Until when did the EMD FTs remained visible?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Until when did the EMD FTs were still visible? I'm planning to add that engine made by Bachmann to my 1950's era layout that currently sport F7As and some RDCs.

    Actually, I'm just looking for an inexpensive engine I could couple with a Santa Fe cupola caboose. Perhaps there are other engines within the Bachmann FT price range? :)
  2. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    As far as I know, the first FTs retired were Santa Fe's starting in '57. However, they lasted into the 60s on all roads that used them (except maybe MP). The last I know of were NP's last A-B set, which just made it to the BN merger in 1970. That excludes an ex-NP A-B set that made it to Mexico, were re-engined, and lasted until around 1973.
  3. GWoodle

    GWoodle Member

    In '89 when the FT's were 50 years old, EMD had a public show at the La Grange plant. An AB set of the FT 103's were restored to their original paint.
    In 91 they were on display at the California RR museum.

    Most of them were retired & traded in on GP30-35 power in the early 1960's.

    A FT set would make a great addition to a 50's era layout. You may need a photo of a unit to find any changes a road made over the years. It could also be an excuse to have a FT in a different paint scheme from the later F7's. Something you could add would be a road number plate put just below the nose headlight.
  4. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thank you very much for the great news. :) I guess I can go with my plan. Btw, FTs were freight engines, right? Or were there some used as streamlined passenger engines?
  5. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    I personally don't know of any FT's that were ever used in passenger service. The FT was produced as a freight locomotive and was restricted to that role by the War Production Board. Production of the FT was discontinued in late 1945 when it was replaced by the F2 model. I know of only 7 units still in existence including an A unit in Mexico City that was originally built for the Northern Pacific Railway.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Santa Fe ran a bunch of them in passenger service during and just after WW2. By 1946 when Santa Fe started receiving the new F-3's the Ft's were relegated to freight service. In the early to mid 1950's (not sure of exact year) they were repainted in a blue "dip job" paint scheme. All blue with no yellow and were used in secondary freight service. The Santa Fe sent them back to La Grange in the late 1950's to be rebuilt into gp30's I suspect "rebuilt" meant that the body/frame was scrapped, the traction motors were reconditioned and installed on the new gp30's. The prime mover would have either been upgraded to gp30 spec or replaced. I'm not sure how much of the electrical system was reused and how much was replaced.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    A while back, on this site, someone posted a photo of a model FT in Warbonnet, which I thought was a fantasy unit at the time. A couple months later, I found out the real history. For your 50s layout, Warbonnet FTs would be inappropriate.
  8. GWoodle

    GWoodle Member

    The FT's were produced from '39 till about '45 when the F2's & F3's replaced them. The passenger E6's had a short production from '39-41. The war demands prevented any more E's to be made. The E7 was a post-war product from 46 on. This left a gap for FT's to fill.

    There was a set of 2 FT's AB that had a short passenger run from St Paul to Duluth on GN. The FT's ABBA pulled freight by night. The Santa Fe used their FT's on some passenger runs in the war years to avoid water stops in the desert.

    By the 50's the only way a FT would appear on a passenger could be a local run or if the newer E/F unit were out of service. By then, it would be more likely for a GP 7/9 to pinch hit for an ailing unit.

    There is a huge controversy if the S/g unit or water tanks in a FT was large enough to supply any heat for the passengers. This appears to be one reason why the Santa Fe put their s/g's in the B units only.
  9. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    I have always thought the Santa Fe FTs were an attractive group which stand out against the later and more popular F7s. Here is a set of FTs I built many years ago painting and detailing old Bachman shells and a Cary B unit shell. The running gear is all Athearn; only the first two units are powered.

    I am currently in the process of detailing newer Bachman F7s in an A-B-B-A configuration. Today's Bachman engines run so much better and use so much less current that I am finding success with all units powered.

  10. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    That's a magnificent triplet of FTs! :) I will love those to pull streamlined passenger cars. It makes me remember the train scene in the movie "Flag of Our Fathers." You mentioned the running gears are Athearn. Does that mean Bachmann FT shells are compatible with Athearn power units?
  11. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    I bought these locos years ago when the Bachman running gear was rather funky. I had to replace them with Athearns. The shell straddled the frame okay, but didn't lock in place, so I kept them in place with a few drops of Walther's GOO which is a semi-permanent rubber-like adhesive. It allows me to easily remove the shell for servicing now and then.

    That was a long time ago. I think today's Bachman running gear is excellent and I would not trade it for Athearn's.

Share This Page