ALCO FA

ALCO FA

Locomotive
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ALCO FA

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Description:
The ALCO FA was a family of B-B diesel locomotives designed to haul freight trains. The locomotives were built by a partnership of ALCO and GE in Schenectady, New York, between January 1946 and May 1959. They were of a cab unit design, and both cab-equipped lead (A unit) FA and cabless booster (B unit) FB models were built. A dual passenger-freight version, the FPA/FPB, was also offered. It was equipped with a steam generator for heating passenger car.

Externally, the FA and FB models looked very similar to the ALCO PA models produced in the same period. Both the FA and PA models were styled by GE's Ray Patten. They shared many of the same characteristics both aesthetically and mechanically. It was the locomotive's mechanical qualities (the ALCO 244 V-12 prime mover) and newer locomotive models from both General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) and General Electric (the partnership with ALCO was dissolved in 1953) that ultimately led to the retirement of the locomotive model from revenue service. Several examples of FAs and FBs have been preserved in railroad museums, a few of them in operational status on such lines as the Grand Canyon Railway and the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Service history

The FAs, as well as their cousins, the ALCO PAs, were born as a result of Alco's development of a new diesel engine design, the Model 244. In early 1944, development started on the new design, and by November 1945, the first engines were beginning to undergo tests. This...
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