Alco Diesels of the
                        Carolina & North-Western Railway

    In May, 1948 four Alco RS-2 diesels arrived in Hickory to replace the old fleet of steam locomotives. The Carolina & North-Western was one of the first completely dieselized railroads in the southeast.
    Initially, the units were a dark green (not Sylvan Green) with yellow striping and lettering.
 

By the mid 1950's, most of the RS-2's were wearing Southern Railway's scheme of Sylvan Green, Imitation Aluminum, and yellow lettering. Here, #3 is seen in Gastonia in 1955. Note the railroad emblem on the short hood.

     General Foreman Frank Coffey remembered that the diesels performed admirably, but they caused him the "greatest grief of [his] life." The shop force, which had totaled nearly 40 men at one time, had to be cut down to a dozen. "To look a man in the eye and tell 'em that you don't need him anymore is a goddam thing hard to do," Frank once remarked. The photo at right was taken in 1948 at the Hickory shops by a Southern Railway photographer.

Did You Know?
    The Carolina & North-Western Railway's official reporting marks were CR&N, but it was always called the "C and N W" by the locals and the men who worked her. It had a nickname, the "Can't and Never Will" that often made people snicker, but this was offensive to her men. Where did the nickname come from? Find out in the Legacy of the Carolina & North-Western Railway.

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