Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Merger Madness!

Date and Location, unknown. I shot this in the mid-70’s sometime just after “The Merger.” And like many of you, I didn’t make a damn mark on the print except the engine number – Northern Pacific 4081.

Or is it?

This is a perfect example of the “merger madness” confusion that followed the formation of the Burlington Northern, which swallowed up the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Great Northern, Northern Pacific and Spokane, Portland and Seattle, in March 1970.

This unit was originally built for the NP, as unit number 857. But she is wearing her newly assigned post-merger number of 4081 – a Burlington Northern number. Took me a while to sort this out, because when I looked up NP4081, I found they never issued that road number!

So, on a hunch, went to the Burlington Northern Roster (following the merger), and sure enough, there she was 4081, nee 857! And if I had been paying attention, as I am 35 years latter, upon careful observation, you can detect white block style numbers painted on the cab, as opposed to the classic NP numbers.

Here’s what she looked like when they finally got around to painting her the Cascade Green scheme.

That same day, I shot Burlington Northern 668, born GN 454A. I rest my case about how dingy the Cascade Green scheme looks with a little road dirt!

As if these mergers weren't enough grief for rail photographers, especially if they blinked, it took a while to sort things out, particularly when the unit is sporting her former colors, although with the GN unit, it looks like a belt sander was used to try and at least eliminate the carrier name.

And the whole rotten mess started all over again, when Burlington Northern combined with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, in December 1998, to create the Burlington Northern Santa Fe – BNSF!

And then there is the Union Pacific - Southern Pacific meger. Nah! I'm not going there!

Railroad Stuff: NP 857, Alco RS-3 (1,600hp), built March 1955, serial number 81154, post merger BN 4081, retired August 1978.

Great Northern 454A, GM F7A, 1,500 hp, built April 1950, serial number 9544, post merger number BN 668. Retired, stripped of motor, now located at Jackson Street facility, Minnesota Transportation Museum, in St. Paul Minnesota.

4 Comments - Click here:

SDP45 said...

Isn't that GN unit now painted in an NP scheme at Jackson street? Horrors!

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

It is always frustrating when the railways merge and the individual railways are lost forever. Worse still is when a railway (take CNR or example) totally decides to change their paint schemes all together.

I was too young to remember the Classic Green, Black and Gold colors of the CNR in the early 1960's. All I remember is the awful grey and black on the passenger equipment. At least the Canadian National in it's Infinite Wisdom began painting all their Company Cars the Classic Green, Black and Gold.

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Thank you for sharing Robert


Robert in Port Townsend said...

SPD45 - Yeah! I took some time to verify all this, and find no explaination as to WHY they are doing this - painting a GN engine in NP colors.

Robert in Port Townsend said...

Old Fart - thanks for your continued interest!

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