by Kevin Walsh

An ALCO “power car” #614 idles at the Shea Stadium Long Island Rail Road platform in September 1999, a place it rarely visited, as the Port Washington Branch on which the station is located was electrified in 1910, the same year Penn Station opened. On this occasion, a fan trip necessitated its appearance here.

This FA unit was produced by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in the years 1946 to 1959. From the 1970s through the 1990s, the #614 was in service pulling MP-72 cars on unelectrified LIRR lines mostly east of Ronkonkoma and Huntington.

In addition, the ALCO units and MP-72 cars were used in NYC for many years on an unelectrified line of track that went from Long Island City through Laurel Hill, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Glendale and Richmond Hill to Jamaica — but I’ll deal with that on a future FNY page.

Forgotten Fan Jonathan Rickard:

An FA would be a unit of this model with a cab for an engineer, while an FB would have two “blind” ends with no cab. The FA/FB would have been originally intended to operate as a set in freight service. Alco also made a similar FPA/FPB model with steam generators intended for passenger service.

When the LIRR acquired its second-hand FAs in 1971 (No. 614 was built for Spokane, Portland & Seattle), passenger cars were being converted from steam-powered systems to electrical. The LIRR’s FAs were not actually locomotives, but had been converted by General Electric into “power cars,” using their diesel engines and generators to run the electrical systems on the trains. They also served as cabs at the end of the trains opposite the locomotives in push-pull service.

More from the Shea Stadium station.


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