Huckleberry Railroad and Crossroads Village, owned and operated by Genesee County, Michigan turned to McHugh Locomotive & Equipment to supply a rebuilt 3-foot gauge diesel locomotive.
The Huckleberry Railroad GE center-cab diesel locomotive #7 was in need of a complete rebuild and the railroad investigated rebuilding it with their own shop staff. However, they decided a more practical and cost effective solution was to have a replacement rebuilt diesel locomotive delivered to their location in “ready to go condition.” This would allow the Huckleberry Railroad to continue operating the #7 diesel locomotive to provide motive power for their passenger trains while its replacement was being rebuilt. With the delivery of the rebuilt locomotive, old #7 was traded in to offset the cost of the rebuilt locomotive.
A requirement of the Huckleberry Railroad to any potential suppliers was that the replacement unit must be identical to their locomotive #7 in size and axle loading to ensure compatibility. The railroad also required the locomotive to be upgraded with all new or reconditioned parts, components, electrical equipment, and new wheels. The McHugh Company offered a completely rebuilt diesel locomotive at the lowest bid that met those requirements and was awarded a contract from the Genesee County Parks Department of Michigan.
A similar GE locomotive was located for the project and arrived to our facility in September 2019 and the highly-skilled technicians began a complete frame-off restoration of the locomotive. As with all major restorations at the McHugh Company, we remove every component from a locomotive. This locomotive’s cab was removed and the frame was then turned over to expose the underside of the unit. During this process the fuel tank was removed, cleaned internally and externally, inspected and repaired as necessary, then installed back onto the frame with all new pipe for the fuel lines.
The locomotive cab was installed back onto the locomotive frame and then had various structural and cosmetic repairs made to it. Insulation was installed between the outer steel wall and the inner wall to reduce engine noise inside the cab. The unit also received various upgrades to the deck walkway and engine compartment doors. All new handrails and steps were installed to make the locomotive safer for personnel to access.
The units two diesel engines were rebuilt at a certified engine manufacture rebuilding facility. The traction systems two main generators and two traction motors have been rebuilt. The electrical system was completely upgraded with all new wiring and modern electrical components. The mechanical parts and components where either be rebuilt or replaced with new. The 3-foot gauge truck assemblies were rebuilt with new roller bearing and new wheels. A special gear ratio was provided in the drive gear boxes to maintain the railroads track speed requirements.
The McHugh company delivered the newly-restored locomotive #12 to the Huckleberry Railroad in Flint Michigan on April 28, 2021. JC McHugh, and two McHugh employees, along with a few Huckleberry Railroad staff members, built the McHugh rail ramp system from the trailer to the track that hauled the locomotive. On the morning of the April 29th JC McHugh safely operated #12 from the trailer and then operated old #7 locomotive onto the trailer. The same specialized 13 axle tractor trailer that delivered #12 to Michigan then transported #7 to its new home, the Pacific Coast Railroad of San Obispo, California who purchased the locomotive from the McHugh Locomotive & Equipment. We can supply your heritage railroad or museum with a totally rebuilt locomotive that will provide safe and reliable service for decades.