F-units, paint schemes                                                  TT00044




04/02/02 14:05

Bill Kuebler

Was the First Passenger Pinetree scheme  > ever applied to the Phase 2 F-3A rebuild, or  > did the Phase 2 rebuild mark the end of the  > First scheme and the beginning of the Second  > Passenger Pinetree scheme so to avoid painting  > a curve behind the chicken wire screening?  >  For those who might not be familiar, I believe by "First  Pinetree scheme" he refers to the version where the  butter-knife shaped curve of the stripe went behind the  forward-most porthole rather than around the front of it.  See pages 127 and 128 of Schrenk & Frey's Diesel Era book  for three photos showing this scheme.    According to available evidence, this "first Pinetree  scheme" did not last long at all, at most a few months. I  would say that it lasted until sometime around Spring 1947,  or mid-Summer at the latest. Thus, the scheme was  modified--the stripe was moved to wrap around the front of  the first porthole--before the Phase 2 units conversions  occurred, but not long before. Whether or not that was the  reason for the paint scheme modification is uncertain. There  appear to be just enough months between the two events to be  cause for uncertainty.    As for the Phase changes, again, page 128 of the Diesel Era  book is instructive. The photo of the 6502 set, taken in  July 1948 (I believe that date is correct), shows the 6502A  in Phase 2. I believe that the Phase change of the 6502A  from Phase 1 to 2 took place about the same time as the  Phase changes (1 to 2) of all the other sets, so this would  have been no later than mid-Summer 1948. I believe the  change from 1 to 2 took place in late 1947, but early 1948  at the latest. That jibes with all my other photo evidence,  too, if memory serves.    There were a number of changes occurring to the industry's  F-unit fleets, including NP's, during those years and  months. EMD was really making several significant  improvements to their F-units, and they all occurred fairly  close together, so if this seems like a jumble of changes,  that's because it is.    I'm still certain that the change in NP's passenger F-3As to  Phase 3 (louvres instead of the chicken wire between  portholes) took place well before the Loewy scheme, but not  long after the acquisition of the first F-7As. There was  definitely a short period of overlap when the NP had F-5As  at the same time the F-3A in the same set was in the Phase 2  config. See pages 131 and 132 of Diesel Era for an example  of this, the 6505 set at Marshall.    It also seems reasonable that the acquisition of the newer  models, especially the F-7, is what caused the NP to change  older units, particularly the change to Phase 3. As one  would expect, the NP looked at how these various newer units  performed and then tried to modify the older ones  accordingly. What is a big mystery is why the freight F-3As  were left in their original configuration. That one has  stumped every NP vet I've asked about it.    I have not yet exhausted my F-unit photo collection (yes, I  have a pic of every NP F-unit, including the various configs  of the ones changed), but evidence thus far suggests the  following summary for passenger units:    1/47 Phase 1 F-3As and A-B-B sets. Original Pinetree  scheme.    Spring-Summer 47: Pinetree scheme modified, stripe moved  forward to wrap around front porthole.    Late 1947 or early 1948: Change from Phase 1 to 2 on F-3As.    10/48: Acquisition of F-5As 6503C-6506C, which replaced the  middle F-3B unit in each respective set. Sets 6503-06 then  became A-B-A sets. 6500-02 sets remained in A-B-B config.    4/49: 6501-02 sets to A-B-A config by replacing the third  unit (F-3B) with F-7As. Those third units became 6507B and  6508B, respectively.    9/49: Ditto above for 6500 set, except the middle unit was  replaced rather than the third unit. Of course, the original  third unit moved up to be the now second unit. Unit 6500B  became 6509B.    Late 1949, possibly a little later: F-3As converted to Phase  3 config. I have a picture of the 6505 set in 8/49 that  shows the F-3A in Phase 2 config, but another view of the  same set believed to be taken several months later showing  the same unit in Phase 3 config. I hate to base a conclusion  on only one set, but NP's practices were relatively  standardized in the F-unit passenger fleet of those years.  There were notable exceptions to this standardization in  later years, such as units 6551B-6553B, but their  conversions back to passenger service in 1959, 60, and 62,  respectively, account for the exceptions, being late in the  game.    3/53 First set painted in Loewy scheme: 6506 set. Dark green  slogan on A-unit flanks changed to white within weeks, if  not days.    The only louvre change of any kind to a unit after the Loewy  scheme was adopted, that I know of, was the 6501B. Oddly,  its louvre on one side only (!) was changed back to a middle  porthole sometime in the early 1960s, while the louvre on  the opposite side remained in place. No explanation for that  oddity. No wreck that I know of, or the like.    F-units were easy to change around. Their side walls were  just these small metal panels mounted in framework that  included wooden (!) members. Yes, part of the F-unit carbody  framework was wood.  Paint scheme, passenger, F3, F5, F7, Pine Tree, Loewy, 1940s, 1947, 1948  Compiler  C Frissell

11/26/02 18:12

John Moore

NP F units only carried 3 paint schemes during their service on NP. Two of   them were the passenger schemes of two toned green. No FTs ever carried this   scheme, only the black and yellow freight scheme which was the third paint   scheme. There is a reference to an oft debated solid green scheme with a pine   tree nose. This was referred to as the NP-F4 scheme. No FT was known to have   carried this scheme.    Within the freight schemes there were 5 variations referred to as the NP-F1   thru NP-F5. All had variation in lettering or pine trees. Only the F4 was   reputed to have not been black as stated earlier. This may have been a very   short lived experiment.    As delivered in the NP-F1 scheme they would have been solid black, with wide   solid yellow stripes on the sides of the A and B units just above the side   sill and edged with 3 inch red border stripes.     The nose pine tree would have been longer than the normal with the lowest   branch extending beyond the cab steps differing in length from the later F-3   and 7s which terminated in front of the cab steps. This scheme was applied to   FTs in 2/44 and in 1/45. No other units carried this scheme other than FTs.   The B unit carried no lettering or numbers as the draw bar equipped AB was   considered as one unit.    The reflectorized nose number boards were removed in 1950 when they were   renumbered into the 5400 series. In 1960 they got twin sealed beam lights in   the nose doors and the seven bulb upper light was replaced with an   oscillating light.    In the 1950s the FT were repainted into the same freight scheme as the F-3s   with the shorter pine tree wings.    Some other features for the FTs:     All had 62:15 gearing for 65MPH  Dynamic brakes  Steam end connections at both ends  24RL air brake schedule  Leslie Supertyfon horn  Vapor CFK-4225-2A steam generator also the FTB unit  Seven bulb headlight and later a 250 W. Pyle-National single bulb applied to   the nose  9 1/2 inch reflector numbers applied to the nose on 11 inch plates attached   to the nose door.    Side number boards were the norm as delivered and later changed to the angle   number boards on the nose.    Presence of the steam generators gave them the ability to pinch hit in   passenger service, but I have no pictures of them in passenger service or   indications of any regular use in such.    Two old articles in magazines have extensive details on paint and renumbering.  Prototype Modeler Sept. Oct. 1982, titled Northern Pacific Paint Diesel   Schemes, and Model Railroader Nov. 1993 titled Northern Pacific F Units. A   number of good books exist for the diesel rosters with color photos and data   and generally can be found in most major railroad book dealers adds and at   shows for around $40 to $50.     I currently have a set of the IM FTs in GN in the as delivered configuration   and they are excellent units. I am awaiting my NP units. I do not know if   these will feature the steam generators since my GN units did not and I have   to add them. However detailing is exquisite and delicate and I only have to   add a few details such as windshield wipers. MU hoses, and the steam   generator to have a unit that outshines most the Brass renditions I have seen   of the FTs. Pulling power equals or exceeds Kato's F units. In short a great   N scale unit and I expect the NP version to be excellent. Finally something   in N scale in NP that I don't have to paint and decal and long overdue.   FT,  details, history, steam generators, freight, passenger  Compiler  C Frissell