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(erielack) Lackawanna 959 coming home to Scranton

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Since this latest effort to save the last remaining and unaltered Lackawanna road unit started on this list, y'all are the first to know.  Lackawanna Railroad GP7 959 (EL 1278, Conrail GP7 5993, Conrail GP8 5460) is on its way to Scranton.  A project of the Tri-State Chapter NRHS working with the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, this was a complicated effort that required some time and a lot of hard work by the Delaware Lackawanna principles, employees and contractors. 

Traveling as DLWR 5460, it left Kankakee on Monday, 9/17, and has been making its way east. Today it was in Conway, Pa., and it should be heading to Allentown tonight. NS delivers to the DL at Portland, Pa., on Tue-Thu-Sat.

We'll share more details as they become available, and the full story will one day be told. For now we wanted to let everyone know that this significant locomotive has been saved. Once in Scranton it'll be evaluated and a restoration plan developed. Certainly it'll see use on home rails in the Scranton area, and it will be made available to Steamtown National Historic Site when it needs diesels and for special occasions.

Built by EMD in April 1952, the 959 was among 15 dynamic-brake-equipped GP7s (951-965) that pulled freight alongside steam power on the Road of Anthracite until the last fires were dropped in Scranton during the summer of 1953. After the Erie merger in 1960, the 959 was quickly renumbered 1278. It became Conrail GP7 5993, later rebuilt by Morrison-Knudson as GP8 5460. Conrail traded it in on new power in 1991, which landed it in the Pielet Brothers scrap yard. A fortunate set of circumstances resulted in the locomotive being set aside, and that led to it becoming the Pielet Brothers shop switcher. Around 2001 the 5460 was sold to Vulcan Materials (Lehigh Stone) in Kankakee, making it only the second locomotive to leave the Pielet Brothers scrap yard in running condition. 

There will be many acknowledgements as the project moves along and the image of a Lackawanna GP7 emerges. But we are grateful to to the people at the Delaware-Lackawanna, Norfolk Southern and Vulcan Materials, for bringing this worthy project to Scranton.

For now, if anyone has pictures of this unit in service in any era or en route to Scranton, please post them for all to see, especially those involved in the restoration. This unit wore three EL paint variations; DL&W black with EL number, EL black, and EL stripes. Attached is a photo of her on the Lackawanna.

David Monte Verde, President, Genesee Valley Transportation, Inc., Delaware Lackawanna parent

Mike Del Vecchio, President, Tri-State Chapter NRHS

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