Dateline: May 2003
The carcass of the F-7 was rescued from the scrapper by a little wheeling-and-dealing at a Midsouth meeting in early 2003. It is an original Bill Koster loco that had seen better days. At one point, someone had decided to change it to hydrostatic drive so it had been stripped of the electric motors, etc. The trucks were in decent shape even without the electric power elements. The frame was sagging quite badly in the middle after it had been weakened by alterations. The body had little paint left and had minor surface rust in many places. There were, however, no major dents in the metal body work…just a few places that would need some TLC.
Work started by doing an inventory of what we had that could be re-used, what was missing entirely, and what we wanted it to be when it was finished. We decided on an all-electric loco with a motor on each axle (4 in total). Four (4) deep-cycle 6V golf cart batteries would supply the power to the 24V system. A gearbox of sorts would be needed for each axle to step down the motor RPM to something usable. A system of chain sprockets were ultimately used on each axle.
Work went smoothly as we tackled each component. The frame was straightened and reinforced so it would not sag in the future. The power trucks were assembled and tested only to find the gearing was too fast. A quick change out of the sprockets to change the overall ratio cured that issue. The body was sanded, patched, primed, painted, and lettered. Various accessories like fan vents and side vents were either fabricated or repaired.
The (re)building of the F-7 diesel locomotive for Fairfield Railroad is nearly complete. All that remains is some minor detailing. It should be a good runner.