Southern Pacific's EMD FP-7 #6462 was a system unique and a fixture on the San Francisco Peninsula for a decade. Built in full Daylight regalia as Cotton Belt # 330, the 6462 came to SP (by then repainted to grey / scarlet and numbered 306) on lease in January, 1960 after Cotton Belt axed passenger service.

SP 6462
SP Index

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Although SP's highest-numbered FP-7, the 6462 was built in April, 1950, considerably before SP's 6446 - 6461 of 1953. Out of nearly 600 F Units lettered for SP, the 6462 was the only one to lack dynamic brakes and a nose-door-mounted headlight. She had a small fuel tank, limiting her utility on SP's long distance passenger trains, Thus, SP brought her to the Peninsula's Commute pool, where she also performed a regular role along with the GP-9's as stand-by power for the Coast Route passenger pool (the latter a short run by SP standards).

On the Peninsula, the 6462's usual runs were reverse-commute train numbers 151 in the evening and 110 in the morning. That she typically overnighted at San Francisco's Seventh Street Diesel Shops explains why she subbed so much on the morning departure Daylight # 98.

In May, 1971, Amtrak took over SP's long distance passenger trains, along with the FP-7's - except the 6462. Amtrak wanted no part of a 21 year old oddity. Since SP's last E Units were gone and the two remaining passenger-equipped F-7's (355 & 6389) were relegated to freight service, the lowly 6462 became SP's last active passenger Cab Unit, but only until September 1, when she was stored at Bayshore Shops prior to retirement.

San Jose, 6-19-68

The 6462 came from the Cotton Belt with only a headlight on the nose. Late in her career (1967, I think), she received a nose door with a headlight from an F-7, allowing the installation of a Mars Light (that's what SP men calles all rotary warning lights) in the nose. I didn't photograph the engine until late in the game, so this is the only pic that I took of her prior to the conversion. The accompanying S-2 is a pretty interesting locomotive in its own right. San Jose Roundhouse, 12-66.

The next month, we see the 'other' end of the old girl. Sadly, given the excellent lighting, I didn't shoot that one-eyed front end, but the rear displays an interesting arrangement as well: a portable headlight hung in front of the door, a necessary item on street crossings on trips to the Mission Bay Wye, or Bayshore Roundhouse. San Jose Roundhouse, 1-67.


Further comparison, rear end arrangements in June, 1968 (left) and January 1967
at far right: Notice not only the removal of the single eye warning light with the twin
headlight/warning unit, but also the difference in size of the end numbers.
(near right) Towards the end of her career, in 1970, the old girl began to show her age.

Like with the "Subs", SP's cure-all for body rot was a heavy coat of paint. In fact, SP's commute fleet had some of the finest looking rust in the RR business! In the winter of 1970, a touch-up was in order .

Just darn handsome engines, those EMD F's. Another differing feature about the 6462 was that she didn't sport a snowplow pilot like her sister SP FP-7's. Here, the engine sits at her usual spot on Cahill St. Depot # 1, awaiting its 5:10 pm scheduled departure. San Jose, May 1969 .

Most of the time, the 6462 worked # 151 solamente, but occasinally, for one reason or another, she had help. Perhaps this day, Geep-9 # 3000 was along to take Train 110 back to San Jose in the morning, while 6462 would head to L.A. on Train 98? San Jose, early 1970.

Here she is in all her glory, working # 99 out of San Jose Depot on the evening of April 21, 1968, in the company of GP-9 # 3006 and E-7 # 6003. The E's always got the pre eminent role in such lashups due to their superior riding qualities. The 6462 probably never got the lead spot, since it lacked the dynamic brake controls needed on Santa Margarita. I'd love to see a photo proving me wrong.

Never say never. Drew Jacksich sent us this photo of the 6462 on the point of #98 in February, 1971. It's curious that that big SDP-45 is third out, eh? Two possible explanations: 1) When the roundhouse foreman made up the engine consist, he forgot that the 6462 had no dynamics. 2) Given that an off-season Daylight likely did not require all of this horsepower, perhaps the SDP developed problems at Third and Townsend, and the two F's were added at the last minute.

Drew Jacksich, bless his heart, also sent us this gorgeous (1600 pixel, no less) shot of the 6462 pulling into College Park on her normal evening assignment, #151, in February, 1966, before she received the nose door headlight. Note the Bellarmine high school student sitting on the platform edge, something about which we have previously commented.