Did You Ever Wonder?
Revised: 24 August 2019
Question Response Reference Source
What was the cost differential between an Alco FA-1 and EMD F7A? (From Phil E.)
  • FA-1 -- $152,000 per unit
  • FB-1 -- $140,000 per unit
  • FA-2 -- $161,000 to $164,000
  • GB&W purchased three FA-1s in Dec. 1947 for $456,000
  • Reading purchased three FA-FB-FB-FA sets in June 1948 for $1,842,447
  • Dynamic braking was an additional $8,900 and a steam generator was $14,000 approximately

  • Western Pacific purchased nine F7A-B-B-A sets for $653,408/per set (in 1950) and $673, 533/per set (in 1951).
  • WP purchased one F3A-B-B set; each loco was steam generator equipped (in 1948) for $480,546
  • Supposedly, EMD per unit prices were approximately 25% higher than Alco's.
  • Alco's FA: Running in the Shadow by R. Craig
  • Western Pacific's Diesel Years by Joseph Strapac
How do you determine which photos to use? It seems there are photographers you prefer. (From Richard P.) I admit there might be a tendency to use photos occasionally from a repeat source, but it probably is not for the reason you suspect.
  • There is a group of 25+ photographers who have graciously given permission to use their photos whenever needed, as long as proper photo credit is shown. That type of "BLANKET" approval makes the process of building web-based rosters and features much easier and faster. It eliminates the need to contact a stranger for permission by e-mail and then wait possibly days or weeks for a response.
  • The intent is to use an image only when proper permission has been received directly from the photographer or owner of the image. When all other resources have been exhausted, photos from the Public Domain can be used.
  • Some photographers possess an extensive collection of first-generation locos; they are often among the first to be contacted.
  • There are other photographers that focus heavily on short lines, industrial and military locos; they too are good resources
  • News photo are welcomed and good additions to keeping rosters current.
  • Photos that contain caption data, including location and date are welcomed options.
    R. Craig, The Diesel Shop webmaster
I took a picture of both builders plates from the two B&M F-7A's at the Conway Scenic Railway and noticed the numbers are different from those on your web site. (From Chuck M.)
  • F-7A 4266 actual plate show's B/N (serial number 12664) B/D Dec 1950. Your web site has the B/N as 8476, B/D 3/49
  • F-7A 4268 actual plate show's B/N 11819 with B/D June 1950. The web site has the B/N as 9932, B/D 10/49. Which one is correct?
    • B/N 11819 originally belonged to EMD F7B built in 6/1950 for B&LE as #704B
    • B/N 12664 originally belonged to EMD F7A built in 12/1950 for B&O as #4562

    The best way to confirm the b/n data is to check the frame number, which EMD stamped on the engineer's side at the rear of the locomotive frame.

    • F/N for 4266 should be E1173-A
    • F/N for 4268 should be 6059-A


    With regard to B&M 4268, Ed in Kentucky writes:

    "That particular unit was built in March 1949 as EMD Engineering Test Unit #930. You don't show EMD 930 on your EMD demonstrator page. The date 10/49 is the sale date to B&M after reconditioning and repainting. EMD 930 was used as a high altitude test unit on Soldier Summit. After the testing was completed the 930 returned to EMD and was painted up as a Burlington passenger F unit for display at the Burlington exhibit at the 1949 Chicago Railroad Fair. Then returned to EMD again for refurbishment and repainting and sale to the B&M in October 1949. B&M 4266 was built with 16-567B block #6816 in March 1949. EMD 930 was built with EMD 16-567B block 6818, also in March 1949."

    • Andres' EMD Serial Number List (internet)
    • EMD Order Number List at TrainWeb (internet)
    • Extra 2200 South Locomotive Newsletter (December 1970)
    I've recently taken an interest in the MRS-1 (Military Road-Switcher) built by EMD (#1808-1820) and GE/Alco (2041-2123) and was surprised to read on a couple of on-line sources that the MRS-1 model never served overseas during the Korean War (1950-1953) even though some had been built in 1952. (From Butch C.) EMD-built MRS-1s #1810 and 1811 arrived in Korea in 1952 and were assigned to the 716th Military Railroad Battalion. During the war, they were instrumental in hauling men, materiel and supplies, as well as handling hospital trains. Their replacements in 1954 were GE/Alco-built MRS-1s #B2080 and B2081. The GE/Alcos returned to the U.S. in 1956. The Bulk of the MRS-1's were put into storage and then sent to various Army posts, Navy bases or sold off.

    Only two other MRS-1s worked beyond North American shores; #2114 and 2099 were sold to the Urugauay Railroad and renumbered 1611 and 1612.

    Correspondence from U.S. Army Transportation Corps, Fort Eustis, VA; 18 March 2019
    Have train images ever been featured on U.S. Currency? (From Ron S.) No evidence could be found to suggest that the U.S. Mint ever featured a train image on currency. However, during the early to mid 1800s, several U.S. banks issued notes, certificates and stocks with images of Steam-powered trains.

    Contrastingly, an image of VIA Rail F40PH-2 #6403 recently appeared on Canada's new $10 Bill.

    From Craig W. comes this important correction: "Assuming that "currency" includes coins (in the common definition it does, but some use it to just refer to bills), then there have been trains on US currency - the 2007 Utah quarter: http://www.usmint.gov/historianscorner/?action=coinDetail&id=29154.

    Works & Words (an Intetnet Website)
    What was the purchase price of a new PA-1 and/or PB-1?? (From Dylan R.) There was not much of a price differential between the PA and PB models. A new PA-1 could be purchased for $187,000. The mechanical innards of the two locomotives were quite similar. Even though the PB lacked a cab, there was a hostler's station (with control stand) in the PB. That particular feature helped offset any significant cost difference. PA: Alco's Glamour Girl by Andy Romano
    What were the weights (dry) of prime movers used in first and second generation locomotives? (From Don B.)

    Alco Power Plants

    • 12V-244 (1600 hp) @ 30,000 lbs
    • 16V-244 (2250 hp) @ 37,000 lbs

    • 12V-251 (1800 hp) @ 32,300 lbs
    • 16V-251 (2400 hp) @ 40,300 lbs

    • V12 Maybach (1000 hp for NYC Xplorer) @ 11,000 lbs

    Baldwin Power Plants

    • 606SC 6-cyl. (1000 hp) @ ?? lbs
    • 606SC 8-cyl. (1600 hp) @ ?? lbs
    • 608NA 8-cyl. (1000 hp) @ ?? lbs
    • 608SC 8-cyl. (1500 hp) @ ?? lbs
    • 608A 8-cyl. (1600 hp) @ ?? lbs

    EMD Power Plants

    • 12V-567B (1200 hp) @ 23,000 lbs
    • 16V-567B (1500 hp) @ 29,000 lbs

    • 12V-567C (1200 hp) @ 24,660 lbs
    • 16V-567C (1750 hp) @ 32,106 lbs

    • 12V-645 (2300 hp) @ 28,306 lbs
    • 16V-645 (3000 hp) @ 36,425 lbs
    • 20V-645 (3600 hp) @ 43,091 lbs

    Fairbanks-Morse Power Plants

    • 8-Cyl, OP., 38D8-1/2 (1600 hp) @ ?? lbs
    • 10-Cyl, OP., 38D8-1/2 (2000 hp) @ ?? lbs
    • 12-Cyl, OP., 38D8-1/2 (2400 hp) @ ?? lbs

    General Electric Power Plants

    • FDL16A (2500 hp) @ ?? lbs
    • FDL16D (3000 hp) @ ?? lbs

    • 7FDL-8 Cyl. (2300 hp) @ 27,000 lbs
    • 7FDL-12 cyl. (3200 hp) @ 34,940 lbs
    • 7FDL-16 cyl. (4400 hp) @ 43,510 lbs
    Locomotive Encyclopedia (by Simmons-Boardman Publishing, 15th Edition)

    Barrington Diesel

    Railroad Locomotive (Will Davis & David Davis Internet Blog)

    General Electric Transportation Brochure

    Note: We are actively seeking sources to complete data table

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