The Diesel Shop

Serving The Railfan Community since 1994

Precision Engineering F7A #717 at Greenville, PA

(R. Craig photo)


Late on a Saturday afternoon in April 1971, three friends and I pulled in to the Greenville, PA parking lot of Bessemer & Lake Erie expecting to photograph one or two of the railroads's classic orange and black SDs. Instead, we found a pair of six-axle Baldwin-built road-switchers still wearing the colors of lessor Chesapeake and Ohio. The real price was a newly painted Precision Engineering F7A which was resting inside the diesel shop. The only person around was a B&LE hostler who graciously pulled the brightly colored F-unit out of the diesel shop and posed it for the camera. PECO had been a pioneer in the locomotive leasing field, and F-unit #717 had been originally a part of the B&LE's stable.

By popular request, (actually there was only one request), this month's "Remember When" section focuses on "Alco's 4-Axle Freight Cabs." Arguably, the battle for diesel freight locomotive horsepower supremacy began in early 1946 with the opening salvo across the bulldog nose of General Motors coming from the American Locomotive Company and partner General Electric Company (Alco-GE). Blunted for years by World War II, the Schenectady, NY-based companies had hopes their new "Super 1500" - later known as the FA - would successfully compete against EMD's hot-selling 1350-hp FT cab units. Alco and MLW subsidiary produced nearly 700 FA-series locomotives between 1946 and 1956, hardly enough to overtake EMD.

Final note: It has taken nearly two full months to proccess the many roster additions and corrections received; however. the backlog has shrank to a very manageable size. Thank you for your patience.

Thanks for stopping.


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