In my first 'Ode to Utah Coal' blog, I wrote about those rare moments when, as if by transcendence, we are aware of change as it happens in the now. My last blog discusses Utah Railway's cachet as an operator of unique locomotives. At the time these were written, I did not foresee how well these topics would intersect for events that would transpire this week.
In 1952, the Utah Railway acquired six RSD-4s. In 1974/1975, they acquired an additional six RSD-12 and 15s. These ran in heavy, drag service until 1982--which made them rare birds for a western operator. However, Utah Railway's cachet goes beyond its Alco fleet. In 1985, the Utah Railway rostered four ex-BN F45s--an odd grab that, I assume, saved these locomotives from the torch. These operated until 2001 when the Utah Railway acquired Australian-built SD50s, and these are completely unique.
Also in 2001, Utah Railway performed a coup d'etat on Motive Power Industries (MPI); it acquired all six MK5000Cs. MPI designs, manufacturers and re-manufactures locomotives. The MK5000C is the product of an ambitious push in the manufacturing segment of MPI's business. In 2003, the Caterpillar prime movers of the MK5000Cs were replaced, and they were redesignated 'MK50-3'. Utah Railway 5004 MK50-3 awaits assignment in Martin, UT in the James Belmont photo above.
Beautiful, isn't it?
These MK units are resplendent with the Utah Railway paint scheme on their flanks. This week, four MK50-3 units were removed from the property, and the future of the others seems uncertain.
As we all know, change happens--it is an endless plight for the romantics among us. But today, it feels again as though the absence is something that will truly be missed--Utah Railway MK units over Soldier Summit.
Here is to the memories.
**Update: In the original blog posted on March 19th, I wrote that all of the MK units in Utah Railway paint schemes were removed from the property. However, when I drove through the Utah Railway yard on March 20th, Utah Railway #5003 (one of the MK units in Utah Railway paint) was among other locomotives in the service facility. Evidently, some of my information was wrong about which of the four MK units stayed and which units left. I have updated my blog post accordingly.