Doing its best to evade the morning's rain showers, Kansas City to St. Paul-Pigs Eye tonnage on northbound Canadian Pacific mixed merchandise train 475 slowly trundles upgrade out of the Iowa River Valley between Fredonia and Letts atop rails of the lightly used Ottumwa Subdivision. A patch of Butterweed flowers look on at the long and heavy 123 car freight that will soon take a diverging route into the siding at Letts to clear a path for southbound counterpart 474 before the crew can finish up the remainder of their trip into Nahant Yard in Davenport. SD70ACu #7037, recent graduate of Progress Rail's CP SD9043MAC rebuild program in Mayfield, KY, gets front seat privileges on today's train and looks quite spiffy dressed in the company's Candy Apple Red and Golden Beaver livery. CP currently possess 60 of these sharp EMD locomotives which throw in a little variety to their General Electric favored roster.
The Electro-Motive Diesel SD9043MAC, considered to be one of the more unsuccessful locomotives ever produced by the company, found 60 of their kind sent to Canadian Pacific, Union Pacific being the only other buyer of this particular model, in the late 1990s. Despite seeing service for a handful of years following their arrival to the CP system, the entire fleet eventually found themselves laid up in long-term storage due to numerous computer and operational issues and one wondered if they would ever turn another wheel for the railroad again. This must've soured Canadian Pacific's view on EMD products and they probably used those as an excuse to not buy anything except General Electric for the years to come. However, in 2018, it was announced that the railroad came to an agreement with Progress Rail to rebuild their long dormant SD9043MAC fleet into what are now classified as an SD70ACu. These rebirthed locomotives feature new crew comforts and safety enhancements including a Progress Rail "Q" cab, AAR control stand, emergency access door, inward/outward facing cameras, electrically assisted handbrake, new control electronics, improved air brake systems, Positive Train Control and of course, a fresh paint job. Union Pacific has sold off a majority of its SD90 fleet to Norfolk Southern for the same cause and what hasn't been sold, sit in storage as UP currently has none active on its system.