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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Indiana Northeastern upgrades, repaints ex-Reading GP30

Indiana Northeastern upgrades, repaints ex-Reading GP30

By Steve Smedley | August 17, 2022

Tractive-effort upgrade, other improvements to EMD product

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Front view of black locomotive with yellow stripes on nose
Side view of black and yellow diesel
Indiana Northeastern GP30 No. 2185, in action at Montpelier, Ohio, in February 2012, has received mechanical upgrades and is being repainted. (Steve Smedley)

Front view of black locomotive with yellow stripes on nose
Indiana Northeastern No. 2185 awaits completion of its repaint at the railroad’s shop in Hudson, Ind., on Aug. 12, 2022. (Steve Smedley)

HUDSON, Ind. — Mechanical staff of the Indiana Northeaster Railroad is in the process of completing upgrades and repainting of ex-Reading Lines locomotive No. 2185, one of the two GP30s on the 105-mile system which operates in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

Travis Bloom, chief mechanical officer for the railroad, leads a staff of four mechanical employees at the railroad’s state-of-the-art locomotive shop in Hudson. The locomotive has received new power assemblies and an electrical upgrade, Bloom says, including installation of a BOA (Bolt-on Adhesion) tractive effort system from ZTR Control Systems, which designs upgrades for older locomotives. This addresses a common complaint about the storied GP30s, that they are prone to slipping while starting a heavy train.

“The system takes the wheel-slip control and load regulator that was factory-installed by EMD and removes that,” Bloom says. “It is all microprocessor controlled now. Instead of using current sensors, it uses other methods to determine wheel slip and how much it can load before it slips. It helped it a lot; they were very slippery. I would compare it to a good-pulling GP9 now, but with a little more horsepower.”

The locomotive’s new wheel-slip adhesion system is below the fireman’s side of the 2185’s cab. (Steve Smedley)

Says engineer Jeff James, “As slippery as the old GP30s are, this new hardware is a great improvement. It has made a noticeable difference on dry rail.”

The locomotive awaits lettering and numbers as part of the repainting process. The railroad has repainted six units at its two-stall shop in the eastern Indiana town, which replaced a one-stall engine shed in Hillsdale, Mich.

“When we repaint a locomotive, we strip the cab, replace the flooring, repaint the cab, put everything back together then go over the engine compartment.,” Bloom said. “We are just finishing the (car body) striping.’’

EMD’s GP30, introduced in 1961, is the only locomotive that features styling from GM automotive designers, the source of its unique “skyline casing” along the cab and carbody.

3 thoughts on “Indiana Northeastern upgrades, repaints ex-Reading GP30

  1. These are amongst my favorite locos, so it is nice to see they are getting the upgrades and fresh coat of paint. Overall, the IN is first class operation.

  2. Great to see these units getting reworked and kept in service. The GP30 has always been my favorite EMD locomotive.

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