On a wet October morning, the Arkansas & Missouri excursion train was being prepped for departure to Van Buren in one hour. I was asked to work this train. Normally, the A&M utilized C420's 44 and 68 together as our excursion duo. Today, however, 44 had to have some mechanical work done and they couldn't find a southbound-facing substitute. Only one locomotive was available to take its place: 54.

Built as Lehigh & Hudson River 24, it had an eventful life. Right after it was built, it was involved in a head-on collision with a CNJ freight in 1965. After being repaired, it toiled away on the LHR until April 1, 1976, when it was transferred to Conrail as their 2074. Only gaining a simple patch, it was more often than not seen in Northwest New Jersey. Retired in the Great Thanksgiving Day ALCo Purge of 1979, she and her sisters' futures remained uncertain until bought by John Anthony 'Tony' Hannold for the Deleware & Maryland Railroad. She gained a maroon coat of paint until Tony decided to move it and many others to Arkansas for his newly formed 'Arkansas & Missouri Railroad.' She gained new lettering (blue with yellow borders and pinstripes) and was moved to Springdale, Arkansas. She powered the first revenue freight for the railroad, along with sister A&M 52 (ex-CR 2073, nee-LHR 23), and T-6's 14 and 12 (ex-N&W 43 and 46, respectively). Originally used to power the Monett and Fort Smith turns, she was also used to pull the excursions on occasion. After the acquisition of the 3 EMD SD70ACe's, she was reassigned to local duties.

Sometime in April of 2004/2005, she was assigned to the Springdale-Van Buren excursion train. There, a family for a birthday party was awaiting to board their train, with the birthday boy excited to finally ride a train for the first time. The locomotive paused after the crossing for the switch to be set, and the mother snapped a photo of the boy and #54. That fueled a lifelong love for the world of railroading that lead to an interest not only in motive power but Conrail as well. And, over 15 years later, I now share my story with the rest of those who love Conrail.

Photo Date
Photo Location Name
Conrail Road Number
Predecessor Paint Scheme
Post Conrail Owner(s)
Post Conrail Road Number(s)
A&M 54

36.1853746, -94.1281018

Submitted by Ian H on Tue, 09/06/2022 - 01:08