EMD FT

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EMD FT
ATSF 115 DL 1943.jpg
Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad diesel freight locomotive which has just come out of the roundhouse, Winslow, Arizona.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model FTA (cab unit), FTB (regular booster), and FTSB (short booster)
Build date November 1939 – November 1945
Total produced 555 A units, 541 B units
Specifications
AAR wheel arr. B-B (B-B+B-B for AB set)
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Performance figures
Power output 2,700 hp (2,000 kW) for AB set
Career
Locale United States

The EMD FT was a 1,350-horsepower (1,010 kW) diesel-electric locomotive produced between November 1939, and November 1945, by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (the "F" stood for 1400 horsepower (rounded from 1350) and the "T" for twin, as it came standard in a two-unit set). All told 555 cab-equipped A units were built, along with 541 cabless booster B units, for a grand total of 1,096 units. The locomotives were all sold to customers in the United States. It was the first model in EMD's very successful F-unit series of cab unit freight diesels, and was the locomotive that convinced many U.S. railroads that the diesel-electric freight locomotive was the future. Many rail historians consider the FT one of the most important locomotive models of all time.

The locomotive was a railway application of propulsion technology developed for United States Navy fleet submarines. Sargo class submarines launched in 1939 used 1 megawatt generators powered by 1350 HP General Motors V16-278A diesel engines. The EMD 567 used in the FT was a very similar V16 engine with 8.5 inches (22 cm) diameter cylinders but a 10 inches (25 cm) stroke and 45°  vee in comparison to the 10.5 inches (27 cm) stroke and 40°  vee of the submarine engines. The four diesel-electric generators powering a World War II fleet submarine corresponded to the popular A-B-B-A configuration of FTs being manufactured at the same time.[1]

FTs were generally marketed as semi-permanently coupled A-B sets (a lead unit and a cabless booster connected by a solid drawbar) making a single locomotive of 2,700 hp (2,000 kW). Many railroads used pairs of these sets back to back to make up a four-unit A-B-B-A locomotive rated at 5,400 hp (4,000 kW). Some railroads purchased semi-permanently coupled A-B-A three-unit sets of 4,050 hp (3,020 kW), while a few, like the Santa Fe, ordered all their FTs with regular couplers on both ends of each unit for added flexibility. All units in a consist could be run from one cab; multiple unit (MU) control systems linked the units together. "Hostler" controls were an option for B units, enabling these units to be operated independently of A units for moving within yard limits.


Engine and powertrain[edit]

The FT introduced a 16 cylinder version of the 567 (later 567A) series engine developing 1350 hp at 800 r.p.m. Designed specifically for railroad locomotives, this supercharged 2 stroke 45 degree V type, with an 8 1/2" bore by 10" stroke giving 567 cubic inches displacement per cylinder, remained in production until 1966. A D.C. generator provides power to four motors, two on each truck, in a B-B arrangement. The Blomberg design introduced here has been EMD’s standard B truck, used with few exceptions through the F59PHI of 1994. EMD has built all its own components since 1939.[2][3] [4]

Body recognition and appearance[edit]

The nose of EMD 103 at the California State Railroad Museum in 1991

The FT is very similar to the later F-units in appearance, but there are some differences which render it distinguishable from later EMD freight cab units. The side panels of the FT were different, but it was fairly common for railroads to alter them to make an earlier unit appear later. As built, FT units had four porthole windows spaced closely together along their sides, and B units with couplers on both ends had a fifth window on one side for the hostler position, if equipped with hostler controls.

The roof is a more reliable indication; FTs had four exhaust stacks along the centerline (flanked by boxy structures if dynamic brakes were included). The radiator fans were recessed within the carbody, and arranged in two pairs, one near each end of the locomotive. Later units have the fans grouped together, and their shrouding extended atop the roof.

The overhangs of the body past the trucks differ in the FT compared to later units. The B-units of FTs ordered in semi-permanently coupled A-B sets, and those with couplers on both ends, have a large overhang on one end (the coupler-equipped end on the paired units) featured on no other EMD B-units. This is not present on the B-units in semi-permanently coupled A-B-A sets, which were called FTSB units (for Short Booster). At other locations, except the cab front, the FT units have less of an overhang than later units; the trucks appear to be right at the ends of the car bodies.

Unlike most railroad locomotives, the F (and E) series used the body as a structural element, similar to a truss bridge. EMD has not repeated this construction, as their modern passenger engines have a non-structural “cowl” type body.

Wartime restrictions[edit]

An EMD model FT of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway receives service during World War II.

During World War II, locomotive production was regulated by the War Production Board. The traditional locomotive builders were prohibited from building diesel road locomotives until early 1945. There were a few dual-service ALCO DL-109s for the New Haven. Steam locomotives could be built with fewer precious materials, and were the proven type of motive power at the time.

EMD however, was purely a diesel builder, and therefore was allowed to continue building diesel freight locomotives. The WPB assigned the FT's to the railroads it deemed most able to benefit from the new locomotives. The Santa Fe received by far the largest allocation, given its heavy war traffic and the difficulty and expense of providing water for steam locomotives on its long desert stretches. The original A-B-B-A demonstrator set was sold to the Southern Railway.

Were it not for the wartime restrictions, many more FTs would have been built. Most railroads wanted diesels, but often had to settle for steam locomotives.

These wartime restrictions on other manufacturers' diesel programs helped ensure EMD's dominance of the postwar diesel market.

Subsequent models[edit]

The FT was discontinued in late 1945, replaced in production by the F2, which retained the 1,350 hp (1,010 kW) rating of the FT, but with upgraded electrical and control equipment. Additionally, the mechanically-driven cooling fans, which required constant tending by the locomotive's fireman, were replaced with electrically-driven fans which were automatically controlled, a system which is still in use to this day. The F2 was produced only in 1946, and afterward was replaced by updated models in the EMD F-unit series, such as the F3, F7, and F9.

Original buyers[edit]

Railroad Quantity
A units
Quantity
B units
Road numbers
A units
Road numbers
B units
Notes
Electro-Motive Division (demonstrator)
2
2
103,A
103(b),A
to Southern Railway 6100ABCD renumbered 6100, 6150, 6151, 6105
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
155
165
100-104, 105,C–179,C
100A,B,C-104A,B,C, 105A,B–179B,C
160-168, 415 renumbered
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
24
24
300–323
300B–323B
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
12
12
1,A–11,A (odd)
1X,AX–11X,AX (odd)
Renumbered 101,A–111,A odd (A) and 101X, AX–111X, AX odd (B); later 4400–4411 (A) and 5400–5411 (B)
Boston and Maine Railroad
24
24
4200A–4223A
4200B–4223B
Chicago and North Western Railway
4
4
5400A,D–5401A,D
5400B,C–5401B,C
Renumbered 4051A–4054A (A) and 4051B–4504B (B)
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
32
32
100A,D–115A,D
100B,C–115B,C
100–104 renumbered 150B,C-154B,C, 155A,B-159A,B
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad
26
26
35A,D–47A,D
35B,C–47B,C
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
20
16
70,A–73,A
88–99
70B–73B,
88A–99A
70B–73B short B units
88A-99A resuffixed 88B–99B
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
12
8
601A,C–603A,C
651A–654A
601B–604B
651B–654B
601B–604B short B units. To Erie Lackawanna
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad
24
24
540A,D–551A,D
540B,C–551B,C
Renumbered 5401/2/3/4–5511/2/3/4 (ABBA)
Erie Railroad
12
12
700A,D–705A,D
700B,C–705B,C
to Erie Lackawanna
Great Northern Railway
51
45
250A-258A, 300A,C-305A,C, 400A,D-428A,D even
250B-258B, 300B-305B, 400B,C-428B,C even
300B-305B short B units, 5600AB, 5700AB, 5701AB, 5900AB renumbered
Lehigh Valley Railroad
4
4
500–503
500B–503B
Renumbered 500–507 (A even, B odd)
Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway
4
2
445A,C, 545A,C
445B, 545B
Short B units
Missouri Pacific Railroad
12
12
501–512
501B–512B
New York Central Railroad
4
4
1600–1603
2400–2403
New York, Ontario and Western Railway
9
9
601, 801–808
601B, 801B–808B
Northern Pacific Railway
22
22
6000A,D-6010A,D
6000B,C-6010B,C
Renumbered 5400ABCD–5410ABCD (ABBA)
Reading Railroad
10
10
250A–259A
250B–259B
St. Louis Southwestern Railway
10
10
900A,D, 905A,D, 910A,D, 915A,D, 920A,D
900B,C, 905B,C, 910B,C, 915B,C, 920B,C
Renumbered 901–904; 906-909; 911-914; 916-919; and 921-924 (A odd, B even)
Seaboard Air Line Railway
22
22
4000–4021
4100–4121
Southern Railway
36
28
4100–4127, 6101-6104, 6800–6803
4100–4119, 6152-6155, 6825-6828
6825-6828 short B units. Many renumbered.
Western Pacific Railroad
24
24
901,C–906,C
907A,D–912A,D
901A,B–906A,B
907B,C–912B,C
901,A,B,C–906,B,C,D resuffixed 901ABCD–906ABCD
Totals 555 541

Surviving units[edit]

Multiple EMD FT units survive today. They include the lead A-unit from demonstrator No. 103 displayed at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri. It is paired with one of the two original FT B-units from the EMD 103 demonstrator set. (B Unit is on loan from the Virginia Museum of Transportation). Both units are cosmetically restored and painted in the original GM demonstrator paint.

An FT A unit, FSBC 2203-A on display in Mexico, which was originally built for the Northern Pacific Railway

Three B-units from the Southern Railway are preserved. #960604 is at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia, and #960602 is in Conway, South Carolina.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "U.S. Submarine Engines". Paul Wittmer. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  2. ^ Pinkepank 1973, pp. 12, 26, 90.
  3. ^ Ross, David, ed. (2003). The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives. ISBN 978-0-7607-9679-5. 
  4. ^ Johnston, Howard; Harris, Ken (2005). Jane’s Train Recognition Guide. HarperCollins Publishing. p. 445. ISBN 978-0-06-081895-1. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Diesel Era (1994). The Revolutionary Diesel: EMC's FT. Halifax, PA, USA: Withers Publishing. ISBN 1-881411-02-8. 
  • Lamb, J. Parker (2007). Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive. Railroads Past and Present. Bloomington, IN, USA: Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253348630. 
  • Marre, Louis A. (1995). Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years: A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972. Railroad Reference Series (Book 10). Waukesha, WI, USA: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 0890242585. 
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Company. ISBN 0-89024-026-4. 
  • Schafer, Mike (1998). Vintage Diesel Locomotives. Enthusiast Color Series. Osceola, WI, USA: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0760305072. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2000). The American Diesel Locomotive. Osceola, WI, USA: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0760306664. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2005). EMD F-Unit Locomotives. North Branch, MN, USA: Specialty Press. ISBN 1580071929. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2006). EMD Locomotives. St. Paul, MN, USA: Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760323960. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2010). Vintage Diesel Power. Minneapolis, MN, USA: MBI Publishing. ISBN 9780760337950. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2011). Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America's Favorite Locomotives. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760340073. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2012). North American Locomotives: A Railroad-by-Railroad Photohistory. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760343708. 
  • Wilson, Jeff (1999). F Units: The Diesels That Did It. Golden Years of Railroading series. Waukesha, WI, USA: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 0890243743. 

External links[edit]