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Old 09-16-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
Joe the Photog
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Default Aiken Railway Gets A GP30

Aiken Railway Set To Get Own Power

Aiken Railway (AIKR) is set to get their own motive power on the two former Southern Railway branchlines they operate in their namesake town in South Carolina. Formed when Norfolk Southern sold the lines to Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation, the Aiken Railway has been leasing LTEX SW1500 #1543 since starting up in December 2012.

Meanwhile, two GP30s bought from Larry’s Truck and Electric have been undergoing work in Belton, SC on sister railroad, Greenville & Western. Steven C. Hawkins, CEO and President of the Western Carolina Railway, said that extensive work was done on both units while in Belton. APU’s were added for winter freeze protection to warm the engines lube oil and cooling water while charging the batteries. Ditch lights were added to the long hood end for single unit running while the front headlights were raised from their former position on the short hood above the cab. New pilots were fabricated and crossover platforms were welded in a fixed position.

But it is the cosmetic changes that railfans will notice first. The engine was painted in a two tone green with “Aiken” in white lettering on the sides and both ends. “I wanted something that looked classy and respectable that would fit with the community in which AIKR operates while paying homage to the 180-year heritage of the railroad,” Hawkins said. The overall styling is based on Great Northern’s “Hustle Muscle” paint scheme, Hawkins said, with colors similar to Northern Pacific and Southern while sticking with the base Chicago & Northwestern Green used on the two Greenville & Western GP9s.
The units were former BNSF 2464 and 2473, built for the Santa Fe in 1963 and wore the famous blue and yellow livery. They were renumbered 4201 and 4202 and were delivered to South Carolina wearing GRLW reporting marks for the Greenville & Western. Now 4202 has been repainted and lettered for the new railroad. After making several test runs on the Greenville & Western, Hawkins expects it to ship on Monday from Belton on the Pickens Railway to the Norfolk Southern interchange in Anderson, SC before making its way to Aiken through Linwood, NC.

The Aiken Railway operates two branches of the Norfolk Southern line which runs from Columbia to Augusta. One thirteen mile segment runs between Warrenville and Oakwood while the second branch runs nearly six and a half miles between Aiken and Seclay. The Warrenville to Oakwood line was chartered in 1827 as the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company and was the state's first railroad. The Aiken to North Aiken line was completed by the Edgefield, Trenton & Aiken Railroad in 1879.

Meanwhile, Hawkins says the 4201 should be complete by mid to late October.

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Last edited by Joe the Photog; 09-17-2013 at 01:59 PM.
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