Class: F7 Class
Designer: General Motors Electro-Motive Div.
Weight: 104 tons
Purpose: Mixed Traffic
Information: First Generation diesel-electric F-Class locomotives designed and built between 1939 and 1960 by General Motors Electro-Motive Div. (EMD) are considered the most successful of the diesel pioneer projects in North America , with the F7 being the most numerous of all design variants.
Details: The original F series was introduced by EMD in 1939 and with subsequent improvements various classes were built through 1960. The F7 design, built between 1949 and 1953, were the most numerous, with 2,366 F7 cab units and 1,483 F7-B booster units, with-out cab controls being built. F7 units were supplied to many railroads through-out the United States, Canada, and Mexico with many variations catering to specific operational needs of individual customers. US and Mexican orders were assembled at the LaGrange, Illinois facility while Canadian customers were supplied by the London, Ontario subsidiary.
Originally intended as a freight locomotive by EMD, many units saw operation in passenger traffic, including front line named train services such as Santa Fe’s Super Chief and Canadian Pacific’s “The Canadian”.
A wide variety of options were provided to purchasing companies. Units could be geared to match speed requirements and were capable of top-speeds between 50-MPH to 120-MPH. The versatile design proved both economical and low maintenance. Although successful in most aspects, the entire F-series failed in one aspect. Remember, it had been intended as a freight locomotive; and in single unit operation the single cab arrangement proved ineffective at best.
Due to their car body style construction, the F-series locomotives allowed operating companies to take advantage of stylised and colourful liveries, hitherto uncommon with American railroad practice.
By 1953, EMD had introduced the more powerful F9 design variant. F7’s units survived in daily operation well into the 1970’s and beyond. The units also proved popular with secondary railroads as original owners up-dated their respective fleets.
Many have survived into preservation in both static and operational condition.