March, 2020
This photo of C&O ABA F7 set led by No. 7061 with Manifest No. 95 at Elkhorn City, Ky., was taken in 1953 by B. F. Cutler. Its negative was the first color photo in the just-organized C&OHS archival collection in 1972. It came as part of our purchase of the Rail Photo Service’s C&O image collection, which was mainly composed of Gene Huddleston’s B&W negatives. (C&OHS Collection, COHS 5004)
C&OHS is continuing to operate during the present emergency as is possible. So far we have no disruptions, but this can change. We pray for all of our members and hope that we will all be able to emerge from this trying time well and ready to rebuild and reinvigorate our lives, which are being so challenged.

While we are under these involuntary restrictions, perhaps this is a good time to model, research, maybe work on articles, and catch up on all those railroad books you bought and haven’t read. At least those things might be distractions.
Update on C&OHS publication program.

Right now, we are finally getting caught up on our quarterly History Series books. As you read this, we have three going to the printer, which takes care of the missing issues from 2019, Pere Marquette Bridges in Michigan and Ontario and C&O Piers in Newport News, Va. , and includes the 1 st quarter of 2020, putting us back on schedule. We are also starting work on the second quarter book of 2020, C&O Life in a Caboose , so it will be out on time as well. This delivery was delayed due to circumstances beyond our control.

If you have not yet signed up for the 2020 C&O Book Series or not signed up for auto-renewal please sign up by using the link below or call us at 540-862-2210.

We are also starting work on our hardbound book for 2020. It will be a 144-page ALL COLOR book about C&O’s passenger trains 1950-1971 by the undersigned. It will look a lot like the Decades of Change book book we did year before last. Look for advertisements about it soon. It is targeted for release in July/August, but starting in a few weeks we will be offering a big discount for pre-publication orders.—We NEED your advance orders!

We also have some other non-scheduled publications in research; each will be advertised in due course. After all, the C&OHS has always been justly famous for its fine line of books of all sizes and descriptions. We are up to 28 now in the quarterly series alone, a compilation of data unparalleled by any other railroad organization, not to mention the 288 pages of history in our magazine ever year and the large number of photos and other data we published in this e-Newsletter .

This may sound a bit as if we are sounding our own trumpet—well I am. We have some pretty well-defined goals to preserve and make available C&O history and to use it as a paradigm for the American railway experience. Publications are a prime way to do this. Our other avenue is in-person interpretation using data and artifacts.

We do the latter activity at the Clifton Forge Heritage Center. But this all takes resources. We have no one handing us big amounts of money, so we rely on sales (of which books are a primary contributor) and donations from our members.

We are reviving the “Basement Subdivision” with the March-April issue of C&O Historical Magazine as announced in the last e-Newsletter . Mr. Rick Gartrell has accepted the position as editor for this column, last active over a dozen years ago. If you are a modeler, he will welcome correspondence with you and articles about modelling with a C&O prototype ( We are not a modeling organization, but about 80% of our members are modelers, so we cater to them (you). I feel that the content of our magazine is about the best prototype material that is produced by any group. It can be applied almost directly to modeling in addition to being an important contribution to the history of technology.

Jeremy Ferrell will be collecting information about current news of the C&OHS’s activities and about things C&O that can be published in this e-Newsletter as the current activities editor for this publication beginning next issue.

Thanks to everyone for your interest and support ----- BUT, we need you more than ever in these challenging times, your input with articles, your visitation at Clifton Forge when that is again possible, your purchase of our sales items, and your donations.

Tom Dixon
E7 Passenger Diesels
Almost everyone remembers the E8s that were so prominent in dieselizing the C&O’s postwar passenger trains, lasting up to and some beyond Amtrak day in 1971. Less known, except to our Michigan members, are the E7s that dieselized the passenger trains operating on the old Pere Marquette lines in Michigan.
For a good, complete history of the E7s refer to the May/June, 2010 issue of our magazine. This is taken from our CD on which we have all 50 years of the magazine, fully searchable. If you don’t have this is a non pareil source for C&O information. To order this CD CLICK HERE .
When the Pere Marquette management (read that as parent C&O’s management) inaugurated the new seven-car coach trains between Detroit and Grand Rapids in August 1946 the first E7 diesels were ordered from EMD as their power. Then, as the decision was made to dieselize the old PM, more E7s were ordered. These arrived both before and right after the merger of the two lines in June, 1947. As a result, C&O could be said to have rostered a total of 12 E7s.
These units remained confined to Michigan and used the new diesel shop at Wyoming yard in Grand Rapids as their maintenance base. The C&O E8s began arriving in late 1951 and early 1952 and mainly remained on the old C&O lines with a maintenance base at Huntington. Eventually, some E8s were moved into Michigan as trains on the Chesapeake District were cut back.
Finally, starting soon after the C&O/B&O affiliation, many, then all, of the E7s were transferred to power-hungry B&O. During their last 2-3 years of service they were often on B&O trains, most still wearing the C&O livery.
No. 96 powers the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette in late 1948. These “western” PM trains were inaugurated in Oct., 1948 using Budd stainless steel cars built for the ultra-luxury but never-operated train The Chessie . Most were sold in 1950-51 to other railroads. This is a rare color photo of one of these consists. No. 98 is lettered C&O but also has “Pere Marquette” lettering between the louvers. (C&O Ry. Photo, CSPR CL-204)
This official photo was used in a C&O Annual Report, showing a brakeman and E7 No. 98 in Grand Rapids in twilight. (C&O Ry. Photo, CSPR CL-80)
Trains at Baldwin, Mich.: The regular train from Petoskey to Grand Rapids is at the platform in the background, while E7 No. 101 has a 4-H Club special headed for Univ. of Mich. football game in October, 1960. No. 101 was one of the two original E7s bought for the 1946 Pere Marquettes . (Gene Huddleston photo, COGH 1446)
No. 103 in its original PM livery leaving Detroit about 1948 with one of the Pere Marqeuttes . (C&OHS Collection, COHS 44091)
It looks like No. 4523 has a new paint job in this 1964 photo at Plymouth, Mich. – C&O renumbered the E7s to 4500-series starting in 1959, then a few years later to 1400-series to match B&O’s number scheme when they began working B&O trains. (Gene Huddleston photo, COHS 20551)
No. 4511 with five-car No. 12 leaving Grand Rapids in April, 1964. By this time the 3-lens Mars light had been installed in the upper casing. The two white bulbs described a figure-eight when the engine was operating normally, but if the emergency brake was applied, the red bulb illuminated instead, to warn oncoming traffic of possible obstructions. (Gene Huddleston photo, COHS 20407)
A very nice view of E7 4520 with seven-car No. 14 approaching Plymouth, Mich. in December, 1962. (Gene Huddleston photo, COHS 20453)
No. 98 at Traverse City, Mich. station in September, 1960. The station still stands, reused as a bank. (Gene Huddleston, COGH 1229)
The Odd BL2s
Pere Marquette ordered EMD’s hybrid BL2, but they all arrived after the merger so were never painted PM, but rather sported an unusual paint scheme that included a script lettering and plain C&O “donut” heralds. C&O ultimately had 14 of these usual units. Supposedly they were an attempt to keep the car-body streamlining of an F7 but add visibility of a road switcher. It simply didn’t work aesthetically or operationally. They all spent their careers in Michigan except for two which were briefly used on the Kentucky sections of The George Washington (Trains 21 & 22).
BL2 No. 82 in its original hybrid C&O/PM paint scheme.
(Gene Huddleston, COGH 579)
Rear end of BL2 No. 82 running long hood forward at Plymouth, Mich. in Aug. 1960. (Gene Huddleston photo, COHS 20599)
No. 1849, during its one forays out of Michigan, is handling Train No. 22, the Kentucky section of The George Washington ready to leave Louisville in 1960.
(Gene Huddleston, COHS 20517)
Playing the part of a road switcher, BL2 No. 1846 is handling a freight between Brighton and Grand Rapids. (Gene Huddleston photo, COGH 742)
The Three Tunnels of Fort Spring, W. Va.
One of the most interesting places on C&O’s Alleghany Subdivision is in and around the town of Fort Spring. Located at milepost 329, it is the place where the mainline bores through three mountain spurs within two miles and affords many photo opportunities. Railfans have frequented this place often over the years, and a few color images are reproduced here. All the tunnels are still in use. For a full study of the location, see the May/June, 2016 issue of C&O Historical Magazine (CLICK HERE). – Remember the whole run of the magazine 1969-present, is available on searchable CD ( CLICK HERE ).
This aerial view looking west shows the mainline emerging from Second Creek Tunnel (out of photo in lower part of picture), crossing the Greenbrier River and immediately going into Fort Spring Tunnel. Then, farther west, toward the top, the double track divides and passes through two single track bores of Mann’s Tunnel before headed on down the river toward Hinton. This is not a modern Google or a satellite photo, but one taken from a small plane chartered out of the White Sulphur Springs airport on Feb. 18, 1971. (T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 36227)
The mainline emerges from Second Creek Tunnel and immediately crosses the Greenbrier River. This photo is looking east from atop the portal of Fort Spring Tunnel on March 29, 1970 as a westbound empty coal train emerges from Second Creek Tunnel’s western portal. (T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 40318)
This is the east portal of Fort Spring Tunnel as a coal train led by GP38 No. 3898 on June 14, 1973 merges on its way from Hinton to Clifton Forge.
(T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 36279)
A better view of the “Art Deco” design of the Fort Spring Tunnel east portal, taken on July 21, 1967. It was the last tunnel bored for the mainline, completed in 1947 and adorned with this unique high design portal. It eliminated a sharp curve that followed the river around the spur to the town of Fort Spring and was part of a line straightening and realignment program during the five years after the end of WWII. (T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 36280)
This photo was taken from over the west portal of Fort Spring tunnel, looking west through the former station area and into the twin bores of Mann’s Tunnel in June, 1979 as Chessie units lead a grain train east. (Kurt Reisweber photo, COHS 22384)
The Fort Spring station building stood between Mann’s and Fort Spring Tunnels. It was of modern design having been erected in 1947 when the line was relocated. In this scene the photographer is on No. 4, The Sportsman headed into Fort Spring Tunnel in the snow on Jan. 1, 1968. (T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 50885)
On a brilliant June day in 1977 an eastbound train emerges from the newer of the two bores of Mann’s Tunnel. The station would have been behind the photographer. (T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 47278)
These are the west portals of Mann’s Tunnel on July 21, 1967. The right tunnel was originally double tracked in 1904, but by the 1920s was too small for the larger cars and engines, so the new tunnel was bored to the left in 1932, at which time track in the old tunnel was centered, thus giving more clearance.
(T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 36281)
It was the dark Christmas day afternoon of 1967 when the local freight was headed west through the big Acme Limestone Co. rock quarry (tipple at left) with pulpwood for Covington and some big machinery, with GP9 No. 6067 in charge. In that time the railroad operated full schedules 365 days a year, so Christmas wasn’t a holiday for many employees. (T. W. Dixon, Jr. photo, COHS 43006)
Our Digital collection of all C&OHS magazines from Jan., 1969 to Dec., 2018 is still available. It is the best collection of C&O historical data available anywhere. Fully searchable. IF YOU ORDERED ONE OF THESE some years ago, you may get a new one updated to Dec. 2018 for only $15.95. Go to same catalog number ( CLICK HERE ) and how to order is explained.

We need 450 Pre-Orders to make this happen! Jump on board and tell all of your friends and family about this awesome license Plate. See details below.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society is pleased to announce an initiative in the Commonwealth of Virginia to formally establish a special interest license plate with the Department of Motor Vehicles for our non-profit historical society.  Our proposed plate represents the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway’s contribution to Virginia’s railway heritage and was designed by Ken Miller, the artist who designed the Virginia license plate with the Norfolk & Western Railway’s iconic Class J steam locomotive No. 611.  Our proposed special interest license plate for the C&OHS features two of the C&O Railway’s most recognizable brands—an E8 diesel locomotive pulling a tricolor passenger train and Chessie, the railroad kitten and mascot of the C&O, featured in the center background.  Both are beautifully represented in historically-accurate detail.

For more information on how to order  CLICK HERE!

If you are unable to print your registration form and would like for us to send one to you please call 540-862-2210!

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