Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cool Chromes -- More Cabs

Cool Chromes is a semi-regular feature where we dig out some old slides and run them through the scanner.
Norfolk Southern; Vaughn, Va.; July 29, 1987
A few weeks ago in Cool Chromes we looked at "cab" units -- the streamlined four-axle F-units and six-axle E-units from the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors (other locomotive manufacturers had their own versions of cab units). Today we'll look at a few more, starting with a trio of Southern Railway FP7s at Vaughn, Va., on July 29, 1987. FP7s took the four-axle concept, usually used on freight locomotives, and added features to make them more usable on passenger trains (primarily a steam generator for steam heat for the coaches) -- thus the "P" in FP7. The photo above shows the three Southern units (at this time employed by Southern successor Norfolk Southern) hauling a trip to the National Railway Historical Society convention in Roanoke. This trip departed Alexandria and headed across northern Virginia on the former Southern "B" Line between Manassas and Front Royal, where it  diverged onto the Norfolk & Western's Shenandoah Line down to Lynchburg. The position light signals give this away as being on the N&W.

Metro North; Roa Hook (Peekskill), N.Y.; August 22, 1992
Up next we have the oddball cab unit -- the five-axle FL9. Designed with two axles in the front and three in the back, it was originally intended for long-distance passenger service in the west where a large tank for water for steam heat would be needed. It was never used in that service, however, and instead found a home on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in short-distance passenger service. The New Haven made them dual mode locomotives, capable of operating as conventional diesels most of the time, but equally capable of operating as electric locomotives off of third rail for use into New York City's Grand Central Terminal. where diesel fumes were not wanted in the terminal or the long Park Avenue tunnel leading to it. The duo above is seen in service of New Haven successor Metro North on the former New York Central above Peekskill, N.Y., at a location known as Roa Hook. That's the Hudson River off to the right.

Canadian Pacific; Old Ottertail (Field), British Columbia; September 2000
Next we'll head north of the border to the Canadian Pacific. Here we have FP7s again, but this time we have an FP7A and an FP7B -- the "A" has a cab for the locomotive crew, while the "B" is a cabless booster unit (normally, the "A" is implied when referring to cab units and is often dropped from the model designations). This train is the Royal Canadian Pacific, a luxury train that carried about two dozen passengers who were pampered by about two dozen crew members as the train did a multi-day tour of the Rockies and Selkirks of western Canada. The RCP no longer runs, but the trainset is still used by CPR for business purposes. The train is seen here at a classic CPR location known as Old Ottertail near Field, British Columbia, in September 2000.

Erie 834; Hoboken, N.J.; June 1991
We finish off our look at cab units with a set that has appeared on this page before. We see "Erie 834" at Hoboken Terminal after pulling an excursion for the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey in June 1991. No. 834 is an E8, but it never worked for the Erie in real life (it actually worked for the New York Central); it was painted by the URHS in the Erie scheme as a tribute to a railroad that once served the Garden State. As such, it and sister 835 (actually a former Pennsylvania Railroad unit) were given the next highest numbers after the E8s that the Erie actually operated (833 was the highest).

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