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· Registered
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi all

its iain from England ....

i have for some time been looking at the F units by usa trains ....
now 1950 diesels have not realy done anything foe me untill now ..
why .. well i came across a book in a seond hand book shop of just a
few ££ and had it away ..... books about any kind of locos or stock
about trains in the usa are impossible to get a hold of here in the
uk ....

so i looked thru ..and kind of warmed to the idea of haveing a shot
at modeling .... an f unit .... or more like detailing the usa trains
locos ..as thay look the part ?

as we all know the company's that make the models usualy have one
body for all regardledd of detail changes between rail companys .so i
have thought i would try to model the sopac f units ..

one of the first things to catch my eyes are some locos have a ' set
of high level hand rails' on the roof of the locos it may well be
possible there some king of ice or brush guards ??? can any one tell
me ???

can any one recomend a detail book about F units from a model makers
point of view .. line drawings ... ect ... pics of loco are possible
to find on the WWW ... but a book is so much more useful

hope you can all help

iain from England

· Registered
56 Posts
There are two books with clear HO scale plans in from US publisher Kalmbach.
Model Railroader Cyclopedia Vol2 (Bob Hayden, ISBN 0-89024-547-9) has plans of
FT (cab and booster)
F3 (cab and booster)
FP7 (cab only, no boosters made)
FL9 (cab only, there weren't any boosters)
In both cases, I think the boosters are the "standard" ones from AB and ABBA sets, but this is worth checking if you're using the plans
F Units, the Diesels that Did It (Jeff Wilson, ISBN 0-89024-374-3) has :
F2, (cab and booster)
F3, phase1, (cab and booster) - plus written details of phase 1-4
F7, phase1, (cab and booster) - plus written details of phase 1&2
FP7 (cab) - phase1 I think, don't know if there were any phase2 FP7's
F9, (cab and booster)
Between the two books they cover every basic variant, except some of the different length B-units, and you can usually work those out. Despite being from US publishers, both books are readily available in the UK, try Camden if ebay and amazon don't work.
Model Railroader (and other magazines) have published plenty of F-series drawings over the years, there's a searchable electronic index here.
If you want to make an totally accurate model, it's pretty much essential to know what model and phase the loco(s) you're interested are in were built as, and then add whatever options the railroad spec'd at purchase, and later fit for whatever date you're modelling. Prototype photos are your are best friend, and as soon as you've finished, someone's bound to point out something you missed...

· Premium Member
691 Posts
The high level "handrails" are actually ice breakers as you suspected. Ice sickles form on the roof of the snow sheds on Donner Summit during the winter. The ice breakers knock them down. When the ice sickles get too big, they go in the tunnel and shoot them down with a shotgun. If that doesn't work, they cut notches in them and put explosive cord in the notches. Then they explode the cord.

· Premium Member
1,010 Posts

Yes those are "ice breakers" used to prevent damage to dome cars, etc., in the train. They were used as far as I know only on units assigned to passenger duty although the units did pull freights later on. All were F-7's or FP-7's numbered in the 6400's. FP-7's were 6446 to 6461. I only saw them in the "Black Widow" paint scheme so I can't say if any were ever painted in Daylight colors. E units (6 wheel trucks) and Alco PA types were originally in Daylight colors.

The ice breakers were simple bar stock folded over into an inverted "U" with another piece welded behind at an angle as a brace.

There was a series of SP diesel soft cover books called the "SP Annual". Out of print and quite pricey here in the US you might find a couple of years over there in the UK at a good price as I don't believe they'd be as valued as they are here. Just something to look for. The earliest one I have is 1966-67. The 1972 issue has a feature article on the "covered wagons" (F units) with photos, identifying features and painting.
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