After a considerable hiatus due to various unexpected difficulties, I'm back with more model reviews!
Today we have a duo from one of my favorite railroads, the Erie.
First we have an EMD F7 A & B set...
F7 history: built by EMD (Electro-Motive Division (of General Motors) and GMD (General Motors Diesel, EMD's Canadian subsidary) from February of 1949 to December of 1953, 2,393 A units and 1,463 B units were produced. EMD produced several F unit types, but the F7 was by far the most popular, selling more than all other variants combined. They were powered by a 1500HP 567B diesel, which was an EMD design, which put power to four traction motors, one per axle. They were used primarily on freight trains, but also found success with passenger duties, such as on Atchison, Topeka, & Sante Fe's 'Super Chief', decked out in the famous Warbonnet scheme.
They proved very successful, and served for decades, with several preserved in museums and/or operating on tourist lines.
The terms "A Unit" and "B Unit" refer to the style of body - A's are equipped with full cabs and controls, whereas the B's, also referred to as Booster Units, are not equipped with cabs, though they are equipped with simple controls only usable to move the unit short distances in yards "hostler controls" - to actually pull a train, B's must be combined with a cab equipped locomotives. The B's were thus cheaper, and this was during the transition from steam to diesel (which the F series was intrumental) and railroads bought diesels, at the time, to directly replace steam locos, so if a railroad wanted to replace a certain class of steam loco, they would purchase a diesel set of similar power, with at least one A Unit and as many additional A's or B's required to match the replaced steam loco's capabilities. Also, as each B unit provided power, but had no cab, so was not a functionally seperate loco, Unions could not insist on each unit having a crew. This is a fairly abbreviated history, but a full history on the subject would take a full post to itself!🤓
ERIE 711(A) History: Ordered from EMD as Erie's first F7 in an A-B-B-A set and built in January of 1950, the locomotive would serve the Erie until they merged with the Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western to form the Erie Lackawanna in 1960. It would lose it's beautiful Erie paint and adopt EL's maroon and gray (which is also nice, but not as nice), and be renumbered EL 7111. It seems that it lasted on the EL until the merger with Conrail in 1976, but I couldn't find its final disposition - however, most F units from Conrail's predecessor's didn't last long under "Big Blue", so it was most likely scrapped by the mid 80's, at the latest.
Moving on to the review!
This is a Broadway Limited product, which I purchased from TrainWorld. TrainWorld is top-notch, my absolute #1 place for models!
Info on the end of the box. By the way, the A and B units were well packaged in seperate boxes within a larger box.
Also, the B unit here is unpowered - a dummy. It sounds weird, but the extra pulling power isn't needed, and it makes it cheaper all around.
I've always liked the Erie, and one reason is this wonderful black and yellow livery.
Also note, it's fitted with crew, but only the engineer, with no fireman/conductor. I found that odd, but I can take or leave crew, so whatever.
As mentioned in my A/B unit explanation above, B units had simple controls, often located next to one of these porthole windows, allowing crew to use the controls and poke their head out the window to see where they were going.
Overall Build Quality
Paint and Lettering
Ease of Operation
Good - Almost everything. It looks fantastic, and nothing was damaged or missing. Both units were well built, with the A unit being particularly stout. The sounds and DCC system all work exactly as they should (though the sound was really loud out of the box, but a quick CV code adjustment fixed that). Also, it handles trackwork perfectly, and pulls a train just fine.
Bad - The flywheel inertia is a little much for my taste, but not too excessive. Also, at low speeds it jerks and lurches a bit. Not terrible, but noticeably - that may clear up with more use, but I gave it time to run in light and used it for a while, and it was still noticable.
Verdict - It's a great set. Looks fantastic, and operates fine, even with the mentioned quirks.
Next up, from Bachmann, another piece of Erie rolling stock...
I'd actually had this one, and had the review ready, for some time before the F7 set, but had to wait so I could put them together in one reveiw.🙂
Verdict - It's great. Perfect condition, with the paint and details all being really nice, and just great quality all around. Also, it handles just as it should.
That's all for today - as always, thanks for looking!