F3 Modifications                                                            TT00007




01/28/01 21:53

Bill Kuebler

NP began replacing the middle porthole with a louver on most  of its passenger F-3s and F-7s beginning in 1952 (one or two  units may have had this done in late 1951). It took a year  or two to convert all the ones they converted. The following  B-units were thus converted:    F-3B: 6500B-6509B  F-7B: 6510B-6513B    The other passenger F-3s (6551B-6553B, which went through  various renumberings and freight-passenger conversions) had  three portholes each side throughout their careers. Ditto  F-7B 6550B. All F-9Bs had three portholes each side. F-3B  6501B had a middle porthole on one side and a louver on the  other side (!) in the mid-1960s. Prior to that anomaly, it  had a louver on each side according to the conversion  described above.    I showed the engine numbers' "B" letter suffixes on all the  above units for clarification only. The suffix did not  appear on the B-units in large lettering until about 1961,  in the Loewy scheme era.    If you're modeling in the Pine Tree scheme and have a middle  porthole on an F-3B or F-7B, you're pretty much stuck with  modeling 1952-53 if you wish to be prototypical. If you want  to model earlier than that, you'll need middle portholes.  F3, F7 portholes, modifications, phase I, 1950s, paint schemes, 1960s  Compiler  C Frissell

02/03/02 13:13

Bill Kuebler

> Could it be that the upgrades of only the passenger F-3's was done   primarily  > for -- horrors! -- cosmetics? Seems to me that since NP was   exceptionally  > fastidious about all aspects of the NCL's appearance, keeping the   power  > looking like the latest thing may well have been deemed worthwhile.   It  > would explain why freight units were not similarly treated as well   as the  > timing of the changes which seem to have come almost immediately   with EMD's  > own model upgrades.     Jim, thanks for your thoughtful reply to this perplexing question. I'm   in no position to confirm or deny the truth of your theory, but I will   simply offer my own opinion about "cosmetics." It's worth just what   you're paying for it!    Since these F-3 upgrades all occurred in the 1940s, or possibly very   early 1950 at the latest for some of the changes, I would suspect that   cosmetics had little to do with it. That was an era under President   Denney, who had almost no regard for fancy diesel appearances. In   fact, his idea of an NP F-unit, or any diesel unit, was for it to be   painted nothing but black with no lettering save the road number   and--just maybe--the road's initials! He didn't even like the idea of   "Northern Pacific" appearing on the flanks, or heralds on the   noses, but guess he was talked out of that by somebody. Even so, I   believe the black of the freight units was largely a result of   correspondence between him and GM. Incidentally, for those who might   have wondered, most railroads' diesel paint schemes (including GN's   Omaha orange from what I understand, and definitely including NP's   freight schemes) were designed by the various diesel locomotive   builders' designers, especially GM designers, sometimes with input   from the buying RRs and sometimes without it.    NP didn't really start paying much attention to passenger train and   equipment appearance until the Macfarlane era. Wisely, when they   took another look at the cosmetics issue, the NP skipped the GM folks,   known for some rather plain-Jane designs, and hired Raymond Loewy, a   crackerjack industrial designer to say the least. That's the reason   the Loewy scheme was so successful and remains one of the most admired   paint schemes among rail fans and non-rail fans alike.    But as I said, most of the above regarding cosmetics as it relates to   our question is just my conjecture.    Here's my thinking, and again, it's just that, thinking.    What is the one difference between the passenger units and the freight   units that might have Anything to do with air-breathing? Well, it   can't be the prime mover. The freight and passenger F-3s all had the   same 567B type engine, with pretty much all the same accessories and   appliances. It is not likely that any airbrake equipment would account   for the upgrade differences, either, as airbrake equipment was all   essentially the same in the two groups of units, except for the   electro-pneumatic brake equipment installed on the passenger units in   1952. I can't think of anything about the electro-pneumatic equipment   that would be air-breathing sensitive that wasn't already a factor   with the other air brake equipment.    The one difference was...steam generators.    Is it possible that NP favored providing the highest quality air to   the passenger units because they wanted the steam generators to get   the best possible air? Yes, it's possible. Those things were touchy in   other respects, so maybe this, too, was an issue. I have no evidence   to support this thinking, but it seems logical. If nothing else, it   may be the best answer for now account there being nothing that makes   any more sense. Anyway, don't hold me to it, but that theory gets my   vote for now.      >   > As to your trivia question, I imagine the horsepower rating of the   F-9's  > must have crossed some baseline number in engineer's pay schedules   that the  > F-7's didn't.  >      Excellent thought! It is not common for rail fans to consider pay   schedules when it comes to diesel power consists and preferences, even   though pay schedules were one of the most important factors for crews.   Even so, that's not the answer here.    Besides that, crews pay was not based directly on horsepower, though   it was usually proportional to horsepower. It was based on "weight on   drivers." Yes, F-9s were heavier than older F-units and, thus,   commanded a very slightly higher pay rate. But remember, pay was based   on weight on the drivers of the entire locomotive--i.e., all three (or   four) units. So, the order in which the units were assembled didn't   matter, all other things being equal. Also, weight and pay would not   explain why having the F-9 in the lead was not an issue in freight   service, but only in passenger service. Freight service pay rates were   based on the same system of weight-on-drivers, although there was a   different pay schedule for freight and passenger service.    Here is your big hint for the first question (why F-9As seldom lead   mixed loco consist on trains 25/26): It involved something unique to   the Vista-Dome North Coast Limited.    Here is another hint for the first question: It involves the period   1956-62. Think of what happened in 1962 that might account for the end   of this phenomenon. As for what happened in 1956 that started it, that   is something not at all obvious, so I'll just give you another hint.   Jess Cannon became General Mechanical Superintendent on 3/31/56. Very   shortly thereafter, he rendered a major decision that relates directly   to the subject at hand.    As for the second question (why engineers preferred the F-9A in the   lead in passenger service), I'll admit that this is a very obscure   thing. Even so, it relates to the answer to Q#1 above, although this   answer applies to the entire NP diesel era. So, I'll give you another   hint: It has to do with something inside the cab (it is not the steam   generator equipment) that was in place for the entire service life of   the locomotive unit. Had you stood inside a passenger F-3/5/7 cab, and   then an F-9 cab, and had you paid very close attention to little   details, you would have seen a certain difference in something very   important to an engineer. Remember, passenger F-3/5/7s only, not   freight.     Any more players out there?   F3, passenger, freight, rebuilding, phase I, 1940s, 1950s  Compiler  C Frissell

03/31/02 16:20

David N. Hepper

Maybe I now have a firm grasp on the obvious, but  it looks like NP passenger F-3As went through three  transformations in appearance, not just two. It's  not clear that the fine NP textbooks specify all  three versions:    1. As purchased. Phase 1 F-3 - 3 portholes on A units  Paint: Passenger Pine Tree (both versions)  2. Rebuilt into Phase 2 (early) F-3 - 2 portholes on  A units, 4 rectangular vent openings covered by  chicken wire between 2 portholes.  Paint: Passenger Pine Tree (late version)    3. Rebuilt into Phase 3 F-3 - chicken wire between 2 port  holes removed, 4 rectangular vent openings replaced  by 4 louvered vents.   Paint: Passenger Pine Tree, Loewy    Question: Did any of the Phase 2 F-3A units have the Loewy  paint applied? Probably the second rebuild occurred  early enough to precede Loewy, but does anyone know?  F3, passenger, freight, rebuilding, phase I  Compiler  C Frissell

03/31/02 16:54

David N. Hepper

Correction - Previous email should  read '....two transformations, resulting in  three unique appearances..', and not '...three  transformations..'. (that would suggest  four appearances).  F3, passenger, freight, rebuilding, phase I Compiler  C Frissell

03/31/02 16:58

David N. Hepper

Considering the two rebuildings of the   passenger F-3As from their original Phase 1  configuration, does anyone know why the  freight F-3As did NOT undergo rebuilding and  remained in their as-delivered Phase 1 config.?    The reasons for rebuilding the passenger F-3s   are cited in NP books as '...to better filter  dirt from air ingested into the engine room..'.  Presuming this same dirty air would affect   freight F-3s, I wonder why they were not rebuilt.  F3, passenger, freight, rebuilding, phase I  Compiler  C Frissell

04/02/02 11:54

Bill Kuebler

> The reasons for rebuilding the passenger F-3s  > are cited in NP books as '...to better filter  > dirt from air ingested into the engine room..'.  > Presuming this same dirty air would affect  > freight F-3s, I wonder why they were not rebuilt.    Excellent question! I have wondered about this for the past  thirty years. I have no clue. What's more, neither did the  following NP men when I asked them this question over the  years:    Elmer Smoak, Tacoma Shop Supervisor instrumental in its  conversion to diesel ops; very much an expert on NP diesel  maintenance and operations. He simply said, "I don't recall  at the moment." Perhaps he might recall now, if asked again.  I presume he is still well, in Spokane. By the way, he once  told me that the NP's F-9s, and especially the 567C prime  mover, were his favorite pieces of equipment in terms of the  quality of their design.    Glenn Staeheli. I wouldn't call him an expert in the areas  where Elmer Smoak was most knowledgeable, but he still  seemed to accumulate all kinds of trivia. If nothing else,  he had a good memory for such facts. But he had no clue on  this one.    O. J. Murphy. If memory serves, he said, "I used to know,  but don't remember." Frustrating.    Several road foremen of engines. Again, the answer was  usually something like, "Hmmm... good question. I never  heard why..."    I'm afraid the one man who surely would have known the  answer to this question, Jess Cannon, is no longer with us.  In fact, I suspect that his predecessor, George Ernstrom,  was the man who made the relevant decisions regarding the NP  F-unit modifications of those years.    There is one fellow, however, who I believe is still very  much with us and just might be able to shed some light on  this: Bill Shannon. Have never asked him this one. Haven't  seen him at an NPRHA convention in some time.   F3, passenger, freight, rebuilding, phase I, Jess Cannon, Elmer Smoak, Glenn Staeheli, George Ernstrom, O. J. Murphy, Bill Shannon,  Compiler  C Frissell

04/27/02 16:36

John Moore

Weighing in on this one I submit the following for thought. Would not the   higher sustained speed of the passenger units be a factor? Higher speeds   would result in more dirt and other objects into the grills. Strength may be   an issue here too. Having grown up in the Eastern Montana and Western North   Dakota areas I can testify that the wind blows all the time and sometimes   with good force. Now put a large locomotive through that at 70MPH and you can   get a fairly good abrasive force not to mention the effect the impact with   larger stuff such as ice chunks flying off and wind borne debris.  F3, passenger, freight, rebuilding, phase I, screens, louvers, air filters  Compiler  C Frissell

06/21/02 10:46

Bill Kuebler

Some months ago there was a discussion on this list about F-3 conversions. Essentially, the question was: Why did NP change its passenger F-3As from three portholes to two portholes plus various types of air filters at different  times--and yet the freight F-3As remained as they were when  purchased, with three portholes?     I posed that question to Bill Shannon, who sent me the following reply and gave me permission to post it here.   --Bill K      -------- Original Message -------- Subject: Re: Convention  Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 19:42:44 -0700  From: Bill Shannon  To: Bill Kuebler    Developing a credible reply to yours of April 20 and  including phone  contacts to friends and retirees:      I can visualize a situation with a minor maintenance  individual imparting to  a superior of how to improve the air filtration on the  F-3As. Later information indicated funds were not available to complete the modifications on both F-3s FRT and PASS. Additionally the F-3A freight would be in line for trade in for new units. I would like to examine the so-called "NP Locomotive Books" since some of the books talk about the air filter modifications while others are silent. As a matter of information, diesel electric locomotive equipment book number DE-5 charged to the CMO contains no information on modification of any sort and never did.   Another thought, some bookkeeper was keeping a running record unit by unit for their own edification.  F3, passenger, freight, rebuilding, phase I, screens, louvers, air filters  Compiler  C Frissell