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ABOVE: F-units 117 and 118 have 20 Road- Railer trailers in tow as the train curves into Covington, Ky., on August 7, 1988. The Cincinnati skyline is across the Ohio River.


LEFT: Northbound R-210 hustles through Tipp City, Ohio, on May 25, 1988. —TWO PHO- TOS BRADLEY MCCLELLAND


increasing traffic leading to trains of 70 trailers or more, crews often struggled to make track speed. With both F-units pulling, for example, the RoadRailer train could make the 375 mile jaunt be- tween Cincinnati and Etowah in eight hours and 40 minutes. I spoke to a retired CSX engineer


1500 h.p., it took two F-units to equal the power of one GP40-2. The other ma- jor difficulty was the relatively small size of the fuel tanks, a mere 1200 gal- lons compared to 3600 gallons carried by a GP40. Since there were only two crew change points — at Cincinnati, Ohio, and Etowah, Tenn. — and with no time to refuel this hot train, some- thing had to be done to conserve fuel. In the beginning, one of the locomotives


remained in idle to cut back on fuel con- sumption. Many times only one of the two units were on-line during the en- tire journey, operating with one unit from Detroit to Corbin, Ky. Then at Corbin, the running unit went off-line to idle, and the previously idle locomo- tive went back on-line to power the train the rest of the way to Atlanta. The one operating unit worked fine on shorter RoadRailer trains, but with the


who operated the F-units during this time. This gentleman hired out on the L&N in 1947 and was proud of his 47 years in railroading. Speaking in his native Tennessean accent he told me, “Running the RoadRailer was the best. It was the top of the line job to have!” Because this was considered the hottest schedule on the railroad, all other traffic was cleared from the path, and they had green signals all the way. He liked operating the F- units except, “After leaving a slow or- der, the F’s would take 15 minutes to get back to track speed. GP40s would jerk the paint off the cars, they really got moving!”


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