F units with passenger designation

Discussion in 'Diesel General' started by pbender, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. pbender

    pbender Member Frisco.org Supporter

    A while ago, I purchased a Southwestern Division timetable dated September 18,1965.

    I was looking through this today, and I noticed something interesting in one of the tables in the back related to which F units could be used on passenger trains.

    The following F units were designated for FRT. PASS. Service:

    FP7As 5040-5051
    F3B 5117
    F7Bs 5127-5139
    F9Bs 5140-5152

    I knew that some of the F7Bs were equipped with steam lines for passenger service, as were the FP7As.

    I can understand designating the F9Bs as passenger engines, since they were delivered after the FP7s, but does anyone know the story behind why F3B 5117 is the only F3 (A or B) that was designated for passenger service?

  2. meteor910

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

    Paul - I do not know the why or the when, but I have a pocket diagram for SLSF 5117 that notes it is acceptable for freight or passenger service. I guess for some reason they added steam lines to it. I don't think it came that way from EMD.

    This unit was the last of the Frisco F3B's.

  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    The Feb 10, 1953 diagram book lists the F37-B as a freight-only unit. By June 15, 1956, the River Div ETT 39A lists the 5117 as the only F37-B as suitable for Frt or Psgr service. Converting this unit to dual service created an even 20 B units configured with a through steam line.

    As to why a F37-B was selected vis a vis a F-7B may have been a matter of what was on hand in the shop at the time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2010
  4. meteor910

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

    I have a 9/1/53 diagram that lists F3B SLSF 5117 as freight only. So, it was converted with steam pipes for passenger service sometime after 9/1/53 and before Karl's diagram date of 6/15/56.

  5. pbender

    pbender Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I was going to ask about 20 units, but then I realized that the last group of F9Bs (5145-5152) were delivered after the timetable you note above. These are listed separately in the timetable I have in front of me, but all of the F9Bs were apparently equipped with steam heat and signal lines as they are all listed for Frt or Pass service.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2010
  6. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    To narrow the range a little more, Central Div ETT 39 (May 9, 1954) lists #5117 as FRT.PASS.
  7. pbender

    pbender Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Well that gets us down to a 9 month time frame for the conversion... Between September 1953 and may 1954

  8. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Dual Service B, F-Units

    Paul's question about the 5117 as a dual service unit got the wheels turning, and it prompts this question. Why equip any of the B, F-units, and especially the late-arriving F-9B's with through steam lines?

    I have listed the extent of Frisco passenger service as it entered 1947, and I carried it through to very early 1955 in order to show that by 1950, it should have been obvious that the trend in passenger traffic was downward. By 1952, the Frisco had 75 units capable of handling passnger traffic, and it might be argued that the railroad over-bought with regard to passenger and dual service locomotives. Why carry things 15 units further and add the steam lines to the covered wagons. Granted, it was a low-cost solution, but in hindsight it seems unnecessary.

    Any thoughts?

    As I mulled this over, I wondered if the Frisco was caught short of power to handle troop trains during the Korean War, and over compensated after the conflict ended in 1953.

    Psgr Locomotives
    EA-7......6 units.....Blt Mar 47.....Regeared to 85 mph
    E-8A.....17 units.....Blt Feb-June 50...Geared to 85 mph

    Dual Service Locomotive Steam Generator-Equipped
    FP-7A....12 Units.....Blt Dec 50-Feb 51....65 mph
    GP-7*....54 Units.....Blt Feb 50-Jan 52....65 mph
    *500-514 have steam connection on rear only

    Dual Service Locomotives Through Steam Line Only
    F37-B.....1 Unit......Blt June 48..........65 mph
    F7-B$....14 Units.....Blt June 51-Oct 51...65 mph
    F9-B.....15 Units.....Blt Jan 54-Apr 57....65 mph
    $ 1953 diagram states that these units "equipped with steam end connections for use with FP-7 loco's in passenger service."
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
  9. meteor910

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

    Karl -

    Nice summary.

    Regarding the obvious excess of passenger capable power, I suspect the reasoning was two-fold - first, as you suggest, many of the Korea era troop movements were powered by other than the E's - FP7, B-units, and GP7's. Remembering the demands of the WW2 era, and being in the cold war mentality, they might have decided to make sure they had the capability, since the cost was low. Second - railroad managements have never been accused of being real forward thinking types. They might not have been ready to accept the obvious downward trend in passenger traffic.

    Dunno. In hindsight, it was a waste of money.

  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Re: Dual Service B, F-Units

    Karl, an excellent and useful summary of data.

    This would certainliy make sense. The Federal-Aid Highway Act was still 3 years away from the Korean Armistice agreement. If the Frisco was short on passenger power for troop trains before this time, and without a shred of pavement poured for the Interstate Highway System in place yet...combine that with a lack of foresight and/or strategic vision...

    Not really related, but at a National Assn. of College Broadcaster's Convention in 1993, I recall a prominent industry individual forecasting that "AM radio [would] be dead in 5-10 years." :)
  11. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

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

    The "Federal Highway Act" didn't make much of a dent in anything until about 1960, except for roads being torn up everywhere (Much worse back then, no matter how much people bitch these days)! I-44 west of Springfield (Toward Joplin) wasn't decent until about 1962.

  12. gbmott

    gbmott Member


    I'm really curious about the footnote stating that 500-514 were delivered with steam connections at the rear only. Was this a notation in a Diagram Book? I have trouble understanding why anyone would go to all the expense of installing a steam generator, water tanks, etc., and stopping short of piping to the front end. This effectively meant you could only operate as a single unit in passenger service. Strange. Clearly this situation didn't last very long but I'm sure curious how it came to be in the first place. -- Gordon

    SLSF 508.jpg
  13. gbmott

    gbmott Member

    I'm on a scanning roll, so here are a couple more. Throughout the 50's and early 60's it was not unusual for 709-710 to have extra Pullmans in troop service related to Fort Chaffee. There were still occasional troop trains that operated on the MoPac all the way into the fort, but in later years it tended to more often be two or three cars added to the regular train. This would tax the ability of a single FP-7, both in terms of tractive effort over the hill but also of capacity of the water tank to supply steam. So it was normal to add a second unit, always a GP-7 that was on hand in Fort Smith. I don't know that it justifies the number of SG-equipped units that were acquired, but it did mean that the passenger GP-7s could circulate freely in regular freight service and did not have to be restricted to where they could be readily available if needed for passenger protection. For fun, included too is the only time I saw multiple F's on 710 -- for some reason the were running twelve extra cars (11 heavyweight Pullmans plus Alexander Doniphan, the former Texas Special diner) which normally would have been a special train. The combination of FP-7/F-9B/FP-7 looks pretty classy, don't you think?? -- Gordon

    Attached Files:

    fr613 likes this.
  14. meteor910

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

    Gordon -

    Great shots! Thanks for posting.

    Not only the FP7-F9-FP7 ABA, but love the shots of 508 with steam belching and the set of three GP7's led by 613. Neat - the Frisco in its diesel era prime!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2010
  15. gbmott

    gbmott Member

    Thanks Ken, but we need to be sensitive to the likes of Don Wirth who will argue that the Frisco's prime peaked about 1945! Actually I am somewhat sympathetic with that view also -- those of us who are old enough :eek: to have actually seen a lot of SLSF steam won't ever quite get over it. As for the photos I posted, let it be a lesson to the young folks out there -- with the exception of the three F's, which I knew was special, the other shots were just ordinary occurances that I didn't give any particular thought to at the time. The moral is that what is ordinary today will seem much less so when it is no longer around, so take pictures of ordinary things while you can. I wish I had taken more photos of things other than locomotives as that proves interesting later also.

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

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

    Nice shots Gordon! I like the Geeps with all the extended stacks.

  17. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter


    Thanks for posting those pics. The covered wagon consist is a real gem.

    The comment about the rear steam connection only did come from a diagram.

    Please see

    I wonder if the reason for doing this was all about the notion that the railroads still viewed diesels as literal replacements for steam.... the 4300's, 4400's, & 4500's = a F unit A-B-B-A set.....the 4200's and 4100's = a FA-FB-FA set....the 1200's and 1300's = a Geep.

  18. meteor910

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

    Gordon -

    Fair point! Let me modify my statement - "the Frisco in its diesel era prime!"

    99.44% or more of my Frisco experience was during "diesel time". I really do wish I would have paid more attention as a little kid to the final years of Frisco steam. From what I have read and seen in pictures, and from what Don, you, Joe and others have described, it was pretty neat. Railroads were much more interesting then.

    My only memory of Frisco steam, and it is a faint one, is a backyard picnic one summer in the late 1940's at friends of my grandparents who lived on what might have been Frisco Blvd in Webster Groves or Glendale or maybe somewhere in Kirkwood or Shrewsbury. Their yard backed up to a railroad. A train came along, an eastbound, behind steam. Don't recall if it was passenger or freight, or what type it was. All I remember about it was that it was impressive, made good noise, and ..... it had a red number board under its headlight. Ta da!

  19. EMD F7 both freight & passenger abilities

    Those dual services locomotive things I have been looking for before
    I found this neat 2010 chat
    F units with passenger designation
    Discussion in 'Diesel General' started by pbender, Jul 19, 2010.

    I had been looking at http://condrenrails.com/frisco.html, http://condrenrails.com/Frisco Catalog/Frisco_Loco_Pixs.htm ,
    http://condrenrails.com/Frisco Catalog/F-Units-5000-series.htm ,
    https://www.american-rails.com/emd-f7.html ,
    http://condrenrails.com/Frisco Catalog/FP-7s.htm , http://www.thedieselshop.us/Data EMD FP7.HTML ,
    and others websites.
    All that led me to Mike's http://condrenrails.com/Frisco/Frisco_Diesels.htm .
    Mike's frisco diesel chart with ~ 30 notes; ....
    as well has having tanks & steam generator (SG) "x" 's added after various locomotives models listed on Mike's chart.

    It would be nice to update Mike's http://condrenrails.com/Frisco/Frisco_Diesels.htm
    diesel list dated December 29, 2002; ....

    by adding a few SG "x" 's after each diesel F7B, F9B, F3B# 5117, (F7A?) and
    by adding a new short statement at the chart page's bottom
    at the Note SG: .... and/or adding a short statement under the paragraph about "Oddities":
    in order to address this
    "SG Topic" and "dual Freight-Passenger abilities".

    On http://condrenrails.com/Frisco/Frisco_Diesels.htm it states:
    Errors ( I say additions to ? ) in this roster are the sole responsibility of its author.
    Mike Condren December 29, 2002
    Arkansas Boston Mountains Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society
    maintains Mike's website under his guidance.

    At https://www.american-rails.com/emd-fp7.html 's
    technical data & information about FP7 @ http://www.thedieselshop.us/Data EMD FP7.HTML
    perhaps that data could be reviewed, and see if that source states
    add anything else useful to Mike's list's (or his other lists)
    and/or information to be added to the frisco.org's FP7 , F7, F3 files ?

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