Discussion in 'Trainspotter ID' started by Russ Bellinis, May 18, 2006.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The Ft units from EMD are diferentiated from later f units by a couple of spotting features. They don't have symetrical truck spacing relative to the body like other f units. There is extra overhang of the body at the rear of a units or one end (front) of the b units. Originally they were intended to be operated in pairs of an a-b set and the a & b units were permanently connected via draw bars. Santa Fe, and I think most other railroads that had them, replaced the draw bars with couplers to give them more flexibility.
    Other distinct differences: They have 4 "prothole" windows on each side of the a units.
    The B units have 5 portholes on one side and I think 4 on the other side. The a units have 3 tall rectangular number board windows in the center of each side in addition to the small number boards on the side of the nose, no number boards on the b units. Dynamic brakes, where used are large rectangular boxes with a flat top sticking out of a curved roof.
  2. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    the FT are actually slightly shorter than all other F units (at i belive a total lenght over coupler faces of some 45ft or thereabouts) and there are also two different sized version of the FT-B, a short unit (no overhanging of the bogie at one end) and a "long" unit (overhangs bogie at one end). The reason for this shorter length than all other F units is that the B-unit carried the batteries for both units whilst the A carried all the other electrical gear. The slightly longer version of the B-unit may hav carried steam heating equipment but of this i am not sure.

    The FTs came delivered orgininally in four-unit drawbar coupled 5,400hp A-B-B-A sets, and after the war years like Russ said, some were decoupled, but into A-B pairs and operated with the F2A or as lone A-B pairs (this was the major, if not only, reason for the F2A even existing) as some, if not all, roads found 5,400 hp too much at the time and thus split the quadruplets into pairs.

    As the B unit carried the batteries for both units, they CANNOT be split from their A-unit as this would effectively cripple both units - the A units carrying no batteries itself with and the B having none of the electrical equipment to start itself, thus making the two units dependant on each other.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Is it possible that the Santa Fe could have modified Fta units to operate without the b? On page 449 of IRON HORSES OF THE SANTA FE TRAIL by E D Worlley there is a picture of Ft a unit #405 operated by itself going to the Dallas roundhouse after working the Paris Branch.
  4. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    its possible with the passenger eqipped version, but unlikely. It would have been easier to use a normal F A unit rather than go to all the time and effort of converting an FTA to solo operation. Some roads did purchase FT AA pairs (the Erie/ Erie Lackawanna being an example) so its not inconcievable.

    The easiest way to spot an FT is a row of four windows below the grills on each side like so (note, this unit is missing its B partner, may have been modified to operate alone but i dont know anything about this particular preserved unit)[​IMG]
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    On the Santa Fe the Ft a units all had three rectangular windowsin a row centered under the four porthole windows for number boards. They were the only f-units on the railroad with that feature. They also all had dynamic brakes which were unique to Fts in that they were huge rectangular boxes mounted lengthwise on the roof. Considering the amount of work the Santa Fe did to convert F units to CF7s, it would surprise me if there was anything that they would consider too difficult to do if they wanted something like a single Ft running by itself.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think the Santa Fe's first orders of Fts came in 4 unit sets with draw bar coupling, but they broke them up and installed couplers asap, and ordered them with couplers as soon as they could. It wasn't so much that they couldn't use 5400hp, although they did use 1 and 2 unit sets in the midwest; I think it was mainly that they didn't want to lose 5400 hp if 1 unit needed to go into the shop. I think that is the same reason that U.P. bought the Centennials, but did not repeat the order. I think railroads that were used to running steam where a double header meant two engine crews, were still thinking in terms of putting high horse power in one unit instead of m.u. for a ways into the diesel age.
  8. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    The WP FT’s were kept as A-B units. If they needed additional power they would add an F3 A unit to the consist. WP traded their FT’s in on GP35’s, almost a two for one increase in horsepower.

    Greg Elems

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