November 1999 - Page 21
It's a beautiful September day in 1 956 as 671 A leads a through freight to Rigby Yard in South Portland. Accompanying her Martin Zak photo are an F3B and an F5 in the new green paint scheme.
p ooled power, for example, on the passenger runs from Portland to Worcester on such trains as S tate of Maine; t he MEC's F3s were used on these assignments. However, when the E7 came along, and was purchased by the MEC and the B&M, it replaced the F units in passenger operations. The MEC F3s saw l ittle passenger service after about 1 950. The MEC was so pleased with the versa til ity and rel iabi l i ty of its F3s that it p u r chased six Phase IV units, or F5s, numbered 68 1 through 686 in 1 94 8 . These were not s te a m - g e n e r a t o r e q u i p p e d , and h a d B lomberg B trucks a n d Farr air gri l les as they came off the assembly line only three months before EMD began F7 production. The MEC d i d n o t p u rc ha s e F7s, o p t i n g instead i n 1 950 for the road switcher GP7s which became the mainstay of its fleet for the next three decades. The MEC traded in all of its F units to EMD in 1 966 when i t purchased GP38s. i ts Proto 1 000 Phase II F 3 A and B with high fans and no dynamics. Stewart Hob bies began producing F3s about a decade ago, and has done virtuall y every phase of the F3, F7, and F9. They recently began re rel e as i n g these model s . When my models were built, Stewart offered the only plastic Phase II l ocomotive which could be built i nto an MEC unit, but modelers now have two options, w i th m ore on the way. And Stewart/Kato locomotives have the best dri ves in the world, period.
M O D E L I N G O PT I O N S
A thearn has offered a Phase I F7 for years, and it has been a rel i able and afford able model . The Athearn u n i t comes w i th steam generators and a Farr air gri l le. You could sand off the generators and paint the locomotive to represent an MEC F5. Cary made an F3 metal shel l , but this was not very acc urate. B unit shell s are avai l a b l e from Highliners b u t these lack t h e chicken w i re b e t w e e n the p o r t h o l e s ; t h e Ath earn/H i g h l i ners A u n i t s s t i l l h ave n ' t been re leased a t t i me o f p u b l i cation, nor has I n terMountai n ' s proposed F3s. S i nce my model was built, Like-Like has released
B O D Y S H E L L M O D I F I CAT I O N S
T he beauty of the S tewart F3 Phase II unit is that you only need to do a few things to i t to make it a great Maine Central model. First, drill all of the holes for the grabirons, l i ft rings, windshield wipers, and rear back-
671A and 672A rest between assignments. It was not uncommon to see maroon and green l ocomotives ru nning together while the MEC changed paint schemes.
N OVE M B E R 1 999 M O D E L RAI LROAD I N G