Train Sim World
Written by Gary Dolzall
The upcoming Train Sim World 2 Clinchfield Railroad route will feature two generations of diesel mountain warriors – the classic Electro-Motive F7 and the powerful EMD SD40!
The legendary and rugged Clinchfield Railroad is coming soon to Train Sim World 2 and, as an engineer on the upcoming route, you’ll climb aboard and take the throttle of two generations of magnificently re-created diesels – the classic Electro-Motive F7 and the powerful EMD SD40. Together, these two types of diesel mountain warriors powered the railroad from the time Clinchfield traded its steam for diesels until the CRR was merged into Seaboard System in 1983. Let’s take a look:
The Iconic Electro-Motive F-unit
The Electro-Motive “F-unit”: It was, to quote long-time Trains Magazine Editor David P. Morgan, “The diesel that did it” – which is to say the diesel that, more than any other, empowered American railroads’ transition from steam to diesel propulsion. The iconic F was introduced, in the form of the FT, in 1939, and through models F2, F3, F7, F9, FP7, FP9, and FL9, remained in production until 1960, with a total of more than 7,500 units constructed.
In the coal-laden Appalachians, where the economy and many livelihoods depended upon coal mining, the oil-burning diesel, as an alternative to coal-burning steam locomotives, was neither immediately nor entirely embraced. Many of America’s great coal-hauling railroads, such as Chesapeake & Ohio and, in particular, Norfolk & Western, followed a credo of “burn what you haul,” and were thus careful about climbing on the diesel bandwagon. The coal-hauling Clinchfield remained true to steam power into the late 1940s, the last additions to CRR’s fascinating steam roster being Class E-3 “Challengers” that were carbon copies of the Union Pacific’s 4-6-6-4 behemoths (such as famed UP 3985). But the economic and operational benefits of dieselization were too great to ignore, and in 1948 the Clinchfield began to dieselize with urgency. And just as it was for much of American railroading, “the diesel that did it” on the Clinchfield was the EMD F-unit.
It was in December 1948 that Electro-Motive’s LaGrange (Illinois) plant began turning out F-units bound for the Clinchfield, which were dressed in a striking new yellow-and-gray livery. CRR’s first ten F-units (six “A” cab units and four “B” boosters) were built in 1948-49 and were formally designated F3s and unofficially called F5s (in short, the F5 was an F3 with the generator of the soon-to-debut F7; all of CRR’s F5s were soon ungraded to F7s). Through 1950-52, dieselization on the CRR was in full swing as the railroad welcomed 25 more F7s (15 cabs and ten boosters), one FP7, six EMD SW7 switchers, and 18 EMD GP7s. In 1953, Clinchfield dropped the coal fires of its last steam locomotives in regular service.
With the EMD SW7s and Geeps tending to switching and local work, the CRR’s F7s were the lords of the main line, hauling heavy coal tonnage and hustling manifest freight such as the famed “Florida Perishable.” In 1955, CRR added another five new F7Bs to beef up the horsepower of its diesel lash-ups, and into the early 1960s acquired a handful more F-units secondhand from one of its parents, the Louisville & Nashville.
With the beautiful chants of their normally aspirated, 1,500-horsepower, EMD 567-series V-16 powerplants echoing through the Appalachians, the Clinchfield F7s – which like all F-units were nicknamed “covered wagons” – were a pure joy to experience, and the opportunity to witness the F-units in the Appalachians proved a long one. While retirement of some CRR F-units began in 1969, a number of the iconic and stylish diesels remained in service until, and even after, CRR’s 1983 merger into Seaboard System. One Clinchfield F-unit – CRR 800 – is extant in beautifully restored and operational condition for yet another generation of railfans to enjoy.
The Potent EMD SD40
By the mid-1960s, with the CRR F-units aging and tonnage at robust levels, the time had come for Clinchfield to embrace dieseldom’s “second generation.” The timing was ideal, because Electro-Motive was about to roll out its new 645-series powerplant and “40-Line” of diesels, which included the 3,000-horsepower, four-axle GP40 and six-axle SD40. Not surprisingly given its rugged route and heavy tonnage, Clinchfield placed its bet on the new and potent six-motor (C-C) SD40, and Clinchfield initially purchased eight units, all again dressed in yellow-and-gray colors, in 1966. EMD’s 40-Line diesels were to prove extraordinarily successful and the husky, hard-hauling, and reliable SD40 was near-perfect for the Clinchfield. The CRR ordered six more SD40s in 1969 and ten more of the 3,000-horsepower EMD diesels in 1971. And like the gallant F7 before it, the SD40 became the primary mainline workhorse of the Clinchfield.
The Clinchfield’s SD40s of 1969 were again delivered in CRR’s handsome gray-and-yellow scheme, then in 1970 the railroad adopted a new and simpler black-and-yellow scheme. While not as captivating as its predecessor, the CRR’s new livery, highlighted by yellow and black number boards, was nonetheless entirely appealing. Clinchfield locomotives in both liveries were common right through the road’s merger into Seaboard System. As for the CRR SD40s, all except a pair retired due to wreck damage journeyed on to the Seaboard System and CSX eras.
The Clinchfield Electro-Motive F7 (in cab and booster configurations) and EMD SD40 created for the upcoming Train Sim World 2 route are beautiful and extraordinarily accurate in operational procedures, characteristics, liveries, and visual details. Together, the Train Sim World 2 F7 and SD40 will, indeed, deliver the full and compelling experience of climbing aboard two generations of the Clinchfield Railroad’s diesel mountain warriors! – Gary Dolzall
The legendary and rugged Clinchfield Railroad is coming soon to Train Sim World 2 and, as an engineer on the upcoming route, you’ll climb aboard and take the throttle of two generations of magnificently re-created diesels – the classic Electro-Motive F7 (left) and the powerful EMD SD40 (right). Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
“The diesel that did it.” More than any other locomotive, Electro-Motive’s iconic “F-unit” empowered American railroads’ transition from steam to diesel propulsion. The Clinchfield began to dieselize in earnest in 1948 with the arrival of its first ten F-units (six cabs and four boosters). Note: Screenshots depict content while in development.
As an engineer on the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Clinchfield Railroad route, you’ll climb aboard a magnificently re-created F7A cab and handle a variety of authentic operating controls.
Clinchfield’s EMD F7s served long and served well, with careers that spanned the transition from steam power to the railroad’s merger into Seaboard System in 1983. On the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Clinchfield route, CRR F7A 817 and kin grind past the iconic Dante Union Baptist Church (above), and Clinchfield 816 and a sister are handling coal loading on the Nora Spur at Blue Diamond Mine (below).
Main line action: On the scenic main line of the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Clinchfield Railroad route, Clinchfield F7 809 is on the point of a southbound train (above). Clinchfield yellow-and-gray “covered wagons” are putting on a memorable show as trains meet at CRR’s northern terminus of Elkhorn City, Kentucky (below).
By the mid-1960s, with the CRR’s F7s aging and tonnage at robust levels, the time had come for Clinchfield to embrace a new generation of power. Electro-Motive’s SD40, which mustered 3,000 horsepower (double that of an F7), was the railroad’s choice, and a good one.
Clinchfield’s first SD40, No. 3000 (above), arrived in 1966, and by 1971 the railroad’s roster of the six-axle EMD had grown to 25 units. Like the F7 before it, the SD40 became the workhorse of the Clinchfield. Just as with the upcoming Train Sim World 2 F7, the Clinchfield SD40 will feature a finely modeled cab with full interactive and realistic controls (below).
A trio of Clinchfield EMD SD40s lend their collective 9,000 horsepower to dragging a CRR manifest freight southward over the railroad’s classic Pool Point trestle near Elkhorn City on the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Clinchfield Railroad route.
Clinchfield SD40s are just beginning their pull from Dante Yard with a heavy coal train (above). No doubt the residents of the homes right along the tracks will be left with little doubt about the potency of the big EMDs. On the upcoming Train Sim World 2 Clinchfield Railroad route, five SD40s have been enlisted to handle coal on the railroad’s steep and rugged Fremont Branch (below).
Coming soon with the Train Sim World 2 Clinchfield Railroad route, the Electro-Motive F7 and SD40 will deliver the full and compelling experience of climbing aboard two generations of the Clinchfield Railroad’s diesel mountain warriors!
Screenshots and images displayed in this article may depict content that is still in development. The licensed brands may not have been approved by their respective owner and some artwork may still be pending approval. Screenshots Taken on Windows PC.
Train Sim World