It is a pleasure to have John Stewart contribute to these pages.  Below is an article by John which he submitted to be presented on this website.......


Orphan Railroad - Orphan Diesels

By John R. Stewart

As we know, the Wellsville, Addison & Galeton was formed from an orphan branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It is only fitting that two of its first diesel locomotives were orphans themselves.

Much has been written about the famous orange and cream GE center-cabs and the red F7A’s with their snowplows. Very little has been written about the orphan Whitcomb’s that came to Galeton in 1956.

Their story begins in 1947, when the Canadian National placed an order with Whitcomb for eighteen 75 ton switchers. Whitcomb subcontracted the building of the locomotives to the Canadian Locomotive Company of Kingston, Ontario. The units were to be equipped with 8 cylinder, 650 HP Sterling diesel engines. After much delay, the first two units were delivered on April 30, 1948. By late summer, only five more units were built.

The operational record of the locomotives was very poor. There were frequent road failures, many centering around the diesel engine. In October of 1948, Canadian National canceled the remaining orders and returned the initial seven locomotives to CLC. The two units which came to the WAG were destined to be CN 7813 (c/n 2421) and 7815 (c/n 2423). They were probably never actually delivered to the Canadian National, however they may have been lettered at the factory.

After the Canadian National order was canceled, and the locomotives returned to CLC the troublesome Sterling diesels were removed. They were subsequently sold to Whitcomb, where they were rebuilt. Whitcomb installed 550 HP Caterpillar diesels, which proved to be successful. Whitcomb sold seventeen of the original eighteen locomotives to the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. The remaining unit was sold to the Washington & Old Dominion.

The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific subsequently leased number 1010 (b/n 60824) 1012 (b/n 60826) to the Wellsville, Addison & Galeton in 1956. They proved to be ineffective on the hilly grades, and were returned later that year. In 1966, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific traded them into GE for the last time.

© 1998,1999, 2006 John R. Stewart