• MU on FL-9s

  • Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
  by bill8106
I thought I read somewhere that the FL-9s were delivered with MU on the #2 end because the NH was given government (fed or state?) aid to buy the units. The agency that put up the bucks mandated they be used for passenger service only, and the thought was that MU on only one end would limit the units flexibility.....


1) is this true?
2) were there any features of these units that would have inhibited freight use, eg, high speed gearing or type of MU (like they could only MU with other FL-9s)?
3) in reality, were they ever used on freights, either in a pinch or regular service? How about in PC and Conrail days?

  by Noel Weaver
With regard to the freight capability of the FL-9's, the first thirty of them
were delivered with MU capability on both the rear end and the front end.
They were also delivered with dynamic brakes and a third seat in the cab
for a trainman.
The second bunch were delivered with just MU on the rear, no third seat
in the cab and no dynamic brake.
The first thirty of them had the dynamic brake disconnected by the NHRR
sometime shortly after delivery. It was later restored in at least a few of
them when they were rebuilt by Altoona shortly after the Penn-Central
takeover but again allowed to waste away, they were again disconnected.
Under the New Haven Railroad, FL-9's were often used in freight service.
During the week trains HB-8 and BH-7, the Harlem River - Boston trailer
trains were operated out of Harlem River with a jet (370 class electric)
and back to Harlem River from New Haven with a pair of FL-9's. This was
a regular move for quite some time, the power was assigned for the most
part to passenger service and the FL-9's upon arrival at Oak Point were
serviced and returned to passenger service.
Other places where FL-9's were often found in freight service were on the
Springfield Line where they were used on Adv.SN-3 and 2nd NS-2 on a
regular basis, this job ran a rather quick overnight round trip out of
Springfield to Cedar Hill and return and again the units went right back out
on passenger trains upon arrival at Springfield.
On weekends, there were not as many commuter trains and FL-9's were
sometimes used on freight extras such as Bay Ridge, Worcester or
Holyoke. These particular extras were usually run on a Sunday on a
turnaround basis and sometimes the crew would report downtown and go
with the power light to Cedar Hill to run the train(s) then bring the power
back downtown to motor storage for passenger service on a Monday
The second batch of FL-9's could be and were used in freight service as
necessary but if they needed more than two units, an older one had to be
in the middle for the MU connections.
One more thing, in the rebuilding by Penn-Central and others, at least
some of them had MU added to the nose, I do not know if all of them got
that treatment or not.
Noel Weaver
  by bill8106

Thank you for the detailed response. I looked through a few books last night and noticed the MU hatches on the noses of 2000-2029, I never noticed them before. I couldn't find a decent roof shot to check out the dynamics (or lack thereof) on 2030-2059.

Considering the NH's legacy of getting the maximum usage and versatility out of their engines, like the DL-109s, I should've figured that they used their F's in freight duty, particulary during off-peak passenger periods.

Is it a coincidence that in the all the photos I've seen of FL-9s, they are only mu'd with each other, and not with other types of locos, like the 1956 dual service roadswitchers (especially the GP-9s), or even a PA? Granted, virtually all the FL-9 pictures in the more popular NH books (like Morning Sun's) are in daylight on passenger trains, not overnight freights, but I'd think their would be at least one picture of a long passenger train with a pair of FL-9s with a Geep spliced in between.

thanks again,

  by Kurt
"Diesels to Park Avenue" by Joeseph Snopek and Robert Lamay is an excellent book about FL9s, if you can find a copy. It has pictures of Amtrak Fl9 with an Amtrak F40. Also has pictures of early Metro North with Fl9 paired with a B23-7. I recall seeing a photo of an FL9 in PC black on freight near Iona Island, with other engines.

  by crij
As far as front MU connection ports and Dynamic Brakes, 2023 (originally 2057) has the additional fan on the roof, the resister grid and the forward MU Ports. I am not sure if these were added as part of the Chrome Crankshaft / Amtrak Cedar Hill work session during the CDoT ownership or if they were added during the PC years.


The panel that the dynamic fan is mounted in, looks original, and not like a make fit project, but then again, it could have been salvaged from scrapped E or F units. F.Y.I.: The fan located on the roof above the forward portal window, in the photo above, is for the resistor grid, unfortunately it is partially hidden below the snow. The MU parts and ditch lights on the front are most definitely not original.

Take care,

Rich Cizik
MoW Foreman
Ct Eastern RR Museum
Willimantic, Ct

B.T.W. If anyone is looking for a copy of `Diesels to Park Avenue', we still have a few copies left thanks to one of our members, Bob LeMay. Not sure of the current price, but I think it was in the low thirties, and a portion goes to CERRM..
  by Paul Cutler III
All FL9's, both EDER-5 (2000-2029) and EDER-5a (2030-2059), were delivered with the 48" fan behind the cab and in front of the 36" radiator fans. While this is called the "dynamic brake fan" by railfans and used for strictly for that purpose on every other F-unit, on an FL9 this was also used to control the loco when running as a straight electric.

See this link to #2040, ca. 1959:

Note the bump on the roof that is the 48" cooling fan.

This does not mean that EDER-5a's had dynamic braking, only that they had the 48" cooling fan. The NH never did have a real firm commitment to having operating dynamics on their motive power. Many engine classes that had them were deactivated (FA's), and others never had them even when they were an option (U25B's).

BTW, "EDER-5" and "EDER-5a" is the NH's class code for these locos. "Electric/Diesel-Electric Road", with the "5" meaning the 5th DER class and the "5a" meaning the first sub-group.

I have a couple pictures and a video I've seen, BTW, of an FL9 MU'd with a GP9 back in the day, but not on the road.

Also, the main differances between the EDER-5's and EDER-5a's were:

Had nose MU
Had rear ladder
Had roof pantograph
Had third seat for Trainman
Had 1750 Hp
Had dynamic brakes

Had no nose MU
Had no rear ladder
Had no roof pantograph
Had no third seat
Had 1800 Hp
Had no dynamic brakes


  by Noel Weaver
FL-9's could and did MU with the 1200's, 1400's and 1600's mostly in freight service and they could also MU with the rebuilt 500's but the 500
class engine had to be the leader if they did MU.
Trains 50 and 71 on the Springfield Line had 1200's off SN-1 and NS-2 for
power on a regular basis for quite a while in the early to mid 1960's.
Occasionally an FL-9 would end up in this mix, MU'd with a 1200. Some-
times too, a 1400 or 1600 would end up in this mix with the 1200 although
by this time the 1400's and 1600's did not have good steam connectors so
they had to lead the 1200 as 71 had a grill car out of Springfield and had
to have steam even in the summer time.
Noel Weaver

  by RAS
I have seen a number of books and articles which deal with the FL9, but most of them are centered around its history on the New Haven Railroad and with the various subsequent owners. Has anybody done a comprehensive technical presentation on this unique locomotive, like a design overview, a walk around tour, a discussion of the major components and equipment, or a discussion of how it functions and controls the motors in third rail operation?
  by Statkowski
The NHRHTA's Shoreliner had a two or three issue coverage of the FL-9s a while back (back issues can be ordered through their website).

Incidentally, whereas the first thirty FL-9s shared the same prime mover as their GP-9 counterparts (567C oil engines), the second thirty shared the same prime movers as GP-18s (567-D1 oil engines). Thus, one could almost legitimately call the second thirty FL-9s "FL-18s."

  by PCook
A detailed photo survey of the assembly of an FL9 exists as a seldom-used slide show. Perhaps some day there will be the time to develop it as a book, as it is too large for even a multi-part article. If not, it is willed to a major museum so it will be preserved and archived.