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EMD FTs and drawbars

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EMD FTs and drawbars
Posted by tstage on Monday, July 15, 2019 12:10 AM

I know that some railroads ordered their EMD FTA-Bs with drawbars and a few even had A-B-As with drawbars - i.e. drawbars at both ends of the B-unit.  Did any railroads ever semi-permanently attach together a 4-unit set of A-B-B-As?  Or, were the B-units always attached together with a coupler?

Thanks,

Tom

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Posted by SSW9389 on Monday, July 15, 2019 1:28 AM

I believe the Southern had two ABBA sets that were drawbarred together. Will check for the numbers. 

COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
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Posted by SSW9389 on Monday, July 15, 2019 1:36 AM

Yes Southern (New Orleans & North Eastern) fielded two ABBA sets with short boosters, #6800AB-#6803AB . The #6800B-6803B  were the short boosters without couplers. The short boosters were connected by drawbars on both ends. These two sets were built in July 1942. See EMD orders #E-485 and E-486. Diesel data from A J Kristopans on Don Strack's Utah Rails website: 

http://utahrails.net/ajkristopans/FREIGHTCABUNITS.php

 

COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
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Posted by wjstix on Monday, July 15, 2019 1:22 PM

Just some quick background info - the FT was originally designed to be a two-unit engine, an A and B unit connected by a drawbar. The FT, unlike later F units, had an overhang on one end, so the truck at one end were closer to the end than the other. Because of that, as designed, couplers couldn't be attached at the end with the trucks closer to the end. The A and B units would be connected essentially 'back to back' therefore. This meant, conveniently, that the space in the B unit where the cab would be on an A unit could be used for a steam generator and water tanks, if a railroad wanted to use their FTs on passenger trains. (The engines could also be connected together as an A-A set with a drawbar between them.)

Later, EMD came out with the FTSB (FT Short Booster) which allowed A-B-A sets of freight FTs (the FTSB had no room for a steam generator).

At ATSF's request, EMD jerry-rigged a way to connect a coupler to both ends of the A and B units, so they could be used independently. But most railroads continued to use them joined as A-B sets with a drawbar. After WW2 some railroads took their A-B sets of FTs and added an F2 or F3 to make an A-B-A set, since they found three units was the 'just right' amount of power for typical mainline freights of the era.

 

Stix
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Posted by ATSFGuy on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 4:17 PM

It seems SF didn't believe in drawbars.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, July 25, 2019 9:03 AM

ATSFGuy

It seems SF didn't believe in drawbars.

Correct. BTW many FT B units that were not connected by drawbars to an A unit had a fifth window - a "hostler's window" - located near a control stand inside the B unit. That way, a hostler could move the B unit by itself under it's own power.
Stix

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