The last intact and unmodified example of a GE U28B has been saved and will be on display at the Illinois Railway Museum following a public unveiling on August 9 during their annual Diesel Days event. The move from its longtime home on Transkentucky Transportation Inc. was a homecoming of sorts, as it was delivered in January 1967 as Chicago, Burlington & Quincy no. 114. Still nearly new at the time of the Burlington Northern merger, it served as BN 5458 until retirement at in 1987. It was one of six chosen by TTI to join the fleet of former Rock Island and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie U28Bs when it began operatiions in 1979.
As TTI 260, it would spend another two decades hauling coal over former Louisville & Nashville tracks before mine closures and the presence of newer ex-Seaboard B36-7s rendered the U28 fleet redundant. Most succumbed to the scrapper’s torch onsite, but 260 was permitted a leisurely final assignment at the switcher at the TTI transload on the Ohio River in Maysville. That facility went dormant and 260 was idled with the washout that cut the line to Paris in 2018.
Early in 2019, an agreement was worked out with TTI-owner CSX Transportation to donate the engine to IRM by diesel department chief Jamie Kolanowski. The U28B model was only in production for a single year, 1966, before supplanted by the U30 line; just 148 of them were produced, and CB&Q 114 was among the last ones built. The only other known surviving U28B in the US is ex-L&N VLIX 5323 at the Southern Appalachia Railroad Museum, but that engine was rebuilt by Seaboard to U30B specifications. The lone surviving U28C is preserved at the Museum of Transportation in Kirkwood, Mo., with a cutaway-hood to reveal its inner workings. The U28B joins two other GE “U-Boats” at IRM, U25B Milwaukee Road 5056, and U30C CB&Q 5383.
—Eric Berger, Railfan & Railroad