Our three EMD F-units had reached the end of their useful lives and would need a complete "from the ground up" rebuilding as well as the addition of another A unit so they could operate in both directions. The estimated cost by an outside rebuilder would be approximately $250,000 - $300,000. ORHS opted to sell the F-Units to Ohio Central Rail Systems (now Genesee & Wyoming).
On April 28, 2000, engine 471 was acquired by ORHS in a three-way deal between Helms Financial Corp., Ohio Central Rail Systems (now Genesee & Wyoming) and the ORHS. After months of negotiations, the locomotive was sold to ORHS at a price of $112,000, considerably below its initial asking price of $150,000. The 471 was repainted and put into full compliance with Federal Railroad Administration rules at Ohio Central's Morgan Run Shops at Coshocton, Ohio and delivered to Orrville on May 5, 2000.
The 471 was built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in 1950 as a GP7 model and delivered to the Maine Central Railroad (MEC) as their number 571. It was equipped with a steam generator to heat passenger cars and was used in both freight and passenger service. In December of 1985, MEC rebuilt the engine at their Waterville, Maine shops with an upgraded "crew cab" and dynamic brakes. The high forward hood was also lowered for better visibility from the cab and the number was changed to 471.
It was later repainted in Guilford Transportation colors after the MEC, Boston & Maine, and Delaware & Hudson were merged.
In May of 1990, the Connecticut Department of Transportation purchased the locomotive from Guilford and began operating it on the Shoreline commuter line out of New Haven with the locomotive repainted into the former New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad "McGinnis" paint scheme.
The engine was totally rebuilt and upgraded again by Amtrak in 1994 with a more powerful 645E engine replacing the original 567B, updated electrical systems, improved controls, cab signals and various mechanical upgrades.
Prior to the purchase by ORHS, certified rail diesel inspectors gave it a clean bill of health and an unqualified "Best Buy" status. The locomotive is now used for all of our excursions and is also leased to other local railroads on an "as-needed" basis.
Richard Louderback photo, Harry Frye collection.
Robert A. LaMay