The EMD FP7 was essentially a variant of the F7, and its intent was for
use in passenger service. Internally and visually, the locomotive was
virtually identical to its counterpart save for its extra length to accommodate a
steam generator. Railroads
found that Fs, with their better tractive effort performed much
better than Es in passenger service on routes with stiff grades. However, as a freight model lacking steam generators it was not a possible unless a separate heating car was used or Es were in the consist. EMD
corrected the issue with its FP7, released in the late 1940s, built at the same time as the F7. Surprisingly, for a
variant model the locomotive sold quite well with nearly 400 examples manufactured (including those constructed by General Motors Diesel of London,
Ontario). Today, numerous FP7s remain preserved and in operation
around the country.
Soo Line FP7 #504 and a GP9 layover at the yard and terminal in Stevens Point, Wisconsin on August 23, 1966. The Soo acquired eight of these units between 1949 and 1952.
The FP7 began production in the early summer of 1949 as a means for
railroads to have a streamlined diesel pull passenger
trains over stiff grades, a task for which Es were not well suited given their A1A-A1A truck setup that provided relatively poor
tractive effort. Several lines attempted to retrofit their F3s to carry
steam generators but the engine compartment did not have sufficient room
for both the generator and water supply needed. The Santa Fe attempted to get around this by placing a generator in an F3A
and the water in the accompanying B unit. Such a maneuver did work but always
required the need for two units in every train consist thus increasing operating costs.
Painted in Armour yellow for hauling Union Pacific consists into Chicago, Milwaukee Road FP7 #95-A is seen here in the Windy City during September of 1965.
Realizing this problem and railroads' desire to use the four-axled freight model in passenger operations EMD cataloged the FP7. The locomotive was 54-feet in
length (four feet longer than the standard 50-foot carbody of standard Fs) thus enabling the engine compartment to hold both the needed water and generator. Aside from these added components the FP7 was identical to the F7. It featured GM's 16-cylinder model 567B prime mover that could produce 1,500 horsepower and carried the company's D27C traction
motors which offered 40,000 pounds of continuous tractive effort (and a
mighty 64,000 pounds starting, then the most of any F available in EMD's catalog). It did, however, use a slightly upgraded main generator, the model D12D and featured dynamic braking a staple of Fs (multiple-unit control as also included).
A trio of freshly painted Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac FP7s (#1202, #1201, and #1203) are seen here in Richmond, Virginia on October 10, 1970.
Since the FP7 already housed all of the components needed for
passenger service there was little need to produce cabless Bs (although
some railroads did purchase F7Bs for extra horsepower and tractive
effort to accommodate their FP7s). Compared to the success of the FT, F3, and F7
the FP7's sales numbers appear very low; only 324 were
produced by the time production ended on the model in late 1953.
However, the FP7 solved a specific and very important need for railroads operating
passenger trains in mountainous terrain. Looking at the locomotive from this angle it was actually a resounding success.
Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (Southern)
Florida East Coast
Louisville & Nashville
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy)
90A, 90C, 95A-105A, 95C-105C
Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac
St. Louis San Francisco Railway (Frisco)
St. Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt/SP)
Western Railway Of Alabama
Wisconsin Central (Soo)
A trio of Rock Island units run light along the approach tracks to LaSalle Street Station during October of 1972. Pictured is FP7 #409, F7A #109, and C415 #417. Note the overall rundown appearance of the scene from the locomotives to the tracks and property. These were not good times within the industry.
A little more than two dozen railroads bought the FP7 along
with foreign lines Arabian American Oil Company,
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, and Ferrocarril Sonora-Baja
For General Motors Diesel, it sold another 57 to the Canadian
National and Ontario Northland Railway (the CN also bought 29 F7Bs to go
with its order). Interestingly today, numerous FP7s remain
preserved, many that are still operable particularly in excursion service (so in a way, these are still used in their original
capacity). Tourist railroads like the West Virginia Central, Stone
Mountain Railroad, and Verde Canyon Railroad all use FP7s.
Additionally, R.J. Corman operate a few on its dinner train and the
Canadian Pacific uses a fleet to power the luxurious Royal Canadian Pacific train.