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GN F7's

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 11:18 AM

A large number of ex-BN F's and NW-2's/NW-5's /SW-1 appeared in Denver circa 1982 after being sold to Gary Flander's disaster called Northern Railcar/ Colorado & Eastern RR.  In that group, BN 716 and 752 plus a B-unit wound up on nearby Cadillac and Lake City. A few of the NW-2's were in Frisco paint, but the majority were in Cascade green and stored in the stockyards or at CRIP Airlawn. BN came back to reposses the units after Flander's little house-of-cards empire collapsed and found most of the units were stripped bare and could never possibly run again. A few of that group managed to survive. The oddball NW-5s and F3's in that group were especially interesting.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 10:26 AM

From my hubby's books if early Amtrak was using F45s as protection power they more than likely would have used Santa Fe ones.  Some of them were geared for passenger speed and had the pass thru lines for steam heat and signal lines. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 10:01 AM

All of the GN and GN-ordered cowl units were F45's.  An F45 at CUS was probably protection power.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, October 31, 2022 8:57 PM

I remember in the early summer of 1972 seeing a cowl unit (FP45?) in GN blue in CHI Union Station, although who knows it it was Amtrak owned or borrowed.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, October 31, 2022 6:02 PM

Probably.

Amtrak got a dozen or so E8's from Burlington Northern, so I imagine some passenger F units also joined the roster. 

Edit: Looks like they got 15 F units from BN. Mostly F7 A and B models, with a couple of F3B's tossed in.

Also, according to this particular roster it looks like the E unit total actually is 21 (Not the dozen I said).

https://www.thedieselshop.us/Amtrak%20all-time%20roster1.txt

While a side track from what the topic is about, I wonder if that E unit total also explains the late retirement date of some of Burlington Northern's E7's. 10 BN E7's hung around a full year after Amtrak's creation before retirement.

Perhaps they didn't have enough E8 and 9's left on BN's roster to cover Chicago commuter assignments and Amtrak relief power assignments when the Morrison Knudsen rebuild program for BN's commuter fleet was underway?

Then when that finished and all the E units were back home, the remaining E7's were left without a job and finally were retired?

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, October 31, 2022 4:08 PM

Leo_Ames
Not as high of a percentage of F units in blue/white as I expected judging by pictures of the early months of Burlington Northern, but perhaps that's because many of these were early retirements.

It could be too that GN tried to repaint it's passenger F's more quickly than it's freight F's...and I would have to look it up but I assume at least some of BN's former GN passenger F's went to Amtrak in 1971, so weren't on the BN roster very long.

It could also be that, being a newer scheme, more railfans chose to photograph the BSB units they saw, while passing up the "run of the mill" green and orange ones - particularly in the 1960s simplified scheme. 

Stix
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, October 21, 2022 10:58 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
There was an article in TRAINS in 1969 or so regarding the FT's.

This was the story with the engineer who didn't 'want his picture took' and threw the apple... as I recall it was an apple core, not the whole thing, but it has been literally over 50 years.

As I recall the story, this was the last operating FT the authors saw running.  And ISTR a subsequent discussion about this being an example of the 'Trains jinx'.

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, October 21, 2022 10:56 AM

from:  

 

http://www.hosam.com/roads/gn.html 

 

 

"The Georgia Northern was aquired by the Southern Railway in 1966. Also included were the affiliated Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester & Camilla and Albany & Northern Railroads. All three roads operated with a motley 
collection of 70 Tonners, 2 FT's, a Baldwin switcher and an SW8 which
all retained their paint schemes until 1969 when Southern retired all
units except for the SW8."



It would thus appear that these FT's were retired ahead of the NP/BN 
ones.



Ed
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, October 21, 2022 10:06 AM

The shortlines in question were Georgia Northern and Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester & Camilla.  They were Pidcock shortlines that were purchased by Southern.  There was an article in TRAINS in 1969 or so regarding the FT's.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, October 20, 2022 5:06 PM

Leo_Ames

At least one FT (possibly two), also ex NP, operated in Mexico afterwards.

The Sonora Baja California bought an A and a B unit from NP in the 1964. While I'm unsure exactly when their 1st run down in Mexico was completed, they appear to have both been out of service by 1972 and were eventually moved in the mid 1970's to the deadline at Benjamin Hill when repairs didn't happen (traction motor issues for the A unit; unsure about the B).

The A unit however was famously resurrected in the early 1990's, albeit with the innards from a donor GP18 and with some parts contributed by the B unit. The B unit's planned restoration that was to follow (using another GP18 as parts donor) seemed to become a casualty of the turmoil going on with Mexico's privatization of their railroads and she was quietly scrapped a decade or so ago, in the same deadline she had sat in since the 70's. 

The A unit is preserved (And operational) at the National Railroad Museum in Puebla.

 

 

The A, NP 5410D, was traded to GE on 9/64.  Sold to Hyman Michaels Co.  Resold to Sonora-Baja California RR., Sonora, Mexico to No. 2203A (or perhaps plain old 2203), 1965

The B, NP 5406C, the same, to No. 2203B, 1965.

 

Ed

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, October 20, 2022 4:48 PM

The only other possible candidates north of Mexico that may have outlasted BN's pair would be on shortlines.

At least two southeastern shortlines utilized ex Southern Railway FT's in the late 1960's, but I don't recall names or know if their used power lasted into the early 1970's. They've briefly seen mentions in the issues of Trains and Classic Trains through the years, but I don't recollect the names of the shortlines to do some checking.

One story I recall had an irate engineer or fireman that didn't like being chased by crazy railfans with cameras, that kept trying to spoil their pictures (not understanding of their interest in his power). I believe an apple was thrown in one of the incidents. 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, October 20, 2022 4:39 PM

Leo_Ames

The A unit is preserved (And operational) at the National Railroad Museum in Puebla.

Along with the only currently operational ALCO PA:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbU5W1XSX04

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, October 20, 2022 4:31 PM

At least one FT (possibly two), also ex NP, operated in Mexico afterwards.

The Sonora Baja California bought an A and a B unit from NP in the 1964. While I'm unsure exactly when their initial operating career down in Mexico was completed, they appear to have both been out of service by 1972 and were eventually moved in the mid 1970's to the deadline at Benjamin Hill when repairs didn't happen (traction motor issues for the A unit; unsure about the B).

The A unit however was famously resurrected in the early 1990's, albeit with the innards from a donor GP18 and with some parts contributed by the B unit. The B unit's planned restoration that was to follow (using another GP18 as parts donor) seemed to become a casualty of the turmoil going on with Mexico's privatization of their railroads and she was quietly scrapped a decade or so ago, in the same deadline she had sat in since the 70's. 

The A unit is preserved (And operational) at the National Railroad Museum in Puebla.

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Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, October 20, 2022 11:13 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

 

 
7j43k

BN operated FT's in the form of NP 5409D and 5404C for a few months.

Ed

 

 

 
I don't think that they lasted that long, a few weeks at most. At any rate, they were never renumbered BN 798 and 799.
 

 

They were retired 06/10/70.  Perhaps "operated" is over optimistic.  Or not.

 

Traded in for SD45's.  Probably not on a one-for-one basis.  Wonder what EMD did with them.

 

The A was built 1/45, the B was built 8/44.

 

Anyone know when the last FT pulled a train?  Was it the BN ones?  There's a shot of the BN FT's doing that in March of 1970.

 

(Additional comment):

I visited the NP on-line group and found the last working run for these units was VERY likely on April 7, 1970.

And they do appear to be the last working FT's anywhere.

 

Ed

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, October 20, 2022 10:04 AM

7j43k

BN operated FT's in the form of NP 5409D and 5404C for a few months.

Ed

 
I don't think that they lasted that long, a few weeks at most. At any rate, they were never renumbered BN 798 and 799.
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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 5:40 PM

BN 853, former GN 314A, was repainted from BSB to BN green on November 5, 1976.

BN retired their last F's in 1982, most of them being former NP F9's.

BN operated FT's in the form of NP 5409D and 5404C for a few months.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, October 8, 2022 10:00 PM

The latest Trains Blog talks about some SEPTA ex-Reading FP7's that ran until 1981.  And the MetroNorth FL9's ran until 2009, for over 50 years in service.

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, October 8, 2022 8:38 AM

PC also ran quite a few F-units in northern Ohio and SE Michigan during the mid 70s.

NDG
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Posted by NDG on Saturday, October 8, 2022 3:53 AM
FWIW.
 
Regarding Paint Jobs.
 
A Half Century Ago.
 
We roamed all over the West chasing CN 9102/1, which lasted into the
Seventies painted this way.
 
 
The LAST CN F Unit in the old colour scheme.
 

Thank You.

 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 6:16 PM

In 1970 I don't think any major F unit user had yet to completely eliminate the type.

The Union Pacific and Southern Pacific when both retired their last F units in 1972 are the first that leap to mind for a major F unit customer retiring their entire fleet (excluding the B units that SP retained as power units for rotary plows). And Lehigh Valley's last F units from their small fleet also went that year for a notable smaller road. 

The Burlington sure came close though to doing it even earlier, with just one F unit remaining from their sizeable fleet when Burlington Northern was born in 1970. Had BN been delayed a bit, they'd of surely been the first notable F unit operator to eliminate them entirely later that year.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 3:29 PM

Soo Line was a relatively late user of F units; a nice touch was none of the A-units had m.u. connections in the nose, so always had to run on the end of a consist...so in the seventies you might see an F7A-GP9-RS27-F7A lashup, with the Fs facing away from each other.

Then again, the next train might have a GP30-F7B-GP9 lashup, since the B-units could run anywhere in the consist.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 10:40 AM

Overmod

...KCS had cabs with the windows plated over to make them boosters that were in general freight consists as least as late as the mid-Eighties and perhaps into the '90s.

CN had those too:

http://tracksidetreasure.blogspot.com/2017/02/cns-blind-mice-f-units.html

A lot of crews in western Alberta and B.C. preferred having an F-unit leading over a spartan cab Geep or SD40.  Better visibility and the round nose was better at pushing debris off the track.    

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 5:55 AM

VGN Jess
... as I presumed that by 1970 no RR was running 20 year old F7 powered freights...

One of my happiest memories was chasing an A-B-B-A set of Erie-Lackawanna Fs out of Port Jervis on regular freight -- and a fine, fast wheel they put on a good long consist -- in what I recall was 1974.  That was the last time I saw full F-unit consist on freight, but it wasn't uncommon to see them MUed in consists in the '70s -- I saw one in 1977 in Ohio, with the engine crew gesticulating to draw attention to what they had in the back -- and KCS had cabs with the windows plated over to make them boosters that were in general freight consists as least as late as the mid-Eighties and perhaps into the '90s.

 

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 2:14 PM

VGN Jess

No, I actually meant GN, as I presumed that by 1970 no RR was running 20 year old F7 powered freights, but if you know that BN did, that answers my question.

 
Keep in mind GN didn't start using the Big Sky Blue paintscheme until mid-late 1967. Unlikely they would have repainted an engine that they were about to scrap!
Wink
Stix
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Posted by JayBee on Sunday, October 2, 2022 12:40 AM

Minor correction to my previous post only 16 F7B units, but one F9B unit also. I mistook 474C for a F7B unit when in fact it was one of five F9B units purchased to turn an A-B-A set into an A-B-B-A set. 

Also three Passenger F3 units were painted into Big Sky Blue but did not make it to the BN merger, 1 F3A, and 2 F3B units. In total 183 locomotives were repainted into Big Sky Blue, with the locomotives delivered new in Big Sky Blue, there were 239 locomotives that wore the paint scheme. A significant number considering the scheme first appeared in April 1967, and the merger took place on March 1st, 1970.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, October 1, 2022 6:16 AM

So 7 out of 18 F3's and 35 out of 89 F7's were in Great Northern's Big Sky Blue on Burlington Northern's first day. For comparison with a newer model, GN had cycled 1/3rd of the 5 year old U25B's through the paint shop for Big Sky Blue by the end. 

Not as high of a percentage of F units in blue/white as I expected judging by pictures of the early months of Burlington Northern, but perhaps that's because many of these were early retirements.

Quite a few were retired during 1970-1972, some probably never operating under BN. And if they typically would repaint a unit after overhaul (I'm not sure if GN practiced that, but that's what many roads do to this day), it makes sense that many of those out running in the early days of BN were those that had been repainted in Big Sky Blue.

Only 2 of the GN's F3's stuck around until the end of the F unit era with the rest retired by the end of 1974. And only 25 of the F7's were retained past those early years.

Were any of the 5 F9B's that made it to BN painted in Big Sky Blue?

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Posted by JayBee on Friday, September 30, 2022 8:13 PM

BN received 4 F3B, 3 F3A, 18 F7A, 17 F7B painted in Big Sky Blue.  

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Posted by VGN Jess on Friday, September 30, 2022 3:55 PM

Thank you all for your responses. I had no idea that freight F7's lasted so long past 1970.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, September 30, 2022 1:06 PM

I'm sure nothing of significance was reused. The only obvious component for reuse would've been the Blomberg truck frames, but that wasn't done.

While GE happily constructed new locomotives riding on Blomberg B truck frames for roads like the Seaboard Coast Line, no 4 axle U-Boat or Dash 7 for BN or BN's predecessors ever sat atop repurposed EMD trucks. Some of BN's U-Boats reused trucks off traded-in Alco's and the Frisco B30-7's rode on trucks from traded-in high-nose U25B's #800-807, but never an EMD.

All that GE got out of their trade-in allowance to Burlington Northern for those retired F units in the early 1980's was their scrap value. But accepting them in trade no doubt played a role in helping secure that order for Erie instead of it going to La Grange for new GP50's (All of BN's GP50's utilized recycled Blomberg trucks from trade-ins).

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