Friday, July 11, 2014

Today's Train of Thought- ALL or Nothing, July 11th, 2014

Resuming our Brazil-centric Train of Thought after a hiatus to accommodate the 4th of July and Canada Day, Today's Train of Thought takes us to a vital economic hub in southeastern Brazil and features a familiar look to some out in the western USA.

Production for EMD's SD40T-2 began in 1974 and was similar in many respects to the best-selling SD40-2, but featured prominent radiator intakes designed to take in fresh, cool air while operating in tunnels and prevented other units from drawing in hot exhaust while in long tunnels or snowsheds. Not surprisingly, this locomotive was primarily marketed to railroads out in the Western USA [although the Clinchfield was reportedly interested in the 'Tunnel motors', the order was changed to regular SD40-2s at the time of it's merger with CSX predecessor Family Lines System- NANESB!].

EMD had takers for the distinctive variant of their popular SD40-2 in the Denver, Rio Grande & Western, Southern Pacific and its subsidiary Cotton Belt. And they would soldier on for those respective railroads for the next 20 years until the Union Pacific merger in 1996, when the UP merged with the Southern Pacific and apparently was (briefly) the owner of nearly all the SD40T-2s ever made. However, after the troubled takeover of the Espee, the Union Pacific began modernizing former SP lines and ordering new power from GE and EMD. Many of the SD40T-2s the UP inherited from the Espee takeover toiled away on yard jobs, local freights and MofW trains before they started to sell them off the shortlines, regionals and leasing companies.

Takers for the unique EMD variants included the Bessemer & Lake Erie, the Ohio Central, RJ Corman Inc, the New York, Susquehanna & Western, Terminal Railroad Association of St Louis, Progress Rail Leasing, the Ft Worth & Western, the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range, Trona and Larry's Truck & Electric. Ironically, in the early 2000s the locomotives that were supposed to replace the recently sold SD40T-2s took longer than anticipated to deliver, meaning UP had to lease back the SD40T-2s from LT&E almost immediately after selling them off.

Around the same time the Union Pacific was having trouble fully absorbing the remnants of the Southern Pacific and Rio Grande lines throughout the west, Brazil's railways were considering privatization as well. In 1997, Ferrovia Sul Atlântico (South Atlantic Railways) began operating the formerly state run lines in the states of Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande Del Sul. By 1999, the company changed it's name to America Latina Logistica or ALL and had won the concession to operate the southern portion of the formerly state-run railways in Sao Paulo state. By the time ALL acquired the trackage and assets of Ferronorte and Novoeste in 2006. To deal with the increase in traffic, ALL began looking beyond their own borders for additional power. New locomotives could not be built fast enough, so secondhand power was purchased from the USA, Canada and even Namibia and put into use on ALL's standard gauge lines- oddly enough, many of the imported locomotives required little to no adaptation to be pressed into service on Brazilian rails.

The SD40T-2 is one of the models that found itself on the ALL roster in Brazil- a long way from California's Donner Pass or Siskyou Line. The Brazilian line reportedly rosters nearly 50 of these former tunnel motors as well as 39 standard SD40-2s purchased secondhand from Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern.

Here, contributor Steen Larsen caught ALL SD40T-2 #9498 leading a pair of former CP Rail SD40-2s over the Ponte do Guaria in Araucária, Parana in June 2010 [wintertime in that part of the world- NANESB!]. Araucária is on the outskirts of the state capital of Curitiba, which is one of the 12 host cities for the World Cup this year.

As the embedded video shot by L Basetti shows, the viaduct just outside the ALL yard in Araucária soars over a rotary with state highway 423 running beneath it. Besides being a World Cup host venue, Parana is also a pivotal agricultural hub for southern Brazil, producing soybeans, corn, sugarcane, poultry and coffee.

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