Delivering with Pride

Early Diesel-Electric Locomotives of the DW&P

The American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, New York was formed in 1901. It built steam and diesel-electric locomotives, diesel engines, and generator sets. The company changed its name to Alco Products, Inc. in 1955. This is the builder’s plate fastened to the frame of DW&P 3600 showing the builder’s number and the date of manufacture. (Image: Jeff Lemke)
The American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, New York was formed in 1901. It built steam and diesel-electric locomotives, diesel engines, and generator sets. The company changed its name to Alco Products, Inc. in 1955. This is the builder’s plate fastened to the frame of DW&P 3600 showing the builder’s number and the date of manufacture. (Image: Jeff Lemke)
During the 1970s and 1980s color-scheme transitions of motive power were plentiful on the DW&P. The replacement for the original CN green and gold livery was another CN standard paint job: black with red ends. This scheme started showing up on CN in 1961 but didn’t get applied to DW&P power until the mid-1960s. The only thing special about it was the big block lettering for DW&P. Many of these locomotives went back and forth between DW&P and sister road Central Vermont (CV). Some were actually lettered for CV and still others were completely repainted into CV colors of green and gold. This shot shows DW&P 3603 far from home, working an industry job at Portland, Maine in June 1977. (Image: Twin Ports Rail History Collection)
During the 1970s and 1980s color-scheme transitions of motive power were plentiful on the DW&P. The replacement for the original CN green and gold livery was another CN standard paint job: black with red ends. This scheme started showing up on CN in 1961 but didn’t get applied to DW&P power until the mid-1960s. The only thing special about it was the big block lettering for DW&P. Many of these locomotives went back and forth between DW&P and sister road Central Vermont (CV). Some were actually lettered for CV and still others were completely repainted into CV colors of green and gold. This shot shows DW&P 3603 far from home, working an industry job at Portland, Maine in June 1977. (Image: Twin Ports Rail History Collection)
By 1973 CN came up with yet another paint scheme for its locomotives as well as its subsidiaries. This one was dubbed the “safety stripe” scheme for obvious reasons. This photo of DW&P 3613 was taken on October 1, 1978, in Duluth. (Image: Dan Poitrast)
By 1973 CN came up with yet another paint scheme for its locomotives as well as its subsidiaries. This one was dubbed the “safety stripe” scheme for obvious reasons. This photo of DW&P 3613 was taken on October 1, 1978, in Duluth. (Image: Dan Poitrast)
While many units received the CN safety stripe paint job, DW&P came up with its very own paint scheme in 1976. Instead of CN red, a much brighter shade of solid orange was used over the entire body of the locomotive. The large block lettering was a carry-over from the black-and-red paint scheme. The 3614 was the first such paint job done in July of 1976, shown here on June 21, 1977, at Virginia, Minnesota. (Image: Art Peterson)
While many units received the CN safety stripe paint job, DW&P came up with its very own paint scheme in 1976. Instead of CN red, a much brighter shade of solid orange was used over the entire body of the locomotive. The large block lettering was a carry-over from the black-and-red paint scheme. The 3614 was the first such paint job done in July of 1976, shown here on June 21, 1977, at Virginia, Minnesota. (Image: Art Peterson)
Here’s the 3614 again with sister 3600 that was also painted orange with block lettering in September of 1976. The white flags on 3614 indicate this power is about to be used on a northbound Extra train. Southbound trains ran on a schedule (no flags) while northbound trains were all Extra movements requiring white marker lights and white flags to be displayed on the lead locomotive. This photo of 3614 was taken June 27, 1977, at West Duluth. (Image: Jeff Lemke)
Here’s the 3614 again with sister 3600 that was also painted orange with block lettering in September of 1976. The white flags on 3614 indicate this power is about to be used on a northbound Extra train. Southbound trains ran on a schedule (no flags) while northbound trains were all Extra movements requiring white marker lights and white flags to be displayed on the lead locomotive. This photo of 3614 was taken June 27, 1977, at West Duluth. (Image: Jeff Lemke)

Early Diesel-Electric Locomotives of the DW&P

5 Responses to Delivering with Pride

  1. Hi Paul and Kent, and thanks for the extra information and question.

    The route from Canada to Duluth was primarily north-south along the length of the DW&P’s main line. Trains came off of the Canadian National (CN) at Duluth Junction near Ft. Frances and then rolled into Ranier where they began their trip south on the DW&P. Trains arrived at the DW&P yard in West Duluth, then made the final leg of the trip from West Duluth to Bridge Yard in downtown Duluth either as a complete train or as a transfer running between these last two points. In railroad jargon this kind of operation was called a “Bridge Route”. It refers to any railroad that has more “bridge” or through traffic operating over its tracks than it has traffic that originates or terminates along its line. This bridge traffic is also known as overhead traffic. Simply put, it is freight traffic (car loads or empties) received from one railroad, then dished off to a second railroad, for delivery to a third railroad. The one in the middle is the bridge, and in this case, it’s the DW&P.

    Freight cars on the CN in Canada destined for the interchange at Duluth used the DW&P as the bridge line to deliver those cars (often in full trains) to Northern Pacific, and later BN, BNSF, etc. NP did the vast majority of interchange and industry work in Duluth. So NP would break down those trains received from DW&P so that those cars could continue their journey to other railroads via interchange or to local industries served by the NP or other area railroads. The bridge line is the one that doesn’t have industries to serve within Duluth (DW&P) while the NP had hundreds of industries to serve here. Those industries were the sources of both the originating and terminating traffic in Duluth-Superior. DW&P on the other hand, evolved from the consolidation of several timber hauling railroad lines and turned itself into an efficient and effective bridge route that sped entire trains back and forth between Canada and Duluth at a relatively high speed. That was, and still is, its modern purpose.

    Cheers!

  2. Canadian Northern was the original “parent company” until it became part of the newly formed Canadian National in 1919 or the early ’20s.

  3. to move bridge traffic between Canada and Duluth until it was assimilated by CN on January 1, 199

    Question…what is ‘bridge traffic’, and
    what route between Canada and Duluth, Up the north shore or where? is that route gone now?

  4. Hi Bob –
    Thanks for that extra detail about that image. It’s always nice to know who took a particular picture. Take care. Cheers!

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