DL&W F3 Locomotive #663

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Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (DL&W) F3A No. 663 is one of only two operating F3A locomotives in the world, and it operates regularly in excursion service for Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Tri-State's No. 663 represents the classic cab units of mainline railroading in the post-World War II era.

The Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors produced 1,111 F3A cab units and 696 F3B booster units between July of 1945 and November of 1949. These locomotives, which were the first major redesign of EMD's revolutionary FT, could be found in freight, passenger, and helper service on nearly every railroad in the United States. However, almost all F3s were scrapped because of an aggressive trade-in policy introduced by the manufacturer in the late 1960s, reusing several components from these older engines to produce new ones. 

The locomotive is powered by an EMD 567B diesel engine. The 567B is a 45 degree V16 two-stroke diesel engine with 567 cubic inches of displacement per cylinder, which generates 1,500 horsepower at 800 RPM. The diesel engine powers a 600V electric generator, which in turn powers four electric traction motors (one per axle). The traction motors are mounted in two EMD-designed Blomberg B two-axle trucks.

Tri-State's F3A was built as Bangor & Aroostook No. 44 in May of 1948. After running for 36 years in freight service in Maine, No. 44 was acquired by Tri-State in 1984 and stored on the Morristown & Erie Railway in Morristown, New Jersey. It is a "Phase II" F3, featuring the earlier style "chicken wire" grills, as opposed to the classic Farr stainless steel grills that were featured on all later-design EMD cab units.

Tri-State's new F3A made its first restored appearance in July of 1993 as Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) No. 56, part of a classic A-B-A combination with the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society's matching A-B set. These locomotives, restored to CNJ tangerine and blue and numbered sequentially after the last real CNJ F3, ran excursions together for years on a former CNJ branch out of Jim Thorpe, PA for over a decade before being moved to Steamtown National Historic Site in the fall of 2009 for another complete restoration.

As the locomotives became residents on former Lackawanna Railroad trackage, they were restored to the Lackawanna's classic maroon and grey livery and numbered sequentially after the last real Lackawanna F3. Tri-State's restored No. 663 was quickly repainted into the Lackawanna's short-lived "grey ghost" scheme for a 2010 NRHS photo shoot, and the full Lackawanna paint job was completed later that year. No. 663 was featured as Trains Magazine's 2014 "Must See" Locomotive (read the article here). A major rebuilding of the locomotive's main and auxiliary generators in 2014-2015 has ensured No. 663's continued operations for years to come.

F3A No. 663 continues to operate in excursion service with the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society's matching A-B set for Steamtown over the former Lackawanna mainline.

DL&W diagram from June 22, 1948 illustrating the application of steps on an F3 locomotive - one of hundreds of drawings that applied to the individual parts of this locomotive. (Matt Phalon collection)

BAR No. 44 rests between assignments in Searsport, ME in June of 1977. (Tom Sink photo)

Pictured here in Hermon, ME in October of 1984, this is how BAR No. 44 was found by Tri-State volunteers. (Michael Spearing photo, Rudy Garbely collection)

BAR No. 44 rests in the M&E's Morristown yard shortly after its acquisition by Tri-State in 1984. (Robert Allard Jr. photo)

Restored as CNJ No. 56, Tri-State's F3 leads an October 17, 2004 excursion through Nesquehoning, PA. (William Bokeko photo)

Partially-painted No. 663 displays the Lackawanna's "grey ghost" scheme outside the Steamtown paint booth in this June 25, 2010 image. (Sam Botts photo)

No. 663 leads a Steamtown excursion westbound out of Stroudsburg along the Lackawanna mainline in this October 11, 2011 image. (Mitch Goldman photo)

DL&W No. 663 leads a Steamtown excursion back into the park in Scranton on September 3, 2011. (Rudy Garbely photo)



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