The F-7 was the zenith of the "covered wagon," or carbody-style diesel. With 3,849 units built between 1949 and 1953, the F-7 was both the most popular carbody diesel and its last hurrah. By 1954 U.S. railroads had virtually stopped ordering F-units in favor of hood units like EMD's GP9 and Alco's RS-3. The side walkways of hood units offered better access for maintenance and better visibility for backup moves, making them truly universal locomotives useful for both mainline runs and road switching.
The F-unit, however, was, in Trains magazine editor David P. Morgan's words, "the diesel that did it" - retired the steam engine and changed railroading forever. The F-unit and its contemporaries were also the first standardized locomotive designs bought by American railroads since USRA steam engines. Whereas the steam engines of most railroads had a distinctive and easily-recognized "look," F-units were the same everywhere. But they had one great visual advantage over steam: their flat sides were like rolling billboards. Artists at EMD and the railroads responded with distinctive color schemes and, for the first time since the late 1800's, American locomotives became a riot of color in the postwar era.
Externally, the F-7 was very similar to the earlier F-3. The key spotting features that distinguished an F-7 were its stainless steel upper body grilles that replaced the "chicken wire" worn by most F-3s, and the rooftop dynamic brake fan that replaced the F-3's rectangular roof vents just behind the cab. Internally, the F-7 was also an evolution of the F-3. While horsepower was the same, new D27 traction motors allowed the F-7 to handle a heavier load.
Relive the sights, sounds, and drama of postwar railroading with this four-motored, full-scale 1:32 model. Throttle down to speeds as low as 3 scale miles per hour with any load, or roll along at the prototype's maximum speed of 102 mph with passenger gearing. Proto-Sound 2.0 offers authentic EMD 567 prime mover sounds, a first-generation diesel horn and bell, crew and station sounds, and adjustable smoke volume. The RailKing F-7 features the same level of superb detailing that characterizes our F-3, with added-on details that include legible builder's plates, grab irons, multiple-unit hoses, rooftop lift rings, see-through rooftop fans, steam generator exhaust stack (for passenger car heating), windshield wipers, and trucks with separately-applied spring hangers, brake cylinders, and air pipes. As with the F-3, each A-unit is supplied with two sets of pilots: a fully-detailed pilot with narrow coupler opening for wide-radius curves, and a less-detailed pilot with wide coupler opening for operation on tighter curves.