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Post 1965 Rio Grande power for California Zepher

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  • Post 1965 Rio Grande power for California Zepher

    there were two F unit sets running at any given time pulling the California Zephyr... one left Denver westbound in the morning and one left SLC eastbound - they passed each other in Glenwood Canyon if running on time. There were anywhere from 4 to 6 units pulling the train depending on length/season and locomotives were typically mixed up numberwise, so in latter years, you rarely saw a contiguously numbered F ABBA or ABBBA set.

    Typically, the F's assigned to the CZ after 1965 were:





    F7A-5761 phase II



    F7A-5764 phase II

    Also regular power was:

    F7-5571 phase I

    F7-5574 phase I

    assorted phase II F7B's

    steam generator equipped phase I F7B's (see below)

    F9's 5774, 5772 & 5773 where lost in wrecks in 1967 or there abouts, so there were only 2 F9B's (steam generator equipped) between 1967 and 1971 - the surviving Rio Grande Zephyr B units. There were a few other steam generator equipped F7B units probably used in CZ service also, so I would suspect they were part of 3 F7 ABBA sets equipped for passenger duties when purchased in the late 1940's:




    The A units always ended in 1 or 4, B units always ended in 2 or 3. The last set listed had steam generators in all units, ABBA's. That meant, technically, that 5571 and 5574 were short FP7A's, with std carbodies, not extended. Early photo's show the SG detail on the roof as proof. Either could have been pressed into passenger duties singly, but water capacity was very limited due to space restrictions in the car body - hence the reason why normal FP7's have extended F car bodies (3-foot longer). In the early 1950's, both F7A units 5571 and 5574 were involved in wrecks and after returning from rebuilding, were devoid of steam generators. F7A 5571 was involved in a rearending collision which totally destroyed the front end and required major rebuilding. It returned in a F9 style carbody, but 36-inch dynamic brake fan. F7A 5574 kept it's std F7A carbody.

    The confusing thing about the numbers used for the Rio Grande Zephyr F9B's is that 2 of the 4 F9B units purchased in 1955, were ordered to make up for two "shorted" F7 phase II sets 3 years earlier. The last two F7 set's bought by RG were the #575x and #576x series - both ABA sets (for helper service) But since all other RG sets were ABBA sets, when Rio Grande purchased it's last F units, F9's - it purchased an ABBA set (#5771-5772-5773-5774) and 2 additional B unit for the 5751,5752,5754 and 5761, 5762,5764 F7 sets. However, a number swap was done to keep them together so that set #5761, 5762, 5763, 5764 was an F7A,F9B,F9B,F7A set and had 6500 horsepower due to the B units.

    Prior to 1966, the Rio Grande power for the CZ was normally F3ABBA sets. Up to 1958, one of the 2 power sets was an ALCo PA/PB/PA set.

    Rio Grande The Action Road

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