Max speed is 45 mph (It has 62:15 gearing, which is good for 65 mph, but the switcher trucks it's on are only good for 45 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. Additionally they were too heavy for ST&E's track, and frequently derailed. 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 at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, CA