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Re: PC: F-7's

Jerry Jordak wrote:
Norman O Mueller wrote:
> I lived in Philadelphia during the Penn Central era.  I remember maybe
> once in all those years seeing a freight train powered by EMD F units.
> It was always electric power or diesel road switchers at the point.  Were
> the F's kept on the western half of the system?  It seems the pictures I
> have seen were taken west of Pittsburgh.

"You're right....most of the F units seemed to have been kept on the
western part of the system, where the terrain was more flat. (No
sense sending four-axle F-units into the mountains when you have SD45s
to do the same job.)"

Jerry makes a good point, former NYC F7's (by and large the majority) did not have dynamic brakes because the "Water Level Route" did not require it.  There is a great scene in one of the Penn Central tapes of an SD45, former NYC F7, and an RS-3 descending Horseshoe Curve and the break smoke from the train is amazing.  After the train is past a cloud hangs over the curve.

Also, in the late 1960's the F's were on their way out (especially on the PRR) and it may have been that PC did not want to install expensive modifications such as compliance seats and cab signals to old former NYC locomotives so they could lead system wide.  Therefore they were based at a former NYC facility and worked former NYC lines.  In another post a list member mentioned the former PRR F7's 1900-1906 that were equipped to lead system wide.  After expensive modifications, the 1900-1902 did not even survive to PC.  Of the rest, only the 1905 (with full PC paint) survived into 1970. 

I imagine that if PC did not go bankrupt the F's would have been long gone by 1974, replaced by GP38-2's and SD40-2's.  As it was, the PC made do with what it had available and railfans benefitted from it.

Bob Holzweiss

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