GP7s with Mars lights

Discussion in 'GP7' started by pbender, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Hi All,

    While browsing Mike Condren's site, I ran accross a photo of GP7 560 which was equipped with a Mars light (see: ).

    This brings about a couple of questions:

    Were there any other Mars light equipped GP7s? If there were, I would assume they were boiler equipped units used on passenger trains.

    During what time period was the mars light installed on 560 (and other GP7s if they were equipped with the Mars light). The photo on the page above is dated 4/17/1956, so we know it was installed before then, but when was the light installed, and How late did the mars light survive on 560?

    I've looked through my collection of books to try and find an answer to these questions, but all I have been able to determine is that 560 was traded in to EMD in October 1976.

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  2. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    I've been chatting with Tom Galbraith about the idea he and I both have of doing one of our Frisco GP7's as a passenger Geep, with the steam generator in the short hood as evidenced by the boiler exhaust stack, boiler air inlet, and steam vent pipe up top on the short hood. In HO, we are fortunate that Details West has a steam generator part kit ideal for use on GP7's - SG-118. I don't know if there is an equivalent parts kit for you N-scalers, but these things would be easy to scratchbuild.

    I have five Frisco GP7's - all in b/y color (of course!). These are the two Atlas models, SLSF 500 and 502, plus three others I bought years ago from Andre Ming - Front Range models, repowered, decorated as SLSF 572, 620 & 632. One of 'em is going to become a passenger geep! This is a current topic for Tom as well, as he just received his Atlas N-scale GP7's.

    In addition to the steam generator details up on the short hood, you also need to add steam pipe connections to the front and rear pilots. Again, in HO, we have the parts - Cal-Scale 275 gives you more than enough goodies to do it.

    In thinking about what to put on and where for a passenger geep, Tom and I both also thought of Mike Condren's pic of SLSF 560 (Paul refers to it in his 12/21/08 posting above), showing that 560 not only carries all the steam gear, but also a Mars light up high on at least the short hood. The Mars light is mounted above the normal GP7 dual sealed beam light fixture. In HO, Details Associates LT-1005 will do nicely for the Mars light in its housing.

    There are, however, two problems with the Mars light issue:
    1) Was there one on the long hood as well? Unfortunatey, I have no pic of 560 from that end to supply that answer.
    2) In order to allow for room to mount the Mars light fixture, the Frisco had to lower the EMD dual beam GP7 headlight to a lower position. I'm not sure I want to do that to one of the Atlas models, but one of the Front Range geeps just might get that treatment, along with a renumbering. Once again, in HO, we have the part to replace the EMD dual beam headlight fixture - Details Associates LT-1004.

    Time will tell if I do the Mars light addition - but for sure one of them will get the steam treatment near term.

    Paul also asks the question in his post "were there any other Mars light equipped GP7's?" Armed with a large glass of a pleasant adult beverage, I spent much of last night sharing my time between the Oscar Awards show (way to go "King's Speech"!) and the task of looking through all my Frisco GP7 pics in a hunt for Mars lights. I don't have pics of each Frisco GP7, but I have most of 'em, and I found that at least one other unit carried a Mars light, SLSF 606. See the attached pic, which I've had for a long time, unknown photographer. It looks like the Mars light housing is silver, rather than black as it is on 560. I have another pic of 606, which I can't post, that shows it in its later o/w colors. The Mars light has been removed, as has been the S/G equipment. But, they left the headlight in its lowered position. It looks kind of strange, obviously too low for that normal geep look. But, from this pic, I can easily scale off the position of the lowered headlight if anyone else is interested.

    All these little detail quirks the Frisco gave us!!!


    ps: 606 also looks like it has a Nathan horn up on the cab roof. I like it!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2011
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  3. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    While you are doing the mods - MR March 1975 has an article on "Build A Working MARS Light". :p
    You may need more than one "adult beverage" to accomplish said task. ;)
  4. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    I never knew the Geeps had this, excellent catch, Paul. And great info Ken. Thanks for hanging on and collecting all those photos!! Great stuff.
    Tom H
  5. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Since both 500 and 502 had steam generators, I will be adding these details to my models (in N-scale) when they arrive. I am using parts scavenged from brass locomotives.

    I have another body shell I need to paint that I have always planned on turning into 632... which apparently was the last Frisco GP-7 in the original paint scheme.

    I'm not sure these are available in N-scale.

    It looks like we can get the EMD headlight housing from Details Associates in N-scale as well,

    The mars light housing is more problematic, but I think it can be scratch built. From the photo of 560, it appears to be a square housing the width of the flat spot on the short hood.
    I think a plastic cube with one side drilled out to hold a 700 series MV products lens would do nicely for the N-scaler's among us (If the 700 series lenses are not available in red,
    the 300 series lenses are, and there isn't a huge size difference between the two).


    P.S. thanks for the picture of #606.
  6. Friscotony

    Friscotony Member

    One of the more interesting items to me was that the geeps equiped with steam generators had a larger tank hung on them, no doubt to hold the water. All of the photos of non generator equiped units have a much smaller fuel tank. This is something that one must consider when assigning numbers. I am getting ready to decal 8 of them and todate, have not been able to get a small tank that I am happy with. The units I have been using are the old front range and one must be careful when cutting the tank area down as this is what hold the plastic motor mount for the unit. If anyone has done this with this manufacture, I would wellcome any insight. Thanks, Tony
  7. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Here is a pic I found of GP7 SLSF 606 much later in its life vs the pic I posted above. Unknown date, unknown photographer - I've had it for a long time.

    Note that at this time on 606:
    o the Mars light has been removed
    o the headlight fixture remains in its lowered mounting position
    o 606 is now in o/w livery
    o the spark arrestors have been changed to the box type from the lifting screen type
    o the steam generator has been deactivated, probably replaced with ballast. The exhaust stack has been cut down to the tapered base.
    o the big tank remains
    o can't see a radio antenna yet
    o can't see if the yellow beacon is still up top on the cab
    o can't really tell if the horn is still the Nathan. Probably not.

    I love these "Frisco forensics"! :D


    Attached Files:

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

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

    Would that be "Frisc-archaeology?"

    :))) Tom
  9. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    "CSI SLSF"

    News at 11.

    K :):p;):D:rolleyes:
  10. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Doctor Robinson has diagnosed Ken with Friscophilia - an almost insatiable desire and love for things Frisco.
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  11. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Since I was reminded about this thread today...

    Another picture of 606 with it’s red mars light ( by the housing, could it more accurately be described as a gyralite? ) appeared on the Frisco Archive.

    This made me note something else about this unit, there was no yellow stripes or diamonds on the flat part of the nose.
  12. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    I would wager that the gyralight was installed on the front end only, and these engines always ran front end forward when used on passenger trains. Also, the fuel tanks were quite small compared to the other freight-only geeps, which limited their range between refuelings. The "passenger geeps" were originally bought for principally branch line passenger and mixed trains, not for mainline service like the N&W or IC geeps.

    Ken McElreath
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  13. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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  14. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Right, the Freight only FriscoGP7s had tiny 1200 gallon fuel tanks.... but the passenger units had even smaller 800 gallon fuel tanks.

    In n-scale, modeling the passenger GP7s is much easier because the “Fuel” tanks fill the space under the frame, and can hide the chassis. I’ve been planning how to modify the freight chassis to build the smaller tanks for a while, but haven’t actually started cutting the metal frame. ( the “fuel” tanks on these were actually 2 800 gallo n tanks. The second one was for boiler water... until the boilers were removed or decommissioned, when the tank was either modified or replaced with a 1600 capacity fuel only tank ).

    Interestingly, MoPac also had small fuel tank freight only GP7s. At least some of their passenger Geeps had torpedo tubes.
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  15. Thanks for all this info guys, I have a couple GP7s to do and this might be an interesting variation to add.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.

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