EMD MP15DC

Conrail received 10 EMD MP15DC's that were under lease to the Reading Company.  Conrail reassigned them from RDG series 2771-2780 to CR 9621-9630.

The former RDG units were built in 1974 with power provided by EMD's supercharged V12 645 prime mover producing 1,500hp.

Conrail returned these reliable switchers to EMD at the end of their lease.

CR 19677 and 9625 are WHTA01 in Tamaqua, May 13 1988

CR Local WHTA01 is shoving back into the yard at Tamaqua, PA on May 13, 1988 to begin its day switching industries in the area.

CR 9527 and 9627 lead WHWC21 through Tremont PA, 5/88

Westbound Conrail Local WHWC21 creeps upgrade through Tremont, PA on May 12, 1988 with SW1500 No. 9527 and MP15 No. 9627. The conductor is riding the front step of the lead unit, checking clearances between it and the parked cars. In a couple of cases, it was a mere few inches.

CR 9527 and 9627 on WHWC21 at Donaldson PA, 5/88

Westbound Conrail Local WHWC21 climbs upgrade through Donaldson, PA on May 12, 1988 with a SW1500 and a MP15. The train consisted of empty hopper cars for the one remaining load out at Good Spring. Now, it is part of Reading and Northern, and thankfully, business has increased.

CR 9529 now leads a light engine move out of Port Clinton PA, 5/87

The engineer has swapped ends and Conrail's Saturday light engine movement is now headed west from Port Clinton, PA on May 2, 1987. It will run to West Cressona and pick up three more, then head back east to Reading, then west to Enola, so the units can be serviced.

CR 9529 trails the Sunday light engine movement near Port Clinton PA, 5/87

An eastbound Conrail light engine movement rolls down the valley near Port Clinton, PA on May 2, 1987. The head five units came out of St. Nicholas and the trailing unit, SW1500 No. 9529, was picked up at Tamaqua.

CR 9621 and N5 Caboose 22981 at Shamokin

An ex-Reading MP15 and an ex-PC N5 caboose make up this scene in PA's hard coal country.

CR 9621 rolls through CP Potts with a single covered hopper

A lone blue MP15DC brings a sole covered hopper through CP Potts at Pottsville, the home of the Yuengling Brewery.

CR 9622 9630 and 9627 at Cressona PA

A trio of MPDCs idle in the small yard at Cressona PA.

CR 9622 At Night in Cressona

9622 sits under the yard lights in Cressona.

CR 9622 Working Cressona, 10/77

A pair of MP15DCs, still wearing their Reading green, roll through Cressona.

CR 9623 - MP15DC at Shiremanstown, PA

Former RDG 2773 in the yard at Shiremanstown, PA on 10/8/1988. This unit would later be returned to the lessor and would become GATX 9623.

CR 9624 - MP15DC at Harrisburg, PA

Former RDG 2774 is seen at Maclay St. Harrisburg, PA on 7/15/1984.

CR 9624, 9628 and 9630 in Cressona PA.

Three MP15DCs idle in the small yard at Cressona PA between assignments.

CR 9625 Moves Hoppers at Arlington PA

One of the handful of CR MP15s brings some hoppers through the Bethlehem Steel facility at Arlington PA.

CR 9625 With Empty Hoppers at Arlington PA

9625 moves some empty hoppers through a scene that only exists in coal country.

CR 9627 and 9527 pull a cut of loaded coal hoppers out of a loadout at Good Spring, PA on May 12, 1988

Eastbound Conrail Local WHWC21 pulls a cut of loaded coal hoppers out of a loadout at Good Spring, PA on May 12, 1988, led by MP15 No. 9627.

CR 9627 and 9527 shove a cut of empty coal hoppers back to the loadout at Good Spring, PA on May 12, 1988

Conrail Local WHWC21 shoves a cut of empty hopper cars up into a coal loadout at Good Spring, PA on May 12, 1988. The drag line in the distance was not connected with the coal operation.

CR 9627 and a bunch of other MP15s on WHSN switch the paper plant at Mt. Carmel Jct, 4/87

Conrail Local WHSN03 switches inbound loads of paper in a plant at Mt. Carmel Junction, PA on April30, 1987 with four MP15s.

CR 9627 and CR 19677 N-3A Caboose on the Greenwood Branch

One of the rare ex-EL N-3A cabooses holds down an assignment on the Greenwood Branch alongside an ex-Reading MP15DC.

CR 9627 and local WHSN11 at the New St. Nicholas breaker on June 7, 1987

Conrail MP15 No. 9627 on Local WHSN11 pulls a cuts of hoppers out of the old Reading Anthracite St. Nicholas Breaker at St. Nicholas, PA on June 7, 1987. The huge breaker had been closed for some years, but was still being used in a very limited capacity to process "fines" from the mountainous clum banks, one of which can be seen in the background. Only three of the tracks remained in service, and all of those were questionable.

CR 9627 and local WHSN11 working the St. Nick breaker on June 7, 1987

Conrail Local WHSN11 works the old Reading Anthracite St. Nicholas Central Breaker at St. Nicholas, PA on June 7, 1987 with MP15 No. 9627. The conductor, about five cars back carefully watches the cars over a track defect, and for good reason. About 15 minutes earlier when they were backing into the track, No. 9627 got on the ground. No "rapid responder team" here. The crew simply found enough chunks of deteriorated crossties, and coaxed the unit back on.

CR 9627 and Two More MP15DCs roll through Hamburg PA

A trio of MP15DCs bring empty hoppers through Hamburg PA, the future home of the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern, who took over many of the branches in this area from Conrail in the early 90s.

CR 9627 and WHSN04 at Locust Summit Yard, 4/87

On April 30, 1987, its work complete at Locust Summit, PA, eastbound Conrail Local WHSN04 will soon depart for St. Nicholas. Enroute, a stop will be made at Gordon to work the lumber yard. Once arriving at St. Nicholas, this train will be combined with other traffic generated in the area, creating Train WHSN02, a nocturnal run to Reading. Enroute to Reading, a stop will be made at Tamaqua to pick up traffic generated there. The train returns from Reading as WHSN01, arriving back at St. Nicholas shortly after daybreak.

CR 9627 and WHSN04 at the Glen Burn Colliery in Shamokin on April 29, 1987

Eastbound Conrail Local WHSN04 rolls past the former Glen Burn Colliery in Shamokin, PA on April 29, 1987 with three MP15s. This trackage is former PRR. The former Reading can be seen across the river and at this point was abandoned. Within a half mile, WHSN04 will enter a connection track built by Conrail and proceed from there to St. Nicholas via the former Reading.

CR 9627 and WHSN04 leaving Shamokin on April 29, 1987

Eastbound Conrail Local WHSN04 leaves Shamokin, PA on April 29, 1987 with three MP15s. I was fascinated with just how much evidence remained of past, more prosperous times. Much trackage remained, although out of service and in varying states of disrepair. The track just to the left of the train is also telling. The rail has been marked for tie replacement, a project that was never completed.

CR 9627 leads the Saturday light engine movement ready to depart West Cressona PA, 5/2/1987

It is Saturday, May 2, 1987 and Conrail's Shamokin Secondary light engine movement has arrived at West Cressona to pick up three more units. From here they will run to Enola for the unit's weekly servicing. For the record, there are five MP15s, two SW1500s and two GP10s.

CR 9627 leads WHSN04 past the Glen Burn Colliery in Shamokin on April 29, 1987

Eastbound Conrail train WHSN04 slowly ambles up the rickety track through the remains of the old Glen Burn Colliery at Shamokin, PA on April 29, 1987 with three MP15s. The scrappers were dismantling the huge old colliery, and at this point most of it had been removed. One can only imagine the number of cars of anthracite loaded on those tracks. The Conductor is sitting in the doorway, enjoying the warm spring day. The speed limit was 10 MPH, not accounting for slow orders, so he had ample opportunity to check out the scenery.

CR 9627 leads WHSN04 upgrade by an anthracite loadout at Cabel, PA on April 29, 1987

Eastbound Conrail Local WHSN04 works upgrade by an anthracite loadout at Cabel, PA on April 29, 1987 with three MP15s. By this time, most of the huge collieries were gone, and the remaining business was loaded at these small truck load outs. Track conditions were rough. Check out the cars on the siding, leaning in all different directions.

CR 9627 on WHSN01 at the St Nicholas yard April, 1987

Four Conrail MP15s and a GP10 temporarily rest at St. Nicholas, PA on the morning of April 30, 1987, after bringing in Train WHSN01. WHSN01 was a turn that operated during the nocturnal hours from St. Nicholas to Reading and return. It arrived back at St. Nicholas shortly after daybreak. Soon the power would be broken apart for other trains operating out of the small yard.

CR 9627 Singlehandedly handles empties through New Philadelphia

MP15DC 9627 single handedly handles a train of empty coal hoppers heading back to the mines.

CR 9627 sits while its crew has lunch in Shamokin on April 29, 1987

Eastbound Conrail Local WHSN04 lakes a lunch break on the connection track between the former Reading and PRR trackage in Shamokin, PA on April 29, 1987. I believe the former Reading was abandoned west of town, and the former PRR east of there.

CR 9627, 9625, 9621 and more begin their Enola odyssey at St. Nicholas PA, 5/2/1987

Conrail ran an interesting light engine move on Saturdays. It originated at St. Nicholas, gathering all the power there. As it proceeded east, a stop was made at Tamaqua to pick up the lone unit assigned there. At Port Clinton, it reversed its movement and headed west to West Cressona and picked up their units. Now totaling between 8 and 10 units, it proceeded east to Reading and then west to Enola Yard. At Enola Yard, the power was serviced while the crew took rest. Once rested, the crew did it all again, in reverse. On Saturday May 2, 1987, the crew is about to begin the odyssey at St. Nicholas with four MP15s and a GP10.

CR 9628 and 9627, 10/83

A profile shot of three of the five end cabs on the train.

CR 9628 and 9630 at Donaldson PA

A pair of MP15s performing the task which CR usually assigned them. Here they pull some hoppers through the snow at Donaldson PA.

CR 9628 Brings a Flanger Through East Mahanoy Jct

Clearing out flangeways after a snow or ice storm is an important process. It helps prevent snow and ice buildup from derailing a train. When the local power consists of MP15s, of course you're going to send one out to do the job.

Here's the flanger and locomotive passing through East Mahanoy Jct.

CR 9629 and 9522 working the Exxon Plastics facility in Minersville, PA 5/1/1987

On May 1, 1987, in the days before corporate buzzwords like "job briefing," the crew on Conrail Local WHWC02 is simply discussing what needs to be done and how to do it. Oh heavens! They are having a "job briefing" and don't even know it. They are working the Exxon Plastics facility in Minersville, PA.

CR 9629 leads WHWC02 downgrade into Minersville, PA on 5/1/1987

Eastbound Conrail Local WHWC02 drops downgrade into Minersville, PA on May 1, 1987 with MP15 No. 9629 and SW1500 No. 9522.

CR 9629 leads WHWC02 over the West Branch of the Schuylkill River in Minersville, PA on 5/1/1987

Conrail MP15 No. 9629 leads Local WHWC02 as it switches a cars over the West Branch of the Schuylkill River in Minersville, PA on May 1, 1987.

CR 9630 Allentown (BURN) 5/78

The second Ore Train ZBB-412 on 5/28/78 is powered by MP15DC's

CR 9630 and CR 9626 at the St Nick Breaker

A pair of MP15DCs at the St Nick breaker. These units were regular power on the mine runs in the area before the expiration of their leases.

CR 9630 and WHSN03 at Locust Summit, PA, 4/87

Conrail Local WHSN04 has pulled the loads out of the Gilberton Coal Co. facility at Locust Summit, PA and is moving ahead to get a cut of empties on April 30, 1987. The sound was sweet as he opened the throttle. If you have ever wondered what two 645 powered E units would sound like, four MP15s would come pretty close. I have always had a thing about multiple unit lashups of "butt heads," and sound is one of the reasons.

CR 9630 at CP Belt

Four MP15DCs roll through CP Belt in the setting sun.

CR 9630 at Gilberton Coal in Locust Summit, PA, 4/87

Four MP15s on Conrail Local WHSN04 back a string of empty hoppers into Gilberton Coal Co. at Locust Summit, PA on April 30, 1987. If I recall correctly, Gilberton was not actually mining coal, but instead processing "fines" out of the huge culm banks left by the closed Locust Summit Central Breaker. Once considered waste, the "fines" are now considered a valuable commodity.

CR 9630 climbs into Gordon with WHSN03, 4/87

Westbound Conrail Local WHSN03 climbs upgrade into Gordon, PA on April 30, 1987 with four MP15s. There were cars for Gordon, but since the switch opened to the east, they would be spotted on the return trip.

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