IRVINE, KENTUCKY — Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. has painted former-Norfolk Southern SD40-2 locomotive to a classic as-delivered Norfolk & Western paint scheme. The move is the culmination of a collaboration between multiple contributors, and sets the stage for an exclusive photo charter to be held on January 27, 2024; an event that will highlight the Irvine Kentucky-based nonprofit’s growing collection of 1980s-era regionally relevant rail equipment.
Norfolk Southern 6162, a 3,000-horsepower SD40-2 locomotive, was built in May of 1978 by General Motors, Electro-Motive Division (EMD) in LaGrange, Ill., for Norfolk & Western. It performed duty all over the railroad, predominantly hauling coal out of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. In 1982, N&W and Southern Railway merged to form today’s Norfolk Southern Corporation, and N&W 6162 became NS 6162. It remained on the active roster until just days before Norfolk Southern officially donated it to KSHC in June of 2020.
The locomotive’s transformation from modern day livery to the classic Norfolk & Western look is thanks to contributions spearheaded by former NS corporate photographer Casey Thomason. Thomason, who envisioned the transformation, enlisted the help of Steven Holmes for technical research and graphics, as well as Josh Putnam and Lindesy Poole who provided numerals for the era-specific number boards. The entire look was capped off by a fresh coat of black paint that was supplied by CSX Transportation earlier this decade.
Casey Thomason photo, courtesy KSHC
“It’s a cool pet project that I brought to Kentucky Steam a year or so ago, and I’m glad they were as enthusiastic about it as I was,” said Thomason, “I’m equally as excited to have a chance to run a photo event with 6162 and KSHC’s other locomotives from the same era.”
Thomason was on site this week to perform the task of prepping, painting and lettering the 45-year-old veteran engine. The sleek black look is a stark contrast to KSHC’s other diesel locomotive from the same era, former L&N C30-7 number 7067 which was donated and cosmetically restored by CSX in 2022. The two engines will eventually be featured as exhibits on the fuel rack and engine terminal that serves as home to Kentucky Steam and is in the process of full restoration, partially thanks to a recently-announced $1.9 million AMLER grant.
To celebrate the transformation, Thomason is partnering with Kentucky Steam to host a photo charter on January 27, 2024. The all-day event will feature multiple staged scenes, a night photo shoot as well as a luncheon and several photo presentations, including a retrospective look at 1980s-era railroading in Kentucky through the lens of longtime rail photographer Emmett Bell. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, October 26, 2023.
—via Press Release