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Somewhere in time on the New York Central

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Somewhere in time on the New York Central
Posted by crossthedog on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 10:37 PM

My brother often digs around on the interwebs to find pictures of trains to send me. This is a way we have managed to stay close over many kinds of distance, since we have had railfanning and model railroading in common since we were kids (that's us in my avatar photo, though you can hardly make us out). Often he doesn't have time or remember to remark where he found a photo or the details about it. Today he sent me this photo, which I absolutely love:


It has everything I love in it. Big steam. F-units. Even what looks like an ALCO switcher. We started musing over where and when this might be. It's obviously a New York Central operation.

I know there are several NYC modelers here on the forum, and I wonder what any of you might tell us about this photo. I'm guessing late '40s. But there's only one diesel switcher in this whole yard. Is the NYC using some of their steamers for yard duty at this time? Does anyone know where this was taken? Is it a famous photo that I could find in higher res and make a print out of?

What can we know of this image?

Thanks.

-Matt

 

P.S. Here's me 'n the kid brother. I call him Youngblood.

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 1:12 AM

http://towns-and-nature.blogspot.com/2018/04/collinwood-oh-nycls-coaling-tower-and.html

EDIT.

Collinwood is gmpullman Eds neck of the wood, though it would appear that very little if anything remains of the infrastructure in the photo.
 
If the diesel switcher has the road number 834, it is a NYC Class DES-8, Alco/GE 660 hp S1, built 1943, originally #715 but renumbered 6/48.
 
IF the cab locomotive next to the switcher has the road # 1634 then it is an EMD F3, NYC Class EF15, built 1947.
 
A real stab in the dark is 74?4 (??). Is it a NYC Class U2(?), 0-8-0 switcher?? I gather some of them lasted until 1957, though I think, for no good reason, that there are too many steam locomotives in the photo for it to be taken at that late a date.

¼ My 2 Cents Cheers, the Bear. Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 5:16 AM

crossthedog
What can we know of this image?

Well. Matt — You've landed right smack dab in my childhood back yard. I grew up just about a mile from here. (See my location in my avatar) My dad would bring me here several days a week during nice weather and we would stand for hours on a wooden stairway on the far side of the bridge (East 152nd St.) and that's where, at about age eight, one of the engineers of a switcher hollered to me "Hey kid, you wanna ride a train?"  I was down those stairs and on that engine in a flash (it was an ex-NY,O & W NW2 #9512) he let me "run" the engine from one end of the yard to the other.

This is the view from the landing of those wooden steps:

 Collinwood_shop by Edmund, on Flickr

In the top-right distance of your photo is the old crew YMCA that I've walked past many times:

 getimage by Edmund, on Flickr

After the Penn-Central built a new crew dormitory in 1970 the old wooden YMCA mysteriously burned to the ground Tongue Tied You'll also notice in the upper-right there are several catenary supports visible.. This was the east end of the Cleveland Union Terminal electric operation that ran until 1953 or so.

 CUT_Collinwood_209 by Edmund, on Flickr

In the above photo you can see that crew YMCA in the background again.

 Collinwood_looking east by Edmund, on Flickr

Not much left there today. Sign of progress? I remember wandering through the backshops there. It was a beehive of activity and dozens of locomotives were shopped there each month. The M-490 jet powered Budd car was built there.

 NYC_Headlight_2 by Edmund, on Flickr

 Collinwood_1a by Edmund, on Flickr

 NYC_1650-1836_P1a by Edmund, on Flickr

Thanks for finding a reason to stroll down memory lane.

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 9:57 AM

Holy Moley! Thanks Bear. Thanks Ed. Although I hoped it, I didn't really expect such success. I can't wait until my brother sees this. I'm especially glad we were able to uncork the little vignette about the engineer hollering down to the eight-year-old Ed. What a treat!

We should have a Monthly Puzzler post, just a shot of some yard or industry spur or stretch of mainline or a coaling station or interlocking tower somewhere, and throw it out unlabeled for members to identify.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:09 AM

Today, the NYC System Historical Society's online store is called "The Collinwood Shop", an indication of the important role Collinwood held in NYC / LS&MS history.

Ed - I believe Collinwood is part of Cleveland now? 

 

Stix
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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:22 AM

Collinwood resides in Euclid, which is one of the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.

I presume the photo was taken atop the monstrous concrete coaling tower located on the west side of the E.152nd bridge.  It was still standing proudly in Collinwood before finally being razed in 2017.  A sad day for NYC fans...Sigh

Tom

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Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 3:09 PM

More on Collinwood —

wjstix
Ed - I believe Collinwood is part of Cleveland now?

Yes, it is the "Collinwood Neighborhood" of Cleveland annexed in 1910. Nearby East Cleveland is still a separate city.

 Collinwood_3-11-51 by Edmund, on Flickr

In 1908 Collinwood was the location of a tragic school fire. A temporary morgue was set up in part of the LS & MS shops afterward. 

 NYC_backshop by Edmund, on Flickr

 NYC_1820-1824_Collinwood_6-4-1960 by Edmund, on Flickr

In the above shot, looking west, you can see remaining catenary supports on the left. The 22 P-1a electric locomotives were rebuilt for third rail pickup at GE's Erie plant before being sent to the Electrified district between Harmon and Grand Central Terminal in New York.

In 1929 construction was begun on repair facilities on the south side of the yard for servicing the electrics. This facility became known as the P-1a shed and retained that moniker for its remaining years.

 CUT_P1a_shed by Edmund, on Flickr

 P1A_shed by Edmund, on Flickr

The films this fellow has posted really deserve to be "remastered" using a frame-by-frame restoration.

 Regards, Ed

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 5:17 PM

Glad I clicked on this thread!  I grew up on Long Island, NY, with nothing but electric commuter rail.  This thread has shown us all another side of railroading we never really thought about.  Thanks, guys.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 6:57 PM

Here's the P-1a Shed then:

 P-1a Shed-west by Edmund, on Flickr

and now:

 P1A Shop by Todd Dillon, on Flickr


 

The Cleveland Union Terminal "Motors" then:

 CUT_1050crop by Edmund, on Flickr

And much later (now classed P-2b)

 Penn-Central P-2b 4641 by Edmund, on Flickr

Sadly, none were saved.

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 8:02 PM

gmpullman

My dad would bring me here several days a week during nice weather and we would stand for hours on a wooden stairway on the far side of the bridge (East 152nd St.) and that's where, at about age eight, one of the engineers of a switcher hollered to me "Hey kid, you wanna ride a train?"  I was down those stairs and on that engine in a flash (it was an ex-NY,O & W NW2 #9512) he let me "run" the engine from one end of the yard to the other.

This is the view from the landing of those wooden steps:

 Collinwood_shop by Edmund, on Flickr

In the top-right distance of your photo is the old crew YMCA that I've walked past many times:

 getimage by Edmund, on Flickr

After the Penn-Central built a new crew dormitory in 1970 the old wooden YMCA mysteriously burned to the ground Tongue Tied

Ed, thanks for all the history. I went to NETR Historic Aerials (https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer) and in the earliest airphotos they have of Collinwood (1952) I was able to find the bridge and the likely position of your childhood stairway (although you cannot really make the stairs out). You can see the smokestacks that are in your photo above and all those sheds, and even the tiny little shack in the foreground. And I was able to identify the YMCA building because it's the only large building NE of the bridge that appears in the 1952, 1956, and 1970 datasets but is suddenly gone in the 1980 photo.

My brother and I have been using all these photos you and Bear and others linked to and posted, to sight along the lines of various tracks to determine that the original photo he sent me had to have been shot from high on the stairway of the coaling tower. What fun you've provided. Thanks very much.

I'm so glad I asked. :)

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 8:21 PM

crossthedog
And I was able to identify the YMCA building because it's the only large building NE of the bridge that appears in the 1952, 1956, and 1970 datasets but is suddenly gone in the 1980 photo.

Here's exactly how it looked during the years I visited Collinwood:

 Collinwood Railroad YMCA by Edmund, on Flickr

Then around 1970 the "New" Penn-Central crew dorm was built. I played a lot of pinball in that building. There was a TV and game room plus a great cafeteria serving excellent meals:

 Collinwood Penn Central YMCA 1971 by Edmund, on Flickr

Mysteriously, once the new dorm was built the big, old YMCA burned to the ground Indifferent That thing went up like a tinder box.

This photo below was taken from the exact landing on that stairway that I called my "RR home" for so many years. From this vantage point I could look behind me (to west) and see under the 152nd St bridge to all the trackage toward Cleveland as well.

 Collinwood_shanty by Edmund, on Flickr

On the other side of the bridge the roundhouse had already been torn down but I remember the turntable still working:

 Collinwood_roundhouse by Edmund, on Flickr

For diesel fuel there was a pair of tenders from NYC Mohawks sinking in the mud on a siding until an actual storage tank was built in the mid-'70s.

I know a fellow that has a few photos on his site. I'll see if I can find them.

Here's a few stories from Chip about the YMCA:

http://ohiorr.railfan.net/coll.html

 

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 8:31 PM

gmpullman
This was the east end of the Cleveland Union Terminal electric operation that ran until 1953 or so.

 CUT_Collinwood_209 by Edmund, on Flickr

Hey Ed! Look at this...

It's a model that my Uncle Jim made for my dad when my dad was a kid. Jim was the oldest of six kids, 14 years older than my dad, who was the youngest. I always thought it was a trolley, but lately I've come to understand it was an electric locomotive. It looks a lot like your Cleveland Union Terminal unit!

-Matt

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 8:45 PM

crossthedog
Hey Ed! Look at this...

That's a treasure! I love electric locomotives of all kinds. I am so thankful that I got a chance to ride behind the old C.U.T. electrics in the New York area before they were scrapped.

Once you "feel" their presence and power plus graceful speed you have a life-long appreciation for their engineering.

Your model looks quite like the old New York Central "T-Motor":

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/rare-new-york-central-electric-locomotives-still-threatened/

Thanks for sharing, Matt!

Regards, Ed

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Posted by "JaBear" on Thursday, December 1, 2022 3:18 AM

I gather some of them lasted until 1957, though I think, for no good reason, that there are too many steam locomotives in the photo for it to be taken at that late a date.

Well, the video that Ed posted, dated 1954-56 certainly blew that theory out of the water!!!Embarrassed
 
Posts of treasured memories, and a treasured treasure have made for an extra good thread.Bow
 
Cheers, the BearSmile

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, December 1, 2022 5:44 AM

crossthedog

My brother often digs around on the interwebs to find pictures of trains to send me. This is a way we have managed to stay close over many kinds of distance, since we have had railfanning and model railroading in common since we were kids (that's us in my avatar photo, though you can hardly make us out). Often he doesn't have time or remember to remark where he found a photo or the details about it. Today he sent me this photo, which I absolutely love:


It has everything I love in it. Big steam. F-units. Even what looks like an ALCO switcher. We started musing over where and when this might be. It's obviously a New York Central operation.

I know there are several NYC modelers here on the forum, and I wonder what any of you might tell us about this photo. I'm guessing late '40s. But there's only one diesel switcher in this whole yard. Is the NYC using some of their steamers for yard duty at this time? Does anyone know where this was taken? Is it a famous photo that I could find in higher res and make a print out of?

What can we know of this image?

 

I love that photo because it looks a lot like the engine terminal at my main yard of my layout, which is a fictional subsidiary of the NYC. A mix of late steam and first generation diesels, mostly Es and Fs. My switchers are EMD SW7s.

I'm guessing either late 1940s or early 1950s. Sadly, the Hudsons were all scrapped by 1957. The only left over is the tender from subsidiary Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo #502 which was converted to a steam generator car and now resides at Steamtown in Scranton. 

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Posted by wrench567 on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:00 AM

   The CUT motors look like someone put a P5a boxcab on a GG1 underframe and trucks. Sadly I grew up on the west side and never got a chance to ride behind one. They would have been long gone by the time I would have noticed one.

    Pete.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, December 1, 2022 9:09 AM

I may be wrong, but it seems to me the NYC kept steam going in the western end (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio) longer than in the east? Think I saw that B&A was all diesel by like 1952 for example. I know I bought a video/DVD on the NYC where I was surprised to see a J-3 pulling a train of stainless steel cars between Cincinnati and Chicago in like 1956.

Wouldn't have been unusual for a railroad to congregate all it's remaining steam in one area / division so they could eliminate steam facilities (coaling towers, water towers etc.) in other areas. Kinda like how in the 1980s the C&NW assigned all their Alco diesels to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Stix
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Posted by crossthedog on Thursday, December 1, 2022 9:52 AM

This thread keeps being interesting and educational. So here's a question that keeps occurring to me. Why do the front and rear pilot trucks on those electrics extend so far out from under the car body? And what are those extra trucks for, anyway? It looks like the platforms above them are made to swivel sharply, but what is the purpose of those articulated front and back sections? Okay, three questions.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, December 1, 2022 11:48 AM

crossthedog
This thread keeps being interesting and educational.

And before the internet, and Google, and Forums like this, this is the sort of question that could be nearly impossible to research and track down, even assuming you could find someone to ask the question of!  The information was all there the photos were all taken -- but they were impossibly dispersed and nobody could put it all together.  The rise of railroad historical societies in the 1960s-70s helped, but even they could be stymied in the pre internet era.  

Dave Nelson.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, December 1, 2022 12:19 PM

wjstix

I may be wrong, but it seems to me the NYC kept steam going in the western end (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio) longer than in the east? Think I saw that B&A was all diesel by like 1952 for example. I know I bought a video/DVD on the NYC where I was surprised to see a J-3 pulling a train of stainless steel cars between Cincinnati and Chicago in like 1956.

Might have been the James Whitcomb Riley. I read that is where the streamlined Hudsons for the 1941 Empire State Express finished their service life. That train also used non-streamlined Hudsons. Whatever was available. Here are a few pictures I've found of the steam powered Riley.

#james whitcomb riley from Streamliners

#james whitcomb riley from Streamliners

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, December 1, 2022 4:21 PM

crossthedog
Why do the front and rear pilot trucks on those electrics extend so far out from under the car body?

Short answer, stability and tracking at high speed. I believe this design was tried and perfected on the New Haven starting out with the EF-2 which has rather short pilot wheel assemblies. Later the EP-2 came along with slightly longer "reach" on those pilot trucks.

Each of the main driving truck assemblies are articulated and pinned between them so they do pivot around sharper curves. At higher track speeds this "flexibility" can lead to hunting, or side-to-side thrust (this was especially true on jointed rail). The P5 design was also somewhat limited in that the same lateral motion problems appeared at higher speeds and this was unacceptable for passenger service.

The PRR set up a section of test track for studying several electric locomotive designs. I'll have to do some digging but it was one of the GG1 forerunners, I believe the L5, shown below, that had a serious problem of side-to-side imbalance that became apparent at speeds over forty or so. Considerable track damage was also a result and those longer pilot trucks helped mitigate that, again, mostly apparent at higher speeds.

 PRR_L5 by Edmund, on Flickr

wrench567
The CUT motors look like someone put a P5a boxcab on a GG1 underframe and trucks.

Agree... The C.U.T. motors predate the GG1 by about six years. Still there are similarities and that 2-C+C-2 arrangement was a successful design.

 CUT ad merge by Edmund, on Flickr

 NYC_motor_P1a by Edmund, on Flickr

Regards, Ed

 

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Posted by crossthedog on Thursday, December 1, 2022 4:37 PM

Thanks for that primer, Ed. I'm sort of feeling myself falling in love with these electrics. I see very few for sale on eBay and mostly brass and mostly too expensive for me. It would sure be nice if Atlas or one of the other mid-range manufacturers would produce one of these. No way it would make any kind of sense on my SP&S/GN/NP layout but I would buy one anyway and say that in my world the GN and NP had leased or bought one from the NYC for use on a short stretch of electric line. Somewhere out here. In a tunnel maybe.

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, December 1, 2022 5:32 PM

crossthedog
No way it would make any kind of sense on my SP&S/GN/NP layout...

Yeah, how silly would that be Whistling

 GN_5004 by Edmund, on Flickr

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gn/gn5011mfa.jpg

 

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gn/gn5019dsa.jpg

 

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by crossthedog on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:01 PM

gmpullman

 

 
crossthedog
No way it would make any kind of sense on my SP&S/GN/NP layout...

 

Yeah, how silly would that be Whistling

 GN_5004 by Edmund, on Flickr

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gn/gn5011mfa.jpg

 

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gn/gn5019dsa.jpg

 

Cheers, Ed

 

!!!!!

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:13 PM

crossthedog
Somewhere out here. In a tunnel maybe.

I think it could be done Big Smile

 

 GN_Electrification by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Read all about it:

https://archive.org/stream/railwaylocomotiv41newy/railwaylocomotiv41newy#page/331/mode/1up

 

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, December 1, 2022 9:01 PM

According to Middleton, the CUT 2-C+C-2 was the first of that wheel arrangement.  It was followed by the New Haven EP-3 in AC.  The PRR borrowed one of those NH motors for comparison tests, and went with that design for the GG-1.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, December 1, 2022 9:11 PM

crossthedog
... No way it would make any kind of sense on my SP&S/GN/NP layout but I would buy one anyway and say that in my world the GN and NP had leased or bought one from the NYC for use on a short stretch of electric line. Somewhere out here. In a tunnel maybe.

The NYC motors were DC which might have been a problem on GN's AC.

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Posted by mvlandsw on Thursday, December 1, 2022 10:26 PM

I developed a liking for electrics after seeing the Milwaukee Road operations in 1969 and 72. I bought a pair of the plastic Virginian E-33's thinking I could run them behind diesels in non-electrified territory like they were being delivered to the Virginian.

I first visited Collinwood in the early 70's on an NMRA Cleveland convention tour. After the Conrail split I started running CSX trains to the yard from New Castle, Pa, over the Short Line from Parma and over the Chicago Line from Ashtabula. They were still calling the engine shop the "P1-A".

   I met Chip Syme when I had a CSX train detour over Conrail from Youngstown to Pittsburgh. Chip was my pilot from Conway to Pittsburgh. We soon got to talking model railroading and I invited him to meet me at Don Cassler's B&O model railroad where I was planning to go after I finished my run at Connellsville. A hotbox detector ruined that plan and I was three hours late getting there but Chip had a good time with Don.

Mark Vinski

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Posted by crossthedog on Friday, December 2, 2022 12:57 AM

Mark, thank you. I do love the personal stories. I can't think of anything more ironic than a train's bearings causing a railfan who is also an engineer to be late to a model railroading meetup. That's ironic in six directions. It's like 3-D chess.

-Matt

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, December 2, 2022 2:27 AM

wjstix
I may be wrong...

My US geography knowledge may be a little ropey but it would appear you’re right. Some NYC steam locomotive “lasts.”
 
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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