Passenger Train Diesel Engine Assignments

Discussion in 'Passenger Operations' started by kenmc, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    For those wanting to authentically model Frisco passenger trains, the choice of motive power pretty well determines the train, or vice versa. I love looking at photos and instantly identifying the train based on either the motive power or a unique characteristic of the consist.

    The Frisco had a nominal fleet of 50 "passenger diesels", not including several F3Bs with steam and signal lines for assistance to the passenger engines. When purchased, there was a plan for how these engines were to be employed, including layover times for servicing. The passenger diesel fleet was as follows:
    EA7 - 6
    E8A - 17
    FP7 - 12
    GP7 - 15

    For the most part, the EA7, E8A and FP7 types were dedicated to passenger train assignments originally, and the GP7 engines were scattered at various terminals for backup, passenger specials and assistance to the passenger engines when loads were heavy. A few Gp7s were actually assigned regularly, but not many. It is hazardous for me to generalize, because someone will inevitably show up with a photo of an FA1 or a Baldwin switcher, for example, leading a passenger train. When all else fails, use what's available, right? Also, the engine assignments changed as the passenger trains themselves were rescheduled or otherwise changed.

    So, if we want to look at mid-1950s assignments, they looked something like this.

    The EA7 and E8A fleet was assigned to the higher speed and heavier load mainline trains, two each for the Meteors between St. Louis and Lawton OK, three sets of two each for the Kansas City-Florida Special, and one set of two for the Texas Special (more or less, since the MKT and Frisco together needed three sets to cover). The Will Rogers normally had two pairs assigned, but sometimes only a single unit was used. The Sunnyland 107-108 between Memphis and Birmingham shared one set in rotation with the KC-FS and had another set for the opposite train. The Memphian 805-806 and Sunnyland 807-808 shared two single units for the daytime and nighttime runs, and the Firefly had two single units for the KC-Tulsa run. If you add these up, the total number is 22 out of 23 available, and one unit was normally used on the Clinton train from KC to Springfield to enable rotating of units to Springfield for inspections and servicing. Obviously, these assignments did not give much flex to the servicing and maintenance folks, so the Sunnyland 107-108 between Memphis and Birmingham often had two passenger GP7s as normal fare, since it was a heavy train but not too fast a schedule.

    The twelve FP7 engines were all single engine assignments on slower schedules and lighter trains. They included the Meteor Connection from Monett to Fort Smith (2 engines), Black Gold from Tulsa to Dallas (2), Sunnyland Pensacola connection from Amory MS (2), Sunnyland trains 101-102 (later 107-108) between Fort Scott KS and Memphis (2), and Wichita trains from Monett (2). This leaves two engines, which may have been assigned originally to the Enid Meteor connection from Tulsa, the Oklahoman from KC to Tulsa, or the extended run of the Fort Smith connection all the way to Paris TX. However, these schedules were being cut rapidly in the early 1950s, so it is hard for me to say for sure. The wisdom of purchasing FP7s was rapidly realized, since they could easily be reassigned to freight service.

    The only regular GP7 service that I have been able to identify are trains 107-108 between Memphis and Birmingham (two units), plus the various mixed trains that plied the system. Mostly, they were reserves for backup or assistance to the mainline units.

    I'm sure my listing above is missing some information, but generally you can see how Management planned to purchase and employ their passenger locomotive investments. I am looking forward to seeing many replies which will rip my sketchy research to shreds, but I also look forward to all of the unknowns and nuances that I can learn from them.


    Ken McElreath
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  2. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ken -
    This should make for some fun research and further reading over my Christmas break. Very good summary. I've always wondered if the acquisition of dual-purpose units - FP7 and GP7, specifically - were a matter of management foreseeing the eventual demise of passenger traffic, or if it was an extension of their late steam use of locomotives, such as the 1500s, that could be easily at home with either passenger or fast freight hauls.

    From a modeler's standpoint, I've always thought that 805/806 and 807/808 would be good subjects to model due to their shorter train lengths. The natural extension of what you've described point to being able to model these trains without having to sink a significant amount resources into a large passenger fleet.

    Best Regards,
  3. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Ken's summary is very interesting, Thank you.

    E-7 #2000 (Fair Play) and #2003 (Steel Dust) were assigned to the Texas Special passenger train. Did some of the other diesel passenger trains have specific locomotives assigned to them?

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  4. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    To be more correct they ( and the MKT pair ) were purchased for the Texas Special. The other 4 EA7s were purchased for the Meteor.

    Once the E8As arrived, in 1950 I believe, the EA7s were rebuilt cosmetically to match, so they were no longer dedicated to the trains.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2016
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  5. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Thank you,Paul. What road numbers did the MKT locomotives carry?

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

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

    The Katy E-7s were 101C and 101B (later 101C). About 1950 the Texas Special lettering and stars were removed and Katy heralds were added to the nose (where the stars were) and sides (where the lettering was). The Katy E-7s were then used on other trains.

    Tom G.
  7. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Thank you, Tom

  8. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    The EA-7's received more than a cosmetic touch. They were regeared from 100 mph to 85 mph, and the electro-pneumatic brakes were de-activated.
    pbender likes this.
  9. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    I'm thinking about setting up two Texas Special trains for my layout. One Frisco and the other MK&T. They will be running on the Central Division via Monett, Ft. Smith, Paris and Dallas because of flooding on their normal route. That's why I went to N scale back in 1984, so I could run passenger trains in a reasonable amount of space. Do you guys have any suggestions on this topic.

  10. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

  11. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

  12. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    In 1950 the Katy bought four E8As to replace the two EA7s on the Texas Special. Apparently, they accepted the responsibility for needing a third power set, due to their longer route mileage and slow servicing turn at San Antonio. The EA7s were reassigned elsewhere, along with the fleet of PA1 Alcos. But occasionally even the Alcos showed up in St. Louis on the Special, although they were regulars on the Katy Special.

    The Frisco's passenger GP7s were interesting. Unlike the IC or neighboring MP, the Frisco ordered theirs with small fuel tanks so as to leave room under the frame for a boiler water tank, and with steam connections on the rear only. That's why they didn't move the air tanks to the roof. This tells me that they were never intended for mainline use, either as freight or passenger power. Unlike the E and FP units, which had sufficient range to run two subdivisions (200 miles) without refueling, the passenger Geeps were intended for locals and branch line mixeds, staying on one sub and terminal assignment.

    Ken McElreath
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  13. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Suggestions as to what?

  14. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Greg, suggestions in regard to other trains that could be run on the Central Division because of weather related issues or other types of delays.

  15. Douglas wayne

    Douglas wayne Member

    Ken you answered my question perfectly. Would have loved to see a also PA here or for that matter anywhere!
  16. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

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

    Not on the Central Division, but I've seen a Frisco conductor's report/consist where the westbound Texas Special, because of a washout on the Katy, was rerouted past Vinita, on to Tulsa, then on the Frisco (via the Tulsa-Texas line) to Staley, OK and back on the Katy where the Frisco crossed the Red River on the Katy's bridge.

    Tom G.
  17. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Thank you, Tom.

  18. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Did any of the FB-1 units have steam and signal piping? Their traction motors could survive passenger speeds.
  19. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Doug, your message has made me realize that the available photos of Frisco FB-1 units are rather puny. I could only find the following:

    But, I lack the knowledge to tell whether any of these are steam or signal lines. I don't think they are, but I only assert that opinion quite meekly.

    In any event, it would have been fun to see them w/a passenger lash-up.

    Best Regards,
  20. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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