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New Life In Niles Canyon

On January 1, 2005, I retired from the OTR.  And so came the end of 12 years of intermittent operation of the 5623 on the OTR.  Errol and I never intended that the 5623 would remain on the OTR after my departure and so it joined the long list of equipment destined to be moved to Niles Canyon.  A hospital train of all the PLA equipment stored on the old Oakland Army Base had been in the works for quite some time but the date had not been finalized until early January.  The Union Pacific Railroad gave the PLA permission to use our own power for the move and we were ready.  Our SD9 5472 would lead the pack followed by the WP 713 and the 5623.  5623 could not lead heading east because it faced the wrong direction.  The 713 was not under power but was ready if needed so 5472 and 5623 were supplying the horsepower for the move which consisted of 5 locomotives and 17 cars.

In this April 23, 2006 view by Jamie Miller, 5623 is seen backing out of the south leg of the Niles Wye, preparing to head west to the Niles station.

William Puhl caught the 5623 on the west end of the passenger train on May 7, 2006.  The larger locomotives like 5623 are not frequently used as the smaller GE's centercabs are much more economical to operate.

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