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Photos of the Month - November 2006
It's September, 1955 when a trio of F7's are northbound through Linworth, Ohio heading toward Toledo with a full load of coal plus one special surprise. The photo was taken from the lawn of the Linworth C&O depot, which was no longer in use as a passenger station. Linworth is about nine miles north of Columbus. The two lead engines have just crossed SR 161.
F7's #7064, #7515 and #7078 were part of an order for 141 EMD F7's, built in 1951 and 1952. Their arrival ended all steam powered freight trains on the C&O north and west of Russell, KY, which included Columbus, Ohio. The C&O, with its F7's, was not as interesting in 1955 as the other four class I railroads through Columbus, which still sported steam engines. However, this train has something special tucked in the middle, which is the subject of the next photo.
In the middle of that north bound coal train was C&O class L2 #300, a 4-6-4 Hudson probably on its way to the scrap yard. #300 looks to be in good shape and would have had many more years of useful service except it just couldn't compete with diesel economics. The number and railroad name have been painted through indicating this once first class passenger engine was no longer in service.
The C&O had 18 Hudsons of which 8 were class L2 built in 1941 and 1942 for use on low grade portions of the C&O, which included the route through Columbus. They were the heaviest 4-6-4s built to date and were originally used on first class passenger trains as replacements for the lighter Pacific 4-6-2's. In 1951 the C&O started receiving EMD FP7 and E8 passenger diesels and by mid-1955 the Hudsons were no longer needed even for backup.
During the 1940s #300 or one of its sister engines could be seen going through Linworth at 70-80 MPH with the C&O's train #46 (Detroit - Norfolk, VA) or #47 (Norfolk - Detroit) both labeled "The Sportsman". Unfortunately both trains went through Linworth at night so few pictures are available of C&O passenger service in the Columbus area. Where was O. Winston Link when we needed him?