The New York Central Train Layout Purchasing Department recently purchased a second hand set of Proto 2000 FA1-FB1-FB1-FA1 units which are destined to become New York Central Cigar Band Units. The NYCTL currently has one NYC Proto 2000 FA2 #1049 in the cigar band scheme, two NYC Walthers FA1s (#1000 & 1043) in the lightning stripe scheme, and one FB1 in lightning stripes (#2304) on the roster.
PROTOTYPE FA1: The 1500 horsepower FA1 and FB1 were introduced by ALCO in 1946 to compete with EMD's successful F3A and F3B. The FA1 was different in appearance with a boxy shape, unique front end contours and distinctive headlight grill work. All FA1s and FB1s were turbocharged and all were delivered with air cooled exhausts to handle the elevated temperatures caused by turbocharging. In 1953 ALCO developed an improved water cooled exhaust for the FA2 locomotives and most railroads retrofitted this improved exhaust to their FA1 and FB1s. No FA1s or FB1s were equipped with steam generators as they were intended for freight service only. ALCO options included dynamic braking, Mars Light and two types of number boards.
PROTOTYPE FA2: In late 1950 ALCO introduced the FA2 a new dual purpose locomotive which was a significant improvement over teh FA1. The car body was increased by two feet to accommodate the addition of an optional steam generator. This was accomplished by internal rearrangement of the radiator, fan, oil cooler, oil filter tank, rear traction motor blower, batteries and air reservoirs. The locomotives normally operated in AA, ABA, ABBA consists.
PROTOTYPE NEW YORK CENTRAL: The NYC has 44 FA1s on the roster numbered 1000-1043. The NYC also had 23 FB1s numbered 2300-2322. The units were delivered starting in 1947 through 1949. The NYC starting in 1951 added 80 FA2s numbered 1044-1123 and 50 FB2s 3323-3372. Doing the math looks like 124 FAs and 73 FBs. All units were delivered in the Lightning Stripe scheme. The NYC FA1 units also were delivered with single headlights and small number boards. In the early to mid 1960's the NYC starting painting it's units in the cigar band scheme when they were shopped for repainting. Gone were the lightning stripes. The early FA cigar band had the lettering in the middle of the body with a small number below. In 1966-1967 the NYC changed the paint scheme on these units to what you see below, a larger NEW YORK CENTRAL and road number.
LINK TO ALCO FA-FB-FB-FA IN CIGAR BAND AND LIGHTNING STRIPES:
LINK TO NEW YORK CENTRAL 1966 LOCOMOTIVE CONSISTS IN SYRACUSE AND ROCHESTER NY:
PROTOTYPE NYC TIDBITS: ALCO FAs ran on symbol freights right up to the end of the NYC. At the time of the Penn Central merger three NYC FA1s were conveyed to PC. They never received PC paint and were in scrap lines at the end of 1968. Four New Haven FA1s and three NH FB1s arrived on the PC in 1969. One unit, #1330 was painted in full PC regalia while a second 1333 received an interim PC paint job. The forty four NYC FA2s fared a bit better but none were painted in PC livery. By 1972 the FA era on the PC was over. The 1302(ex NYC) and 1333(ex NH) went on to serve the Long Island Railroad as cab cars.
THE MODELS: As received the four units (A-B-B-A) were in yellow Union Pacific paint. The units are second hand and as with some second hand stuff some repairs are necessary. The U.P. FA1s also differed from the NYC FA1s in that the U.P. units were delivered with the larger number boards and Mars Lights. I will plug the lower holes on the nose but will have to live with the number board discrepancy.