When most people hear that we are bringing out models of the GMD FP9A locomotives, the first reaction is either "do we really need another F-Unit?" or "I just bought one of those from manufacturer X, Y or Z." Well actually, the GMD FP9A is unique and has never been produced in plastic. FP9A INTRODUCTION The FP9A (or FP9, or FP-9A, or FP9-A - it has been referred to as all of these by the railways that owned it) was one of the last F-Unit models produced, between 1954 and 1960. Like its predecessor the FP7, the FP9A is four feet longer than the standard F7 or F9. This is to accommodate a large water tank to supply water to the steam generating boiler at the rear of the locomotive. However, the key difference is between the FP9As built by EMD in La Grange, Illinois and the FP9As built by GMD in London, Ontario. La Grange built four FP9As for the United States, all used by the Chicago & North Western. The remaining 32 FP9As built at La Grange were for the Mexican and Saudi railways.
All of the FP9As that you can still see in service today anywhere in North America were built in London for CN and CP. 43 were built for CN and 11 were built for CP. The EMD and GMD versions were very different locomotives. As CN and CP owned two thirds of the world's fleet of FP9As, to substitute an EMD version for the accurate GMD version is to do these fine locomotives an injustice. Similarly, adding horizontal louvers to an EMD FP9A (which never had horizontal louvers) does not make it a GMD model, just as changing the radiator on an SD70 does not make it an SD90.
SOME SPOTTING FEATURES OF THE GMD FP9A ARE SHOWN BELOW. Note that all of the GMD FP9A details highlighted in these photos are included on the Rapido FP9A models. Our locomotives will have details correct for each road number. The order desk for the CN FP9A will be closing early in the spring with delivery later in the year. Full product number and road number information can be found here.
Top: CN - Bottom: CP
A - centre-mounted fuel tank B - unique filler details and only two slots on the skirts C - extra water tank on the CP version. Prototype photos courtesy Don Jaworski and Brian Schuff.
|Left: CN - Right: CP A - end door with round porthole and recessed posts B - backup light C - lift lugs D - grab irons (CN version only) Prototype photos courtesy CN Lines and Brian Schuff.|
|Left: CN - Right: CP A - outward-opening nose door with drainage strip B - batten strip (CN version only) C - lift lug doors (CN version only) D - flush headlight housing (CN version only) Prototype photos courtesy Don Jaworski and Kaluza-Mueller.|
|GMD FP9A Cooling Coils All versions shown are included on Rapido FP9A models where appropriate. A - CP, used on some units B - CN, used on GPA-17a (6500-6512) C - CP, used only on 1411 D - CN, used on most units Prototype photos courtesy Mark Kaluza and Brian Schuff.|
|Canadian Pacific FP9A Grills A - Vertical slit grills used only on CPR FP9A (and ONR FP7A) locomotives Prototype photo courtesy Kaluza-Mueller.|
|GMD FP9A Air Reservoirs A - Dual air reservoirs prominent and visible on the GMD FP9A Prototype photo courtesy Matthew Reid.|
|GMD FP9A Roof Details All versions shown are included on Rapido FP9A models where appropriate. A - CN large winterization hatch used on 6501-6509 and 6531 B - CP tall hatch installed on all units shortly after delivery C - CP icicle breakers D - CN medium winterization hatch used on units with 48" fans Prototype photos courtesy Mark Kaluza, Brian Schuff and CN Lines.|
|Canadian National FP9A Roof Doodads A - fuel tank expansion relief vents B - water tank expansion relief vents C - water tank float switch Prototype photo courtesy Matthew Reid.|