American Railroads

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Sunday, August 20, 2006

All his tracks around the plant were stuffed, including two legs of a wye.
The industrial railroad only needs one locomotive to get its work done, and it’s an ex-Amtrak SW-1200 switcher, No. 556, built by Electro-Motive Division of General Motors as an SW-9 in 1953, then rebuilt in 1974 to 1200 standards.
Rail historian Mike Woodruff of Largo, Fla. informed us "It began life as Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe SW-9 No. 2423, EMD serial 18089, built in May 1953, and later renumbered to ATSF 1423. Santa Fe rebuilt it into an ‘SSB-1200’ in 1974 and renumbered ATSF 1223.”
He added, “’SSB’ stood for ‘Switcher San Bernardino’, which was the Santa Fe shop where the work was done. Santa Fe swapped the engine and a number of other SSB switchers to Amtrak for some SDP-40Fs around 1984 or so, and it became second Amtrak 556.”
Padgett picked it up from a broker a few months ago, but won’t say how much it cost. The engine last toiled for Amtrak in Sanford, Fla., and the AutoTrain yard. It now carries the reporting mark, “OHCR” 556.
Mike Monahan was the engineer this day – and it was his first day on the job as an engineer.
“Mike’s been around for a while,” Padgett said, “but I showed him this morning the things he needed to know to run it.”
Before this day would be done, 13 empty freight cars would be delivered to the CSX siding for interchange, about one mile distant. CSX picks up and delivers overnight.
The boss worked for CSX for more than 20 years, and was one of the victims during the railroad’s downsizing over the last few years, but he landed on his feet.

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