Lehigh Valley Alco C628 635

Lehigh Valley Alco C628 635 at Mechanicsville, New York, November 15, 1975. Photographer: unknown.
Lehigh Valley Alco C628 635 at Mechanicsville, New York, November 15, 1975. Photographer: unknown.

LV C628 635

  • Group: Lehigh Valley 633-641
  • Ex: Monon 402
  • Railroad class: AF27
  • Builder number: Alco 84903
  • Builder date: March, 1964
  • Phase: I
  • Horsepower: 2800
  • Prime mover: Turbocharged Alco V-16 251C
  • Main generator: General Electric GT586A4
  • Traction motors: Six General Electric 752
  • Production: 186 units built between December, 1963, and December, 1968

Monon 402 > Lehigh Valley 635 > Conrail 6731

Built in 1964 as Monon 402, and traded in to Alco in September, 1967. Resold to Lehigh Valley 635, in December, 1967, and became Conrail 6731 in the 1976 merger. It was retired on May 10, 1978, and sold for scrap to Precision National Corporation, Mt. Vernon, Illinois, in August, 1979.

Monon placed a single order for C628’s:

  1. Monon 400-408, delivered in March, 1964

Service on the Monon

Monon bought these in anticipation of a unit coal train operation from a barge terminal on the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky, to a proposed transloading facility at Michigan City, Indiana, on Lake Michigan. They were equipped with dual controls to avoid having to turn the power at either end of the run, as well as 4000 gallon fuel tanks that allowed three round trips before refueling.

At the time the order was placed, the only six-axle power available was Alco’s C628, EMD’s 1800-hp SD18 and 2400 hp SD24, and GE’s 2500-hp U25C, and Alco had received just a single order from Atlantic Coast Line for the new C628.

The transloading facility was never built, and Monon was faced with having a lightly built railroad being pounded by locomotives that weighed nearly 400,000 lbs. Monon bought it’s first five-unit order of C420’s in 1966 and returned for another twelve with the C628’s as trade in credit.

Service on the Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley already had already bought seven C628’s, including the last one built, and snapped up the ex-Monon power when it was offered. Alco refurbished the units before delivery.

They were assigned to non-piggyback trains between Oak Island Yard in Newark, New Jersey, and Buffalo, New York. All of the C628’s were delivered in Snowbird colors of black and white, but repainting into Tuscan red started in 1971.