SOO Line F7 with a Caboose.
The class F7/FP7 "Bulldogs" from General Motors EMD built between 1949 and 1953 developed into a real sales hit on American railroads. Here the saying was proven that it is simpler to count the railroads that did not buy the F7 than it is to remember which ones had the F7 in service. The F7s were everywhere! Fifty railroads bought the F7 new and more than 75 North American railroads had them in service over the years. Their classification "F" (= freight) certainly showed the original intended purpose at EMD chiefly in freight service, but due to its existing heating boiler for steam heat the F7 initially developed into the classic diesel locomotive in American passenger service in the Fifties. The F7 had 1,500 horsepower and 4,221 units were built. They were divided into three sub-classes: The F7A with a cab at one end came to 2,366 units, the cab-less F7B reached 1,483 units, and the lengthened FP7 equipped with a larger water tank for the steam heat came in at 372 units. It was thus no wonder that the rather unknown Soo Line Railroad also had several of the F7 series on its roster. More precisely, it was 26 F7A units, 6 F7B units, and 6 FP7 units. Two units have remained preserved: FP7 road number 500 as a memorial locomotive in Ladysmith, WI and FP7 road number 2500 as an operational museum locomotive at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, MN.
The history of the Soo Line Railroad is interesting: Prominent business people from Minneapolis founded the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie and Atlantic Railroad in 1883. It quickly became the Soo Line due to the pronunciation of "Sault". The Soo Line was planned as a railroad to transport the grain products from Minnesota's farmers and mills und quickly to eastern markets. The line was renamed Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad as early as 1888 and the route network was gradually expanded throughout the upper Midwest to Canada. In 1909, the Soo Line took over the Wisconsin Central Railway in the form of a least agreement. Finally, in 1961 the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad merged officially with the Wisconsin Central Railway and the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad under the new name Soo Line Railroad. In 1985, the Soo Line acquired the remainder to the bankrupt Milwaukee Road. In the Nineties, the Canadian Pacific Railway as a shareholder of many years took over the railroad completely and ended its existence as an independent business.