Derivated from Alco PA passenger diesel-electric cab locomotive, the FA-1 was a freight version with a tractive effort of 60.875 lbf. Produced in joint venture by Alco and General Electric, the FA-1 was the first series, later evolved into other variants (FA-2 with improved engine of 1,600 hp and FPA-2). Total production of all variants reached 1.485 units.
Externally, the FA and FB models looked very similar to the Alco PA models produced in the same period. The only difference was the driving truck wheels, with different running gear. Designed to haul freight trains, FA diesel suffered many engine problems. The 244 Alco engine was used in several early Alco designs and while troublesome in main line applications, like the PA and FA models, it actually proved to quite reliable in some of the smaller models, such as early road switcher models like the RS-2 and RS-3. The Alco FA-1 model initially could produce 1,500 horsepower (later bumped up to 1,600 hp), or 3,000 horsepower with an FB-1 booster. It used a B-B truck arrangement, which could produce a continuous 46,000 pounds of tractive effort and reach a top speed of around 65 mph. When production ended on the FA-1, Alco was able to sell around 672 A and B units to nearly twenty domestic railroads (including the units built the Montreal Locomotive Works for Canadian roads).
Gauge: 4 ft 8,5 in
Loco weight: 243.000 lb (110.000 kg.)
Lenght: 53 ft 1 in (16,18 mt.)
Engine power: Diesel
Prime mover: Alco 244 (GE)
Horsepower: 1.500 Hp
Speed: 65 mph
Build date: 1946-1950
Units built: 445 (FA) + 249 (FB)
PRR roster: 8 (AF15 class) + 8 FB1
Alco FA-1 Pennsylvania Railroad #9601 data
Road Number: 9601
Year on Roster: 1951
Notes: dynamic brakes - trainphone
Assignment 1953: Eastern Region - Middle Division
Assigned to pull heavy freight trains on the mainline from east to west, this Alco locomotive was untrustworthy because it underpowered. The next version FA-2 adopted improvements that have enabled her to serve for many years with the Pennsylvania Railroad.