Newbie Question

My apologies for this newbie question, but... What's the easiest way to tell the difference between an EMD E-Unit, an EMD F-Unit, and an Alco PA Unit?

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E's and F' have a similar contour nose. F's have 4 axles and are shorter than E's that have 6 axles.
PA's have a sloping cab roof, a flat top nose and a straight section at the headlight as the front of the nose curves around. They also have 6 axles. You didn't ask, but the FA's have 4 axles and are a shorter version of the PA's.
E's and F's were made by the Electro-Motive Division of GM.
PA's and FA's were made by Alco.
MrWCF wrote:

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Frank Rosenbaum

The Gratiot Valley Railroad Club bi-annual train show and sale
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Frank, Other than GP30s and CF7s telling one diesel from another gives me a headache. I have some spotting guides. By the time I thumb through them to see exactly what locomotive I'm looking at the damn thing is usually gone. A long time ago I simplified things for myself with my own designations. If it has four axles its an F or GP and if it has six its an E or an SD no matter who made them or what they are and if it looks even close to an SW that's what it is. This makes the ID process painless. If it has any other body style, more than six axles or less than four it's something else and I won't worry about it unless its a Trackmobile. Little things with rubber on the rails are disturbing even if interesting to see. I've always modeled stuff from around the turn of the century to about the 1920's so I can afford to be somewhat cavalier about diesel identification. But I'm glad that you and others know what your talking about so I can get a little better at it. I have two GP 30's and I can tell what they are. I also have an SW8, SW1500 and two SD70M's but the only way I know is because the boxes they came in said so. Bruce

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Thanks for the chuckle, Bruce. I have a confession to make about the SD line. I have trouble identifying anything later than the SD40 series. Especially when they went to the 'comfort cab'. My railroad will buy and run anything that strikes the owners fancy, so I have a mix of era's and styles. In other words, I'll buy it if it looks good, even if I don't know what it is. (G)
Bruce Favinger wrote:

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In a message on 20 May 2005 22:43:49 -0700, wrote :
"> My apologies for this newbie question, but... "> What's the easiest way to tell the difference between an EMD E-Unit, an "> EMD F-Unit, and an Alco PA Unit?
EMD E-units have A1A trucks: three axles each, with the middle axle unpowered (in the prototype -- model EMD E-Unit generally have C trucks -- all three axles powered). EMD F-Units have B trucks: two axles, both powered (both prototype and model).
Alco PA Units also have A1A trucks. So telling a EMD E-unit from an Alco PA means looking 'higher up': at the body. The Alco's have a straight up nose design and the EMD's have a slanted nose. (There are other features, but that is the quick and easy thing to look for.)
Reference material (available at any good hobby shop or possible large library):
Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years     (I guess this replaces the 'Diesel Spotter's Guide 1st Edition')     By Louis A. Marre, Kalmbach Publishing     Available online at the URL:         http://store.yahoo.net/kalmbachcatalog/01054.html
Model Railroader Cyclopedia, Volume 2: Diesel Locomotives     By Bob Hayden     Available online at the URL:         http://store.yahoo.net/kalmbachcatalog/01033.html
"> ">
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@cs.umass.edu http://vis-www.cs.umass.edu/~heller || snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com /\FidoNet: 1:321/153
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Thank you Frank and Bob--that clarifies it perfectly for me!
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Robert Heller wrote:
> "> My apologies for this newbie question, but... "> What's the > easiest way to tell the difference between an EMD E-Unit, an "> EMD > F-Unit, and an Alco PA Unit? > > EMD E-units have A1A trucks: three axles each, with the middle axle > unpowered (in the prototype -- model EMD E-Unit generally have C > trucks -- all three axles powered). EMD F-Units have B trucks: two > axles, both powered (both prototype and model). > > Alco PA Units also have A1A trucks. So telling a EMD E-unit from an > Alco PA means looking 'higher up': at the body.
PA trucks and E-unit trucks are of totally different design and appearance - they are a very reliable way of telling the difference.
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In a message on Sun, 22 May 2005 15:12:32 +1000, wrote :
m> Robert Heller wrote: m> m> > "> My apologies for this newbie question, but... "> What's the m> > easiest way to tell the difference between an EMD E-Unit, an "> EMD m> > F-Unit, and an Alco PA Unit? m> > m> > EMD E-units have A1A trucks: three axles each, with the middle axle m> > unpowered (in the prototype -- model EMD E-Unit generally have C m> > trucks -- all three axles powered). EMD F-Units have B trucks: two m> > axles, both powered (both prototype and model). m> > m> > Alco PA Units also have A1A trucks. So telling a EMD E-unit from an m> > Alco PA means looking 'higher up': at the body. m> m> PA trucks and E-unit trucks are of totally different design and m> appearance - they are a very reliable way of telling the difference.
True, but comparing noses is a little easier for the novice. The OP asked for the 'easiest' way to tell the difference between different locos: counting axles is easy and comparing the nose 'slant' (or lack thereof) is also easy. Between these two 'features', one can reliably tell Es from Fs from PAs from FAs.
m> m>
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@cs.umass.edu http://vis-www.cs.umass.edu/~heller || snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com /\FidoNet: 1:321/153
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Kind of an odd question for someone with internet access to ask on a text-only newsgroup.
This is what an Alco PA looks like:
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/el/loco/el857age.jpg
This is what an Alco FA-1 looks like:
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/images/erie7274.jpg
This is what an E2 looks like:
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/images/sf1b.jpg
This is what an E3 thru E6 looks like
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/kcs/kcs25am.jpg
This is what an E7 looks like:
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/images/alt100.jpg
(NOTE) The photo caption says this is an Alton & Southern unit. This is incorrect. It is a photo of Chicago & Alton 100, later GM&O 100
This is what an E8, E9 looks like:
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/images/slsf2010.jpg
This is what an F unit looks like:
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/images/emd1950.jpg
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/images/marc7185.jpg
As you can see, only the e unit and F unit look somewhat alike. There is no mistaking either one for an Alco product, neither a PA nor an FA.
Froggy, snipped-for-privacy@thepond.com
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Froggy @ thepond..com, In a message on Sun, 22 May 2005 18:24:09 GMT, wrote :
wrote:
text-only
No, *some of us* can verbally / textually describe things. More or less.
incorrect.
Quite true -- the EMDs have quite different body designed from the Alcos, especially the noses. Telling an E unit from a F unit is harder if you *only* look at the body. The trucks are quite different, esp. the axle count... Similarly telling a PA from a FA by body alone is also hard, but again, the axle count easily tells the PAs from the FAs...
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In a short time you will pick up on the subtleties and it will come naturally, the same way parents are able to discern to which twin they are talking. Froggy, snipped-for-privacy@thepond.com
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