The engine was in the shop for paint, and based on our success in 2019 I approached management with the idea to do another project for the fleet. Many others jumped in and handled major parts of the project, notably Rich Wisneski and Russell Sullivan along with the NJT mechanical forces who performed the work and organized the activity. The results are quite stunning.
The locomotive was cleaned and sandblasted, then received body work and primer. Paint colors were painstakingly matched with extensive help from the United Railway Historical Society, and applied in-house by NJT crews. All of this came together in a matter of weeks.
I helped locate the stripe, discussing details and measurements, and we got a great result.
This was when Russell Sullivan suddenly came upon an emergency. Paint was finished on Wednesday September 28th ahead of Saturday October 1 unveiling. The cab numbers and warning stencils were delivered as decals, but the 4101 (and any Conrail in-house paint job) didn't use a '0' - instead, Conrail's Futura Bold font used a capital O instead of the digit 0. Our decals came as 4101, not 41O1, due to a typo at the factory.
36 hours to go and we had the wrong font. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, the factory is in central PA, and Reidler Decal answered our desperate call at 7 p.m. Our rep talked to her boss and sure enough, they could help - as long as we could pick it up. And so I volunteered to drive out to the factory Friday morning, pick up new decals, and drive them back to NJ to Rich, who would then take them down to the shop for a Friday night install ahead of the Saturday show. WHEW!
We did it!
The next day, the annual NJT Rail Operations Family Day celebration, was the unveiling and despite the rain, it was a career highlight, much like 4109 was in 2019.
Me, Rich Wisneski, Russell Sullivan - the team that worked with mechanical to get this one over the hump.
Me again, this time with the Deputy GM-Mechanical Fred Chidester, President Kevin Corbitt, Rich Wisneski, and Kevin's wife who came to see the freshly-painted locomotive as well.
For an infrastructure guy like me to have career highlights in mechanical with heritage units is a dream come true. 41O1 will join the fleet and bring smiles where it goes, honoring men and women who made the company work from the start against all odds.
And my family was there to see this again - the home where my life starts and is sustained with Kristen and DemClams was able to be here for this too. And Russell got a great photo of us with the 4109 on October 1, still looking great after 3 years: 4109 was my original goal with the program, image thanks again to Russell.
Stuff like this is a firm reminder of how things can still get better, and how we can come together if we choose to focus on things that bring us together!