EMC 103/103A CHASSIS

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Before taking the chassis apart I first checked to see how the Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 PNP decoder would fit.  It is easily accommodated inside where the Stewart board was, even locating into the two pins on top of motor mounts.  I also had a look around to see if there was enough clearance for all of the wire connections.  This was good too.  My last diesel DCC decoder install (some years ago) was using a QSI unit.  It had a large capacitor (a drum about .20” diameter x .30” long) dangling from wires.  The Tsunami 2 does not have this and the install is much easier and cleaner as a result.  I will deal more with the DCC install in a future post.

I anticipated having to alter the chassis for the decoder, but I did not have too.  I did modify it for the speaker installation though.  Shown below is the first section chassis.  I cut back a little bit of weight (with bevelled inside edges) in order to fit a 28mm diameter speaker enclosure.  This was done with a cut-off wheel in my Dremel tool and cleaning up the result with a hand file.  This change moved the speaker forward some, allowing clearance at the rear for the wiring harnesses going to the second section (going out via the rear doorways and diaphragm).  Due to the height of the drive mechanism, a speaker enclosure of only half-height can be accommodated.

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The second section chassis was modified by removing two rectangular pads (like those seen to left-centre) to provide a flat surface to mount the speaker.

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I also drilled some 3/32” diameter holes in the floor below the speaker to allow an easier path for the sound waves to escape.  There is much room to spare inside the non-powered second section and the full-height speaker enclosure can be used.

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For neatness, on the first sections the chassis is visible through the portholes, these die cast parts were lightly sprayed Tamiya Light Surface Primer and then given two coats of Tamiya Flat Black TS6 lacquer (spray can).

I re-installed the coupler and drawbar mounting clips.  The fuel tanks and coupler boxes were scuffed in 400 and then 600 grit paper.  The coupler boxes and fuel tanks were then mounted.  On the second section, the motor mounts were removed from the brackets that are also used to retain the fuel tank via screws.

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The scale length drawbar is supposed to be attached using two screws supplied, but I didn’t want to undo one of these every time I separated the sections.  Instead, I installed a longer screw in the second section front end and removed the head with a cut-off wheel in my Dremel tool.  The result is a pin where the drawbar end hole is inserted.  Then the plastic parts were air-brushed Polly Scale Steam Power Black acrylic and lightly weathered with much thinned Polly Scale Dirt.

I intend to program EMC 103 with the DCC address 103.  EMC 103A will have the DCC address 1031.  Since this isn’t as obvious as it appears, I labelled the chassis of 103A with a tag noting the DCC address as shown below.

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FT Tidbit: EMD Model F/FT’s were primarily road freight locomotives.  However, they could be ordered with a boiler installed in the rear of the second section (B-unit) and other accessories needed to run secondary passenger trains.  In cases where steam heating was not needed, as in summer months or way down South, freight FT’s were used to move passenger/troop trains as needed.

One area where it was beneficial to have a locomotive like this specifically configured for passenger service was in mountain railroading.  The four-traction-motors per prime mover and an appropriate gearing advantage was the elimination of helpers, with a small loss in top speed on the easy grades.  Early speedy E-Units had to have helpers over stiff grades.  The Santa Fe comes to mind as an operator of the passenger FT.  The most well-known of these locomotives was ATSF 167/167A/167B/167C.  It was surreptitiously delivered by EMD in February 1945 to a Santa Fe spec for just this purpose.

I say surreptitiously, because they were not officially allowed to build passenger locomotives by the War Production Board (the 167 was painted in the blue and cream freight colors).  However, there were exceptions, most notably ALCo building passenger DL109’s for the New Haven during the war – the reason given was that these locomotives were dual service (passenger by day, fast freights by night).  No doubt EMD and Santa Fe were granted special permission for this.

But the Santa Fe did not pioneer Model F’s as mountain-country passenger locomotives.

Getting traffic over the mountains of the West was a big concern during World War II.  As it happens, the Denver, Rio Grande & Western received passenger-specific FT’s from EMD, during the war, with DRGW 548/548A/548B/548C delivered in March of 1943!  This was well before the Santa Fe and may have had the aim to improve traffic flow over their mainline, so the WPB approved the order (?).  These were successful and three more passenger FT’s were delivered in August and October 1944 (still, well before the ATSF!) as 549/549A/549B/549C, 550/550A/550B/550C, and 551/551A/551B/551C.

ATSF 167 was a great success.  So much so that 10 other FT’s were modified in the spring of 1946 for passenger service.  They all received the classic passenger “warbonnet” paint scheme and they filled a gap in diesel power, allowing the Santa Fe to dieselize more passenger trains, until newer F3/F7 locomotives arrived.  All were eventually converted back to freighters.

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