Frisco Firsts (and Notables)

Terry L. Scott photo at Mannford, Oklahoma on 28 August 1978

Saint Louis San Francisco (SLSF) railroad's 5000-mile network served both the Midwest and Southwest regions of the U.S. Better known as the "Frisco," the railway is remembered frequently for steam engines leading fast "Red Ball" freights, gleaming red and gold E-units that once carried the names of famous racehorses, and in later years, brightly colored diesel locomotives that wore coats of mandarin orange & white. The Frisco was widely known also for its customer-oriented performance and innovative spirit.

The SLSF early on recognized the advantages and value of pooling power with other rail lines, and it was one of the pioneers of the practice. In 1962, for example, SLSF assigned eight of its new U25Bs to the hot Frisco / Santa Fe QLA / CTX run-through freight between Los Angeles and Birmingham, Alabama. It was clear indication of their commitment to the concept. Later in the 1960s, the SLSF also pooled power with Seaboard Coast Line, Union Pcific and even long-time competitor Missouri Pacific. The Frisco's willingness to experiment was also reflected in its locomotive choices. It is not surprising that the railroad had a number of significant firsts to its credit:

  • SLSF's first major diesel purchases began arriving in 1941; the order had gone to Baldwin for 38 VO-1000 yard switchers in a blue and white livery.
  • Forty percent of Frisco's 128 GP7s were equipped with steam boilers in the short hood, a first; they were also the first geeps (1950) to employ the standard Bloomberg truck. This move gave SLSF the flexibility to handle the scores of primary and secondary passenger trains in its timetable.
  • In 1961, Frisco was the first to purchase GE's new high-horsepower U25B roadswitcher, which featured a 2900 gallon fuel tank for greater operating range, as well as hauling freights (such as the QLA) at high speeds.
  • The railroad's first new GP35s (1964) specified an oversized fuel tank (3000 gallons) to match that of the revolutionizing U-Boat. This modification necessitated relocating air reservoirs to the rooftop, and led the EMDs to be called "torpedo boats."
  • If not a loyal GE customer, Frisco was at the very least a good customer. The first production U30Bs (1968) and first B30-7s (1977) were delivered to the SLSF.

XXXX A Photo Review

click on image to enlarge

VO-1000 #200 (dark blue & white)

Baldwin Locomotive Works photo

44-Tonner #8 (black)

Mac Owen photo

70-Tonner #12 (dark blue & white)

(Photo permission pending)

F7A #34

Charles Stookey photo

VO1000m #200

Rick Morgan photo

RS2 #553

Dave Cash photo

GP7 #561

Tom Byrnas photo

GP38AC #651

Bruce Barrett photo

GP35 #702

Joe Brockmeyer photo

U25B #807

T.H.Chenoweth photo

U30B "XR" #846

Ray Sabo photo

SD45 #915

Frank Tribbey photo

E8A #2005

R.R. Wallin photo

GP50 #3100

Steve Forrest Photo

FA1 #5201

R.R. Wallin photo


Format by: R.Craig New: 1 May 2018

Michael Richmond was instrumental in identifying photos and securing permissions to use them. Additional information from George Menge and Mac Owen

Reference sources:
  • Frisco in Color by Louis A. Marre and Gregory J. Sommers
  • Extra 2200 South Locomotive Newsletter (Nov. 1968)
  • Train (Western Discussion)
  • RailPictures.Net website
  • RRPicturesArchives.Net website
  • website

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