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Needham Line diesel goes loco; shoots flames into the air

Locomotive on fire in West Roxbury

Karl Seibert photographed the flames on a diesel behind the police station and the Roche Center in West Roxbury around 2:20 p.m. Took some video of firefighters clambering on the engine.

There is no passenger service on the line on Sundays.

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There is no regular passenger service on the line on Sundays.

Of course, there are always other reasons for trains to be on the line, including training. I was lining up for the Halfway to St. Patrick's Day 5K this year and an Amtrak locomotive went through the station (on a consist with a MBTA locomotive and one MBTA passenger car.)

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Thanks for the reminder; added that fact to the original post.

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What’s up AG?
Is there criteria missing I’m not aware of?

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Like locomotives catching on fire.

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Keep up the good work!

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...an exhaust fire, which tends to be less-deadly toward a locomotive. Soot builds up in the exhaust when a locomotive is used primarily for yard duty/light duty, where the throttle isn't run at high speed.

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It is a yard switching engine used to shuttle coaches and trainsets around the rail network. You can see the regular service locomotive and coaches in behind it. I've seen it going through the old Beacon Yard area moving cars between Brighton and Framingham/Worcester or Brighton and Cambridge.

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Lots of photos of 904. And says here it was originally built in 1960 for the Grand Trunk Railroad. So it's been around awhile.

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904 was one of five GP9 locomotives the T bought from defunct SEMTA Commuter Rail (Detroit-Pontiac, MI) in 1986. Four of them ran as temporary stopgaps in revenue service when they were in the midst of a fleet shortage, while one of the units was cannibalized for parts. They only carried passengers for about 2-1/2 years until the current mainstay fleet of F40PH-2C locos were delivered new from the factory, ending the equipment shortage.

904's been in the work fleet since 1988, and used to be joined by sister engine 902 until that unit suffered a more serious engine fire in 2008 and was converted into a static display for a rail museum in Illinois. While 904 is the last of its kind in Boston, Keolis did lease four GP38-2 work engines earlier this year to buff out Commuter Rail's otherwise thin work fleet.

Yes, there are non-revenue moves to Needham on some Sundays. Systemwide the Sunday night shift is where the max-size early Monday A.M. rush hour sets get put together and moved outbound to the endpoints on the last trains of the evening for the lines with 7-day-a-week service (with the extra cars closed off to passengers on those late-Sun. runs). But since Needham has no Sunday service they either have to assemble the crowd-swallower Monday set for one line only on a Saturday night...or, if they don't have time, do a Sunday non-revenue extra to Needham Center layover yard to exchange weekend-for-weekday trainsets. This was one of those moves.

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Youforgot that they make sure Needhamites know they are servicing the run with their blaring horns no matter what hour it is.

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lol... even on the days the trains aren't in service they don't work.

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When I see photographs like this, I need to remind myself that West Roxbury is "the city".

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