GE C32-8

Built in 1984 as the first -8 series of locomotives from GE, all ten of this model only saw service initially on Conrail. Numbered 6610 to 6619, they were orphans in both the railroad world and on CR. Rated at 3,150 horsepower and carrying 3,900 gallons of fuel, they spent most of their careers in the Boston-Selkirk world on the former B&A until 1997 when all ten were painted into gray and black Ballast Express paint for dedicated ballast trains. Of note are the following: 6612 was involved in an accident in Philadelphia in 1988 and emerged from Juniata with the cab and nose from former GE B40-8 demo #808; 6615 and 6616 both wore Quality paint before being painted gray in 1997; and gray 6619 was involved in a wreck in 1998 or 1999 and emerged wearing fresh Quality blue immediately before being transferred to NS. Upon the split in 1999, six went to NS (8543-8548) and four to CSX (7476-7479). After the lease expired, CSX chose not to lease then again but NS picked up all ten for a brief period and renumbered them all (8460:1-8469). When NS retired them, one unit (6616) was leased by RMDI (BDLX) to Junction City Mining in Talbottom, GA while the others sat in RMDI's lot rusting away. The former 6616 managed to escape the US and at last report (9/2006) was in green and yellow as Ferronorte 9339 in Brazil.

CR 6558 (3) at Becket, MA. on 4/18/87.

C32-8 6619 has the trail position in SEMB passing MP 129 in Becket, MA. on April 18, 1987.

CR 6585 at Huntington, MA. on 10/10/98. (2)

Damaged C32-8 6615, note missing coupler and plow, brings up the rear of SHP301 near MP 121 in Huntington, MA. on Oct. 10, 1998.

CR 6591 at Bancroft, MA. on 10/13/84.

C30-7A 6591 is at the head end of SEBO-B as it rolls downgrade through Bancroft, MA. on the afternoon of Oct. 13, 1984.

CR 6610 at Chester, MA. on 10/9/86.

SEFR rolls along the west branch of the Westfield River near MP 122 in Chester, MA. on a misty morning of Oct. 9, 1986.

CR 6610 at East Brookfield, MA. on 2/21/87.

C32-8 "class unit" 6610 leads TV-6 past the stonemasonry depot in East Brookfield, MA. on Feb. 21, 1987. The rear of the train is passing through CP 64, the west end of a controlled passing siding which extends eastward to CP 57 in Charlton.

CR 6610 at Hinsdale, MA. on 1/24/87.

Class unit C32-8 6610 leads TV9 approaching the Rt. 8 overhead in Hinsdale, MA. on Jan. 24, 1987.

CR 6610 at Hinsdale, MA. on 3/7/87.

The 6610 has SEPW in tow passing the summit of Washington hill in Hinsdale, MA. on March 7, 1987.

CR 6610 at Middlefield, MA

Conrail C32-8 6610 leads this eastbound TV at Middlefield, MA on the Boston Line at 1145 hrs on 5 October 1990.

CR 6610 in Becket, MA. on 4/5/85.

The 6610 leads a trio of C32-8's with BOEL near MP 129 in Becket, MA. on April 5, 1985. A rock slide and derailed engine in Washington cut resulted in BOEL and other westbounds running left-handed on track 2 for the day.

CR 6610 on ELPR-2 at Burdick, IN 10/1998

Chicago Line - Burdick, Indiana, USA
October 22, 1998
C32-8 6610 on ELPR-2
Rolling westward in her final autumn, a Conrail Ballast Express GE leads a pair of Espee motors and a leaser towards a UP connection at Proviso. Conrail never made it to October of the next year, and this trackage is now under the ownership of NS.
Photo by Don Kalkman III

CR 6610, 6611 and 6618

In 1987 or so Conrail poured money into the rehabilitation of the ex-New Haven Maybrook line and ran a daily pair of trains, SENH and NHSE, for the next 5 or 6 years through my home town of Beacon NY. Conrail sold the line to the Housatonic RR who opted for an interchange with Conrail in Pittsfield MA rather than Beacon, hence our line went dormant again. During those years of activity the Conrail trains were pulled exclusively by the small fleet of C32-8 locomotives. Here three of the units, 6610, 6611 and 6618, are serviced at the engine facility in Selkirk in 1990.

CR 6611 Allentown, Pa 4-1995

Conrail 6611 is on the point of a coal train to Bethlehem Steel at CP BURN in Allentown, Pa 4/1995.

CR 6611 at Bancroft, MA. on 11/23/84.

Barely more than a month old, CR 6611 on a SEBO-B at Bancroft, MA. on November 23, 1984.

CR 6611 at Charlton, MA. on 4/17/87.

C32-8 6611 bores through the fog with SEFR at CP 57 in Charlton, MA. on April 17, 1987.

CR 6611 at Huntington, MA. on 2/12/88. (1)

C32-8 6611 leads MBSE through Huntington, MA. on Feb. 12, 1988.

CR 6611 at Huntington, MA. on 2/12/88. (2)

CR 6617 trails in MBSE at Huntington, MA. on Feb. 12, 1988.

CR 6611 C32-8 Cresson 10-97

An all gray train on Big Blue, this westbound ballast train has stopped west of MO to cut off the helpers. C32-8 6611 and 6616 will continue west shortly. 6611 will become Norfolk Southern 8543, then be renumbered again to NS 8461. 6616 would become NS 8547 then 8466, and both would be retired shortly after that. 6611 has been scrapped, the 6616 may survive overseas.

CR 6611 in Middlefield, MA. on 1/12/85.

Only a few months old at the time, a trio of "Camels" led by the 6611, bring NHSE around the horseshoe between MP 128 and 129. In just a moment the head end of the train will be entering Becket, while the first half is in Middlefield and the rear half is still in Chester. Of note, is that most of what is pictured here no longer exists, except for the railroad itself. The C32-8's are a memory, block signal 129.02, it's relay cabinet, and the code line disappeared in the late '80's when the B&A was single-tracked. Gone also are the dragger, flange lubricator, and the conical concrete signal base which was one of many installed by the Penn Central in an aborted plan to re-signal the B&A.

CR 6611 leads SEMA at Canaan Center, NY on 5/5/91

At 0830 hrs on 5 May 1991 C32-8 6611 and three other GE units brought SEMA east through State Line tunnel near Canaan Center, NY.

CR 6611 near Bancroft in Middlefield, MA. on 11/29/85.

C32-8 6611 leads another set of light engines westward near Bancroft (Middlefield station) on Nov. 29, 1985. Signal 130.42 is the next signal west of signal 129.02 seen in the photo of light/engines 6567 west.

CR 6612 at Bancroft, MA. on 10/9/87.

If it's TV80W, then it must be Friday, as Camel 6612 leads the "pocket-piggybacker" through Bancroft, MA. on Oct. 9, 1987.

CR 6612 at Becket, MA. on 9/14/85.

A month shy of it's first birthday, C32-8 6612 leads BOEL into Becket from Middlefield, MA. near MP 129 on the morning of Sept. 14, 1985.

CR 6612 at Chester, MA. on 10/10/88.

Face-lifted C32-8 6612 leads an SEPW-X past the coal tower in the old helper terminal at Chester, MA. on Oct. 10, 1988.

CR 6612 at Cornwall, NY. on 8/20/88.

Sporting it's new facelift/repair, CR 6612 leads SEPY through Cornwall, NY. on Aug. 20, 1988. Returned to GE for repair after a collision near Philadelphia in late 1987, the 6612 got the same cab, with flat roof, and nose as the standard cab C40-8's. GE had disposed of the dies needed for replacing the round cab and origional nose.

CR 6612 at Fox Ridge, NY

Conrail C32-8 6612 is seen leading a westbound UPS train across Montezuma Swamp near Fox Ridge, NY in the early 1990s. Note the 2 different numberboard styles.

CR 6612 at Hinsdale, MA. on 12/31/86.

The 6612 leads TV6 by MP 141 as it approaches the MASS Rt. 8 overhead on New Year's Eve day, 1986.

CR 6612 in Becket, MA. on 5/10/85. (1)

The 6612 leads NHSE around the horseshoe and past block signal 129.02 at the Middlefield/Becket town line on May 10, 1985.

CR 6612 in Becket, MA. on 5/10/85. (2)

NHSE passing MP 129 in Becket, MA. on May 10, 1985.

CR 6612 Ridgefield Park, NJ 4-1999

CR 6612 is on the point of OISE at Ridgefield Park, NJ 4/1999

CR 6613 (1) at Charlton, MA. on 6/20/87.

CR 6613 and mates passing through CP 57 with SEFR in Charlton, MA. on June 20, 1987.

CR 6613 (2) at Charlton, MA. on 6/20/87.

CR 6613 and mates passing through CP 57 with SEFR in Charlton, MA. on June 20, 1987 at 11:40.

CR 6613 (3) at East Brookfield, MA. on 6/20/87.

CR 6613 and mates have made a quick turn-around and return westward with PWSE, passing through CP 64 in East Brookfield, MA. at 15:39 on June 20, 1987.

CR 6613 at Hinsdale, MA. on 12/23/84. (1)

C32-8 6613 leads TV8B over the top at MP 142 in the center of Hinsdale, MA. on Dec. 23, 1984.

CR 6613 in Middlefield, MA. on 3/22/86. (1)

CR 6613 leads BOEL around the curve at mile 128.75 in Middlefield, MA. on March 22, 1986.

CR 6613 in Middlefield, MA. on 3/22/86. (2)

BOEL at the east end of the "new/old locations" around mile 128.7 in Middlefield, MA. on March 22, 1986. The open ground at right was the former right-of-way which curved tighter than the relocated present ROW. This line relocation was part of a general upgrading of the B&A performed in 1912.

CR 6614 at Brookfield, MA. on 4/12/87.

The 6614 has SEPW in tow across the Brookfield flats near MP 67 in Brookfield, MA. on April 12, 1987. The flats is an area about 6 miles long extending from West Brookfield to East Brookfield.

CR 6614 at Charlton, MA. on 1/17/87.

Eastbound SEFR charges through Charlton depot at 08:04 on the morning of Nov. 17, 1987 as a waning moon sets in the west.

CR 6614 at Chester, MA. on 12/30/87. (3)

MBSE-9, with C32-8 6614 leading, threads the reverse curve between MP 122 and 123 in Chester, MA. on Dec. 30, 1987.

CR 6614 at Chester, MA. on 12/30/87. (4)

C32-8 6614 leans into the reverse curve with MBSE-9 on Dec. 30, 1987. Former main track 1 in the foreground is obsolete, out of service, and will be removed when the weather gets better in the Spring.

CR 6614 at Middlefield, MA. on 4/26/86.

Camel 6614 leads TV-6 through Bancroft, MA. on April 26, 1986.

CR 6614 at Middlefield, MA. on 9/29/85.

BOSE west of MP 130 in Middlefield, MA. on Sept. 29, 1985.

CR 6614 at Washington, MA. on 10/23/85.

"Camel" 6614 brings TV9 under the signal bridge at MP 138 in Washington, MA. at 07:54 on a frosty Oct. 23, 1985.

CR 6614 on COEL-7 at Waterloo, IN

CR 6614 in the Ballast Express paint scheme and fellow GE leads COEL-7 at Waterloo, IN on July 27, 1998

CR 6615 at Chester, MA. on 12/30/87. (1)

CR 6615 leads TV8B through CP 123 in Chester, MA at 09:04 on Dec. 30, 1987. Note the "End of cab signal" sign at right. The single-tracking of the B&A had only progressed this far at this point in time. The railroad was still double track/ABS west of here, but that would change the following year.

CR 6615 at Chester, MA. on 12/30/87. (2)

TV8B entering the single main at CP 123 in Chester, MA. on Dec. 30, 1987. The single main coming out of CP 123 is the old track 1, which transitions over to the old track 2 in the curve in the foreground. (see photo #3)

CR 6615 at Huntington, MA. on 10/9/86.

SEMB crosses the west branch of the Westfield River in the center of Huntington, MA. on Oct. 9, 1986. The wires strung across the scene are reminders of the grade crossing which once existed at this location, crossing the tracks in the foreground and then the river, just out of the picture at left, and into "downtown" Huntington.

CR 6615 at Juniata

So how many C32-8's wore CR QUALITY blue paint before they were painted Ballast Express gray???? Well at least two, the 6615 and the 6616. Here is C32-8 6615 in fresh quality blue shown at Altoona, PA on May 19th, 1994. Terry Nardella photo, collection of Steve Ondik.

CR 6615 C32-8 Cresson 03-99

On a cold but sunny late winter day one of the rare C32-8 units pays a visit to the Cresson, Pa engine house. It would carry two more numbers while under the short lived NS ownership, 8546 then 8465.

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