Streamliners at Spencer: The Real Star of the Show?
Although streamlined steam locomotive 611 was getting most of the attention, historically the most important exhibit was General Motors FT demonstrator 103.
Last night FT 103 was lit up for all to see.
I’ve written about this locomotive in many of my books. It is the most influential American locomotive of the twentieth century because it demonstrated to the railroad industry that diesels offered a cost effective replacement for steam.
In my book Electro-Motive E and F Units (published by Voyageur Press) I offered this context for the FT:
Electro-Motive’s most significant innovation was its development of the first commercially viable road freight diesel. From a technical perspective this was an advancement of the E-unit — the application of this long anticipated new road diesel proved revolutionary for American railroads. Once on a roll, it not only turned locomotive building on its ear, but forever changed the way railroads bought locomotives and operated trains EMD’s F-unit was the most important player in the rapid dieselization American lines.
NS CEO, Wick Moorman pointed out in yesterday’s address at Spencer, that FT 103 was ‘even older than 611,’ while sincerely thanking the St. Louis Museum of Transportation for sending the locomotive for display.
Read more about General Motors streamlined diesels, check out my book Electro-Motive E and F Unit.
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