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Second RS1325 may be preserved

By Steve Smedley | May 17, 2022

Rare locomotive at North Carolina short line may be saved following railfan’s social media post

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Orange locomotive passes brick building
Orange locomotive passes brick building
RS1325 No. 30 works southbound on the Illinois & Midland on March 9, 2015. An effort is being mounted to save the locomotive, now in North Carolina. (Steve Smedley)

SANFORD, N.C. — One of just two RS1325 locomotives built by EMD, which had been in danger of being scrapped, may be saved following a Facebook post from a local railfan sounding an alert about the diesel’s status.

Former Chicago & Illinois Midland No. 30 has been at North Carolina’s Atlantic & Western Railway since June 2016. But North Raleigh Christian Church Pastor Justin Gillespie of Raleigh, N.C., heard from a former employee that the unit was to be scrapped and posted the news.

“I have lived here three years and the 30 was the first thing I sought out,” Gillespie says. “… I had to chase it down; it is an interesting operation, a push-pull run. I was sad when I heard it was being scrapped. This one should be saved; I knew it was unique.”

Contacted by News Wire, the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Ill., indicated interest in the unit.

Orange locomotive on train
Another view of Illinois & Midland No. 30 shows the RS1325’s unique combination of a short hood with a switcher-style body. (Steve Smedley)

“As a special piece of Illinois railroad history, we would certainly be interested in acquiring the former C&IM 30, provided the proper financial and logistical arrangements can be made,” said IRM President Larry Stone. “We are currently gathering information and evaluating our options.”

The locomotive is still in use on the 19-mile Genesee & Wyoming line based in Sanford, N.C., until a GP38-2 replacement arrives from sister railroad Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay Railroad. Atlantic & Western General Manager Jason Kirkland said the railroad is willing to delay disposition of the unit.

“If someone is interested, I can throw the anchor out on scrapping it and contact our mechanical and sales departments,” Kirkland said. The RS1325 is being replaced because a newer unit will save fuel, and to reflect current and future increases in business, he said.

Only two RS1325s were built by Electro-Motive Division at La Grange, Ill.; they were delivered to the Chicago & Illinois Midland in 1960. If No. 30 is saved, both units will be preserved. Sister unit No. 31 was purchased by the Monticello Railway Museum in central Illinois in 2020 [see “Monticello Railway Museum acquires Illinois & Midland RS1325 …,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 14, 2020].

4 thoughts on “Second RS1325 may be preserved

  1. The two photos were taken in Forest City, IL. That’s about five miles from the town I grew up in. I watch #30 and #31 go through town many, many times.

    1. Wondering what the purpose of the yellow structure is in the photos? seems to be a piece of rail suspended over the center of the track.

    2. That’s a fall-protection device. When a worker is atop the grain cars to open and close the hatches, position the loading spout, and so forth, there is a chest harness connected to a cable, with a little trolley that runs on the rail.

  2. CI&M 30 Clears its Throat Out
    When I worked on the Keokuk Junction Railway, we leased CI&M 30 for over a year. A big rail fan draw, they were, a bit of a challenge to run over the road. 1325 HP was more power than a switch engine, but it weighed less. While going uphill you would see the speedometer rise quickly to 70-80 MPH. If you did not react quickly the overspeed would trip and shut down the engine. Rather dicey while trying to lug tonnage uphill without stalling and then doubling the hill. Usually, a quick application of the independent air would allow the RS 1325 get its feet back underneath itself. Lots of sand as well.
    Our first trip crossing over the Mississippi River and up out of the Valley it became quite apparent that CI&M 30 had never run hard on the CI&M.
    The KJRY had a 3-mile .75% grade from Hamilton, Illinois to the flatlands above. That first trip on a hot July day was interesting as the beautiful green paint started to bubble and char off the exhaust stacks. Soon fist sized chunks of carbon started to rocket out of the stacks and land on the dry grass igniting instant blazes. The Hamilton Fire Department was called out to extinguish about half of a horse pasture while the KJRY section crew following on the rear put out many small fires. By time we crested the grade the years old carbon deposits were cleared out and we never had trouble in that department again.

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