Pennsylvania Short Line Paints SW1200RS for America’s 250th

Pennsylvania & Southern Railway SW1200RS 16 might be the first locomotive to celebrate America’s 250th anniversary in 2026. Photo by M.T.Burkhart.

Pennsylvania Short Line Paints SW1200RS for America’s 250th

By M.T.Burkhart

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Some 50 years after America’s railroads were swept up in bicentennial fever, painting locomotives of all types in shades of red, white and blue, a Pennsylvania short line has released what might be the first semiquincentennial unit.

Pennsylvania & Southern Railway, which works in the old Letterkenny Army Depot, has painted another switcher in red, white and blue – this time in advance of the United States’ 250th anniversary coming up in 2026.

On June 10, 16, an SW1200RS built in 1956 for Canadian Pacific (formerly numbered 1210), emerged from the shop wearing colors reminiscent of Pittsburg & Shawumt Railroad. The western Pennsylvania coal hauler used this scheme to celebrate America’s bicentennial in 1976 and its SW9 switcher fleet kept the paint until sale and abandonment in the 1990s.

Named “Ben Franklin,” (the railroad operates in Franklin County) locomotive 16, which was painted in-house over the past few weeks, also carries 13 stars in a circle on its cab. Unveiled at the railroad during a car show that raised funds for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, it later participated in a night session for a small group of photographers and is billed as the first locomotive specifically painted for the upcoming semiquincentennial.

It joins EMD SW7 17 (built for Weyerhaeuser) and SW1200 18 (recently renumbered from 1211 and built for the CB&Q), which wear stylized American flag schemes and honor service members killed in action overseas.

This article was posted on: June 12, 2023