|ex-WM #76, now owned by the Virginia Midland Railroad & in long-term lease livery as SGCX #1. Conductor's side view.|
Spotsylvania Co., VA - Locomotive Repaint by Local Business is Boon for 'Local Industry'. While the National economy may be 'circling the drain' as a whole, local businesses worked together to make some welcome news and a shot in the arm for the local economy. The Virginia Midland Shops (Shan Crabtree, owner & operator) has completed a repaint and refurbishment of an older locomotive, being leased for plant use by Sprague's Gravel Company, in Verdon, VA.
It all started when the power-short Chessie (former Chesapeake & Ohio RR) had to pull local switching service off their Piedmont Subdivision, after years of having an engine serve local businesses. Sprague's Gravel Company, a small gravel pit that sends out six-eight hopper cars of aggregates a day (around 490 TONS!) to regional construction supply companies, was left in the hunt for something to keep them operating, w/o breaking the bank. VP of Operations, N. David Wolf was tasked by Founder & CEO Bob Sprague to "find us some power!" So, after an exhaustive search from several regional railroads, the small but strong Virginia Midland RR stepped up and found an ex-Western Maryland GE 44-ton plant switcher, in lay-up, in the far corners of Western MD & West Virginia and negotiated a favorable deal to purchase it and set up a long-term lease with Sprague's Gravel Co.
|SGCX #1 shows off her Heritage, with a faded, yet still recognizable WM 'Flaming Herald'.|
The ex-WM #76 was originally transported to Traintek LLC for new LED lighting and upgraded electronic (DCC) controls, then down to VA Midland's Shops in Spotsylvania in May, and after a consult with Mr. Wolf & Mr. Crabtree abt paint & lettering, underwent a 3 month servicing and relettering. SGCX #1 is ready to go to work & should be picked up this Sunday. "Upgrading and recycling an old loco was a much more cost-effective deal for all parties and keeps the money locally," stated N. David Wolf. Mr. Crabtree agreed: "We are glad to serve our local customers in any way we can, & look forward to building relations and engaging in quality work."
The Richmond, Fredericksburg, & Potomac RR, operating in nearby Doswell Junction, is also impressed with the VA Midland Shops. "We've sent one of our newer GP-40s over there, when our own shops in Acca Yard were full-up and were quite satisfied with the work. We hope to send more work their way soon." For more information, contact the Virginia Midland Shops at firstname.lastname@example.org for a reasonable quote. Pictures of their work can be found at http://www.pbase.com/vamidlandrr/custom_freight_cars.
Norman Wolf contributed to this story. All photos courtesy of Shan Crabtree, VA Midland Shops