tonnage handled by the steam locomotives was
restricted to 650 tons over this section of the
   In the late spring of 1946, the author was re-
tained by the Chesapeake Western Railway to
make a thorough operating survey of existing
steam service and to prepare a report estimating
the savings expected to accrue through complete
dieselization of the railroad. Although located in
the Pocahontas Region, and in close proximity to
the coal producing sections of Virginia and West
Virginia, the Chesapeake Western found its loco-
motive fuel steadily rising in cost until it exceded
$5.50 per ton. This, plus the obsolescence of its
motive power and the sharply rising cost of main-
tenance made positive corrective action impera-
tive. Compilation of the survey disclosed that the
steam locomotives (based on 1945's figures) cost
the railroad $6.15 per hour and $0.96 per mile to
operate and maintain (excluding wages of en-
gine crews) and these figures increased appre-
ciably in 1946. In comparison, it was conserva-
tively estimated that three 660-hp diesel-electrics
would handle the same traffic at a cost of about
$1.65 per hour and $0.25 per mile (exclusive of
wages of engine crews). Furthermore, tonnage
ratings and terminal-to-terminal time were esti-
mated as being roughly the same for both steam
and diesel locomotives; the diesel's somewhat

Number 663 switching cars
at Harrisonburg, Virginia.

lower speed on ascending grades being compen-
sated for by the loss of time inherent with steam locomotive operation due to taking water, coal,
cleaning fires, etc. Actual service has already
proven this assumption to be correct. Fuel con-
sumption is running overall slightly more than
one gallon per mile at a cost of about 7 1/2 per
gallon. Maintenance has been practically nil
other than the regular servicing and inspections,
and two maintainers handle the work on all three
locomotives. The 660-hp, 100-ton locomotive was
the only size which could be applied to this rail-
road due to weight limitations imposed by a
long, through-truss span crossing the Shenan-
doah River at Elkton. All three locomotives are
equipped for multiple-unit operation and are also
equipped with road-type pilots front and rear,
so that they may be rotated between road and
yard assignments.
   Inasmuch as locomotive maintenance facilities
were located at Elkton it was necessary, under
steam operation, to dead-head the two Harrison-
burg switch engines and crews daily from Elkton
to Harrisonburg and return, although they were
frequently called upon to handle excess tonnage
westbound over the ruling grade. This meant 40
miles and roughly three hours per day dead-
heading per crew. By proper assignment of the
diesel locomotives and operating them in multi-

CW 663

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