Grab a bowl! I’m ladling out locomotives

on Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Locomotives are a veritable vegetable soup. If it wasn’t for Jim Kerr’s Official Locomotive Rosters and Kalmbach’s Railroad Reference books, I don’t know what I would do. Between reporting marks and locomotive types, railroads made texting cool before we had a name for it. E and F units, in particular, tend to boggle my brain. So, let’s hash them out, or dice them up, or just julienne this locomotive buffet.

Let’s begin with the Es. EMC built 6 models of the 201-A engine, 1,800 hp, A1A-A1A passenger cabs and boosters.

Model Build years No. of units sold in U.S.
EA 5/37-6/38 6
EB 5/37-6/38 6
E1A 6/37-4/38 8
E1B 6/37-4/38 3
E2A 1/37-12/37 2
E2B 1/37-12/37 4

EAs and E1As feature recessed headlights, smooth noses, small number boards, and classification lights on each side of the windshield. EAs and EBs have small, wide windows, while E1s have larger windows with a window shape that echoes the Santa Fe logo. Santa Fe owned all the E1s, assigning them to passenger trains Super Chief, El Capitan, San Diegan, Kansas Cityan, and Chicagoan. Baltimore & Ohio owned all of the EAs and EBs. Interestingly, B&O rebuilt EA No. 52 to an E8M in 1953, and Santa Fe rebuilt its Es to E8Ms, as well. Union Pacific bought all of the E2s using them on its City of San Francisco and City of Los Angeles. And, eventually, UP had EMD rebuilt its four E2B units into E8s.

EMC built 10 models of the 567 engine, 2,000 hp, A1A-A1A passenger cabs and boosters.

Model Build years No. of units sold in U.S.
E3A 3/39-6/40 16
E3B 3/39-9/39 2
E4A 10/38-12/39 14
E4B 10/38-12/39 5
E5A 2/40-6/41 11
E5B 2/40-3/40 5
E6A 11/39-9/42 92
E6B 4/40-2/42 26
E7A 2/45-4/49 428
E7B 2/45-4/49 82

Some highlights: E3, E4, and E6 cabs look the same. How about that for confusing when identifying old photos? They all have long noses, grilles on the roof, and rectangle windows on the side panels. E7s had a nose job, so to speak, making it slightly shorter. E5s had stainless-steel side panels.

And now for the truly beautiful E8s and E9s: EMD built four models of the 567 engine, A1A-A1A passenger cabs and boosters. E8s had 2,250 hp, while the E9s had 2,400.

Model Build years No. of units sold in U.S.
E8A 8/49-12/53 418
E8B 12/49-5/53 39
E9A 5/54-12/63 100
E9B 5/54-12/63 44

E9A No. 4038 and E7A No. 4007 lead the Land o' Corn east at Broadview, Ill., in January 1962. Photo by R.P. Olmsted

Note: Some railroads had early Es rebuilt into E8Ms. Some distinctive E8 and E9 features include four portholes on the sides, long grilles near the top of the side panels, and large oval number boards on the nose.

Ready for some Fs? EMD built 2 FT 1,350 hp, B-B cabs and boosters, both 567 and 567A engines.

Model Build years No. of units sold in U.S.
FTA 11/39-11/45 555
FTB 11/39-11/45 541

FTs have a “bulldog” nose, cab body, and four portholes placed close together on the side panels.

A quartet of Santa Fe FTs blast through Chillicothe, Ill., in 1959. Photo by Montague L. Powell, J. David Ingles collection

EMD built these B-B cabs and boosters in 8 variations.

Model HP Build years No. of units sold in U.S.
F2A 1,350 7/46-11/46 60
F2B 1,350 7/46-11/46 16
F3A 1,500 7/45-2/49 1,107
F3B 1,500 7/45-2/49 694
F7A 1,500 2/49-12/53 2,261
F7B 1,500 2/49-12/53 1,420
F9A 1,750 1/54-12/56 77
F9B 1,750 1/54-4/57 98

These bad boys have the bulldog nose like the FTs, but only two exhaust stacks. They also have four protruding roof fans, which differ based on the model. Some F7s and F9s have a fifth fan, which indicates they were equipped with dynamic brakes. F2s and F3s have dynamic brakes indicated by a pair of screened rectangular openings.

And, finally, check out the stats on EMD-built FPs.

Model HP Build years No. of units sold in U.S.
FP7 1,500 6/49-12/53 297
FP9 1,750 1954-1959 4

The key difference here is that FP7s and FP9s are only cab units; there were no FP boosters. The FPs were four feet longer than F7As and F9As. This four-foot spot held the water tanks to supply the steam generator.

So no matter your favorite locomotive du jour, there are plenty of ways to keep them straight, admiring each for its lines, colors, and horsepower. Hmmmm. I wonder. Is there an app for that?

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