Brand new freight F3 200LABC with an eastbound GFX train leaves San Bernardino the day after Christmas 1948. The "almost F-7" appearance of EMD's very late F3 deliveries tends to confuse many modelers. Only the absence of a circular dynamic brake fan on the roof reveals it is not an F7. 200 and sister 201LABC were the only freight F3's purchased by the Santa Fe. - Stan Kistler

Only two sets of F3's were purchased by the Santa Fe for freight service. Locomotives 200LABC and 201LABC were delivered in October and November 1948 just before EMD shifted production to the F7. Santa Fe had concentrated on early F3 purchases for use as passenger locomotives in order to dieselize all of the remaining major passenger trains on the system and by the time that was accomplished, the F7 was ready to enter production.

In external appearance the 200LABC and 201LABC were nearly indistinguishable from F7's since late production F3's featured low roof fans, stainless steel grilles and the same porthole/side louver arrangement that was carried over into F7 production (in contrast to the "dead give-away" three porthole feature of early F3's). Their single external feature that identified them as F3's was the slit type dynamic brake openings in the roof.

These units were mechanically upgraded to F7 standards early on except they retained the F3 style dynamic brakes for their entire careers. That the Santa Fe did not consider them as a separate class points out just how close they were mechanically to the freight F7's that followed.

Stewart has just released an F3A in Santa Fe freight colors that represents the cab units of these two locomotive sets very well. Matching B-units are scheduled for summer 1992 delivery according to sources attending the recent Chicago hobby show. Stewart followed the EMD painting color specifications correctly for units as-built prior to 1953 (i.e. black roof. Unfortunately however, the contour of the "vee" in the roof striping is incorrect (but better than anything heretofore available). The 'Santa Fe' nose badge color is also incorrect-a problem easily solved using Champ's nose badge decal.

All locomotives in the 200 class through 268 were delivered in the "catwhisker" paint scheme. Refer to the FT styling diagram for painting and lettering of the as delivered paint scheme.

Stewart Hobbies has truly blessed Santa Fe modelers with this exceptional locomotive. A superb runner and highly detailed, it will make a handsome addition to any modeler's layout. Discrepancies with the painting and lettering can easily be solved using the information contained herein and on the styling diagrams. Additional products from Stewart will likely be forthcoming. - Jay Miller

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