Road Number Will Be #803-XNew Page 1
HO Scale Alco/MLW FB-2 & FPB-2
Canadian Pacific FB-2 4469 has been beautifully restored at the Canadian
Rail Transportation Museum at Cranbrook, British Columbia. Photo courtesy Dave
Rapidos model will include:
Correct water/fuel tank combination for the FPB-2 available in two styles
Alco or MLW small fuel tank for FB-2
With or without dynamic brakes
Vertical or horizontal battery box louvers
Etched metal wire mesh or Farr side grilles
With or without back-up light
Accurate underbody piping and conduit
Canadian or American cast Type B trucks
Our HO Scale Alco/MLW FB-2/FPB-2 features:
Many roadname-specific details
Operating back-up light where appropriate
Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
Incredible underframe detail including piping and a ridiculous number of
Heavy, die-cast chassis
Rapidos proven 5-pole skew-wound motor with dual flywheels and silky-smooth
DC/DCC/Sound (ESU LokSound) options
Accurate sounds recorded from a real Alco 244 prime mover
Factory-installed Macdonald-Cartier couplers mounted at the correct height
Rapido Trains Inc. is proud to be able to add the much requested freight FB-2
and dual-service FPB-2 locomotives to its range of museum quality Alco/MLW cab
units. Now you can partner your first run A-units with matching Bs to the same
Yes, what manufacturer is crazy enough to bring out not one B-unit on its own,
but two? Rapido, thats who! And technically there are four! (GMD F7B and F9B,
Alco/MLW FB-2 and FPB-2). And were not just making paint schemes to match our
first run locomotives, were offering those to match our second run too!
The Gulf Mobile & Ohio and New Haven railroads were the only companies to
purchase FB-2 locomotives without accompanying A-units. Two of the New Haven
fleet were repainted in the classic McGinnis scheme and most lasted right into
the Penn Central era. Photo courtesy Collectibles by Bobs Photos
Alco/MLW built around 230 B-units which were mostly ordered with A-units in
matched sets, usually in fours (A+B+B+A) or in threes (A+B+A). However there
were a few notable examples of FB-2s that were constructed to supplement
existing fleets of FA-1 cabs. The New Haven was the most famous railroad to only
buy FB-2s, and weve added the whole fleet of five units to our range, in two
The fortunes of the FB-2 and FPB-2s mostly mirrored the lives of the A-units and
most lasted well into the 1960s, with a few notable examples keeping theirs
right to the end of Alco/MLW cab unit operation. This included a sizable fleet
of New York Central and New Haven Bs that were still operational into the first
years of the Penn Central. One FB-2 was even repainted PC black, which were
offering as a special PC 50th anniversary release. In Canada the Bs lasted even
longer with Canadian Pacifics fleet eventually being retired in 1977.
A typical scene from the late 1960s on the Louisville & Nashville at
Decoursey, Kentucky. Although most commonly associated with coal traffic, this
pair of Bs is sandwiched between an Alco FA-2 and RS-3 atop a piggyback train!
Several L&N B-units survived well into the 1970s rebuilt as robot cars for
radio control operation of mid-train helpers. Note the lack of dynamic brakes
on the L&N fleet. Photo courtesy Dan Dover Collection.
Its a common misconception that B units always ran with the same A unit.
However, by the end of the 1950s, the Alco/MLW B-units were mixed and matched,
and regularly operated not only with other A units but with totally mismatched
hood units as well. So even if you didnt buy our Alco/MLW cabs, you can still
buy an FB-2 and amaze your friends and relations!
Unlike their A-units the Pennsylvania Railroads fleet of FB-2s did not
have the PRR inductive trainphone antennas. However, for the first time in HO
scale, our PRR model does include the correct Phase Ia FB-2 feature set,
including vertical battery box louvers and etched metal wire mesh side
grilles. If you look closely you can even see the unique PRR red marker lights
at the top corners of the ends.
The B-units are mechanically identical to their FA-2 and FPA-2 cousins, except
that they did not have a cab for the locomotive engineer. They were controlled
by MUing (MU = Multiple Unit) to the lead locomotive. The FPB-2 differs from the
FB-2 in that it has a steam generator for providing steam heat to passenger
cars. The most obvious spotting differences are the larger combined underbody
fuel and water tank and the exhaust panel on the roof.
Canadian Pacific FPB-2 showing the Phase II configuration of etched metal
Farr side grilles and horizontal battery box louvers. Note also the unique CP
winterization hatches (factory installed in various configurations to suit the
prototype), dynamic brakes, steam generator panel on the roof and the large CP
combined fuel/water tank.
Because B-units dont usually get any respect from manufacturers, our Alco/MLW
Bs feature the same amazing level of detail as our A units. They are doing just
as much work and should look and sound just as good. Thats why you need a
Rapido FB-2 or FPB-2.
Like their cab unit partners, the FB-2 and FPB-2 had an Alco 244 prime mover
(diesel engine). Today it is very, very difficult to find one of these operating
and in good condition. We actually found one in Australia and a good friend of
ours was able to record it under load! And the FPB-2 even has the recording of a
steam generator on the decoder. So your FB-2 and FPB-2 will sound as good as
Heres a rendering of the CP B-unit from the underside with that neat fuel
and water tank combination. The FPB-2 has never been produced before as an HO
scale mass produced model. The Rapido dual-service B even has separate brake
chains, steam blowdown valves and steam piping?
And just like the FA-2, there were substantial variations of the FB-2 or FPB-2
locomotives from railroad to railroad, and were covering all of the major ones.
The Rapido B-units will be available in the following paint schemes. Alco and
MLW sold about three real B-units for every A-unit that rolled off the
production line. If we manage that compared to our first run of As then well be
very happy! However, unlike Alco its not possible for us to make as few as a
couple of units so many of our paint schemes are conditional on us reaching our
factory minimum quantities, otherwise they will not be produced.
Rapidos FA and FB units are the only Alco cabs ever produced in HO scale
to feature this level of underbody and end detail.