Intermountain Railway Company HO Scale Ready To Run FP7A Locomotive - Rock Island
The EMD F7 was a 1,500 horsepower (1,100 kW) Diesel-electric locomotive produced between February 1949 and December 1953 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors (EMD) and General Motors Diesel (GMD). It succeeded the F3 model in GM-EMD's F-unit sequence, and was replaced in turn by the F9. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant or GMD's London, Ontario facility. Although originally promoted as a freight-hauling unit by EMD, the F7 was also used in passenger service hauling such trains as the Santa Fe's El Capitan.
A total of 2,366 cab-equipped lead A-units and 1,483 cabless booster or B-units were built. The F7 was the fourth model in GM-EMD's successful line of F-unit locomotives, and by far the highest-selling cab unit of all time.
Many F7s remained in service for decades, as railroads found them economical to operate and maintain. However the locomotive was not very popular with the yard crews who operated them in switching service because they were difficult to mount and dismount, and it was also nearly impossible for the engineer to see hand signals from his ground crew without leaning way outside the window. As most of these engines were bought and operated before two-way radio became standard on most American railroads, this was a major point of contention. In later years, with the advent of the “GP” type “road switchers”, Fs were primarily used in “through freight” and “unit train” service where there was very little or no switching to be done on line of road.
The F7 can be considered the zenith of the cab unit freight Diesel, as it was ubiquitous on North American railroads until the 1970s (longer in Canada). The F7 design has become entrenched in the popular imagination due to it having been the motive power of some of the most famous trains in North American railroad history.
The F7 replaced the F3, differing primarily in internal equipment (mostly electrical) and some external features. The F7 was eventually succeeded by the more powerful but mechanically similar F9.
The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (CRI&P RR) (reporting marks RI, ROCK) was a Class I railroad in the United States. It was also known as the Rock Island Line, or, in its final years, The Rock.
The Rock Island jointly operated the Golden State Limited (Chicago—Kansas City—Tucumcari—El Paso—Los Angeles) with the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) from 1902–1968. The name was shortened to the Golden State after 1948's modernization. Another joint venture with the SP, the Golden Rocket, was planned to enter service in 1948 but instead became "the train that never was," after SP withdrew from the joint train operating agreement. The Golden Rocket's uniquely-colored livery was placed in Golden State service instead.
In 1937, the Rock Island introduced Diesel power to its passenger service, with the purchase of six lightweight Rocket streamliners.
The railroad operated a number of trains known as Rockets serving the Midwest, including the Rocky Mountain Rocket (Chicago—Omaha—Lincoln—Denver—Colorado Springs), the Corn Belt Rocket (Chicago—Des Moines—Omaha), the Twin Star Rocket (Minneapolis—St. Paul—Des Moines—Kansas City—Oklahoma City—Fort Worth—Dallas—Houston), the Zephyr Rocket (Minneapolis—St. Paul—Burlington—St. Louis) and the Choctaw Rocket (Memphis—Little Rock—Oklahoma City—Amarillo—Tucumcari).
The Rock Island did not join Amtrak on its formation in 1971, and continued to operate its own passenger trains. After concluding that the cost of joining would be the same as operating the two remaining intercity roundtrips (the Chicago-Peoria Peoria Rocket and the Chicago-Rock Island Quad Cities Rocket), the railroad decided to "perform a public service for the state of Illinois" and continue intercity passenger operations. Both trains were discontinued on December 31, 1978.
The Rock Island also operated an extensive commuter train service in the Chicago area. The primary route ran from LaSalle Street Station to Joliet along the main line, and a spur line, known as the "suburban branch" to Blue Island. These services started to receive financial backing in 1976 from the newly formed Regional Transportation Authority. Today these lines are operated as part of Metra, and are known as the Rock Island District.
See Other HO Scale F7 Locomotives: Athearn HO Scale F7 Locomotive - Rock Island / Athearn HO Scale F7A Diesel Locomotive - Burlington Northern / Proto 2000 HO Scale EMD F7A-B Locomotives - Canadian Pacific / Proto 2000 Diesel EMD F7A-B Set Powered - HO Scale - Santa Fe / Walthers HO Scale F7 Locomotive - Santa Fe
See Other Rock Island Items: Athearn HO Scale F7 Locomotive - Rock Island / Bachman HO Scale 2-6-0 Mogul Locomotive - Rock Island / Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 Consolidation HO Scale Locomotive - Rock Island