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Review Outline C Liners
Those Beautiful 'C' Liners
The Michigan Railfan (Publication of the Michigan Railroad Club)
by David J. Mrozek, March/April 1998
Those Beautiful 'C' Liners by Jim Hope......
With it's new Beloit, Wisconsin, manufacturing plant in place and an all-new lineup of streamlined diesel locomotives, Fairbanks-Morse was serious about competing in the road freight and passenger locomotive market. The new locomotives were known as the Consolidation Line and 14 variations were possible from a common platform. Eight, ten, or twelve cylinder prime movers were available, as were A and B unit configurations, freight or passenger versions, and B-B or B-A1A wheel arrangements.
The C-Liners were powered by FM's unique, opposed-piston design, which reduced the number of individual cylinders and eliminated the need for cylinder heads. Offsetting this advantage was the fact that two crankshafts were required and their placement tended to complicate many routine maintenance procedures. Unfortunately by 1950, when the first C-Liners were delivered, the railroads were migrating towards the more flexible road switcher type diesels and only 165 C-Liners were built.
Canadian Pacific purchased 28 of the 1600 horsepower units and quickly dieselized operations on it's Kettle Valley secondary mainline between Medicine Hat, Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia. Author/photographer Hope had the good fortune of being able photograph these locomotives during their 20 years of service in the mountains of southern British Columbia. Like most steam enthusiasts, Jim did not welcome the onslaught of diesels 1950s, though did continue to photograph the CPR's diesel powered trains.
More than 30 years later, his photos of the CPR's C-Liners are now a treasure to the entire rail enthusiast community. The large format illustrations in the book showed the beautiful cab units off to good advantage as they went about their freight and passenger hauling duties in the mountains. Photo reproduction is very good and a brief explanatory caption accompanies each of the illustrations. This volume is a must for enthusiasts hooked on streamlined first generation diesels.
- David -