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Rail News: Mechanical

Watco adds locomotives, personnel to beef up mechanical department


As The Watco Cos. Inc. continues to expand by acquiring railroads and leasing/operating Class I lines, mechanical department managers are trying to keep up with increasing demand by obtaining locomotives and reconfiguring power sets, according to the short-line holding company's August newsletter.

So far this year, the department has acquired 22 3,000-horsepower GP40-2s for overall demand, three 2,000-horsepower GP38-3s for The Great Northwest Railroad, and 22 SW1500 switchers for efficiency gains and to support start ups.

There's more coming in the efficiency category: Managers soon will roll out the company's first "mother-slug" unit.

"A mother-slug arrangement uses the diesel engine and main generator of [the mother] unit to provide the electrical current needed to supply the traction motors of both units, giving the tractive effort of two locomotives while burning diesel fuel in only one," said Wayne Sigley, chief operating officer-equipment services. "This project gives the railroad a big efficiency advantage of reduced fuel consumption and maintenance cost."

Meanwhile, Watco also made some recent personnel changes affecting the mechanical department. The company named Danny Greer vice president of transportation services and Rick Padgett general manager of the Green Cove Springs, Fla., car and locomotive repair shop. Greer and Padgett most recently served CSX Transportation as a car design engineer, and rail-car and locomotive manager, respectively.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/11/2004