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EMD FT's

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EMD FT's
Posted by NP Eddie on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 11:12 AM

The latest "Trains" has the route of EMD 103.

The notes state that the MSTL purchased non-standard short FTB's. What was the difference between those FTB's and a regular FTB?

Did most road's purchase FT's with standard drawbars? The NP's FTA's and FTB's had semi-permantly drawbars with standard drawbars between the B and C units (that is between the two boosters), as 5400A-B and 5400D-C.

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Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 5:43 PM

Short B units had permenant drawbars on both ends. There was no need for any coupler or draft gear, which was required on B units at the end of the consist (and was fun for EMD to create on ATSF's FTs). This added the extra length, note the very large space between the rear truck and the end of the locomotive. Also, the length added room for hostler control.

Most were ordered in A-B sets.

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7:15 PM

Did Southern's twenty some odd FT-B's get retrofitted with draft gear then? There are several of those FT-B's (Virginia & Kentucky have at least one each) out there preserved and not attached to an A unit. (4300 Class)

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Posted by Bruce Kelly on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:44 PM

No discussion about the FT would be complete without mention of Preston Cook's three-part article in the October, November, and December 1989 issues of Railfan & Railroad, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the FT's debut and demonstrator tour. The series earned Cook the David P. Morgan Article Award from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. A former EMD employee himself, Cook had an enormous body of research material at his fingertips during production of that multi-part story, and it showed throughout the more than 50 pages of story, photos, diagrams, maps, and rosters. Well worth a look-see if you can get your hands on those back issues or already have them in your collection.

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Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 9:43 PM

MC: Not sure. EMD's solution on the ATSF FTs was not to have any draft gear on one end of the unit! The coupler shank was directly over the rear traction motor. I suspect that a like arrangement was used on the many FT sets sepparated in later years, although I cannot confirm anything; it may have been on a railroad by railroad basis.

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Posted by SSW9389 on Thursday, October 16, 2014 3:46 AM

While researching my Cotton Belt FT article I wrote Preston Cook who assured me that all the FTs retrofitted with couplers were done the same way as Santa Fe's with the coupler shank over the rear traction motor. Cotton Belt had six drawbarred FT sets and eight singles. About 40% of all FTs never had drawbars.

 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, October 16, 2014 3:06 PM

DID NOT ALL REGULAR FT LOCOS HAVE SPACE FOR A BOILER AND THE SHORT ONES LACKED THIS SPACE?

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Posted by jrbernier on Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:20 PM

Dave,

  The FT cab units did not have room for a S/G in the car body.   The booster units did have room.  EMD addressed this issue starting with model F2.

Jim

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Posted by NP Eddie on Thursday, October 16, 2014 8:27 PM

Bruce and all:

How can I purchase a photo copy of the three issue article about FT's?

As information on the NP's FT's---the cab and booster units had solid drawbars, but one end of each booster units had reqular drawbars. Example: 5400A-B and 5400DC.

John Synkowski was an NP-BN roundhouse foreman at Northtown. I would use any excuse to take the mail and meet with him. He said that the solid drawbars could be taken apart, but it was a job.

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Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, October 16, 2014 8:31 PM

Dave, yes, you are correct. A standard B would fit a steam generator, a short one wouldn't. This wasn't the reason for the length difference. The demonstrator was designed to have rooom for one, so EMD planned for it from the beginning, and all were built with steam piping in case of future installation.  Problem was, they had insufficient water capacity.

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Posted by GDRMCo on Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:00 PM
Anyone have a photo of the ATSF coupler solution?

ML

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:23 PM

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:59 PM

GDRMCo
Anyone have a photo of the ATSF coupler solution?

 

No, I don't, but Larry Brasher said this:

 

"In 1940, EMC agreed to eliminate the drawbar connection on Santa Fe FTs. The change was implemented while FT 100 was in production, and EMC subsequently offered this option to other customers. The substitution of couplers for drawbars involved a considerable design change; the later application of the “Santa Fe” type coupler and centering device pocket to Southern Railway Dieselelectric units is shown on page 428 of the 19501952 edition of the Locomotive Cyclopedia."

 

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Posted by Bruce Kelly on Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:20 PM

Ed, when I left R&R in 1996, the Carstens warehouse had boxfuls of back issues going back more than a decade, all available for purchase. I can't tell you whether any of that priceless material survived. I suggest contacting editor Steve Barry, or R&R's new owners White River Productions, to inquire whether you can purchase those three back issues. If not, you might be able to sweet-talk them into scanning the pages from their collection (I'm sure Barry has his bound volumes; I still have mine) and posting them on their website as a tribute to the FT 75th anniversary.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:08 PM

Too bad that they didn't release a DVD compilation. Hardly a day goes by where I don't read something in the Trains DVD collection. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, October 17, 2014 3:56 AM

most of the b and m ft b units (maybe all eventually) had boilers     but b and m passenger runs were relatively  short

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Posted by M636C on Friday, October 17, 2014 3:57 AM

Overmod

 

 
GDRMCo
Anyone have a photo of the ATSF coupler solution?

 

 

No, I don't, but Larry Brasher said this:

 

"In 1940, EMC agreed to eliminate the drawbar connection on Santa Fe FTs. The change was implemented while FT 100 was in production, and EMC subsequently offered this option to other customers. The substitution of couplers for drawbars involved a considerable design change; the later application of the “Santa Fe” type coupler and centering device pocket to Southern Railway Dieselelectric units is shown on page 428 of the 19501952 edition of the Locomotive Cyclopedia."

 

 

 

Not only were all Santa Fe FTs delivered with couplers at both ends, but after the first two four unit sets, units 102 to 151 (I think) were delivered as A+B-B+B sets with only one cab unit. Following this there were a batch of A units to return the sets to standard. The renumbering resulting from this was a bit confusing.

I am a little surprised that the FT drawbars didn't have any draft gears. Most pairs of freight cars have standard draft gears each end of the drawbars.

However, if the locomotives could work with rigid drawbars, they would work with couplers without drawbars as long as the rigid couplers stayed coupled together.

It would not be good for a B unit to be coupled to the train, since there would only be one draft gear at the point of heaviest stress.

Most photos of A+B-B+B sets show the "long end" coupled to the train. A photo of an unidentified four unit set at Winslow AZ on page 128 of McCall's "Early Diesel Daze" shows the trailing two B units both with the long end leading, although since it is in a roundhouse, it might not have run a train that way.

A shot of set 161 at Barstow on 14 Jan 1945 shows the nearer B unit (behind an A unit) reversed.

M636C

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, October 17, 2014 7:04 AM
At least B&M and AT&SF ran FTs in passenger service. AT&SF had a few sets in Warbonnet paint. Boiler water supply was an issue all the way through F-Unit line.
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Posted by Wizlish on Friday, October 17, 2014 9:42 AM

M636C
I am a little surprised that the FT drawbars didn't have any draft gears. Most pairs of freight cars have standard draft gears each end of the drawbars.

I don't think it's really surprising on a multiple-unit locomotive (where any slack or compliance between the units would probably be counterproductive rather than useful), and the marginal utility of draft gear only at the coupling to the train would be minimal, although care would have to be taken to ensure that no effective slack developed between the units or in the 'rear' coupler box. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, October 17, 2014 10:02 AM

Rio Grande's also had FTB's equipped with S/G's.  Not sure if they were regularly assigned to passenger service.

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Posted by carnej1 on Friday, October 17, 2014 11:10 AM

I have read on a number of occasions that the main reason that most of the early owners of  FT's requested drawbars rather than couplers was to make it clear to the Train Service Union officials that a consist of them was considered a single locomotive for crewing purposes.

 There was some concern that the unions would demand that an engineer and fireman be assigned for each individual unit (i.e 4 engineers/4 firemen for every A-B-B-A set).

 Perhaps Santa Fe had negotiated this point with their unions?

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Posted by NP Eddie on Friday, October 17, 2014 9:09 PM

John and all:

The NP FT's were never used in passenger service thus no S/G. They ended their careers hauling freight on level track between Seattle and Portland. The first of them were retired about the time I hired out in 1966. One retired FTA was at Northtown and departed without one number board!

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Posted by NP Eddie on Friday, October 17, 2014 9:12 PM

I should have added that water capacity in the NP passenger F's necessitated the use of a water-baggage car behind the locomotives.

Kuebler's "North Coast Limited" has a list of the servicing locations on the NP.

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, October 19, 2014 11:37 AM

carnej1
There was some concern that the unions would demand that an engineer and fireman be assigned for each individual unit (i.e 4 engineers/4 firemen for every A-B-B-A set). Perhaps Santa Fe had negotiated this point with their unions?

M636C talks about this a little earlier. Early Santa Fe FT "sets" were A-B-B-B, because the unions attempted to require one crew per cab. After the rules were changed, they were ordered in A-B-B-A "sets".

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Posted by M636C on Monday, October 20, 2014 4:08 AM

NorthWest

 

 
carnej1
There was some concern that the unions would demand that an engineer and fireman be assigned for each individual unit (i.e 4 engineers/4 firemen for every A-B-B-A set). Perhaps Santa Fe had negotiated this point with their unions?

 

M636C talks about this a little earlier. Early Santa Fe FT "sets" were A-B-B-B, because the unions attempted to require one crew per cab. After the rules were changed, they were ordered in A-B-B-A "sets".

 

 

Indeed, I should have made the union aspect clear. The first two sets were ordered with two cab units each, but the others came with only one cab unit.

We are talking about two hundred units being delivered as sets with only one cab each, and it was 1944 before the cab units arrived to allow A-B-B-A sets to be formed. So the unions took four to five years to be convinced that a trailing cab could be unmanned.

In retrospect, I hadn't thought of this earlier, but "Amos and Andy" arrived with two cabs each but very quickly lost one cab each and later ran as cab and booster, although "Andy" spent some time as unit 10 with a cab between periods as booster 1A.

The E-1s only had one cab per set although by 1944 A units did run back to back as required.

Union Pacific ran A-B-B sets on the big "City" trains, although I think some sets of E-6 units came as A-A, suggesting UP had an agreement by 1942 or so although UP were much slower adopting freight diesels, which might have influenced the union attitude.

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Posted by 16-567D3A on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 5:07 AM

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Posted by 16-567D3A on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:16 AM

   

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 8:58 AM
Seaboard also ran mixed engine consists of Baldwin BR-8/12-1500/2 centipedes with Alco and EMD power, including FTs, something not many other carriers attempted in the 1950s.
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Posted by SSW9389 on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:59 AM
The Cotton Belt acquired 20 FT units. A dozen units were six sets of semi-permanently coupled A-B units numbered 900ABCD, 905ABCD and 910ABCD delivered in mid 1944. The following eight units were four single A units and four single B units delivered in mid 1945, numbered 915ABCD and 920ABCD. None of the units was equipped with steam generators. Standard equipment was a 16V-567A diesel engine driving a D-8 generator to produce 1350 tractive horsepower to feed four D-7 traction motors. The units had 61:16 gears rated at 70 mph. The units were delivered in a yellow and gray scheme with red pinstripes.  
The 920 ABCD set was wrecked at Renault, IL on November 16, 1948. The units were returned to EMD for rebuild. All four units were returned from EMD in the new Black Widow colors of parent Espee. The 920D was rebuilt on an F7 underframe. 
The FTs were renumbered in April 1949 with all A units in the series 901-923 odd, and the B units in the series 902-924 even. The original numbers were not reused. A head on collision at Aurich, Arkansas in the morning fog of November 29, 1949 destroyed FTA 921 and sent the entire diesel set of three units back to LaGrange for rebuild. The 921 returned riding on a new F7 frame. All Cotton Belt FTs received the Black Widow colors.
A rebuild program commenced at Pine Bluff Shops in Late 1955 which upgraded the engines to 16V-567AC. New Farr grills were installed on the sides of the units. COTTON BELT lettering replaced ST. L-S.W. lettering. All drawbars were removed from the six FTAB pairs. This program was complete by December 1956, but not all Cotton Belt FTs were upgraded.
Ten FTs were traded in to EMD in 1960 on a like number of new GP20s. The following year the last 10 FTs met the same fate, going back to LaGrange on new GP20s.
 
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Posted by 16-567D3A on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:26 PM

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