THE DAWNING OF A NEW AGE: THE HISTORY OF THE KC&G DIESEL ROSTER

"How 'bout them Chiefs!" says ol' head "Hot Shot" Chadwick as the crew working the West Bottoms takes a short respite from their labors on this fine autumn day in 1964 to talk about the new football team in town and their start to the '64 season.



THE DAWN BEGINS TO BREAK...

As with almost all sectors of the economy, the depression was not kind to the KC&G. Along with many other railroads, the KC&G was looking at many different ways to operate more efficiently and therefore reduce costs. One of the tentative moves in this area was to sample the "diesel waters" as some of the other regional roads were thinking of doing. In the case of the KC&G, they turned to one of their locomotive builders: Alco. In 1939, emulating another Kansas City railroad that the KC&G worked hand-in-hand with (the Kansas City Terminal), the KC&G ordered one of ALCo's "HH660" model diesel switchers. Unlike the KCT, the KC&G opted order the more cost-effective HH660 instead of the more expensive HH900 as did the KCT. Also, the KC&G maintained their frugality by ordering just one HH660 and not a pair of Electro Motive Corporation's offerings (a switch engine dubbed the "NW2") as the KCT had done. With all the talk of war in Europe looming, the KC&G simply stood pat with their one and only diesel switcher: ALCo HH660, number "D-10". ("D" stood for "Diesel!)

Then the war came. Almost a one-two knockout punch for the KC&G's aging steamers, the lack of funds during the depression along with the surge of traffic during WW2... essentially ran the wheels off the KC&G's aging fleet of Consols and Mikes.

As the war drug on, the need for more new power was painfully obvious. The valiant little "D-10" just wasn't anywhere near enough to help the situation. The only saving grace at this point was modest surplus cash that was accumulating in the bank due to the burgeoning surge in war-time business. So, with a little bit in the bank, and a worn stable of antiquated steamers, the decision was made to commence dieselization as soon as practical. This they hoped to accomplished in rather straightforward fashion within a few short years. Of course, the War Production Board of the time had much more to say about that!

In the meantime, the heavy wartime traffic was taking its toll on the aging steam engine fleet of the KC&G, and the area where the ailing power was most acute was in the yards: The ancient Baldwin 0-6-0 fleet just couldn't keep up with the around-the-clock switching that was needed to keep the war tonnage moving. Turning to the War Production Board, the plea for help was sent forth for: "We desperately need more yard power." Fortunately, the War Board saw the need as well, and approved the KC&G to turn to its long-time yard power supplier: Baldwin. So, amid the hustle and bustle of a nation trying to feed their armies with war supplies, in January of 1944, Baldwin began to ship the first of what would be a total of 10 of their diesel-electric switcher model VO1000 toward the struggling road. On a cold day in January 1944, engine #100, adorned in a no-frills basic black scheme, made its triumphant arrival at the KC&G's Riverfront Yard in Kansas City, Mo, there joining the one and only diesel on the KC&G property: ALCo HH660 number “D-10”.

Indeed, very soon the KC&G found the new Baldwin diesel-electric locomotives to be all that the rumors were saying. There was no comparison to a steam switcher in the speed in which they could start, move, and stop cuts of cars during switching. In addition they would lug extremely well, handling transfer runs or heavy yard switching as needed. And when working light... they could start and stop like a cat! More than once a Hoghead won a bet with a new hire by saying the new hire couldn't give a highball signal and still catch the rear footboard... and Hoggers won more than they lost!

Unfortunately, the order for 10 VO1000's would be all the War Production Board would allocate to them at this time. However, a few short months later, the War Production Board was willing to allocate to the KC&G a handful of ALCo’s innovative concept that ALCo called: The Road Switcher. The KC&G jumped at the chance, and six of the new black RS-1 locomotives began to arrive at the KC&G beginning in June of 1945. The lone ALCo HH660, the Baldwin VO1000’s, and the small order of RS-1’s would have to do for now.

Then the war ended, and the KC&G was left with only a handful of diesel switchers and even fewer of the new “Road Switchers”, but an entire fleet of very tired and worn steam engines. As if looking for a savior... the KC&G began to look to the new diesel-electric locomotive as a means to save them. Being quite impressed with the durability of the RS-1’s, the KC&G returned to its old friend, ALCo, to discuss dieselizing “en masse.” The friendly folks at Schenectady were quite willing to offer their advice, ALCco immediately recommended replacement of the entire fleet of wheezing steam engines with ALCo diesel products! As if money wasn't a problem!

However, not being in a monetary position to invest so heavily, they asked where one might continue to realize the most immediate savings. As with other roads, it appeared that the best path for dieselizing was to dieselize the switchers and passenger power as a good starting point. This was the path the KC&G followed.

So it is that the KC&G's began in earnest the long, expensive, road toward dieselization and placed an order for a quartet of AB sets of ALCo's elegant PA series engine, along with an order for ALCo's lowly S-2 switcher.

PA's #20-23 and PB's #20B-23B arrived in the mid '46, gleaming in the new company colors of “Gulf Coast Blue” and “Mountain Mist Gray”. These were placed in service alongside the freshly refurbished (read: cleaned up and repainted!) heavyweight passenger cars, and with much hoopla, "new" streamliner trains were born. In order to capitalize on the more scenic portions of their line, as well as emphasize their terminal destinations, the stand-in diesel streamliners “The Mountain Maid” and “The Gulf Coast Flyer” came to life. The craze of "Dieselization" on the KC&G was now underway.

Before the summer of '46 was over, S-2 #120 arrived at KC and was immediately placed in service at Riverfront Yard. The remainder of summer brought in the rest of the order of S-2's... #120-129. Partly because of the backlog of work at Alco, and partly a willingness to try another manufacturer, a "sampler" order was placed with EMD for 7 of the company's NW2's. These were the 130 class, and were numbers #130-136. Once this order arrived in late '46, the fledgling 100-130 classes produced enough diesel electric engines on hand to seriously threaten the steam switchers working the various yard and industry jobs in KC.

It didn't take long to discover their worth. These "newfangled diesels" were indeed saving considerable in costs. Shoot, if the KC&G could see the same savings by replacing the freight hogs, then why not "bite the bullet" and get to it, replacing the entire fleet of elderly steamers?

That decided, they turned their attention to road power. The first matters at hand were replacing the aging Mike's on the through trains. In view of getting very good service with the RS-1’s and S-2's of Alco, they returned to their old friend again and the first order of FA-1/FB-1 sets were placed in late '46. However, in an effort to expedite matters as much as possible, the KC&G turned again to EMD, and placed an order for their F3 model. The FA1's began at #200, and the FB's began at #200B. The F3's started at #300, the F3B's at 300B. Though the line considered the new "dynamic brake" option, the only place it would be a genuine help would be on the Ozark Sub (and further to the south, perhaps the Ouachita Sub as well). The Ozark Sub was a twisting, turning, up and down devil of a section on the otherwise flatland railroad. In the eyes of the KC&G's management, the Ozark Sub just couldn't justify the notable extra expense of dynamic brakes for such a minimal portion of their railroad. So, as it would be throughout dieselization, frugal, no-frills, non- dynamic units it would be.

By early '47, the first road power arrived on the property... the 200 class FA's. The F3's followed shortly thereafter. EMD is persistent, and with the order of F3's urging them onward, the EMD salesman came calling again. It must have been a convincing presentation to the KC&G as he extolled the virtues of their new "Branch Line" locomotive. Now remember, the railroads still had "steam mentality" in that they were accustomed to locomotives being designed for a very specific type of service. Feeling that these "BL2" things may be just what’s needed to service the coal-rich areas around Clarksville, as well as the Fort Smith Sub branch that left the mainline at Dardanelle, Arkansas, passing through the rich coal fields as well as the towns of Paris and Charleston on their way to Ft. Smith, they placed a very modest order for same, intending to keep a couple sets there for use on the branch. And, as the afterthought they were, the KC&G shoehorned them into the growing roster beginning with 140 and ending with 143.

The KC&G's purchase of EMD's BL2 was very threatening to ALCo, especially since the KC&G’s latest purchase was for a model aimed to compete with ALCo’s “Road Switcher”. Not to be undersold, ALCo invited the KC&G's Superintendent of Motive Power to their plant located at Schenectady, New York. (At ALCo's expense!) Once there, they presented their alternative to the BL2. ALCo had pioneered the "dual purpose" locomotive, or to use ALCo nomenclature, the "Road Switcher", type of engine, and they had no intention of relinquishing the leading of this movement to EMD and their BL2 “thing”. The “Road Switcher” theory was that the unit could do both, local work, or road work... as required. Not nearly as "dedicated" as the so-called "BL2". ALCo called their newest Road Switcher the "RS-2", for "Road Switcher, model 2".

The KC&G's Superintendent of Motive Power spent much time running the RS-2 demo units about the Alco company tracks, dragging test cars with a heavy application of train brake, the car's brake shoes squealing noisily. There was lots of hood door opening and careful examination. (Wasn't any tire kicking though, mainly 'cause there weren't any!) The KC&G looked, thought about it, and looked some more. Alco, not wanting to risk losing the good business of the KC&G, made a very attractive offer to the road so as to entice them into trying their engine. This was the clincher, so the KC&G took the RS-2 plunge. It was decided to try a very small order to more fully explore this Road Switcher concept that was proving its worth with the RS-1’s. Thus, the KC&G ordered RS-2’s numbers 250-254.

By mid-summer, both the BL2 and the RS-2 orders were on hand. As expected, given their body lines, the BL2's arrived in a Gulf Coast Blue and Mountain Mist Gray scheme, but in a surprising twist, the ALCo RS-2's also arrived in a new “Gulf Coast Blue” and “Mountain Mist Gray” scheme! New liveries aside, the crews could now actually get "hands on" experience, and settle the question as to which would be the best direction for the KC&G. It wasn't long before the crews came back praising the fast loading ability of the RS-2, also saying that it out-pulled the BL2 as well. In addition, the BL2 was very awkward to work off of. The verdict was in: ALCo's "Road Switcher" did indeed work better for road switching.

This was a very hectic and exciting era for the KC&G as internal combustion engines were sprouting up all over their rails. Before the autumn of '47 was in full plumage, the second order of FA's and F3's arrived. The next year brought a breather period from the heavy expenditures on the first of the diesels. It was time to start making the new engines begin to pay for themselves, and hopefully put a little money in their bank account, after all, they now had "new car" payments to worry about!

However once the year changed, early in '49, the EMD salesman was knocking on the door again. It seems as if their latest offering in the road power department was ready, and they were anxious to take orders for their newest of models, the F7. Recovering somewhat from the first round of dieselization, and realizing that the diesel was indeed the savior it claimed to be, and, having had good service with the firm's F3... the KC&G promptly placed an order for more F's: The new F7 in both cab and cab-less varieties. So it was that during the spring of '49, the F7's picked up where the F3's left off, and continued to fill the 300 class with units ready for service. And, perhaps a harbinger of things to come, it was at this point the KC&G began to entertain the thought that perhaps the most economical way to protect the trains the PA's were working, was to consider the steam generator option on select F7's. This they would eventually do, complete with passenger paint schemes to denote their dual service nature. You see, it seemed that the PA's were beginning to display a tendency to be a bit "finicky" insofar as utilization was concerned. However, the other ALCo models were proving their worth day-in and day-out.

Later in the year, EMD really tried to put the hard sell on the KC&G to sample their latest creation: The GP7. This model, they said, was far superior to the ill-fated BL2. The KC&G, no where near favorably impressed with EMD's BL2, was not convinced in the least to have two classes of higher horsepower "Road Switchers". They opted to stand pat with the 250 class RS-2's that were burbling about. Odd, the EMD's F- series was doing quite well, but those BL2’s...

Not accepting "no" for an answer, EMD really tried to convince the KC&G of the virtues of their "all new" GP-7. Even with all the hype, the KC&G's answer was still "no". After all, thought the KC&G's motive power department, if you'd got it right the first time (the BL2), there wouldn't have been a need for a totally new design! And besides, it looked like EMD's "me too" effort aimed at ALCo's RS series. Firmly, the KC&G declined EMD's approach to consider their newest engine... the GP7. ALCo "Road Switchers" it would be.

However, the KC&G WAS impressed with EMD's version of a yard switcher, so much so that the EMD salesman was at least able to sell them a few more switchers. This time for their newest model: The SW7. The SW7’s almost picked up where the BL2’s had left off, becoming numbers 145-154. Before long the order began arriving, and soon the 145’s were purring away at their duties. As was the case with previous yard switchers, the SW7’s arrived in the KC&G’s austere black with white trim scheme. In addition to the SW7’s, the KC&G placed a small order for Baldwin’s latest switcher offering: The S-12. These were numbered 155-158.

ALCo, getting wind of the tactics of EMD, immediately contacted the KC&G's motive power department and told them to "be patient for a couple of more months, we've got something in the works we know you'll like. It will have more horsepower than our RS-2 AND the GP7, and it will be far more compatible with the RS-2 Road Switcher's you've bought from us earlier. It will clearly be superior to the GP7 in all respects. In fact we can even provide as many as you need with steam generators for passenger service!"

Hmmm. This sounds interesting. And besides, the word was coming in from the "trenches" almost daily now... "these ALCo's will load faster than any EMD's on the place. They're switchin' machines, they are!"

There had been a bit of a problem with the turbochargers, mainly on the PA's... but ALCo had been more than fair about "standing good" for them and was working on a long term solution.

And so it was that, after a brief respite from the heavy expenditures on motive power, the KC&G returned to ALCo to bring in additional "Road Switcher" power in the summer of '50, and it should come as no surprise that they were the brand-spanking-new 1600 HP RS-3's of ALCo. Thus far, the KC&G still spoke diesel with a pronounced "ALCo" accent. RS-3 units 267, 268, and 269 were to be equipped with steam generators for passenger service when their services for such should be needed.

The RS-3's began to arrive a couple of months later also decked out in the new “Gulf Coast Blue” and “Mountain Mist Gray” schemes of the RS-2’s, the first RS-3 being #255. It was indeed a "hoss", and could start and stop faster than any road-type engine on the place, if they all proved to be as good as the first one appeared to be, there would indeed be more orders following. However, something odd happened earlier this month... one of the first 244 powered ALCo units had broken a crankshaft in its prime mover. But, ALCo assured them, that this was atypical and certainly not to be expected as the norm.

The "atypical" crankshaft problem continued. What the KC&G’s Mechanical Department feared was the suspicion that after a 244 Alco unit gets a certain amount of miles under its belt...a crankshaft failure was a very real possibility. Not so with the 239 Seymour-McIntosh powered RS-1’s and S-2's, in which there seemed no such weakness. In fact, it seemed like you couldn't make a Seymour-McIntosh powered locomotive break.

As the months wore on, it was beginning to seem more "typical" than "atypical" for the 244's to break crankshafts, much to the KC&G's chagrin. Not only that, but turbochargers were beginning to be swallowed at an alarming rate. This problem was becoming so acute (not only for the KC&G but also for their neighboring roads that rostered 244 powered Alco products) that the ALCo factory was working feverishly to produce a different turbo arrangement... a water cooled one.

These events caused the KC&G to look at the all their 244 powered ALCo's through a new pair of eyes. A phone call was placed to EMD, with a request to "take a second look at that GP-something-or-other". With EMD more than eager, that was immediately arranged. The loaner power was impressive, and an order followed in quick fashion.

EMD was on the ball. With little lag time, bright shining “Gulf Coast Blue and “Mountain Mist Gray” GP7 #400 arrived at KC during the late fall of '50. Though not suspected at the time... there would be many more. Time would reveal that the last 244 powered ALCo had been purchased by the KC&G.

As the months went by, practicality and function was beginning to be more appealing to the KC&G as they slowly learned more about "dieseling". Though the ALCo FA’s and EMD F-series were indeed things of beauty... it was the lowly RS models and Geeps that the crews commended. Like building blocks, you could use them to do just about whatever you wanted.

The decision was made: It would be EMD GP's that would administer the coup de grace to the last of the mainline steam engines. The final two orders went off to EMD for more GP's. Even the last accommodation-type passenger trains were to be dieselized with GP's. Those for that service were simply equipped with the steam generator option EMD offered, as were the F7's earlier. Thus equipped, a GP7 was truly a do-it-all engine. Indeed it was living up to its name "General Purpose".

As the early years of the fifties rolled along, new road and local diesel power was firmly established as being in command of the KC&G's mainlines, and even the branch lines. At last, it was time to finish off the steam switchers on the southern end, with the goal being complete elimination of the steam switcher fleet by the end of the year. With this purpose in mind, the delivery of SW9 #159 began the final displacement of the aging steamers, and its brethren would finish the job, arriving during the spring of 1953.

By the spring of '53, the sounds of steam would be silenced forever on the rails of the Kansas City & Gulf, for it completed its dieselization program. Technically begun just before the War, continuing through the war, and started in sincerity immediately thereafter, in only about a decade a complete revolution had taken place. No more would the laboring exhausts be heard across the plains of Missouri, in the mountains of Arkansas, or through the bayou country of Louisiana and the rolling plains of Texas. The KC&G was now "modern".


THROUGH THE 50s...

As the 50's rolled along, some facts of dieseling dawned upon the management of the KC&G's Motive Power. Over time, two things had proven themselves:

1. The EMD BL2's were white elephants, very ungainly to work off of, and quite lacking in versatility. The crews hated them, calling them "morphidites". No, road switcher's were the way to go.

2. The 244 powered Alco products settled down some. The addition of the water cooled version of the turbo helped to greatly alleviate the voracious turbo appetite problem, thus almost all of the Alco 244 products received them. As for the crankshafts... well... those were an "iffy" situation. IF you took meticulous care of the 244 (with regimented oil changes and maintenance, etc.), then it would reward you with unparalleled performance in acceleration, torque, and fuel economy. The latter wasn't really a factor, seeing as the KC&G (as were other roads) was only paying a few cents a gallon for what was surely a never ending supply of diesel... but it was noteworthy. However, given the meticulous care the 244 powerplants required, that caused the ALCo's to have a higher maintance cost column.

Throughout the national dieselization movement, Baldwin had been suffering in the diesel race. Though their switchers were tough and reliable, Baldwin was very slow out of the gate in regards to road power and road switcher- type power. Their market share of same was dismal, to say the least. The KC&G had been a good customer of Baldwin during the age of steam... not so much in the age of diesels. The offices at Eddystone took note, and watching their sales slowly slip, the Baldwin representitive knocked on the door of their old customer, the KC&G. Seems that Baldwin had a new "road switcher" type model being built, and the Baldwin representative was almost begging for the KC&G to try an order of them. The financial package that Baldwin was offering was indeed attractive, so the KC&G helped their old friend and purchased a pair of Baldwin's AS-16 road switcher to become numbers 440 and 441. The Baldwin twins arrived in June of '54.

Along about the mid-50s, as some of the switch engine fleet came in for their yearly inspections, some were repainted into "Gulf Coast Blue" and "Mountain Mist Gray" schemes, and many of the original black switchers received hazzard stripes in some form or another, and yet a few remained in their original black w/white pinstripes.

As the 50's marched on, the need for newer power began to surface, and as coincidence would have it, with hat in hand, the ALCo representative came calling. It was hoped by ALCo to win back the favor of the KC&G. Like the Baldwin representitive, the ALCo representitive was offering an extremely attractive bargain on ALCo's recent, and quite successful, road switcher, the RS-11. The 251 prime mover (which superseded the 244) was proving itself to be up the task, having been "out in the field" for several years. To add to the urgency on ALCo's part, like Baldwin, ALCo was losing its market share at an alarming rate, hence their "more than accommodating" financial offers for a brace of RS-11's. Why, they wouldn't need anything for trade, and no down payment... essentially... "just sign here". And so the KC&G did... even splurging this time, for the KC&G went all out and ordered the RS-11's with dynamic brakes! (Will wonders ever cease?)

And so it was that by the middle of 1957 the burly appearance of the new RS-11's made their presence felt in the mountains of the Ozarks. They did seem to be good engines: Very good pullers. And the Enginemen LOVED the dynamic brake feature. Why, if this 251 prime mover proved itself... just perhaps the KC&G will return in force to ALCo. The Motive Power department began to look at trade-in candidates...

Maybe it was just an unfortunate coincidence, but within a few months of arriving, one of the new RS-11's coughed up a prime mover. Yes, ALCo apologized all over themselves, and replaced the prime mover through warranty, no questions asked... but what bad timing it was for ALCo. With this turn of events, the KC&G (perhaps with the bitter taste of the 244 experiences now renewed fresh in their minds) made the decision: There will be no more ALCo's. Period. Concurrent with these events, another truth was becoming apparent not only to the KC&G, but many other roads of the region: In spite of any performance advantage of the ALCo's (when they worked), the best cost-per-mile ratios were found under the columns with "EMD" on top.

Hmmm. Why not try what some of the other roads were doing?

You see, there was a new fever that had hit the railroads in the mid 50's that was spreading like an epidemic: Repower Fever. The KC&G, always being a "fix it yourself" kind of road, balked at coughing-up the sizable outlay to have EMD do the work for them (as some of their neighbors were doing). So, the KC&G paid a visit to a couple of the other area lines to have a “look see” at how they were handling the situation. The Superintendent of Motive Power and his Chief of the Mechanical Department paid a visit to two lines. First, they stopped by the SL-SF to see how EMD accomplished the repowers on some of their FA1/FB1’s and RS-2’s. Notes were taken, as well as photos. Next, the inquisitive duo headed for North Little Rock, Arkansas, and the shops of the Missouri Pacific. Unlike the Frisco, the Mop had decided to take matters completely into their own hands and do all their own repowering. With a tip of the hat and a polite “thank you”, the two left for KC&G's Magnolia Shops at Magnolia, Arkansas.

The decision: We can do this ourselves for a lot less than having EMD do it. The plans were formulated, the procedures developed... and a couple of remanufactured 567's purchased. The initial targets were two of the 1st generation Alco FA1's that were sitting on the dead track with broken crankshafts. And do it they did. After several weeks of shake-down runs, and the inevitable "bugs" chased and fixed, the pair of FA1m's were deemed a success. The era of the "Magnolia Rebuild" came into being. Soon, the shops were performing the transplants to select other units that failed. Wny, before the end of the 50's, the KC&G even tried repowering one of the RS-11's!

So yes, in the KC&G’s mind, EMD's it would be. "Standardization" became a Fundamental Doctrine in the KC&G's Statement of Faith, and that word "Standardization" sounded the death-knell for any new ALCo product to ever show up on the rails of the KC&G. The diesel war had been fought on the iron ribbons of The Mainline to the Gulf... and a victor was declared: EMD

Of course, as good as "Standardization" sounds, there is a slight foible to the process: Money. It takes money to repower, lots of it, to replace old ALCo's with new EMD power, AND, money was getting harder and harder to come by as the funds dwindled. In addition, as the repowered units ran out some miles, another item became apparent: You can't get your money back before the rest of the unit starts needing considerable expense. And so it was that as the 50's neared their end, the short-lived era of the Magnolia Rebuild was closed, and the majority of the Alco-powered products of Schenectady were allowed to ply the rails with their original innards intact... until something broke. It would then go to what the men of the Magnolia Shops called “The Boneyard”... a lengthy storage track where the dead and maimed were put to silent rest. BUT, the need was still there for some new power.

But the KC&G soldiered on with what they had. As units came in for their yearly, some received cheaper, more cost effective paint liveries. Yes, as the money continued to tighten, the KC&G line was looking for any reasonable way to cut costs... and it was more cost effective to just leave the paint alone and focus on trying to keep the unit running and in service.

THE TURBULENT 60s...

As the 1950s drew to a close, it was painfully obvious that new power was desperately needed. Those in management positions that actually knew railroading (and knew the financial tactics of the owners) realized that something had better be done and done quick before the money was gone. EMD was taking trade-ins to spur their sales, so the KC&G took all of their ill-conceived BL2's and traded them in toward three new engines: EMD's new GP20. The order was placed, fingers crossed as to how they would pay for them, and brand new engines 500-502 arrived on the property in July of 1960. Unknown at the time, but suspected by the knowlegable in key management positions, these were the last new engines to date. (i.e. Autumn of 1964.)

As expected, the corporate KC&G's personal economic recession deepened... into a depression! For the first time in their history, significant personnel were being furloughed. The shops at Magnolia were reduced to a skeletal crew. There was no way the faithful few of the shop crew that were retained could keep pace with the onslaught of worn-out, and wearing-out, engines that descended upon them. With little resources available to them, the understaffed and overworked shop crews did the best they could. With determination and a lot of ingenuity, they fixed whatever could be “southern engineered” together. If they didn’t have the parts on hand in the depleting-daily Parts Storehouse, then they would descend on “The Boneyard” and go from one dead unit to the next, cannibalizing the silent engines, in the effort of patching together one unit that would run. And so the tonnage was hauled… but the funds were running out.

Money woes wasn’t unique to the KC&G during this time period. Other lines were also in trouble. One road in New York had already failed and was abandoned: The New York, Ontario & Western. Another line that ran in New York was in trouble and wasn’t expected to survive: The Lehigh & New England. Also predicted to fail was the “Rutland” line up in Vermont, and fail they did. Both the L&NE and the Rutland fell. Many railroads were in trouble, including several in the KC&G’s territory.

Then, "The Bankruptcy" happened. The money simply ran out. All along the KC&G a somber tone pervaded. Other roads were going under, and being allowed to abandon... would the KC&G be next?

The court stepped in. The piles of paperwork began to mount up. Still the trains ran... but sometimes the pay periods had to be slimmed, or "IOU'd". The KC&G faithful stayed on... wondering.

Of course, the rest is recorded in history and the tale was told in Bankruptcy Court. (Note: The corporate history of the KC&G can be found in the essay "Mainline To The Gulf: The KC&G Story".) The company was reorganized, and a new General Manager secured.

Though it's only been a short time since entering reorganization, there have already been several changes. For starters, the help is getting paid their full amount again... and on time! The furloughed crews of the Magnolia Shops were called back, and are taking turns on shifts running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their mandate was simple: Patch together anything you can. Get it running... with bailing wire if you have to... but get it running until some new power can get here! And new power is seriously being considered! After all these years, the KC&G is actually going to attempt to get a meaningful amount of sorely needed new engines.

So here it is, Autumn of 1964. Let's take a look at the KC&G roster and see what "The Mainline to the Gulf" has to work with:



A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

When I started to conceive the KC&G, I knew I wanted to use guidelines for its diesel roster creation. I wanted to avoid the "one of everything" syndrome as well as not wanting to fall into the "oddball/low- production number" trap and end up with units that were totally out of place for a mid-western/southern line, or even atypical for a mid-western/southern line. So, I decided to use the four main roads in my region as my "Foundational Four". Those roads were:

* The Frisco

* The Missouri Pacific

* The Kansas City Southern

* The Rock Island.

Basically, this meant that before I would even CONSIDER incorporating a make and model of unit into the KC&G's roster, it HAD to be found on one, or preferably more, of the above prototype rosters. IF it was not found on one or more of the above lines: It was not considered. In addtion, other regional lines were also used as a points of reference, but not as strict guidelines. (The Missouri-Kansas-Texas, for example.)

Even though limiting myself to my "Foundational Four", I further put into place self-imposed restrictions to avoid the very unusual units found on those rosters. Such units as the Missouri Pacific's Baldwin DR4-4-1500 cab units, (the "Baby Face Baldwin's"), or the "Chop Top" Erie Builts of the KCS, and such engines as those. This self-imposed restriction was because I wanted a roster that offered me lots of modeling and visual variety, but was comprisesd of engines that were not as unique as the examples just shared.

Thus far, this approach has worked well for me, as I'm very comfortable with the engines manufacturers and model types that I've incorporated into my KC&G's roster.

EDIT 2/7/20, 10:43 PM, CST:

Those of you that are quite familiar with prototype railroads mentioned above that comprise my Foundational Four lines, may be quick to notice that the last new power purchased by the KC&G in July of 1960 were GP20's. In view of what I typed, which reflect my thoughts on my roster when I conceived my KC&G's theme and concept back in the early-mid 1990s, you may note there is a conundrum. Namely, the fact that none of my Foundational Four had GP20's. So why are they on the KC&G? That's a fair enough question. I'll share with you the way my demented mind works at times.

You see, all those years ago, I originally thought that perhaps the newest power should be GP18's with low hoods. I figured that would offer enough visual variety to stand out from among all the high hood GP7s that populate the roster, both on paper and modeled, thus making the GP18's a worthwhile addition to the roster. However, since that time way back in the 1990s, something has happened that has revolutionized the way I enjoy model railroading: DCC/Sound.

So, had I followed through and gone with low hood GP18's, that would indeed offer some visual relief from the fleet of high hood GP7s... but they would essentially sound identical to all the other EMD powered engines on the KC&G, that is, naturally aspirated 567's.

With the advent of sound, I found that I would really like to have some EMD turbo sound to also be heard on the layout. I didn't want GP30s (I'm not particularly fond of them), and GP35's would have been crowding my bankruptcy/reorganization idea. SO, I reasoned that EMD either demonstrated a pair of GP20's on the KC&G, OR, one of the KC&G's friendly connections in Kansas City (the Santa Fe or CB&Q) short-loaned a pair for their cash strapped connection friend, the KC&G, to evaluate. Either way, the KC&G shot their final financial wad on a trio of GP20's, and the rest is now (in their) history!

So there you have it! At least, that's my story an' I'm a' stickin' to it!

Stay tuned for future installments!


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