General Motor's Electro-Motive Division produced the infamous F3 diesel for four years, between July 1945 and February 1949. During this time, approximately 1,100 lead A units were manufactured while 700 cabless B units were built. The F3 is a 1,500-horsepower locomotive and designed to haul both freight and passenger trains. In early 1949, the F7 replaced the F3 locomotive.
The Lionel F3 diesel, particularly in Santa Fe colors, is both a huge success story as well as an iconic image of the company. Looking back, it's hard to image the F3 was a production gamble by Lionel. To help offset some of the investment risk, Lionel partnered with three other corporations on the F3 project; General Motors, the New York Central railroad and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. Each of these companies financially contributed to the development of the F3 in return for advertising on the new diesel. Needless to say, in addition to Lionel, all three companies have received a tremendous amount of advertising from the F3 project during the prior 70 years!
During the postwar production years, Lionel offered the F3 in three variations: AA diesel set, AB diesel set or the ultimate ABA option -- which measured almost 39" in length!
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