MODELING: FM Erie-Built Beasts

Fairbanks-Morse has produced some unique locomotives over their short period of production.  Their premier passenger locomotives were the so-called Erie-built.  The name Erie-built got its name from the fact that Fairbanks-Morse lacked the fabrication space so General Electric in Erie, Pennsylvania provided the manufacturing know-how.  Only 82 cabs and 29 booster units were built over a four year period.   The Milwaukee Road bought 14 and the Pennsylvania bought 12.  The Union Pacific sampled five of these 10-cylinder beasts. Their career  was not exceptional like many early diesels.

Prototype pictures were rare as you would expect given the small number of units.  The picture above is a model that represents the efforts of three very skilled modelers.  Norm Buckhart acquired the basic Overland imported models and sent them to Jay Criswell.  The stock drive ended up in the scrapbin and a new one was created by Jay using ball bearing gearboxes, P48 steel wheels, gear towers and universals and Faulhaber gearhead motors.  DDC and sound was added before being shipped to Lee Turner in Michigan.  Lee used a new decal set produced by Norm Buckhart under his Protocraft brand. He created all-new art to ensure accuracy.   A that point, the Maestro of Michigan mixed up the UP paint colors and applied them as the base.  Decals were applied and weathering commenced.

The end result of these three gentlemen is absolutely stunning.  You can almost hear the road of those 2000 horsepower Opposed Piston diesels roaring as they pass your vantage point.

You may gave noticed that the A-units have different heights of the carbodies and trucks.  A production change was made in 1947.  It creates an unusal profile in the three unit lashup.

Thank you Lee for sharing your and the work of Norm and Jay.


6 thoughts on “MODELING: FM Erie-Built Beasts

  1. Wow! Very impressive, and I agree that the modeling, weathering and photos make them look like the real thing.
    When I arrived in Portland OR in June 1957 at just age 16, an A-B-A set was in use on UP’s pool passenger train between Portland and Seattle that summer. I saw them once or twice, and not having a camera, never photographed them. I think that was one of the last places they served.

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