Paducah's Boneyard
and the fate of IC's Last E-units

last update: 4/29/12

back to I.C. Index


In mid-May, 1980, Wx4 staff went looking for Illinois Central Gulf's venerable shops in Paducah, Kentucky - then home of the famous Paducah Geeps and further back, a producer of steam locomotives. How we had trouble finding the major feature of that relatively small town, we don't recall, but we arrived just as the sun was about to set. Nevertheless our luck was good - the security guard at the shop entrance turned out to be a recently furloughed ex-SP bull (policeman) at Taylor Yard in Los Angeles, Wx4 staff's layover point as San Luis Obispo brakemen a couple of years prior. After talking over 'old times', the guard allowed that he'd be fired if someone caught us taking pictures inside the plant's fence, but if we followed the tracks "out back", nobody would bother us and there would be "plenty of stuff" to photograph.

Boy HOWDY! Derelict cab units galore: IC / Amtrak & ex-Penn Central E-units, and GM&O F3's, plus UP Geeps and a couple of SW1's (a staff favorite). We recorded as much of the boneyard as we could in the progressively fading light...

(background photo HumongOphoto-sized)










The collection of E-units that we found that day still intrigued us a quarter of a century later, so we decided, in the course of pasting-up this page (in 2006), to do some minor sleuthing to see what we could find out about them. This usually only involves fighting-off the resident rats in Wx4's 45-year-old archives long enough to retrieve the requisite info, but frankly, our IC shelf contains mostly pretty-picture books. Thus, we reluctantly (see: Search Engines? Ptooey!) resorted to fishing on the Internet.

Our luck that started with the security guard 25 years ago, held: we found a couple of Illinois Central rosters, one for New Jersey Transit, and the EMD E-unit Survivors page, but best of all, we stumbled upon a site which most of you already know about: The UNofficial EMD Homepage. Boy, what a resource! In all, we thnk it odd that more info seems to be readily available about the E's in the pre-rather-than-post-1972 era.

There was enough info, nevertheless, to convert "minor sleuthing" into "major determination" to sort out things. We think that a reasonably accurate picture of the IC's E-units' fate emerged.
01-10 As an aside, what we also found was that roster info for many railroads is scanty, or non-existent (yes, you know this, but we truly don't have much time to go outside, digitally speaking). We found a glaring example after noting an entry on the E-Unit Survivors page for an "Indiana RR" E-7A - number, location and provenance unknown - was for many years listed as "existence uncertain". That's an E-7, folks! Of 428 A's and 82 B's, the only confirmed one in existence in 2006 is the ex-PRR 5901 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Since last checking in 2006, the entry has been modified to a E?A, "existence uncertain". Undoubtedly it has been off of the Indiana Railroad property for many years, as even their well-known ex Milwaukee Road E9A #100 was sold to a private contracror several years ago. We've written a plea for info to the Indiana Rail Road. Stay tuned!

In general, what we deduced about IC's E-units in the Amtrak era was that IC did not scrap their fleet because the company thought that the E's had potential for remanufacture and resale, particularly to the new public transportation agencies then forming to rescue Northeast and Midwest commuter services. The New Jersey DOT locos that we photographed were trade-ins on one such deal. Said business never took off, and by the time of the photos in 1980, most public agencies were more interested in acquiring F40's, rather than remanufactured E's. By then, they were mostly junk anyhow - the photos tell what years of parts-stripping and outside storage in unmercifully humid Kentucky did to the units. Apparently all of the units that we photographed, save the 4108 (see the roster, below), were scraped within a year or two of our visit.

Another circumstance may have helped to forestall scrapping - the lease market. That 'Amtrak' unit at the top of the page is actually the IC 4028. Amtrak only acquired one IC unit outright - E10A 2021 - but it leased 14 other IC E-8, 9 and 10's in its early years (some painted Amtrak like the 4028, but all with IC numbers). They reportedly returned most, if not all, to IC in mid -1974. Perhaps IC hoped that Amtrak or some commuter railroad might lease some of them in the future, but this is speculation.

Besides the 4108, at least two IC E's (4023 and 4033) and possibly a third 4022 are still extant. Four other IC's, two each in IC and CN paint also are around today as power for CN's executive trains, but these are from the second generation IC, acquired after ICG (what was left of it) reverted back to its original title in 1990. See the roster.

One final note about the shops themselves: In 1986 the Paducah & Louisville acquired the area's IC lines, and co-company VMV Enterprises began operating the shops. In 1995 VMW was sold and renamed VMW Shops, which operated the shops until 2002, when it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The National Railway Equipment Company took over and now operates the shops as subsidiary VMW Paducabilt.


above: For some reason, this photo is one of our all-time favorite roster shots. Click on it for a HumongOphoto.
below two: These two photos saved our bacon, so to speak. After our research was done; images scanned; page nearly done, we still had not yet discovered these two slides under a cocktail napkin (what Wx4 lacks in professionalism, we make up with working conditions). The second photo from page top left us scratching our heads: we only knew the identities of two units, 4105 and 2039. The first photo, of the 4040 and still-extant (in 2006) 4108 solved part of it, and the second photo ID'd the 4022. Since the last loco in the line wore Amtrak paint, we are sure that it is the 4034, because we can account for all of the other ex-Amtrak-leased locos. The only loco that we can't identify is the A-unit next to the 4034, which could be any one of six that may have still been around at the time (see the roster notes). So, the rail holds the 2039, 4022, 4108, 4040, 4104, mystery unit, 4034.

Paducah Boneyard E-Units, mid-May, 1980

ICG 2024 blt4/53 sn17751
ICG 2039 blt1/55 sn20086
ICG 2040 blt1/55 sn20087
ICG 2100 blt5/52 sn16398
ICG 4018 blt6/50 sn11633
ICG 4022 blt4/51 sn14083
ICG 4024 blt4/51 sn14085
ICG 4027 blt5/52 sn16393
ICG 4028 blt6/52 sn16394
ICG 4034 blt4/54 sn18787
ICG 4036 blt6/54 sn19608
ICG 4037 blt1/56 sn21819
ICG 4038 blt1/56 sn21820
ICG 4039 blt2/57 sn22592
ICG 4040 blt2/57 sn22593
ICG 4105 blt6/52 sn16399
ICG 4106 blt2/57 sn22594
ICG 4107 blt2/57 sn22595
ICG 4108 blt7/57 sn23191
NJDOT 4267:1 blt4/52 sn15650
NJDOT 4285:1 blt3/50 sn20086
NJDOT 4324:1 blt8/53 sn18537


E10A; Paducah rebuild from E8A 4032; wrecked 6/71, retired then?; scrapped 1980/1?
E9A; Amtrak paint, ICG-owned; ex-FEC1034; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E9A; Amtrak paint, ICG-owned; ex-FEC1035; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E10B, Paducah rebuild from E8B 4104; leased to Amtrak; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E8A; retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E8A; Amtrak paint, ICG-owned; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E8A; leased to Amtrak; retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E8A; Amtrak paint, ICG-owned; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E8A; Amtrak paint, ICG-owned; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E9A; leased to Amtrak; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E9A: retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E9A: retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E9A; leased to Amtrak; retired 6/74; scrapped 1980/1?
E9A: retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E9A: retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E8B; leased to Amtrak; retired (date?); scrapped (date?)
E9B; retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E9B; retired (date?); scrapped 1980/1?
E9B; leased to Amtrak; retired 6/74?; rebuilt to Alaska RR power car P-30, 9/81; in service
E8A; PRR 5767A, 4267, PC 4267; traded to ICG 9/78; scrapped 1981
E8A; PRR 5885A, 4285; PC 4285; Traded in to ICG 9/78. Scrapped 1981
E8A; NYC 4079. PC 4079, 4324; Traded in to ICG 9/78. Scrapped 1981

notes:

This list is based upon Wx4 photographic records: other E's may have existed elsewhere in the shop complex or at other locations. We also photographed one unknown A-unit, which is not included in the list and could be one of the following: 4021. 4025, 4026, 4041, 4042, 4043. Available rosters show no retirement dates for these units, all of which apparently on the IC roster when Amtrak was born. Wx4 can't vouch for the accuracy of any retirement or scrap dates shown.

Presumably all of the Amtrak lease units were returned to ICG and retired in June, 1974. Altogether, Amtrak leased 14 ICG E's:

2039, 2040, 2100, 4020, 4022, 4023, 4024, 4027, 4028, 4033, 4034, 4038, 4105, 4108

One other unit, E10A #2021 (blt5/52 sn16395) joined the Amtrak roster in 2/73 as #436 and classed as an E8Au. It was listed as located in Cleburne, Texas in 7/77; but was stored at the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal by 11/77; Precision National bought the unit in 1981, removed the prime movers, then finished scrapping the balance in May, 1981.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation units were trade-ins for Paducah-rebuilt E's. As part of the deal, rebuilt ICG 4020, 4023 and 4033 became NJDOT 4272:2, 4327 and 4258 respectively. The 4020 was scrapped (see below), but the 4023 and 4033 went to Omni Midwest as 60 and 4258 (or 63?); then purportedly to DF Barnhart, where they were for sale in 2009.

One other ex-ICG E survives: E9B 4108 was converted to a HEP power car in 9/81 for the Alaska RR where it serves today as power car # P-30 shown at Fallen Flags Website.

Where are you, ICG 4020? The whereabouts of the 4020 (4272:2) one of the three ICG/NJDOT rebuilds, is unclear and demonstrates the hazards of research. NJDOT (later, New jersey Transit) had two locos numbered 4272. The original (PRR 5761A; blt1/52 sn16787) was rebuilt by ICG as NJDOT 4305 in 10/78. NJT later donated the unit to the Central New York Chapter of the NRHS, where it is now operational, painted as Lackawanna 808. The second 4272 (IC 4020; blt 6/50 sn11635) occasionally seems to get confused with the first. NJT retired the unit at some point, but its location / existence are up in the air. EMD E-unit Survivors lists it as possibly extant with lots of question marks.

The fate of 4020 & other NJDOT units

Four other ex-IC E's survive in 2005. These are not originals, but post ICG acquisitions to serve on the business train. All are former CB&Q/BN units, now owned by CN, and painted as IC 101, 102 and CN 103, 104. A fifth parts unit was scrapped in January, 2005.

One interesting related point: The Illinois Central wrecked a bunch of their E-units. By our unofficial count, as many as 10 units (
16% of their fleet) met this fate over the years. Yikes!

sources

print: AMTRAK 1978-79 Annual, by Craig T. Anderson; San Francisco: Rail Transportation Archives, 1978 (Amk 436 and lease units)
online: The UNofficial EMD Homepage (EMD locomotive database: fantastic!); EMD E-unit Survivors (roster of existing E-units); Mississippi Railroad Web Site (IC Diesel Roster); ILLINOIS CENTRAL NET (IC Diesel Roster); The Unofficial NJ TRANSIT Website (NJT Roster); Paducah Chapter NRHS (shops history); Mike Palmieri's LOUISIANA·RAIL·SITE (AMK 436 info; site moved to unknown location))

comments about sources: Researching on the Net is dangerous. Since info is so easily copycatted without attribution from one site to another, one guy's mistakes tend to get repeated, and compounded with additional false steps along the way. This is a long-winded way of saying to please blame the above sources for any inaccuracies, except for Wx4's own blunders. Yes yes, we are often weak on attribution, ourselves.






The balance of the equipment that we encountered that day was / is no less interesting than the E's. We found the particulars about all of the engines at The UNofficial EMD Homepage, except the Columbus and Greenville's SW1: it probably was one of several built for C&G, but later renumbered; again no Web roster available.




left: GM&O F3A 880B
below: GM&O F3A 811B

below: Reading NW2 102; Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis NW2 556 above left: ICG SW1 615 above Columbus and Greenville SW1 521;
right side; cab rear
UP GP9 238
& four mates
ICG diesel fuel / sand car 101234 and what appears to be a water car, the 100807
Nifty GM&O equipment flat 66422
GM&O equipment flat 66887 is supporting the head end of an obviously wrecked unit, which we kinda recall as a CN loco, but more likely it was ICG. The unit's cryptic white lettering says "WGA" and "C&LE". We seriously doubt that this unit was owned by the Cincinnati & Lake Erie interurban, since that outfit went bust in 1940, or so.