Louisville & Nashville diesel locomotives show a variety that was typical for the era. The railroad’s roster was largely comprised of Alco and EMD models, but the road also sampled Baldwin and GE switchers and later GE road power. In the 1960s, L&N management opted to stick with what it knew, acquiring a number of locomotives secondhand that matched models already on the roster.
RS3 No. 104 Is former Great Northern 201, built as Spokane, Portland & Seattle RS2 No. 64. It is shown at Louisville on Feb. 11, 1967. Tom Smart, Brian M. Schmidt collection
Ex-Rutland RS3 No. 256 was spotted at Louisville on Nov. 15, 1963. Tom Smart, Brian M. Schmidt collection
Former Lehigh & New England FA1 No. 344 handles a single hopper on Oct. 24, 1964. Tom Smart, Brian M. Schmidt collection
GP7 No. 399 works at Louisville on Oct. 8, 1969. It is former Chicago & Eastern Illinois via Missouri Pacific. J. David Ingles, Brian M. Schmidt collection
F7 No. 863 is former Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis, acquired with that railroad in 1957. It works at Nashville on April 10, 1966. J. David Ingles, Brian M. Schmidt collection
GP7 No. 1700 wears its Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis colors at South Louisville on Sept. 30, 1967. Note that the unit rides of switcher trucks. Tom Smart, Brian M. Schmidt collection
The L&N merged the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis in 1957, acquiring that road’s diesels, and in 1971 did the same with the Monon. Both transactions brought some color to the L&N’s trains. In between it acquired secondhand units from the Great Northern, Lehigh & New England; Rutland; and Tennessee Central, to name a few.
One standout unit on the L&N diesel roster was RS3 No. 104, the second such unit to wear that number. It started as an Alco RS2 built for the Spokane, Portland & Seattle in 1947. It was later known as Great Northern No. 201 before being purchased and rebuilt to RS3 specifications by the L&N in 1966. It replaced the first RS3 No. 104 that was wrecked and retired in 1964. The L&N operated unit into the late 1960s in its former SP&S paint.
Another colorful addition to the Louisville & Nashville diesel locomotives roster were nine former Rutland Railroad RS3s acquired in 1963 after that New England railroad’s shutdown. They were renumbered 256-264 and operated for two years in Rutland green paint before being traded in on newer power. Of note, No. 256 was built as Alco demonstrator No. 1601.
The L&N also acquired 10 secondhand Alco FA1 units from the defunct Lehigh & New England in 1963. They were built as L&NE 701-710 and renumbered 332-341 on the L&N roster. They were not compatible with the m.u. system that the L&N used and tended to operate together or individually to get around this limitation.
L&N was not interested in only secondhand Alco models, however. It acquired GP7s 388-399 in 1969 from Missouri Pacific. The units were built for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois as its 203, 205-211, 213, and 218-220. They operated on the L&N for a number of years in C&EI black-and-white paint.
When the L&N acquired the NC&StL in 1957, it also acquired the entirety of that road’s locomotive roster. That included early production GP7s that rode on switcher trucks and wore a maroon-and-red paint scheme.
Additional models were included with the NC&StL acquisition. Those were Alco S1 and S2; Baldwin VO660 and VO1000; EMD SW1, NW2, SW7, and SW9; and General Electric 44-ton switchers. Additionally, the NC&StL rostered F3, F7, and GP7 road units.
One example of a secondhand acquisition that brought a new model to the roster of Louisville & Nashville diesel locomotives was from the Tennessee Central. The L&N acquired five Alco RS36 units, the only of their kind of the roster, in 1968, along with two more C420s.
Later, in the 1970s, the L&N would work to integrate the Monon roster.