Delivered in 1944, the Union Pacific's ten FEF-3 ("FEF" for "Four Eight Four") Northerns were the apex of super-power steam: modern, handsome, and designed to cruise at over 100 mph. In their early years, dressed in two-tone grey, they pulled the Overland Limited, Portland Rose, Challenger and other crack UP passenger trains. Diesels later bumped them to freight service in plain black livery. The last FEF-3 built, No. 844, has the distinction of being the only steam locomotive never retired by a U.S. railroad. You can ride behind it today in UP excursion service.
The FEF-3 returns to the RailKing line in four authentic passenger and freight paint schemes. The oil-burning versions have the distinctive "elephant ears" - smoke deflectors designed to prevent smoke from obscuring the engineer's vision - and the coal-fired version has a real coal load. For 2013 we've upgraded this model with a larger tender and additional Imperial features that include Proto-Sound 3.0, legible builder's plates, marker lights with individual LED illumination, painted backhead gauges, cab interior light, and tender truck safety chains.
Did You Know?
In 1946 it cost $1.19 per mile to operate an FEF-3, of which 40 cents went for coal or oil, 3 cents for water, and 19 cents for crew wages. Brand new, an FEF-3 went for $150,000, nearly 100 times the price of a new car.