and provided a $70 million per year subsidy to operate the railroad.
The Canadian Pacific bought the Delaware & Hudson in 1991, and did not want the C424m’s. They were leased to power-short Maine Central in 1992, retaining their Delaware & Hudson numbers. All were retired in 1994, and except for two unserviceable units, were sold to the Livonia Avon & Lakeville in 1997. Maine Central 454 became Livonia Avon & Lakeville 454 and was later renumbered to Livonia Avon & Lakeville 423. It is still operating.
Service on the Erie Lackawanna
Erie Lackawanna 2401-2415 represented a number of firsts. They were the first C424’s built. In fact, they were the first Century units built, predating the first C420’s by a month and the first C628’s by nearly six months.
They were also the first new units ordered by the railroad since the merger. They were delivered in black and yellow Erie colors and later repainted in gray and maroon.
When they were new, they were assigned to Scranton, Pennsylvania, for maintenance and were in mainline service. In 1964 the railroad ordered 12 General Electric U25B’s, 12 EMD GP35’s, and 12 Alco C425’s – the last Alco’s ever ordered by Erie Lackawanna.
In 1967 new EMD SD45’s arrived, and the C424’s were pushed into local and secondary service. While still assigned to Scranton for maintenance, they were now confined to the eastern end of the system. By the time Hurricane Agnes hit in 1972 and so heavily damaged the railroad that it threw it into bankruptcy, the C424’s were reassigned to the Brier Hill facility at Youngstown, Ohio.
There remained there even after the 1976 Conrail merger, but as they were the oldest Centuries on the roster, all were retired in 1979.