• Passenger F3s

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by bruceclouette
Hello -

I think I saw somewhere that the NYC System Historical Society's 2010 calendar had a photograph from 1953 of passenger F3s (3500s). I went to buy one but they are sold out. If you have this calendar, could you describe the paint scheme shown? Is it the full-length stripe? Does anyone know if this pohoto is available on the web? Thank you.

  by scottychaos
  by NYC_Dave
NYC had four class DCA-1a and two DCB-1a F3 locomotives which were generally run in A-B-A sets. The "DC" stood for "Diesel Combination" and were intended for passenger or freight service. DCAs were numbered 3500-3 and the DCBs 3600-1. The original paint scheme was the "short" passenger lightning stripe on A-units and solid gray B-units. Several photos with this scheme can be found on George Elwood's Fallen Flags website http://gelwood.railfan.net/nyc/nyc-eng.html
Later they were painted with the full length passenger stripes on both A & B units. And in the late 1950s most were converted to freight use - steam generators removed and regeared.
  by scottychaos
As far as I know, the only NYC passenger train pulled by F units was the streamlined 1948 version of the New England States, which started with sets of 3 F3's. Probably the reason for this was that the States had to negotiate the Berkshire Mountains and railroads were finding that the early E's did not do well in mountainous terrain. Trains such as Great Northern's Empire Builder and Santa Fe's Super Chief, both of which started out with E units, ultimately were switched to F units. The E8, however, did much better in mountainous terrain and in short order, the Central stopped using F units on their trains.
source: http://www.kinglyheirs.com/NewYorkState ... tury1.html
  by Allen Hazen
In the steam era, railroads ordered different locomotives for different parts of their systems, and the B&A tended, in this regard, to be the most distinctive (maybe most aoutonomous?) part of the NYC system. This distinctiveness was reduced if not totally suppressed in the diesel era, but B&A did get some diesel "specialties" that weren't ordered for the "Water level Route": GP-7 with dynamic brakes, for instance.

So perhaps ordering some 375hp/driving axle passenger diesels for the B&A was a continuation of the older practice? (Weren't the Baldwin 1500 hp A1A-A1A cab units also used on the B&A?

As for later developments... I can see that the E-8 would have been better than the E-7 in the mountains. (The E-8 had the newer traction motors used on "F5"/F7GP-7, which had significantly higher capacity than the earlier model: it was almost up to the first version of the GE 752, used on Alco's FA/FB-1, though not in the same league with the later 752 subtype used on the FA/FB-2.(*))

But perhaps the main reason for assigning E-8 to B&A passenger runs was that with declining total passenger work, the NYC had too many E-units by the late 1950s? (That's speculation on my part.)


(*) For references, look for an old string, "PA-1 Traction Motors," on the Alco forum, where a number of historical questions about GE traction motors got discussed. For my comparison of the 1949 EMD traction motor with the 1946 version of the GE 752, my main source of information was the continuous tractive effort figures for FA-1, FA-2, F-3 and F-7 locomotives in Alvin Stauffer's "Pennsy Power II." The FA-1, with the early model of 752 and geared for 65mph, had about the same continuous tractive effort as a Pennsy "EH-15": an F3 with special (50mph) low-speed gearing, and was still a bit better, i.i.r.c., than an F7: the FA-2, with the next iteration of the 752 traction motor design, showed a major improvement.
  by Allen Hazen
O.k., after a few minutes with the reference books...
The E-8 is definitely better than an E-7 when it comes to climbing hills: continuous tractive effort of 23,500 pounds as against 18,750. (That's with 98mph gearing, from "Pennsy Power II". NYC's E-units may not have had the same gear ratio as PRR's, but the proportional difference should be similar. ... Note that if your passenger diesels had decent traction motors... a PA-1 with 100mph gearing had 27,000 lbs c.t.e.)

Looking at Stauffer's "New York Central: later power" I found a picture of E-8 units on one of the New England trains, in Massachusetts, in 1951. So one of my speculations is probably wrong: NYC started using E-8 on B&A runs before the major fall-off in passenger service. Even an E-8 is hardly God's gift to mountain railroading, and NYC's didn't have dynamic brakes. My new guess is that the substitution of E-8 for passenger F-3 was largely motivated by the fact that there was no engine-change at Albany. (One of the photos of a passenger F-3 leading the "New England States" or some other Chicago-Boston passenger train was taken just outside Chicago, so the engines ran through for the whole run.) And that NYC felt the advantages of 4-axle power in the Berkshires weren't enough to justify using F-units on passenger trains from Albany to Chicago.

And, yes, the Baldwin's were also used on New England runs.
  by ExNYC63
The B&A was RS3 country. You did not see GP7s.