Western Pacific 608

1940 EMD NW2u

 

Model:  NW2u

Prime Mover:  EMD 567B - 12 Cylinder

Builder:  Electro-Motive Corporation

Horsepower:  1200

Built:  May 1940

Operating Weight:  248,000 lbs.

Builder #:  1001

Length:  44 ft. 5 in.

Status:  Operable, Run A Locomotive Fleet

Maximum Speed:  65 MPH

 

 
608 came to the Western Pacific in 1968 by way of shortline Stockton Terminal & Eastern in an equipment trade.  Built by Electro Motive Corporation in 1940 for the Union Pacific Railroad (Road number D.S.1001), the 608 had the distinction of being the 1000th locomotive produced by the Electro Motive Corporation (later Electro Motive Division of General Motors), as well as being only the 2nd diesel purchased by industry giant Union Pacific.  In 1966 Union Pacific retired the well worn switcher and sold it in 1966, along with sister UP 1000, to the ST&E.  ST&E consistently had nothing but trouble from the worn out locomotives, and constantly borrowed WP Alco's to fill in for the ailing NW2's while they were across town in WP's shop.  Finally, the ST&E had had enough and offered to trade both engines to the WP in return for two of the WP Alco's they had been borrowing.  The WP agreed, and Alco S-1's number 505 (still retained as a backup at the ST&E) and 506 (retired, at the WPRM) were given to ST&E in trade for the 607 and 608. 
WP's Stockton Diesel Shop stripped both units down and thoroughly rebuilt them, upgrading the engines to 1200 horsepower from the original 1000 HP they originally generated.  Repainted in the WP's "Pumpkin" paint scheme, the 608 spent most of her career in and around Stockton, while sister 607 was eventually transferred to subsidiary Sacramento Northern, yet still continued working in and around WP's Stockton yard usually.
After the 1982 merger of the WP with Union Pacific, both units time on their new (albeit original) owners was short lived with both donated for preservation.  The 607 was donated to the Deer Creek Scenic Railroad in Heber Utah, who eventually sold it to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Henderson in May of 1984.  UP donated the 608 to the newly formed Feather River Rail Society in December 1984, where she earned the nick-name "Bing" (an ode to singer Bing Crosby) due to its unusual "Va-va-va-vooooooom!!" engine sound when taking off from a standing start.

 

WP 608 working in Oakland yard.

WP 608 under the command of a guest engineer in "Run-A-Locomotive service at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in August of 2008.  You too can operate this historic locomotive, click for details.

Western Pacific 608 preserved today in operable condition at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, CA

Western Pacific 608 preserved today in operable condition at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, CA