How Many EMD F5 Locomotives Did D&RGW Own?

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How many F5s Did D&RGW own?

The short answer is "None."

A close examination of the available sources indicates that D&RGW did not operate any F5 locomotives.


EMD historians and D&RGW locomotive historians seem to disagree as to D&RGW's fleet of EMD F5 locomotives. Some say Rio Grande operated as many as 12 F5 locomotive (6 cab units and 6 booster units); others say that D&RGW operated as few as four F5 locomotives (2 cab units and 2 booster units). Others say that D&RGW didn't operate F5s at all.

First some agreed-on facts. D&RGW ordered three A-B-B-A sets of road freight locomotives from EMD in 1947; one set (D&RGW 556) was delivered in November 1948, and the other two sets (D&RGW 555 and 557) were delivered in February 1949. (see John Templeton's notes, below)

According to "Rio Grande Diesels", Volume 1 (Shade Tree Books, 1983), EMD began building the F5 as an interim model in late summer 1948. This interim model was by all appearances a late F3, but was equipped mechanically and electrically with features that would later be the basis for the F7 locomotive, first officially delivered in February 1949. These features were a stronger traction motor (D27 vs. D17 model) and better wheel slip control above 25 m.p.h. This same source states that D&RGW had only one A-B-B-A set F5 locomotives, numbered as D&RGW 556, delivered in November 1948. Two adjacent-numbered sets, D&RGW 555 and 557, are shown as being built as F7s in February 1949. All three A-B-B-A sets were ordered from EMD in 1947, with D&RGW being given the option of accepting at least one set as F5s, with the interim features that were to be offered later on F7s. At the same time, EMD assured Rio Grande that the F5 set could be later upgraded to an F7 set using the newer diesel engine and the newer automatic transition. This conversion was likely completed within a year.

Rio Grande's own employee timetables refer to these three A-B-B-A locomotive sets (numbered as 555, 556, and 557) as F7s, as evidenced in "Rio Grande Steam Finale" (South Platte Press, 1999, pages 56-58)

Don Dover's ground breaking F unit spotting guide in the January 1970 issue of Extra 2200 South does not mention the F5 at all. Neither does the D&RGW diesel roster in the October-November 1970 issue of the same magazine.

In EMD's own Product Reference data books, while the company does acknowledge that some F5 were delivered as F3s, none of the D&RGW units are specifically called out as being part of this interim F5 group of locomotives. In fact, EMD calls all of the D&RGW locomotives F7s.

For those who believe that there were 12 F5s on Rio Grande, their full-four-unit A-B-B-A set numbers were D&RGW 555 (later 5551-5554), 556 (later 5561-5564), and 557 (later 5571-5574). This quantity is based on Larry Russell's fine article in Extra 2200 South.

Three things are certain: 1) the sources do not agree; 2) the differences are purely internal; and 3) the F5 model was never an official EMD model.

Without formal documentation to the contrary, this web site will consider all D&RGW locomotives delivered during this time period (August 1948 to February 1949) to be F7s.

The formal documentation referred to will be either a D&RGW source, or a direct D&RGW-EMD communication stating that certain locomotives are indeed designated as F5s. For modeling purposes, late F3s look like early F7s, so it really is a minor point, since any differences are purely internal to the locomotives.

Using the build date, as shown on the units' builder plate is a problem. It was an era of transition, and unfortunately, builder dates do not accurately represent the changes that were taking place. It was a very competitive time for all three builder's, so EMD's engineering department was in a mad rush to get upgrades and engineering improvements out the door and into the hands of the marketing types.

General Guidance

EMD production of F3 units was from July 1945 to October 1948.

EMD production of F3 units with D27 traction motors (usually known as F5 units) was between October 1948 and February 1949.

EMD production of F7 units was from February 1949 to December 1953.

There are always exceptions...


The F5

By Larry G. Russell

(from Extra 2200 South, Issue 96, July-August-September 1992, page 19)

Following the construction of a demonstrator in March 1948, some 619 Phase IV F3's were built by EMD between August 1948 and February 1949. These were actually a transitional model constructed in both A&B units, and were a F3 in an F7 carbody. While EMD's Engineering Section had requested those units equipped with the D27B traction motor be designated as F5's, to differentiate them from earlier F3's with the D17 traction motor, this was not uniformly done.

Research has not been able to fully document which units in this group had the D27B traction motors as built, but some are known. The Aberdeen & Rockfish, Chicago Great Western, Florida East Coast, Great Northern, Missouri Pacific, Northern Pacific and Southern Pacific are known to have had the F5's.

The accompanying list is a complete list of Phase IV F3's with the known F3's identified, all others are thought to be F5's. The Pennsylvania F3's had 65:12 gearing (with the D27E traction motor?) and are suspected as being F5's, while the Grand Trunk Western units are known to have been delivered with the earlier traction motors and were later fitted with D27B's, making them F3's as delivered. It is not advisable to draw any other conclusions about model separation between the F3 and F5 based on other electrical or construction features. Many of the electrical requirements in particular do not follow the changes in model designation.

It is interesting to note, however, that the Pennsylvania upgraded their EH15 class of F3's to F7 ratings. Only those that had the heavier traction motor wiring and larger traction motor blowers would be upgraded to F7 rating with the F7 traction motors. This could be taken to mean that they were delivered as F5's and upgraded to F7's or that they were F3's with heavier electrical equipment and could be upgraded to F7's. Eight of the EH15's would not be upgraded because of lighter electricals, although one from the original set (9519A, an F3A) was upgraded during the course of being repaired after being damaged in a wreck.

Transition systems went through fairly significant changes during the F3 and F7 production period. These changes involved alterations in the wiring schematics for the locomotives but do not coincide with changes in the model designations or carbody features. The 'Type A' transition system was applied prior to September 22, 1948. The 'Type B' system was applied between September 2, 1948 and November 1, 1950. The 'Three Relay' system was applied after November 1, 1950. It should also be noted that B units did not go through all of the phase changes that the A units went through, but did wind up at the final body style at the same time.

The standard specification profile for the Phase IV F3A and F3B was: 1500 H.P. EMD 16-567B engine at 275/800 RPM, four D27B traction motors (825 Amp), D12 generator, D14 alternator, four 36-inch cooling fans, two rectangular dynamic brake grids (optional), steam generator (optional), 62:15 gear ratio standard. 65:12 gear ratio using D27E traction motors (12 teeth on motor shaft) (optional).

Thanks to Preston W. Cook, Kenneth L. Douglas, Don R. McQueen, Louis A. Marre and Jerry A. Pinkepank for assistance with this article.

The following data list is from page 21 of the above article, as it pertains to D&RGW's 12 units:

Model Gear
555A,D-557A,D 11/48-2/49 E1175A1-6 5862-67 F5A 62:15 MU, DB
555B,C-557B,C 11/48-2/49 E1175B1-6 5868-73 F5B 62:15 MU, DB

EMD 1950 Locomotive Reference Data

Note the blending of the F3 and F5 models between the Unit Type column and the Loco. Model column.

F3A F3A 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger
F3B F3B 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger
F3A *F5A 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger
F3B *F5B 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger
F7A F7A 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger
F7B F7B 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger

EMD note: * All F5 locomotive were delivered as F3 units.

D&RGW listing from September 1950 EMD book.

Note that here, although EMD includes the F5 model as a valid model in the above table, all 12 of the D&RGW units shown in 1950 are shown as F7s.

F7  16  567B  1500HP
555 1 E956 F7A 5862 62 15   2 49 8142128
555 2 E956 F7B 5868 62 15 3000 2 49 8142129
555 3 E956 F7B 5869 62 15 3000 2 49 8142129
555 4 E956 F7A 5863 62 15   2 49 8142128
556 1 E956 F7A 5864 62 15   11 48 8140478
556 2 E956 F7B 5870 62 15 3000 11 48 8140479
556 3 E956 F7B 5871 62 15 3000 11 48 8140479
556 4 E956 F7A 5865 62 15   11 48 8140478
557 1 E956 F7A 5866 62 15 1600 2 49 8142128
557 2 E956 F7B 5872 62 15 1600 2 49 8142129
557 3 E956 F7B 5873 62 15 1600 2 49 8142129
557 4 E956 F7A 5867 62 15 1600 2 49 8142128

EMD January 1971 Locomotive Reference Data

(same in January 1973 issue)

F3A-F3B 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger
*F5A-F5B 1500 16-567B Freight or Passenger
F7A-F7B 1500 16-567B, 567BC, 567C Freight or Passenger

EMD note: * All F5 locomotive were delivered as F3 units.

D&RGW listing from 1971 EMD book.

Pages C11 to D1

Note that for 1971, although EMD includes the F5 model, the remaining D&RGW units, numbered as 5553 and 5572, are still called an F7, while the third unit has been rebuilt to an F9.

16-567B - 1500 HP - 62-15
E956 5572 2-49 8142129
E956 5553 8-56 8242480
16-567BC - 1500 HP - 61-16
8032 5571 Sold: Alaska R.R.

John Templeton Notes

The following comes from John Templeton's research in D&RGW motive power records.

(Note that there is no mention of a model, F3 vs. F5 vs. F7, and that the only specifics are D17B traction motors and both D8 and D12 main generators.)

Equipment Completion Report of Changes Made In Equipment During The Six Months Ended 12-31-1948

A.F.E. #1207

Class & sub class
Class DE- B-B/B-B/B-B/B-B 235

Purchase 3-6000 HP diesel-Electric freight Locomotives equipped with heating boilers.

555-557 See Final Report for Details

556 SG DE 4 (B-B) Received Denver November 26, 1948
Total Gross Cost $691,759.41.


Equipment Completion Report of Changes Made In Equipment During The Six Months Ended 12-31-1948

AFE #1635

Purchase spare traction motors and generators to protect repairs to Diesel Electric Locomotives #540-557
Traction Motors D-17-B #8133038 9-13-48 (10 units) $48,280.43.
Generator D-8 #8122688 Main 8-31-48 1 $10,614.42.
Generator D-12 #8116536 Main 8-31-48 1 $17,455.33

(no mention of D27 traction motros, a feature of the so-called F5 locomotive)


Equipment Completion Report of Changes Made In Equipment During The Six Months Ended 6-30-49

AFE #1207

Class & sub class
Class DE- B-B/B-B/B-B/B-B 235

555-557 (#556 delivered in 1948, see above report for 1948)
Purchase three new 6000H.P. Diesel-Electric Freight Locomotives from Electro-Motive Division General Motors Corporation-F.O.B. LaGrange, Illinois
acquired through D&;RGW RR Co. Trust Series "M" Chicago Title and Trust Co.
Invoiced Price $2,070,923.00
Total costs, including interest, inspection, delivery and taxes: $2,091,837.80

#555 $693.801.83 Received Denver February 23, 1949
#557 $706,276.56 Received Denver February 25, 1949

SG 6000HP Diesel-Electric Locomotives consisting of 4 units 1500 HP each,
total weight loaded 976,960 Lbs, Light weight 891,240 lbs
overall length of front and rear units 50'8", two other units 210'4"
equipped with four main 600 Volt and four auxiliary 45 Volt Generators.
Four 16 cylinder 8 1/2"x10", 2 cycle engines, 16 traction motors.

Steam Generators
#555-556- 2 each 3000#
#557 4 each 1600#

Fuel Oil 4800 Gals.
Lub. Oil 800 Gals.

Cooling System:
Water 920 Gals.

Sand 6400 Lbs.