GMD FP9A Spotter’s Guide

FP9A Spotter’s Guide

If you look at the product numbers for our CN FP9A (found here), you will see that we have divided them by class. CN received its FP9A locomotive roster in five deliveries from 1954 to 1958. The locomotives are referred to by their class number: G (General Motors) P (Passenger) A (A-Unit) 17 (1750 HP) a/b/c/d/e (class or order number). So 6535, delivered with the last order in 1958, would be GPA-17e.

There are significant differences between classes, and there are also significant differences in specific locomotives as they were modified over time. Our models have specific details for each locomotive number as they were on a specific date, as close as we can match to photos. Essentially, we’re super-detailing these locomotives for you.

Ditch Light Variations
FP9A_image012All versions shown are included on Rapido FP9A models where appropriate
(CN: included in box; CP: installed on model for Action Red models of The Canadian)
Left – built-in ditch lights added to CP FP9A in the 1970s
Middle – CN ditch lights originally mounted on metal bar and plugged into a receptacle
Right – CN added ditch light supports c.1965 and plated over the receptacle opening
Prototype photos courtesy Brian Schuff and Kaluza-Mueller.

Below is a quick reference for the major details in each class. As shown in the photos above, all CN FP9As received permanent ditch light mounts circa 1965 and had the ditch light power outlet plated over. We have tooled both variations of the nose. Also, all CN FP9A horns were switched from M3H (all bells facing forward) to K3L (one bell facing rear) in the early 1970s. Grab iron placement varied over the life of each locomotive, and all CN FP9As received “eyebrow” grabs in the early 1970s. Again, the models will follow prototype photos. You can reserve them in advance with your local dealer. Click here to choose the locomotive number that fits your era.

GPA-17a, delivered in 1954
FP9A_image013A – shop-built MU hatch added to nose soon after delivery
B – air trap added in early 1960s
C – bell moved to roof and antenna added c.1958
D – four 36″ roof fans
E – large two-fan winterization hatch added to most units c.1962
Prototype photo courtesy Don Jaworski.


GPA-17c and GPA-17d, delivered in 1957 *
FP9A_image014A – small winterization hatch on roof
B – four 36″ roof fans
C – bell moved to roof and antenna added c.1958
D – standard MU receptacle installed at factory
E – air trap added in early 1960s
Prototype photo courtesy Don Jaworski.


GPA-17e, delivered in 1958 (Jason’s personal favourite!)
FP9A_image015A – medium winterization hatch covering large fan
B – two 48″ roof fans with chicken wire mesh
C – strobe lights added to some units (also in GPA-17d)
D – bell installed on roof in factory and antenna added shortly after delivery
E- standard MU receptacle installed at factory
F – air trap added in early 1960s
Prototype photo courtesy Don Jaworski.

So yes, there have been lots of F-Unit models out there. However, there has never been a CN or CP FP9A, and we need loads of them for my layout! Those of you who know me know that I am a proud rivet counter. I will do my best to be as accurate as possible in the models I produce, within the constraints of budget and technology.

* If you are wondering where GPA-17b went…. That was a one-off engine, #6513. It is almost identical to GPA-17a.

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What About Previous Releases?
Our web site lists currently available or upcoming products only. Rapido Trains Inc. has produced many other cars in the past that may still be on dealers shelves. For a complete Excel listing of all products, past and present, right-click here and "Save as..." to a location on your computer. download