F9A No. 5771

As of April 1984

This photo shows No. 5771 leading the eastbound Ski Train in early April 1984.  As far as I know, this was the last run of the Ski Train powered by the F9 trio.  This photo is a "grab" shot that I'm very glad to have now.  This photo was scanned from the negative.

Rio Grande only purchased two F9As and four F9Bs, but they share many details in common with other F-units in the fleet.

Number Range Date Purchased Comments
5771, 5774 Sept 1955 5771 was last operating F unit, ran on Rio Grande Zephyr, deadlined 1984.  5774 wrecked 3/1968.
5762 - 5763 Sept 1955 Last operating "B" units, ran on Rio Grande Zephyr, deadlined 1984.
5772 -  5773 Sept 1955 5772 wrecked 7/1965; 5773 wrecked 3/1968.

Specific information for individual units may be found on the Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society's F9 page.

 (1) Toe hold and matching grab iron.

(2) Grab irons on left front and across nose.

(3) Multiple-unit connections.

(4) Faded anti-glare paint on top of nose.

(5) Grab irons above windshields.

(6) Radio Antenna.

(7) Black/yellow separation: it's an arc, not pointed.

(8) Nathan M-3 (three-chime) horn installed in right-hand position. Note the blanked horn mount on left side.

(9) 48" dynamic brake fan, mounted in flat recess in the roof.

(10) Externally-mounted air cooling coil for the airbrake compressor system.

(11) Spark arrestors: one on each stack (2).


  • Left-front grab irons are distinctively Rio Grande.
  • M/U connections were added when four-unit F series locomotives began to be broken up for independent operation.  This made them more versatile. By the time the F9s showed up, the semi-permanent four-unit sets were a thing of the past.
  • The paint started out dark green, having been applied originally circa 1960.
  • Above-windshield grabs are also signature Rio Grande F-unit features.
  • The sand filler tube is quite prominent.
  • Some model railroad manufacturers incorrectly paint this separation as coming to a sharp point in the center.
  • Three-chime horns came new on all F units from No. 5701 onward, instead of the paired Leslie A-200 single horns.
  • Later F7s and the F9s had a 48" dynamic brake cooling fan.
  • The coils are mounted externally to escape the warmer environment inside the carbody, making them more efficient.
  • Since the 567 diesel engines are non-turbocharged, they require spark arrestors to reduce the likelihood of starting trackside fires.



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2004, James R. Griffin.  All rights reserved.