Monday, July 30, 2018

Farewell Electro Motive GP30

July 27, 2018 marked the end of service for the EMD GP30 fleet on the MCIS. Over 43 years of service this fleet was the last survivors of Michigan Interstates rocky start.

M-BADE-30 at Upper Huron with MCIS3080 and MCIS3085 picked up in consist for new owners via NS at Detroit

The Beginning
Back in 1975 things for American railroads were down right rough. One of Penn Centrals subsidiaries known as the St. Clair Western was spun off in the midst of bankruptcy procedings. As part of the spinoff the new shortline inherited an eclectic mix of Alco and EMD diesels. One specific fleet was six EMD GP30s with "Eastern" heritage. This fleet would soldier on as some of the more modern units until the mid 80s used in every service imaginable. 

1985 saw the acquisiton of Grand Trunk Westerns "Mackinac Northern" subsidiary which created what we know as the Michigan Interstate Railroad. During the acquisition, EMD GP38 and GP9s were added to the fleet but the GP30s found plenty of good work hauling rock and locals around the MCIS. 

The winds of change were beginning to blow as the MCIS began to acquire Dash 2 power in the form of EMD SD40-2, EMD GP40-2, and GP38-2s. The six motor fleet however was knocked down to only five units after MCIS 3084 was wrecked beyond repair after a grade crossing collision with farm machinery. The five units soldiered on earning their keep hauling rock and locals. 

Following a mechanical failure MCIS 3083 was sidelined and scraped at MAC Rail Mount Pleasant. This now left four engines in the EMD GP30 fleet. During this same time the only other surviving motors with 567 prime movers were the EMD SD35s. It was decided to convert two motors using Electro Motives ECO program. Around this time the GP30s were put on reserve LUGO status (Laid Up Good Order) and could be brought from storage if necessary. As time wore on it appeared that only two motors MCIS 3080 and 3085 would survive. The other two, 3081 and 3082 were kept as parts sources to keep the last two healthy. While a potential slug conversion had been discussed the arrival of EMD SD70ACe caused a fleet cascade that ultimately never called these motors out of storage. A year ago MCIS 3080 did come out of storage to handle shop switching at MAC Rail. 

Early July of 2018 MCIS began looking for rail carriers interested in acquisition. July 27th a deal was inked with Delmarva Central to acquire MCIS 3080 / MCIS 3085 in operating status and parts stock from MCIS 3081 / MCIS 3082. 

Just for the railfans the motors were brought out to Upper Huron to get a final photo as a pair with their new reporting marks before pickup. 

Like that an it has come to an end. Thank you EMD GP30 for fourty three years of faithful service to Michigan Interstate. 


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