Seattle & North Coast F7A #101 in Proto:87

SNCT F7A #101
SNCT F7A #101, July 27, 1984, Seattle, WA
Photograph by John C. Benson, Christopher Slemp Collection

One of my myriads of soon-to-be-started projects is a P:87 model of SNCT F7A #101. It’s one of a number of units I’ve long had my eye on and with a Highliners shell in my possession and Athearn soon to be releasing a chassis for de-skirted F’s, the time is ripe for this project.

The prototype began its life in Oct. 1950 as EMD build number (b/n) 11066. Built for the Great Northern RR it was given #274B and later became Burlington Northern #610. When BN began to cull off its massive F unit fleet, #610 was sold to Joseph Simon & Sons a salvage firm in Tacoma. In the Oct. 1980 issue of Trains an article on the SNCT by Theodore Kornweibel Jr. states that “When [SNCT] started, it simply leased Milwaukee’s local unit, SD9 #502. But it’s six axles were hard on the 12- and 14- degree curves and light rail, so in fall 1980 S&NC replaced it as road power” the replacement power was #610, which would become SNCT #101 and sister BN units #648 and #704 (SNCT #102 and #103 respectively).

SNCT was operational until June 2, 1984. After the line was shut down. #101 sat at Pier 27 in Seattle for a year or two. Eventually, though I don’t know when, it was purchased by Doyle McCormack of the Oregon Rail History Foundation and was fully restored to its original GN paint and number.

The Model
As I said above, I’ll be building #101 with the Highliners/Athearn system. The Walthers and Intermountain chassis’ would probably work as well, but I doubt I’d be able to find an example of the former, and I don’t know much about the latter. I’ve always been an Athearn fan, and there aren’t many bad things that can be said about their Genesis line. The nice thing about Highliners is that a lot of detail parts are included with their kits, however, I still need some stuff from some other manufacturers. Here’s the complete parts list:

Part # Manufacturer Description
G33003 Athearn EMD F-Series Mechanism A-Unit – Black w/Sound
328-1001 Highliner EMD F Unit Body Shell Kit – A Unit
328-10017 Highliner Stainless Steel Farr Air Grilles pkg(2) – For F7A Unit
235-314 Details West Snow Plow Pilot w/Cast Coupler Cut Lever — GN, NP & Other Roads
235-309 Details West Super Detail Kit for EMD F Unit Diesels (Highliner, Genesis, Intermountain)
235-126 Details West Rotary Beacon “Western-Cullen” Type D-312
235-318 Details West Rooftop Air Cooling Coils
235-190 Details West Air Horn “Leslie” RSL-3L-R3 Chime
229-2805 Detail Associates Diesel Truck Journal – Blomberg Square Type
229-2806 Detail Associates Diesel Truck Journal – Blomberg Slope Type
229-2304 Detail Associates Wind Deflector – Etched Brass
229-2203 Detail Associates Nut-Bolt-Washer Castings
229-2505 Detail Associates Brass Wire – .015” dia.
229-2502 Detail Associates Brass Wire – .008” dia.
229-1508 Detail Associates Mu Air Hoses
176-4511 BLMA 18” Drop Grab Irons (.008” Formed Wire) – Set of 60
380-438 Kadee Air Hoses & Angle Cocks w/ Mounting Brackets
WLP Proto:87 Stores 40” Wheels (1.55mm dia. “Kato” half-axles)
CL87-10 Sergent Dummy Bottom Cut Levers
EC87 Sergent Couplers to Fit Kadee #5 mounting Pocket


In addition to this list I’ll probably need a few different sizes of styrene sheet and rod. There’s also paint and weathering materials to consider, but I’ll cover those when the time comes. It should also be noted, that the p/n for the Athearn chassis is probably incorrect as I will be using the newer chassis debuting with Athearns’ de-skirted F’s. I’ll try to modify that when I can. Decals will be the old Herald King one’s. I have one set now, and will hopefully have a few more soon, now that they are supposedly available again!

First Steps
I’ll (hopefully, keep your fingers crossed) be starting on this sometime within the next few days. I think the first step is probably going to be hacking off the skirting on the Highliners shell, followed by assembly of the major shell components and the larger detail parts. Stay tuned for progress reports.

– Chris

One Reply to “Seattle & North Coast F7A #101 in Proto:87”

  1. Chris,

    I came across your site on a Train Orders post by a friend of yours. Interesting information. I agree with your assessment of Athearn Genesis F units and also have a couple of Highliners kits that I consider to be the best on the market for variations of locomotive prototypes. Keep up the good work and your sharing of information.



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