E-7 modifications

Discussion in 'Electo-Motive Division (EMD)' started by Larry F., Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    According to Louis Marre in his first book, the E-7s were cosmetically modified to an E-8 appearance "subsequent" to the deliveries of the E-8s. Does subsequent in this case mean after the first delivery or after all the E-8s were delivered?..and does anyone know when the the first modication occured? Were the two Texas Special E-7s allowed to run longer in their original colors than the other E-7s or were all the mods done en masse? Personally, I would be torn between running a train dedicated almost new diesel on my premiere passenger train or letting a shiny new engine pull it. Thanks in advance. Larry F.
  2. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    I don't have specific dates for each locomotive, but I believe that the conversion occurred from Sept 1950 through Dec 1951. That would make the change after all of the E-8's had been delivered. Point two, since the modified EA-7's received the full gold/white treatment, that lends further credence to a post, complete-delivery of the E-8's.
  3. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Larry has asked a great question! Oh, how I wish Lee Buffington was still here with us to help answer it with his sharp memory of Frisco locomotive detail and history.

    From what I understand, Karl is essentially correct with his answer above. I believe (really only suspect) the decision was made to convert all the E7's to E8 specifications (change gearing from 55:22 to 57:20 and a few other things) plus modify their appearance to resemble the E8's when the decision was made to buy the 17 new E8's and to decorate them in the "Racehorse" paint scheme. Design work on the E7 modifications probably started then. The first of the E8's arrived in early 1950, in the red and gold scheme with horse names but with no white striping around the gold. It was soon realized that the gold on red did not present enough contrast for good visibility, in particular when the unit was dirty, so the decision was made to add the white stripes around the end of the first quarter of 1950, before all the E8's had even arrived. The E7 body modifications had probably already started as well by this time in the shops.

    EMD immediately started adding the white stripe around the gold features on the units that had not yet been delivered. Seems to me that started with 2016, but I don't recall for sure. We discussed this at length on frisco.org a few years ago and pretty much agreed that white stripes started to show up on the E8's from 2016 (2014?) to 2022. The Frisco applied the white stripes in their shops for the units already in service. The width of the border white stripe was a bit different between EMD and Frisco - I think the EMD white stripe was a bit thinner, the Frisco's a bit wider, at least that's what I recall we agreed on. At the same time, the Frisco shops also completed the E7 modifications, including the "Racehorse" scheme with white stripes around the gold. By the time the final new E8, 2022, went into service (August, 1950), the Frisco re-striped E8's, and I presume, the first of the remodeled E7's, began to appear out of the shops. All the E7's and E8's were pretty much complete by late 1950, probably at the start of the fourth quarter.

    I'm recreating history here without full documentation, which is always risky. I base this on the fact that the Frisco diagram for the six E7's was noted as having been re-drawn on 9/22/1950, showing the units as being re-geared, in the modified body style to resemble the E8's, and with their horse names.

    Somewhere here in my computer I have an undated pic of E7 2004 with its modified body being painted in the "Racehorse" scheme in the Frisco shops. I think this came from the Frisco employee magazine. Maybe we can chase it down and get the date.

    We can only speculate as to how the Frisco managed the transition. When the first six E8's arrived, did they immediately send the six E7's to the shops? Probably so, as they would not have run real well together with their different gearing. Another date to look for would be when the MKT re-geared their two TS E7's. I'm sure the two roads coordinated this.

    I'm done - anybody have any comments or other ideas on this question?

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2012
  4. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    I doubt if the the M-K-T re-geared their E-7's (I'm not positive, just a guess??). They were always run as an A-A pair on the Texas Special. After the Frisco E-8's were delivered, the usual three Texas Special engine sets were: (1) Katy E-7 A-A set (2) Katy E8 or PA A-A set and (3) Frisco E-8 A-A set. The Katy E-7's weren't split up until 1956, then they ran separatelly on the Blue Bonnet connection in the Houston area. After about 1955 or so, there were MANY different combinations and mixes on the Texas Special: Katy E-8's, F-7B's, FP-7's, PA's and Frisco E-8's, sometimes engines of both companies showed up in a consist.

  5. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Tom -

    No, the MKT definitely re-geared their E7's, at about the same time the Frisco did. I have the MKT loco diagram showing them re-geared to 57:20 (posted it on frisco.org when I received it - somewhere!), and I also confirmed that they were re-geared with friends at the MKT HS.

    This makes sense - neither the Frisco or the Katy needed 100 MPH locomotives for their passenger trains; their railroads were not very well suited to run that fast. Also, the 55:22 gearing made for slow acceleration from station stops, slow orders, etc., and suffered going up hills and on sharp curves. I think both roads would admit that their gear selection on their E7's was a mistake. Both ordered E8's at about the same time, geared for 85 MPH, 57:20. Made for a much more flexible locomotive for each, and re-gearing the four E7's allowed them to fit in easily.

  6. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    Anyway the Katy E-7's ran as a pair until 1956 and weren't ever lashed up to any other diesel models (E-8, F-7B, FP-7, PA etc.).

  7. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Tom - You're right, the MKT Texas Special E7's always seemed to be together, as were (I think) the Frisco TS E7's (2000 & 2003) until the E8's arrived. After the Frisco E8's and the rebuilds of the Frisco E7's were all in service wearing horse names, when it was the Frisco's turn to provide the power for the TS, any of the Frisco E's could have been involved.

    I'm wondering why the MKT didn't break up their TS E7 set. What do you think of these possible reasons:
    - They remained, at least for a long time, wearing the unique Texas Special paint decor (although after several years, the TS lettering was removed and the E7's were painted like the other MKT E's)
    - They were the MKT's only E7's. "Hey, let's just keep 'em together!"
    - They quickly became maintenance/reliability problems, due to MKT's oft-deferred maintenance practices. "Hey, send them up to the Frisco. Maybe they will fix them at Springfield or St Louis if they give trouble!" (*)

    Eventually, the TS was powered by whatever MKT had available when it was their turn - the E7 set, E8's, PA's, FP7's, etc. Late in their life, the MKT E7's sat idle for a long time in the weeds, and were disposed of in August, 1964 (to Commercial Metals for scrap). I wonder if at the end of their service lives if they ever ventured out alone mated with other MKT power. As you say, never have seen any evidence of that.

    (*) Lee Buffington suspected this to be the case, not only on the Katy E7's, but also on their PA's. He delighted me with a number of stories of such events.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2012
  8. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    Hey, thanks guys! Your replies were most interesting. From your information, and I if was modeling the prototype in a very narrow time frame, it would be safe to have the TS set parked next to an E-8 duo(since I'm the GM of my railroad, the TS E-7s will probably run in their original colors right up to the bitter end). This brings up one more question...I think I saw a photo of an MKT E-8B splicing a pair of Frisco E-8s(E-7s?)...what would be the reason for this consist. I assume it's the TS but why would the Frisco use an MKT unit when they could have plugged in one of their own units, albeit in b/y? Larry
  9. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    M-K-T did not own any E8B units (nor did the Frisco), so perhaps what you saw was an F7B, which Katy did run in passenger service. In fact E8B units were comparatively rare (only 39 sold), as were E9Bs (44 sold) with the vast majority of both models going to the UP.

  10. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Greg is correct - the MKT did not have any E8B's. They did have F3B's, F7B's, and F9B's. What you saw in the pic was likely a MKT F7B, one that came along with their 1952 purchase of FP7's, in FP7-F7B-FP7 sets. These F7B's likely had steam pipes, and would have been able to mate up with E8's from either the Frisco or the Katy.

    Why it was a MKT unit between two Frisco E's and not a Frisco B-unit is hard to say! Where was that pic?

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2012
  11. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    Late in the history of the Texas Special there were lots of strangely mixed diesel consists. Some examples: Frisco E-8 + Katy F7B + Katy E-8. Another: Katy E-8 + Katy F-7B + Katy PA. Katy E-8 + Katy FP-7. Frisco E-8 + Katy F-7B + Frisco E-8 (This example is in the "Frisco Southwest" book). Katy PA + F-7B and several other variations.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2012
  12. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Tom nailed it! In Frisco Southwest, p42, is a pic of the TS arriving at Dallas, behind E8 SLSF 2009, F7B MKT 121B, and E8 SLSF 2008 in June of 1957.

    MKT 121B is indeed one of the four MKT F7B's that came along with the eight MKT FP7's, all delivered in Jan/Feb of 1952. Since the F7B's were part of the four MKT FP7-F7B-FP7 sets, one would assume they were equipped with steam pipes, making them good for passenger duty with E8's as well as with the FP7's.

    The good news is that this was an impressive power consist for the Texas Special that day. The bad news is that, per the caption, the "TS" was 9 hrs 45 min late arriving in Dallas!

  13. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Ken, I recalled this, too, and remembered seeing a photo when I subscribed to the old Frisco Museum "All Aboard" in the 1990s.

    Vol. 9, No. 1, page 9 shows #2005 "fresh from the paint shop" on May 18, 1950.

    A few months later, Vol. 9, No. 3 (with 1522 on the cover), page 29, shows E7 #2001 still in its original garb; the adjacent photo shows #2004/Dan Patch being repainted. Both cite May, 1950 as the dates. I'd previously posted these photos here:


    Dr. Mike Condren has graciously made all of the old museum magazines available via his website; the two aforementioned volumes are at


    I'll have to look through some of the old FMIG newsletters to see if there are any notes from Lee Buffington back in that day.

    Best Regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2017
  14. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    I stand corrected on the Katy E-8B statement...thanks for the insight. I guess I saw the original photo in "Frisco Southwest" but since my copy of the book is too ratty for reference I was going by memory and this was a BIG mistake! Used to be that I could go somewhere and remember why I was there but I'm lucky now to make it across the room before forgetting what I was going for. Again, thanks one and all for the information. Larry F.
  15. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Larry - Don't feel like your are alone on this problem!

  16. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Chris - Excellent!, thanks for chasing these down. The May, 1950 date fits well within my scenario posted above on the E7 rebuilds.

  17. pbender

    pbender Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Since Intermountain just announced they were going to do MKT FP7s and F7Bs in N-scale, I have been looking through information on what combinations might have appeared on the Texas Special in Missouri.

    In my research, I ran across a note that said the MKT F7Bs (at least the ones that were ordered with the FP7s ) were equipped with steam generators. There is at least one photo in Morning Sun's Missouri-Kansas-Texas in Color that shows the roof of one of these F7Bs, and the steam generator's roof details are clearly visible.

    Other than the photo in Frisco Southwest, the only other photo I've found in any of my references shows two Katy FP7s on the Texas Special in St. Louis in December 1958. These two units were in Deramus Red.

    I might buy one of the MKT F7Bs, so I can replicate the Frisco Southwest power consist, but I still haven't decided if I want to buy any of the Katy FP7s.

  18. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    About the Summer of 1953, I saw the Texas Special at the Springfield depot pulled by two Katy E-8's spliced with a Katy F-7B. Of course at the time I didn't know what was or was not a Katy E-8 or F-7B. Only later did I figure out what I was looking at. The engines were definitely M-K-T because of the company heralds. And the silver sides on the engines were painted and not fluted (Like the E-7 Texas Special engines). Later I realized that the B-units were F-7B's and not E-8B's. Anyway the train that night had twenty cars (The twelve year old novice railfan did have enough sense to count the cars).
    The last car was the Katy HW lounge I later identified in photos. I thought that car was extra neat because of the shadow stripe paint job and the "living room" furniture and lamps inside, instead of coach seats like every other passenger car I had taken notice of. Anyhow the Texas Special that particular night shone like a silver dollar (Engines, cars, wheels, trucks), not like the dingy Texas Special of later years when the RR's were trying to dump it.

    Tom G.
  19. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Frisco.org Supporter

    The Katy F-7B's for passenger service had steam generators and were primarily intended for such service. The Frisco also had a number of F-7B's for "dual service," but they only had steam lines, so they could supplement the E's and FP-7's or GP-7's with traction power, but that's all. These were often seen in use in "special" movements.

    Ken McElreath
  20. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    With regard to the timing of the EA-7 rebuilding, perhaps it is necessary re-examine the common wisdom. I have been looking at Frisco passenger service as related to the steam-diesel transition and the type of power, which the Frisco purchased for this service. I have been looking through annual reports, and I discovered this seeming anachronism. On page 7 of the Frisco 1949 Annual Report, a picture of a freshly painted and rebuilt 2005 appears. The caption states, "Sleek new Diesel (this was back during the days, when the word diesel was a proper noun) locomotives were added to the Frisco's passenger fleet in 1949. Each of the new passenger locomotives is named for some famous American horse".

    This is puzzling for several reasons. The obvious contradiction is that this is not a new locomotive. One is inclined to allow some semantic gamesmanship, since the 17 E-8's were ordered during 1949, and the 2005 provided a reasonable facsimile of the new units, which were arriving as the 1949 Annual Report was being prepared. But, why use the three-year old EA-7, when engines 2006-2015 had arrived by March 1950? Other SL-SF E-8 builder's-type photos exist. Shareholders are not foamers, so some latitude must be given the historical inaccuracy.

    The SL-SF picture and other views of 2005 taken during the same "sitting" are familiar to Frisco enthusiasts, and they have appeared in print on numerous occasions. Two of these image appear in Frisco Diesel Power on page 71. As Chris notes, the Frisco Museum's All Aboard newsletters 9-1 and 9-3 contain information about the EA-7 conversion.. These publications cite a date of May 18, 1950 the Winchester photograph. It has been presented that the conversion of the EA-7's into ersatz E-8's occurred during the May-Dec 1950 period, but this photo might change the thinking in that regard. It's all about the the publication date of the 1949 report, and that's difficult to nail. The center-fold map has a date of March 1950, the Price, Waterhouse & Co. certification letter is dated March 31, 1950, and Mr. Hungerford's letter to the shareholders is dated April 27, 1950. The letter notes that the 1949 Annual Report supplements the 1949 condensed report, which was dated March 9, 1950.

    My question becomes, was the 1949 Annual Report assembled, and printed after May 18, 1950, or was the image of 2005 taken earlier during 1950? If the latter is true, then conversion of the EA-7's might have begun as soon as the new E-units arrived during February-March 1950, and as soon as they could handle the Meteor and the Texas Special. It also implies that this conversion was no afterthought, and that plans to rebuild the EA-7's was in the works soon after the order for the E-8's was submitted. The Frisco was re-arranging deck chairs on a sinking ship.

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017

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