Thursday, July 16, 2009

ALCo's FA: From Toaster to Locomotive

Great Northern 278A/B. Vancouver B.C, May. 1959. I found these units, in a rather junkie setting of busted up sheet rock, still flying “extra” white signals, awaiting assignment in Vancouver B.C.

The ALCo FA was thrown into the fray to compete with Electro Motive Division's F series B-B class. Early deliveries were fitted out with 1,500 horsepower plants, later upgraded to 1,600 horsepower, as compared to EMD's 1,500 and 1,750 horsepower.

Nail biting times, I'm sure, for locomotive designers!

This striking design, often incorrectly attributed to the pencil of Raymond Loewy, was inspired by General Electric's industrial designer, Raymond E. Patten. As one of GE's product designers, Mr. Patten is fondly remembered for the "Gazelle" toaster!

The AlCo’s broad snout and slit windshields were made for an admirable display of the Empire Builder paint scheme!

Some rail students blame the prime mover, the V-12 244 motor and it's reported unreliability as one of the reasons for the demise of the FA. But as I wrote in a past entry, Kettering's inspired V-16 with it's reliability and ease of maintenance were the real reason I believe, the competition just could not keep up.

Railroad Stuff: GN 278A, built as Alco model FA2 demonstrator 1602A, November 1950, sn 78270, 1,600 hp. Traded to General Electric for a U33C in March 1968.

1 Comments - Click here:

Debora. C. Patten (Taylor) said...

That is my grandpa Raymond E. Patten, his son Robert E. Patten was my father.

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