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EMD "FT" Locomotives


Last revised: May 11, 2023

By: Adam Burns

After dabbling in early diesel-electric boxcabs in 1935, and then introducing the first streamlined versions in 1937/1938 for the Baltimore & Ohio and Santa Fe (EA/E1), Electro-Motive forever changed railroading with the FT of 1939.

This four-unit set of streamlined cab locomotives made a quiet introduction to the industry in November, 1939 when Electro-Motive released the now-famous demonstrator set, #103, for testing without fanfare.

However, during the course of its 11-month, nationwide parade it wowed time and time again, proving diesels were more than capable of permanently retiring the steam locomotive in main line freight service.

The reason for EMC's success?  Years of research in diesel locomotive development via motorcars, boxcabs, small switchers, and an early line of streamlined passenger diesels; a reliable power plant; studying historical applications of the most successful steam locomotives; months of fine tuning the #103 demonstrator set; and finally, excellent customer service.

In fact, Electro-Motive proved so successful that it not only retired the steam engine but would also eventually put the builders of these locomotives out of business.

Today, half of the original #103 demonstrator set is preserved; the lead "A" unit is on display at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis while one of the "B" units is owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.


2039527356237296981762998702709839.jpgA handsome, A-B set of Santa Fe FT's, led by #168-L, have arrived at San Diego, California with what appears to be a mail/express train, circa 1950. American-Rails.com collection.


After witnessing the early streamliner's success in the mid-1930s, notable Union Pacific's M-10000 and Burlington's Pioneer Zephyr, Brian Solomon notes in his book, "The American Diesel Locomotive," Electro-Motive parent General Motors became convinced that the diesel locomotive could displace steam as standard power in main line service.

And there was great monetary potential in such a market as it was estimated the conversion from steam to diesel would cost the industry $4 billion.  This belief led to the early boxcab's development and then the first "E" series streamlined models, designed by Electro-Motive's chief engineer Richard "Dick" Dilworth.

As Mike Schafer points out in, "Vintage Diesel Locomotives," Dilworth was also heavily involved in the FT project.  Dilworth was a self-taught mechanical and electrical engineer who knew diesel engines very well, dating back to his days at General Electric when the company was involved in early diesel-electric switchers. 

In developing the FT he was after a design not only capable of withstanding the everyday beating and pounding required in standard road service but also powerful enough to handle a heavy freight train. 

Using General Motors' then-relatively new 12-cylinder model 567/567A prime mover, capable of producing 1,350 horsepower, Dilworth experimented with a locomotive concept that featured two engines on a single frame. Next, he equipped each locomotive with a pair of two-axle trucks powered with GM's model D7b traction motors.

Southern Railway/CNO&TP FTA #6100, part of the famous #103 demonstrator set that toured the country in 1939, is seen here on display for Electro-Motive's 50th Anniversary celebration open house at La Grange, Illinois; September 9, 1972. American-Rails.com collection.

The two units were semi-permanently coupled using a drawbar instead of a standard knuckle coupler, which officially gave the set a 2,700 horsepower rating.  By adding another A-B pair, creating an A-B-B-A lashup, a four-unit set could produce an eye-popping 5,400 horsepower. 

Such power rivaled nearly any steam locomotive of the era, albeit via four units instead of one. It was this A-B-B-A set that General Motors sent to market in 1939 as the FT.  The new locomotive was given a beautiful streamlined carbody designed by the company's new styling department, then headed by legendary industrial designer Leland Knickerbocker. 

- Knickerbocker created many of the colorful paint schemes from the early diesel era, including Santa Fe's classic "Warbonnet" livery. -

The FT was the first to sport the now-classic "bull dog" nose that was applied to all of EMD's future cab models.  The decision to wrap the locomotive in a streamlined carbody was interesting, considering it was primarily intended to handle freight assignments (although could be optionally equipped for passenger service).

As Brian Solomon notes in his book, "Electro-Motive: E Units And F Units," the reasoning was multifaceted and included redundancy (as an outgrowth of the early streamlined "Es"), advertising GM's new product, and even safety as the frame was designed to fracture behind the cab in the event of a collision thus offering the crew a level of protection (the locomotive also featured front end plows and anti climbers).

2609287732472h2806207097.jpgSanta Fe FT's sporting their Warbonnet livery, led by #164-L, near Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal in March, 1947. Russ Cole photo. American-Rails.com collection.

Demonstration Tour (1939)

Officially, the FT stood for Freight, Twenty-seven hundred horsepower (two units). The demonstrator set embarked on a cross-country tour in November, 1939 featuring A units #103 and #103A and B units #103(b) and #103A(b).  Interestingly, while General Motors had heavily advertised its early "Es" and diesel switchers, the demonstrator set was released quietly from La Grange with little fanfare.

During the following eleven months the four-unit set operated on 20 Class I railroads, covering some 83,764 miles in 35 different states.  In the process, it convinced the industry of diesels' superiority in main line service.  Its efficiency, turnaround times, reliability, and speed was simply unmatched. 

The "Railway Mechanical Engineer" from April, 1941, which was reprinted in the "Train Shed Cyclopedia: No. 58" from June, 1977, details this supremacy when the Santa Fe sent its A-B-B-A set #100 on a demonstration run from Argentine Yard in Kansas City to Los Angeles between February 8 - February 15, 1941.

In addition to freight cars, the train included a dynamometer car and five business cars so that AT&SF officers could see the railroad's first main line diesel-electrics in action.  The "Railway Mechanical Engineer" articles notes the following:

"No particular attempt was made for a speed record either by means of unusually high operating speeds or reduced delays on the road and at terminals.  As a matter of fact, the running time for this trip of 1,761.8 miles was 54 hr., 35½ min., which gives an average running speed of 32.3 mph.

The locomotive demonstrated ample reserve capacity to handle heavier trains than the one used in the test and at substantially higher speeds.  For example, the test train, with a maximum of 68 cars and 3,150 tons, was handled successfully over ascending grades up to 1.6 per cent westbound, without a helper, and at a speed generally of about 30 mph.  The maximum speed attained during the run was 68 mph between Amarillo, Tex., and Clovis, NM, this portion of the road being predominantly a 0.6 per cent ascending grade.

On descending grades, the locomotive gave an excellent account of itself due to the dynamic brake.  This feature was used at four places during the run for a total of 83 miles; namely, from Mountainair, NM, to Belen, 17.5 miles; Supai, Ariz., to Ash Fork, 20.0 miles; Louise, Ariz., to Yucca, 23.0 miles; and Summit, Cal., to San Bernardino, 22.5 miles.  Maximum grades on these four mountains ranged from 1.27 to 3 per cent. At a speed of 20 mph, the retarding effect exerted behind the locomotive was 48,000 lb., and the horsepower 2,560.  At 29 mph, the corresponding figures were 35,200 lb., and the horsepower 2,730.

In negotiating the 3 per cent descending grade westward from Summit, the train length was limited to 50 cars in accordance with customary Santa Fe practice and the retaining valves were set up as an added safety measure. 

Where the dynamic retarding brake was used, it was necessary to set the train air brake only about one-fourth as much as usual.  There was no evidence of excessive wheel heating throughout the run and when stops were made after descending heavy grades, the wheels never much exceeded bare hand temperature. 

The total energy absorbed by the dynamic brake during its use on this run is estimated at 19,700 million foot pounds, or approximately 10 per cent of the entire energy that was used to move the train throughout the test run.

The next most significant thing about this Diesel freight locomotive test run was the fact that a total of seven steam locomotives would ordinarily have been required to take the same train from Argentine to Los Angeles, with not less than 28 stops for water, on 12 of which fuel would also have been taken. 

The Diesel locomotive made the entire trip with only four stops for fuel and the addition of a little engine cooling water; namely, at Wellington, Kan., Clovis, NM, Winslow, Ariz., and San Bernardino, Cal.  The locomotive was serviced at Los Angeles and could have started the return trip, if necessary, with practically no delay."

Another reason for the FT's success was its application of dynamic braking, as noted in the previous "Railway Mechanical Engineerexcerpt; it was the first diesel locomotive to employ the technology.  Although this technology was not featured on the original #103 demonstrator set it was included on the first production set completed in December, 1940; Santa Fe #100 previously highlighted.

Just as electric locomotives were efficient in using the overhead catenary for regenerative braking by returning voltage back into the system, dynamic brakes worked by using the traction motors to retard the train's progress. 

The March, 1945 issue of Diesel Railway Traction highlighted the FT's dynamic brakes:

"The main generator is used to furnish excitation for the traction motors, which become separately excited generators.  The main generator fields are controlled in turn by a hand-operated rheostat in the driver's cab.

The traction motor armatures are connected to the air-cooled grids mounted in the roof of the locomotive; motor-driven blowers which supply cooling air to the grids are connected electrically with the grids and so act as part of the load."

To prevent engineers from overloading the grids, or traction motors, a red mark on the dial of the transition meter, as well as an accompanying flashing light, warned of the maximum intensity of braking that was permitted.

This feature not only prolonged the life of both the wheels and brake shoes but also allowed the locomotive to hold back very heavy trains on steep grades for an increased level of safety (and it is still used in modern day diesels).

Santa Fe FTA #115-L lays over at Colorado & Southern's Rice Yard in Denver, circa 1954. American-Rails.com collection.


One of the FT's key selling points was its tremendous starting tractive effort; on average this figure was 228,000 pounds, higher than practically any steam locomotive type ever developed.  Whereas a steam engine produces its greatest tractive effort at-speed, diesels generate their highest rating when starting.

The #103 set was so powerful it often pulled apart trains as crews were unfamiliar with the new technology and knowing just how much initial exertion to apply.  The FT's four-axle, B-B trucks were a primary reason for this high adhesion; these trucks were not only equipped with traction motors on each axle (unlike the early "E's" A1A-A1A trucks whose center axle was unpowered) but also enabled the locomotives to place their entire weight on the driving wheels.  The trucks were designed by Martin Blomberg, who adapted them from his successful A1A trucks used on the early "Es."


The FT's ability to not only demonstrate its superiority in main line service but also change more than a century of deep-rooted culture is a testament to the product General Motors introduced in 1939.  The fact that the builder also accomplished this feat in such a short period of time is equally as impressive.

Another issue facing GM was illustrating how a four-unit FT set was actually a single locomotive and not individual units.  Otherwise, unions would require each to be fully crewed, thus eliminating many of the FT's cost savings.  To accomplish this, Electro-Motive constructed a cabless "B" unit that was semipermanently coupled to an "A" unit.  This pair was then semipermanently coupled to another A-B pair for a complete 5,400 horsepower set.

Yet another significant hurdle was convincing railroads to completely change how they acquired new motive power by purchasing mass-produced locomotives that were practically identical except for paint schemes and other minor variations. 

This was almost unheard of up until that time when railroads typically custom-designed steam engines to fit their specific needs, working in conjunction with the manufacturer(s).  In other cases, company steam shops simply designed and built locomotives from the ground up.  However, GM was so confident in its product it believed it could win over the skeptics and this belief proved correct, not only with the FT but also future models like the F3 and F7.

Data Sheet

Entered Production3/1939 (Demonstrator Set #103)
Years Produced3/1939 - 11/1945
Engine567, 567A
Engine BuilderGM
Length (FTA)48' 3"
Length (FTB)47' 6"
Total Length (A-B-B-A set)193'
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)14' ½"
Width9' 10"
Weight (FTA)230,000 Lbs
Weight (FTB)228,000 Lbs
Weight (A-B-B-A set)923,600 Lbs
Fuel Capacity1,200 Gallons
Air CompressorGardner-Denver
Air Compressor ModelWBO
Air Brake ManufacturerWestinghouse
Air Brake Schedule8EL
Truck TypeBlomberg
Truck Wheelbase9'
Wheel Size40"
Traction MotorsD7b (4), GM
Primary GeneratorD8, GM
Auxiliary GeneratorDelco (A8102)
MU (Multiple-Unit)Yes
Dynamic BrakesYes
Gear Ratio62:15
Tractive Effort (Starting)228,000 Lbs (Four Unit Set)
Tractive Effort (Continuous)32,500 Lbs (Four Unit Set)
Top Speed65 mph

Production Rosters


Total Built = 555

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date
Electro-Motive (Demonstrator, became Southern [Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific] 6100A) 1030, renumbered 103 1030a E390 3/1939
Electro-Motive (Demonstrator, became Southern [Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific] 6100D) 1031, renumbered 103A 1031a E390 3/1939
Santa Fe 100-101 1198-1199 E351 12/1940
Santa Fe 101, 101C 1200-1201 E351 3/1941
Great Northern 5700A-5701A 1221a-1222a E360 4/1941, 6/1941
Southern (Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific) 6101A, 6101D 1336a-1337a E391 7/1941
Milwaukee Road 40A, 40D 1365-1366 E397 10/1941
Great Northern 5900A, 5900B, 5600A 1383-1385 E401 10/1941
Santa Fe 104 1406 E409 11/1941
Western Pacific 901, 901C - 903, 903C 1410-1415 E411 11/1941 - 1/1942
Denver & Rio Grande Western 540, 540C - 542, 542C 1435-1440 E422 1/1942 - 2/1942
Santa Fe 105-112 1477-1484 E439 3/1942 - 5/1942
Santa Fe 113-118 1485-1490 E439 cont'd 10/1942 - 2/1943
Santa Fe 119 1491 E439 5/1943
Seaboard Air Line 4000-4005 1570-1575 E451 6/1942
Great Northern 400A, 400D 1585-1586 E453 12/1943
Baltimore & Ohio 1(a), 1(d) - 5(a), 5(d) [Odds] 1633-1638 E470 8/1942 - 9/1942
Baltimore & Ohio 7(a), 7(d) - 11(a), 11(d) [Odds] 1639-1644 E470 8/1943 - 10/1943
Southern (New Orleans & North Eastern) 6800A-6803A 1657-1660 E485 7/1942
Great Northern 402A, 402D, 404A, 404D 1721-1724 E481 1/1944
Great Northern 406A, 406D - 410A, 410D (Evens) 1756-1761 E495 3/1944 - 5/1944
Milwaukee ROad 41A, 41D 1774-1775 E498 7/1943
Santa Fe 120-129 1779-1788 E501 6/1943 - 10/1943
Southern 4100A, 4100D - 4101A, 4101D 1819-1822 E503 10/1943 - 11/1943
Rock Island 99-94 (Reversed) 1840-1845 E510 4/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4006-4009 1865-1868 E518 8/1943 - 10/1943
New York Central 1600-1603 1888-1891 E522 6/1944
Denver & Rio Grande Western 543 - 545 (1st and 4th Units in A-B-B-A set) 1892-1897 E524 5/1943 - 6/1943
Denver & Rio Grande Western 546 - 547 (1st and 4th Units in A-B-B-A set) 1898-1901 E524 12/1943
Denver & Rio Grande Western 548 (1st and 4th Units in A-B-B-A set) 1902-1903 E524 3/1944
Boston & Maine 4200A-4205A 1916-1921 E523 09-12/43
Great Northern 412A, 412D - 424A, 424D (Evens) 1938-1951 E529 06-10/44
Boston & Maine 4206A-4207A 1975-1976 E541 2/1944
Boston & Maine 4208A 1977 E541 10/1944
Northern Pacific 6000A, 6000D - 6002A, 6000D 1978-1983 E531 2/1944 - 5/1944
Boston & Maine 4209A-4211A 1991-1993 E541 10/1944
Southern 4102A, 4102D 2010-2011 E503 11/1943
Atlantic Coast Line 300-305 2013-2018 E549 9/1943 - 11/1943
Santa Fe 130-142 2024-2036 E551 10/43-04/44
Missouri Pacific 501-504 2072-2075 E554 11/1943 - 12/1943
Missouri Pacific 505-508 2076-2079 E554 9/1944 - 10/1944
Southern (Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific) 6102A, 6102D 2089-2090 E503 12/1943
Western Pacific 904, 904C - 906, 906C 2096-2101 E559 6/1943 - 9/1943
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 100A, 100D - 102A, 102D 2108-2113 E561 12/1943 - 2/1944
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 103A, 103D - 111A, 111D 2114-2131 E561 5/1944 - 7/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4010-4011 2156-2157 E563 11/1943
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 112A, 112D - 114A, 114D 2187-2192 E561 8/1944 - 9/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 306-311 2202-2207 E567 12/1943 - 1/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 312-314 2214-2216 E569 2/1944 - 4/1944
Santa Fe 143-151 2224-2232 E572 4/1944 - 7/1944
Santa Fe 120C-121C, 152, 152C, 122C-123C 2233-2238 E572 10/1944
Santa Fe 153, 153C, 124C-125C, 154, 154C, 126C-127C, 155, 155C, 128C-129C, 156, 156C, 130C-131C, 157, 157C 2266-2283 E572 10/1944 - 12/1944
St Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 900A, 900D, 905A, 905D, 910A, 910D 2306-2311 E581 6/1944 - 7/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4012-4015 2318-2321 E583 1/1944 - 2/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4016-4021 2322-2327 E583 9/1944 - 10/1944
Rock Island 93-90 (Reversed) 2387-2390 E597 5/1944 - 6/1944
Rock Island 89, 88 2391-2392 E597 9/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 315-317 2401-2403 E569 4/1944 - 5/1944
Boston & Maine 4212A-4223A 2404-2415 E600 10/1944 - 11/1944
Erie 700A, 700D - 705A, 705D 2533-2544 E609 10/1944 - 11/1944
Northern Pacific 6003A-6006A, 6003D-6006D 2557-2564 E611 7/1944 - 10/1944
Santa Fe 132C-133C, 158, 158C, 134C-135C, 159, 159C, 136C-137C, 160, 160C, 138C-139C, 161, 161C, 140C-141C, 162, 162C, 142C-143C, 163, 163C, 144C-145C, 164, 164C, 146C-147C, 165, 165C, 148C-149C, 166, 166C-167, 167C 2573-2610 E613 12/1944 - 2/1945
Milwaukee Road 42A, 42D - 47A, 47D 2613-2624 E615 7/1944 - 9/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 318-323 2652-2657 E620 12/1944
Southern 4103A, 4103D - 4104A, 4104D, 4105A - 4105D, 4106A, 4106D 2664-2673 E622 12/1944
Lehigh Valley 500-503 2695-2698 E625 1/1945
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 651A-654A 2703-2706 E627 5/1945
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 601A, 601C - 604A, 604C 2711-2718 E628 4/1945 - 5/1945
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 115A, 115D 2725-2726 E561 9/1944
Denver & Rio Grande Western 549 - 551 (1st and 4th Units in A-B-B-A set) 2771-2776 E632 8/1944 - 10/1944
Western Pacific 907, 907C - 911, 911C 2783-2792 E633 7/1944 - 8/1944
Western Pacific 912, 912C 2793-2794 E633 11/1944
Reading 250A-259A 2807-2816 E634 1/1945 - 2/1945
Northern Pacific 6007A-6010A, 6007-6010D 2836-2843 E636 12/1944 - 1/1945
Southern 4107A, 4107D - 4108A, 4108D 2885-2888 E644 2/1945 - 3/1945
Great Northern 301A, 301C - 305A, 305C 2915-2924 E645 3/1945 - 4/1945
Great Northern 426A, 426D, 428A, 428D 2930-2933 E645 3/1945
Minneapolis & St Louis 445A, 445C, 545A, 545C 3100-3103 E651 4/1945
Chicago & North Western 5400A, 5400D - 5401A, 5401D 3115-3118 E653 5/1945
New York, Ontario & Western 801-808 3123-3130 E654 5/1945
New York Ontario & Western 601 3139 E654 5/1945
St Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 915A, 915D, 920A, 920D 3227-3230 E663 6/1945
Milwaukee Road 35A, 35D - 39A, 39D 3245-3254 E665 7/1945
Santa Fe 168,C, 150C-151C, 169, 169C, 119C, 118C, 177, 177C, 176, 176C, 105C, 170, 170C, 117C, 116C, 171, 171C, 115C, 114C, 172, 172C, 113C, 112C, 173, 173C, 111C, 110C, 174, 174C, 109C, 108C, 175, 175C, 107C, 106C 3299-3335 E669 5/1945 - 8/1945
Missouri Pacific 509-512 3358-3361 E672 7/1945
Southern 4120, 4123-4125, 4121, 4126, 4122, 4127 3396-3403 E678 8/1945
Great Northern 252A, 300A, 300C, 256A-258A 3492-3497 E689 10/1945 - 11/1945
Santa Fe 178, 178C - 179, 179C 3709-3712 E709 8/1945
Rock Island 70, 70A - 73, 73A 3745-3752 E713 11/1945


Total Built = 541

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date
Electro-Motive (Demonstrator, became Southern [Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific] 6100B) 1030(B), renumbered 103(B) 1030 E390 5/1939
Electro-Motive (Demonstrator, became Southern [Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific] 6100C) 1031(B), renumbered 103A(B) 1031 E390 5/1939
Santa Fe 100A-101A 1202-1203 E352 12/1940
Santa Fe 100B-101B 1204-1205 E352 3/1941
Great Northern 5700B-5701B 1221-1222 E360 4/1941 - 6/1941
Southern (Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific) 6101B, 6101C 1336-1337 E391 7/1941
Santa Fe 100C-101C, 102A, 102B, 102C - 103A, 103B, 103C 1340-1347 E393 8/1941 - 9/1941
Milwaukee Road 40B, 40C 1367-1368 E398 10/1941
Great Northern 5900C 1386 E402 10/1941
Great Northern 5600B 1387 E417 10/1941
Santa Fe 104A-104C 1407-1409 E410 11/1941
Western Pacific 901A, 901B - 903A, 903B 1416-1421 E412 11/1941 - 1/1942
Denver & Rio Grande Western 540A, 540B - 542A, 542B 1441-1446 E423 1/1942 - 2/1942
Santa Fe 105A, 105B, 105C - 112A, 112B, 112C 1492-1515 E440 3/1942 - 5/1942
Santa Fe 113A, 113B, 113C - 118A, 118B, 118C 1516-1533 E440 10/1942 - 2/1943
Santa Fe 119A-119C 1534-1536 E440 5/1943
Seaboard Air Line 4100-4105 1576-1581 E452 6/1942
Great Northern 400B 1587 E454 12/1943
Baltimore & Ohio 1(b), 1(c) - 5(b), 5(c) [Odds] 1645-1650 E471 8/1942 - 9/1942
Baltimore & Ohio 7(b), 7(c) - 11(b), 11(c) [Odds] 1651-1656 E471 8/1943 - 10/1943
Southern (New Orleans & North Eastern) 6800B-6803B 1661-1664 E486 7/1942
Great Northern 402B, 402C, 404B, 404C 1725-1728 E482 1/1944
Great Northern 400C 1762 E454 12/1943
Great Northern 406B, 406C - 410B, 410C (Evens) 1763-1768 E496 3/1944 - 5/1944
Milwaukee Road 41B, 41C 1776-1777 E499 7/1943
Santa Fe 120A, 120B, 120C - 129A, 129B, 129C 1789-1818 E502 6/1943 - 10/1943
Southern 4100B, 4100C - 4101B, 4101C 1823-1826 E504 10/1943 - 11/1943
Rock Island 99A-94A (Reversed) 1846-1851 E511 4/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4106-4109 1869-1872 E519 8/1943 - 10/1943
Denver & Rio Grande Western 543 - 545 (2nd and 3rd Units in A-B-B-A set) 1904-1909 E525 5/1943 - 6/1943
Denver & Rio Grande Western 546 - 547 (2nd and 3rd Units in A-B-B-A set) 1910-1913 E525 12/1943
Denver & Rio Grande Western 548 (2nd and 3rd Units in A-B-B-A set) 1914-1915 E525 3/1944
Great Northern 412B, 412C - 424B, 424C (Evens) 1952-1965 E530 6/1944 - 10/1944
Boston & Maine 4200B-4205B 1969-1974 E540 9/1943 - 12/1943
Northern Pacific 6000B, 6000C - 6002B, 6002C 1984-1989 E532 2/1944 - 5/1944
Boston & Maine 4206B-4207B 1994-1995 E542 2/1944
Boston & Maine 4208B-4211B 1996-1999 E542 10/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 300B-302B 2019-2021 E550 9/1943 - 11/1943
Southern 4102B, 4102C 2022-2023 E504 11/1943
Santa Fe 130A/130B/130C - 137A/137B/137C, 138A, 138B 2037-2062 E585 10/1943 - 3/1944
Missouri Pacific 501B-504B 2080-2083 E555 11/1943 - 12/1943
Missouri Pacific 505B-508B 2084-2087 E555 9/1944 - 10/1944
Southern (Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific) 6102B, 6102C 2091-2092 E504 12/1943
Western Pacific 904A, 904B - 906A, 906B 2102-2107 E560 6/1943 - 9/1943
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 100B, 100C - 102B, 102C 2132-2137 E562 12/1943-2/1944
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 103B, 103C - 111B, 111C 2138-2155 E562 5/1944 - 7/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4110-4111 2158-2159 E564 11/1943
New York Central 2400-2403 2183-2186 E522 6/1944
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 112B, 112C - 114B, 114C 2193-2198 E562 8/1944 - 9/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 303B-305B 2199-2201 E550 11/1943
Atlantic Coast Line 306B-311B 2208-2213 E568 12/1943 - 1/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 312B-317B 2217-2222 E570 2/1944 - 5/1944
Santa Fe 143A/143B/143C - 151A/151B/151C 2239-2265 E573 4/1944 - 7/1944
St Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 900B, 900C, 905B, 905C, 910B, 910C 2312-2317 E582 6/1944 - 7/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4112-4115 2328-2331 E584 1/1944 - 2/1944
Seaboard Air Line 4116-4121 2332-2337 E584 9/1944 - 10/1944
Santa Fe 138C, 139A/139B/139C - 142A/142B/142C 2338-2350 E585 3/1944 - 4/1944
Rock Island 93A-90A (Reversed) 2393-2396 E598 5/1944 - 6/1944
Rock Island 89A, 88A 2397-2398 E598 9/1944
Boston & Maine 4212B-4223B 2416-2427 E601 10/1944 - 11/1944
Erie Railroad 700B, 700C - 705B, 705C 2545-2556 E610 10/1944 - 11/1944
Northern Pacific 6003B-6006B, 6003C-6006C 2565-2572 E612 7/1944 - 10/1944
Santa Fe 167A, 167B 2611-2612 E613 2/1945
Milwaukee ROad 42B, 42C - 47B, 47C 2625-2636 E616 7/1944 - 9/1944
Atlantic Coast Line 318B-323B 2658-2663 E621 12/1944
Southern 4103B/4103C - 4104B/4104C, 4106B, 4106C 2674-2679 E623 12/1944
Lehigh Valley 500B-503B 2699-2702 E626 1/1945
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 651B-654B 2707-2710 E627 5/1945
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 601B-604B 2719-2722 E628 4/1945 - 5/1945
Chicago Burlington & Quincy 115B, 115C 2727-2728 E562 9/1944
Denver & Rio Grande Western 549 - 551 (2nd and 3rd Units in A-B-B-A set) 2777-2782 E632 8/1944 - 10/1944
Western Pacific 907A, 907B - 911A, 911B 2795-2804 E633 8/1944 - 9/1944
Western Pacific 912A, 912B 2805-2806 E633 11/1944
Reading 250B-259B 2817-2826 E634 1/1945 - 2/1945
Northern Pacific 6007B-6010B, 6007C-6010C 2844-2851 E636 12/1944 - 1/1945
Southern 4107B, 4107C - 4108B, 4108C 2889-2892 E644 2/1945 - 3/1945
Great Northern 301B-305B 2925-2929 E645 3/1945 - 4/1945
Great Northern 426B, 426C, 428B, 428C 2934-2937 E645 3/1945
Minneapolis & St Louis 445B, 545B 3108-3109 E651 4/1945
Chicago & North Western 5400B, 5400C - 5401B, 5401C 3119-3122 E653 5/1945
New York, Ontario & Western 801B-808B 3131-3138 E654 5/1945
New York, Ontario & Western 601B 3141 E654 5/1945
St Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 915B, 915C, 920B, 920C 3231-3234 E663 6/1945
Milwaukee Road 35B, 35C - 39B, 39C 3255-3264 E665 7/1945
Santa Fe 177A, 177B, 176B 3336-3338 E669 6/1945
Missouri Pacific 509B-512B 3362-3365 E672 7/1945
Southern 4116-4119 3404-3407 E678 8/1945
Great Northern 252B, 254B-258B 3498-3503 E689 10/1945 - 11/1945
Santa Fe 178A, 178B - 179A, 179B 3713-3716 E709 8/1945
Rock Island 70B 3753 E713 11/1945
Rock Island 71B-73B 3755-3757 E713 11/1945

An A-B-B-A set of Santa Fe FT's are westbound as they cross the Arroyo Seco Bridge, spanning the Arroyo Seco Parkway in Los Angeles; March, 1947. Russ Cole photo. American-Rails.com collection.

In the end several Class 1s, from the Missouri Pacific and Milwaukee Road to the Baltimore & Ohio and Boston & Maine purchased the FT.  None were more enamored, however, than the Santa Fe, which acquired an impressive 32o examples between December, 1940 and August, 1945. 

By the time production had ended in November, 1945, Electro-Motive had sold 1,096 units.  It led to the later F3 and F7, models which saw even greater sales.

Today, five FT units are preserved:

  • Demonstrator A unit #103 at the National Museum of Transportation (St. Louis) 
  • Demonstrator B unit #103(b) at the Virginia Museum of Transportation (Roanoke)
  • Northern Pacific FTA #5401D at the Puebla Museum in Mexico
  • Southern Railway FTB #4100C at the National Museum of Transportation (St. Louis) 
  • Southern Railway FTB #4103B at the Southeastern Railway Museum (Duluth, Georgia)


  • Boyd, Jim. American Freight Train, The. Osceola: MBI Publishing, 2001.
  • Foster, Gerald. A Field Guide To Trains. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
  • Gregg, Newton K. Train Shed Cyclopedia, No. 58: Locos Of The 40's & 50's (Diesel) Part 7, from the 1941 Loc Cyc and Railway Mechanical Engineer. Novato: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Company, 1977.
  • Hayden, Bob. Diesel Locomotives: Cyclopedia, Volume 2 (Model Railroader). Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1980.
  • Marre, Louis A. Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, A Guide To Diesels Built Before 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. Diesel Spotter's Guide.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967.
  • Solomon, Brian. American Diesel Locomotive, The. Osceola: MBI Publishing, 2000.
  • Solomon, Brian.  EMD Locomotives.  Minneapolis: MBI Publishing Company, 2006.
  • Solomon, Brian.  Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America's Favorite Locomotives.  Minneapolis:  Voyageur Press, 2011.


Wes Barris's SteamLocomotive.com is simply the best web resource on the study of steam locomotives. 

It is difficult to truly articulate just how much material can be found at this website. 

It is quite staggering and a must visit!