Locomotive Geometry Part 5; Wisconsin Central F45

Cowls on the Prowl.

Among Wisconsin Central Limited’s 20-cylinder EMD fleet were six F45s and a lone FP45, all former Santa Fe.

Santa Fe had been first to order the FP45—intended as a dual service machine used passenger service and for fast freight. The only other customer for the FP45 was Milwaukee Road which bought five of them. Significant of these designs was the external semi-streamlined cowling leading the locomotive’s ‘Cowls’ nickname.

Santa Fe F45 5972 at N Fond du Lac wis March 11 1995 by Brian Solomon 234116_2
Santa Fe F45 5972 on Wisconsin Central at North Fond du Lac on March 11, 1995.

EMD’s F45 was intended primarily for freight so it didn’t feature a large steam generator. As a result it was several feet shorter. Santa Fe ordered 40, while along with Great Northern and its successor Burlington Northern, bought 56 F45s. Like its SD45, EMD rated both FP45 and F45 at 3,600 hp.These locomotives had a similar appearance to the SDP40F and F40C (see: Locomotive Geometry Part 4).

EMD F45
Former Santa Fe 5959 leads a northward freight near Slinger, Wisconsin in May 1995.

Although Wisconsin Central operated seven of the big cowled EMDs, I found these to be relatively elusive when compared to WC’s far more common SD45s. Yet, I count myself  fortunate to have caught the cowl 20-cylinder locomotives at various occasions, both in Santa Fe and Wisconsin Central paint.

This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
Nose view of a WC F45.
Nose view of WC F45 6656 on May 4, 1996.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
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