Four GP49s pulling a mixed train. 9/83
Photographer unknown

Update: 7/3/07

"In your Photos section, “On the Rails” subsection, you have a photo titled 4 GP-49’s pulling a mixed train. Actually, this is not the case. The full story on the events depicted in the photo is as follows.

"When the first GP-49’s were acquired, the railroad was looking for a way to get them to Seattle without the charges normally associated with such a move. In this case those charges would have been at least $15,000 to $20,000 in 1984 dollars. An arrangement was negotiated with Burlington Northern to provide free transportation from the B&OCT interchange in LaGrange, IL to Seattle in exchange for letting BN test the engines for one and one-half round trips between Chicago and Seattle. BN was interested in the new EMD wheel slip technology applied to the engines and wanted to see if there might be applications for a unit this size with the updated technology on BN. What is depicted here is one of those moves with the car behind the locomotives being a BN dynamometer car, not a passenger car. The train is probably one of the Northtown, MN to Seattle manifest freight trains. I would say from the terrain that the photo is taken in Central Montana or perhaps somewhere in Western North Dakota. All of the trips by the engines over BN used the Great Northern line through this area. After the tests, BN delivered the locomotives to Alaska Hydro-Train in Seattle for movement to Alaska. I was the senior commercial officer at the railroad at the time and negotiated the arrangement with BN. I hope this helps clarify this photo."

John T. Gray
Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics
Association of American Railroads