Argentina to preserve historic ‘Chessie’ train

TEN of the coaches originally built for a planned express service in post-war USA have been moved for secure storage prior to potential restoration in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.

The coaches were never used as intended in the USA and had been in service in Argentina from 1951 to 2015 when they were replaced by new Chinese-built coaches.

One of the trains moving the former ‘El Marplatense’ ‘Chessie’ coaches to secure storage, hauled by EMD GT22CW A901 (built 1972 by GM in the USA), seen at Gerli in the suburbs of Buenos Aires on June 20. This train included commuter coaches as braking assistance because some of the Budd coaches had not been moved for many years. DARIO SAIDMAN

The coaches were a batch of 46 ordered from Budd in 1944 by US Class 1 railroad Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O), costing $6.1million. They were to be used for a planned daylight streamlined express service between Washington DC and Cincinnati to be known as
‘The Chessie’, after the company mascot – a kitten called Chessie.

Three experimental steam turbine locos, designated Class M1, were built by Baldwin in 1947/48 to operate the train.

However, by the time the order was completed in 1948 passenger traffic was declining, and the C&O decided to reduce its passenger expansion plans, cancelling
‘The Chessie’ project altogether, putting almost all of the brand new ‘Chessie’ coaches up for sale. The M1 locos were scrapped in 1950.

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