California Zephyr Power

Discussion relating to the BN, and its predecessors GN, NP, CB&Q, SP&S, SL-SF, and their subsidiaries. Visit the Friends of the Burlington Northern for more information.
Engineer Spike
Posts: 1923
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:24 pm

California Zephyr Power

Post by Engineer Spike »

I have just gotten a video about the Q. It talks about the Cal Zephyr. It pointed out that the Q used F units, as did the WP. At that time, Rio Grande used Alco PAs. Why didn't the Q use E units? Didn't they convert to E units later?
Last edited by Engineer Spike on Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 315
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 9:22 am
Location: Shelbyville, Kentucky

Post by SSW9389 »

I believe that there were three Burlington ABA sets of F3s purchased for passenger service in 1947. Their use on the California Zephyr is likely, but their delivery predates the train. Numbers were 9960ABC-9962ABC.

When I rode the California Zephyr east from Oakland to Galesburg in June 1964, the train was led by a pair of silver E units on the Burlington. :wink:
COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!


Post by AmtrakFan »

They converted to the E-Unit's about 1952 or so from Photos I have seen.

John Laubenheimer
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Brooklyn, New York USA

CZ Power

Post by John Laubenheimer »

I'm not 100 percent sure of this, but the A-B-A set of F-3s was rated at 4,500 HP. In the 1947-1948 timeframe, a pair of E-7s rated 4,000 HP. I guess that the Q figured that they needed more than 4,000 HP to get the CZ over the road. E-8s came available (in number) around 1952-1953, providing 4,500 HP in 2 units, thereby equaling the HP of the F-3s. However, from most photos that I've seen, the CZ usually ran with 1 E-8 and 1 E-7, coming in at 4,250 HP, so this is probably what the Q felt was required.

John Laubenheimer
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Brooklyn, New York USA


Post by John Laubenheimer »

While E-8s were first delivered in December of 1949, it took several years for a significant number to be delivered. The Q had already purchased the F-3s. Various photos exist of the CZ being hauled by E units, even E-5s (probably a consist of less than 11 cars), prior to 1952. And, I believe that it was the addition of the 12th car (the 6-5 sleeper) to the consist that finally bumped the F-3s for good (although not for horsepower reasons).

Agent at Clicquot
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2004 7:56 pm
Location: A stone's through from Clicquot, MA

The Rio Grande bought PA's ...

Post by Agent at Clicquot »

... as EMD F's weren't up to the grades in the Rocky Mountains. I recall something about an exchange between Al Perlman and a rep at EMD where Perlman stated as much. PA's were bought to give EMD time to correct the problem. The PA's weren't ideal in the mountains either, hence their replacement.

As for the Q buying F's for the CZ, the Benson/MacGregor book states there was a backlog at EMD's LaGrange plant.

My HO model of the train has RGZ F9's for power ... though someday I hope to add an A-B set of named, fluted E5's.

* JB *

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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:28 pm

Re: California Zephyr Power

Post by Desertdweller »

The CBQ's pasenger F-3's also saw use on other trains. I have a picture of them (in Pat Dorin's book)
being used on the Kansas City Zephyr.

They would have made good power for the Denver-Billings Local, but I don't know if they were ever used as such (except on my model rr.).


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