(RALEIGH) The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Rail Division today commissioned the #1893 "City of Burlington" commuter locomotive into service for the use in NCDOT's daily Piedmont passenger train service. The newly-refurbished locomotive, christened by Miss North Carolina 2011 Hailey Best, replaces the locomotive damaged in a crash in Mebane last year.
"We are here to dedicate and christen our newly-refurbished locomotive in honor of this great city and its citizens," said N.C. Transportation Chief Operating Officer Jim Trogdon. "The City of Burlington is deeply rooted in railroad tradition in North Carolina. It's only fitting that we maintain a locomotive representing its storied foundation as a railroad town."
NCDOT also has constructed a 200-foot extension to the existing passenger platform at the Burlington station with funding from the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That doubles it to 400 feet, and will expedite the boarding and exiting process. NCDOT spent $278,725 expanding the platform,
"The railroad is an integral thread in the fabric of Burlington's history," Burlington Mayor Ronnie K. Wall said. "To have a locomotive bear the namesake of our city is both an honor and a testament to the significance that the railroad has played in the development of this community."
The Burlington Train Station and its underlying property are owned by the North Carolina Railroad Company. The downstairs lobby is leased to NCDOT for the station.
"Since before 1860, the histories of Burlington and the North Carolina Railroad have been intertwined," said Dr. James Powell, a Director of the North Carolina Railroad Company Board. "The NCRR invested $3 million in 2001 to provide a signature train station in the only original NCRR building that remains. Originally called the Company Shops and built to supply the needs of the railroad company, in 1887, this development officially became Burlington. So, as we are here at the original heart of the railroad, it is fitting that the new locomotive is christened the City of Burlington'."
The #1893 "City of Burlington" is painted in the NCDOT Piedmont paint scheme, which incorporates the colors and symbols of North Carolina's state flag. NCDOT names its locomotives for the cities along its passenger rail corridor. Each locomotive's number corresponds to the incorporation or charter date of the city after which it is named.
The locomotive has been completely refurbished mechanically, electrically and structurally. The 3,200 horse power engine has been upgraded to EPA Tier 0+ emission standards. New Head End Power generator systems have been installed and are EPA Tier II complaint. As a result of this work, the service life of this locomotive will be extended 15 years.
The rebuild work was competitively bid and awarded to Amtrak's Beech Grove Locomotive Shop in Indianapolis, IN. The cost of purchasing and rebuilding the locomotive was nearly $1.3 million, which is less than 30 percent of the cost of a comparable new passenger locomotive.
The #1893 "City of Burlington" locomotive began service earlier this month.