F-7A #1500 at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry, March 17,
Photograph courtesy of Patrick Durand
The first Alaska Railroad F7's were built new for the railroad in December
1952. Under EMD order number 7021 Three A units and 3 B units were delivered.
The A's received even numbers #1500 / #1502 / #1504 and the B's odd numbers
#1501 / #1503 / #1505 and this number pattern continued in subsequent acquisitions.
In 1980 several of the F units were refurbished and received the paint
scheme worn by #1500 into retirement. For the last years of her life she
gloried as the ceremonial "Princess" used on the special trains representing
the ARR during its transfer from federal to Alaska State ownership. Retired
in 1986, she can claim to be "The First and Last F7A in Alaska Railroad
Service". She has a place of honor at the MATI platform.
Some day, we hope she can be joined by sister, F7B #1503, when she is finally
retired from standby service providing either steam or HEP support for
ARR passenger trains. Would this be the only lash up of sibling F units,
from the same construction order, on display anywhere?