The EMD F3 is a 1,500-horsepower (1,100 kW) B-B freight- and passenger-hauling diesel locomotive produced between July 1945 and February 1949 by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant. A total of 1,111 cab-equipped lead A units and 696 cabless booster B units were built.
The F3 was the third model in GM-EMD's highly successful F-unit series of cab unit diesel locomotives, and it was the second most produced of the series. The F3 essentially differed from the EMD F2 in that it used the “new” D12 generator to produce more power and from the later EMD F7 in electrical equipment. Some late-model F3's had the same D27 traction motors, along with the heavier-duty electrical cables, used in the F7, and were referred to as model F5 by EMD's Engineering Department.
Engine and powertrain
The F3 used a 16-cylinder 567B series diesel engine developing 1,500 hp (1.1 MW) at 800 rpm. The 567 was designed specifically for railroad locomotives, a supercharged 2 stroke 45 degree V type with 567 cu in (9.29 L) displacement per cylinder, for a total of 9,072 cu in (148.66 L). A D.C. generator powered four traction motors, two on each Blomberg B truck. EMD has built all of its major components since 1939.
As built, the only way to distinguish between the F2 and F3 was the nose number panels on the A units, which were small on the F2 and large on the F3 and subsequent locomotives. However, these could and were often altered by the railroad. Few F2s were built, however.
Early versions of the F3 had the "chicken wire" grilles along the top edge of the carbody. Later production featured a distinctive fabricated stainless steel grille.
All F-units introduced after the FT have twin exhaust stacks and four electrically powered radiator fans arranged close together atop their roofs, unlike the FT's four stacks and separated and belt driven pairs of fans.
The identification of locomotive "phases" is a creation of railfans. EMD used no such identification, and instead only kept track of the marketing name (e.g. F2, F3, F7, etc.) and individual locomotives' build (serial) numbers. During the production cycle of a particular model, as design and production techniques improved, all builders would invariably make minor changes. To better keep track of noticeable, and not so noticeable differences in appearance that a locomotive model would acquire during the course of its production run, locomotive historians began documenting any subtle or minor changes made to a particular diesel locomotive model as "phases", and referring to these as such. This practice has proved very popular over the years among diesel locomotive modelers looking to create the most "true to life" models possible.
Despite not being official designations, phase descriptions are quite useful to the diesel spotter and record keeper, but sometimes tricky as many of the changes described are mostly cosmetic and easily altered features of a locomotive - roof fans, body panels, grilles, etc. that could be - and often were - updated or swapped interchangeably during production runs.
The following are normally identified as F3 phases:
Built from July 1945. High, flat-topped 36 in (914 mm) roof fans. Top third body panel had "chicken wire" in openings only. Short rear vent panel. Center-third body panel with three equally-spaced porthole windows and D17 traction motors. As-built Phase I F3 units are identical to the F2, they differ only in electrical equipment and numberboard size. Three highly modified locomotives survive from this series, rebuilt as FP10s, all for Metro-North Railroad.
Phase II (early)
Built from February 1947. Top third body panel now had full-length "chicken wire". Long rear vent panel. Center third body panel now had two portholes; area between covered with chicken wire, over 4 smaller rectangular openings.
Phase II (late)
Built from December 1947. Roof radiator fans change to low, pancake fans.
Built from March 1948. (Surviving F3's former BAR 42,44,46 are still Phase 2 and were built in MAY 1948) Center third body panel now has no chicken wire between the portholes; the four rectangular openings now have louvres.
Built from August 1948. Chicken wire upper-third panel is replaced with full-length horizontal stainless steel grille.
The first "F5A" EMDX demonstrator #59 was built in March 1948. Production of the "F5" started in August 1948 through the end of F3 production in February 1949. The difference between the "F5" and the F3 were the D27 traction motors with heavier-duty cables and higher capacity traction motor blowers fitted. Nearly all previously built F3's received the same upgrades by 1955. A total of 381 F5As and 238 F5Bs were produced. The note in the January 1, 1959 EMD Service Department Locomotive Reference Data states, "All F5 locomotives were delivered as F3 units." All EMD DC traction motors are backwards compatible so as the better motors became available the D37, D47, D57, D67 and D77 all could be found on an F unit.
|Electro-Motive Division (demonstrators)||291A1 to Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway 100A, 291A2 wrecked, 291B1 to TP&W 100B, 291B2 to EMD 754B1, to Monon 65C|
|Electro-Motive Division (demonstrators)||to Monon 85 A,B|
|Electro-Motive Division (demonstrators)||to Kansas City Southern Railway (Louisiana and Arkansas Railway) 59A|
|Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad||201 to Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac 1111|
|Atlantic Coast Line Railroad|
|Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railway|
|Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway|
|Passenger units, 32A returned to EMD and replaced by 32A (2nd), 32A (1st) rebuilt as F7B later sold to ATSF as 48A|
|Bangor and Aroostook Railroad||A units renumbered 40–47, B units to Pennsylvania Railroad 9530B-9536B even. #44 and #46 are repainted Lackawanna and are the oldest operating unmodified F3A's as of May, 2015|
|Boston and Maine Railroad||4227AB-4228AB were Phase IV F3s built with D17 traction motors|
|Baltimore and Ohio Railroad|
|Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad||9960–9962 passenger units|
|Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad|
freight units (as dual service locomotives)
|Chicago Great Western Railway||150–152 passenger units|
|Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railway (“Monon”)|
81A,B–84A,B, 62B:2nd, 64A:2nd
|62B:2nd, 64A:2nd, and 64C:2nd are wreck replacements, 81A,B–84A,B passenger units|
|Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("Milwaukee Road")||81D,C-83D,C renumbered 84A,B-86A,B|
|Canadian National Railway|
|Central of Georgia Railway|
|Central Railroad of New Jersey|
|Chicago and North Western Railway|
|Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad|
|Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad||D&RGW #5561-5564 are listed in EMD Product Data Jan. 1, 1959 as F7s built in November 1948.|
|Florida East Coast Railway|
|Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad|
|Great Northern Railway||350–358 passenger units|
|Grand Trunk Western Railroad||#9016-9027 were Phase IV units built with D17 traction motors|
|Kansas City Southern Railway|
|Kansas City Southern Railway (Louisiana and Arkansas Railway)|
|Louisville and Nashville Railroad|
|Lehigh Valley Railroad|
|Maine Central Railroad|
|Missouri Pacific Railroad|
|Missouri Pacific Railroad (International-Great Northern Railroad)|
|Missouri Pacific Railroad (St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway)|
|Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway|
|Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway|
|Northern Pacific Railway|
6500A-6506A, 6503C-6506C (2nd)
|6000s freight units (as dual service locomotives), 6500s passenger units, many renumbered.|
|New York Central Railroad|
|Freight units (as dual service locomotives)|
|New York, Ontario and Western Railway|
|Seaboard Air Line Railroad|
|St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (“Frisco”)|
|Soo Line (Wisconsin Central Railway)|
|Southern Railway (Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway)|
|Southern Railway (Alabama Great Southern Railroad)|
|Southern Railway (New Orleans and North Eastern Railway)|
|Southern Pacific Company||6100A,D-6117A,D to Texas & New Orleans 300-337, 6100B,C-6117B,C to Texas & New Orleans 500-537, 6118A,D-6139A,D renumbered 6138-6179, 6118B,C-6139B,C renumbered 8038-8079|
|Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway||Renumbered 800–801. 801-802 to BN 9750,9752|
|Union Pacific Railroad||964A-968A renumbered 900-904, 1400A-1441A renumbered 1400-1441, 969B-978B renumbered 900B,C-904B,C, 1442B-1471B renumbered 1400B,C-1428B,C (even)|
|Western Railway of Alabama|
|Western Maryland Railway|
|Western Pacific Railroad|
Twelve F3s survive today at a variety of museums; ten being A units and two being B units.
Metro-North Railroad still had three FP10 units in service, which are rebuilt F3s, before BL20GHs took over. Lately, with the leasing of GE P40DCs from Amtrak, their usage of in revenue service has declined. Those went to the Shore Line East when the BL20GHs took over. These units were originally built for the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio railroad and rebuilt by Illinois Central to FP10 status for MBTA. Metro North originally acquired four of the units, but one was acquired by the Adirondack Scenic Railway for service out of Utica, New York. The CN and three ex-BAR surviving F3 units retain their original appearance and specifications.
The Alberta Railway Museum in Edmonton, Alberta owns Canadian National F3 #9000. #9000 was the first diesel road freight locomotive ordered for a Canadian railway and one of the only six F3's to be owned by a Canadian Railway. #9000 was built in 1948 and was part of an order for six locomotives (two A-B-A sets).
Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania is home to former Bangor and Aroostook F3s 44 (owned by the Tri-State chapter of the NRHS in Morristown, New Jersey) and 46 (owned by the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society). Both engines were initially restored as Jersey Central 56 and 57, but as of 2012 have been repainted as Lackawanna 663 and 664. These engines, along with BAR 42, are the oldest "chicken wire" style F3s in existence and are used on most long distance excursions from the park. The ARHS also owns a former Boston & Maine F7B (4268B), which has been altered to resemble a F3B. It is also currently located in Scranton, and as of May 2014 has been cosmetically restored as DL&W 664B, with mechanical restoration still to come.
The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, the corporate successor to BAR, owned #42, which was renumbered back to its original number, 502, when it was repainted into the original gray and yellow scheme. After the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster and the subsequent bankruptcy and liquidation of the railway, this locomotive was purchased, along with most of the rest of the former railway's assets, by the Fortress Investment Group and formed into the Central Maine and Quebec Railway.
The California State Railroad Museum owns Santa Fe No. 347B, which was donated to the museum in March 1986 by the Santa Fe. The engine is painted in the railroad's Warbonnet scheme and is listed as operable.
The C&O Historical Society owns former Clinchfield Railroad F3 #800. It was in C&O passenger livery, but as of 2018 it was returned to the classic CRR black and yellow.
There is a Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway F3 A unit and B unit stored at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga. However, the A unit is privately owned and restoration is unlikely because of it.
In popular culture
Wilson, the main protagonist of the children's television show Chuggington, is based on an EMD F3 cab unit.
Since 1950 and 1991, Lionel has made the Santa Fe F3 in two versions: the yellow plus design and the T yellow design. The T yellow design is the most rare and highly prized version since the 1950 Santa Fe F3 had a T Yellow design. The 1950 and 1991 Santa Fe F3 versions are arguably the most famous toy trains ever made. The 2345 Lionel Western Pacific, in production for only one year, is the one of the rarest and most sought after variants of postwar Lionel F3 model train production.
- Pinkpank, Jerry A (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Kalmbach Books. pp. 13, 26, 90–101. ISBN 0-89024-026-4.
- Ross, David, ed. (2003). The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives. pp. 261, 273. ISBN 978-0-7607-9679-5.
- http://www.railwaymuseum.ab.ca/node/21#9000 Archived 2010-10-26 at the Wayback Machine
- Dorin, Patrick C. (1972). Chicago and North Western Power. Burbank, California: Superior Publishing. pp. 119–121. ISBN 0-87564-715-4.
- Furhman, Jim. EMD F2-F3-F5 Phase Chart. Retrieved January 2, 2005
- Lamb, J. Parker (2007). Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive. Railroads Past and Present. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34863-0.
- Marre, Louis A. (1995). Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years: A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972. Railroad Reference Series. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89024-258-2.
- Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. pp. 7, 12, 26, 91–94. ISBN 978-0-89024-026-7.
- Russell, Larry G. "The F5" Extra 2200 South #96 pages 19–22, and 28.
- Schafer, Mike (1998). Vintage Diesel Locomotives. Enthusiast Color Series. Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7603-0507-2.
- Solomon, Brian (2000). The American Diesel Locomotive. Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7603-0666-6.
- Solomon, Brian (2005). EMD F-Unit Locomotives. North Branch, Minnesota: Specialty Press. ISBN 978-1-58007-192-5.
- Solomon, Brian (2006). EMD Locomotives. St. Paul, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-2396-0.
- Solomon, Brian (2010). Vintage Diesel Power. Minneapolis, Minnesota: MBI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7603-3795-0.
- Solomon, Brian (2011). Electro-Motive E-Units and F-Units: The Illustrated History of North America's Favorite Locomotives. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4007-3.
- Solomon, Brian (2012). North American Locomotives: A Railroad-by-Railroad Photohistory. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4370-8.
- Wilson, Jeff (1999). F Units: The Diesels That Did It. Golden Years of Railroading. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89024-374-9.