In the mid-1970's, Fc. Sonora-Baja California was known amongst Nord Americano railfans for its F-Units, not that it possessed very many: six. It's fame at the time came from it's two EMD FT's - by far the last rostered by any railroad - and it's likely unique use of an FP7 passenger cabs unit as switch engines. In December 1976, Wx4 Staff headed across the border one evening, climbing aboard "El Burro", Train 6, the all-night, makes-all-stops local at Mexicali and hoping to catch a glimpse of the S-BC celebrities on our way to Mazatlán. We missed the FT's and F7's, but upon arrival at Benjamin Hill the next morning, FP7 2101 showed up to switch-out the rear of our train. All was not lost.

We never gave S-BC's F's another thought until we began to do research this page 35 years later. We discovered some amazing stuff: FTA 2203 apparently ran right up to privatization of the railroad in 1997, receiving a new prime mover in 1991. It now resides at the Museo Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Mexicanos, where it is occasionally fired up to maintain it in running order. Further, FTB 2203B still survives - overlooked by just about every list of extant FT's that we've run across - but we have no current accurate info about its current location. As of 2009, it was still rusting in a Benjamin Hill deadline, but there was talk of moving it to the Museo Nacional in Puebla. Stay tuned.

Immediately below you'll find the original photos that we took of the 2101, plus info and photos that we subsequently acquired. Further down are photos of the other F's, plus an embedded YouTube video of the FT's at speed on the S-BC.

S-BC F Unit Roster
Model S-BC # Former # Built Serial #, Order # Notes
FTA 2203A NP 6010D,
then NP 5410D
EMD 01-1945 2840, E636A NP trade-in to GE for U25C, 9/1/1964; to SBC from GE; to Museo National de los Ferrocarriles Mexiconos (date?)
FTB 2203B NP 6006C,
then NP 5406C
EMD 10-1944 2572, E612_b NP trade-in to GE for U25C, 9/1/1964; to SBC from GE; at Benjamin Hill (2009)
F7A 2201 S.C.O.P. 23037 EMD 09-1949 9886, E1296-A to Museo de los Ferrocarriles de Yucatan (Date?); under restoration
F7A 2202 S.C.O.P. 23038 EMD 09-1949 9887, E1296-A *S.C.O.P. = Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas

all scrapped? (dates?)
FP7A 2101 S.C.O.P. 23035 EMD 09-1949 9888, E1313-A
FP7B 2102 S.C.O.P. 23036 EMD 09-1949 9889, E1313-A
Sources: The UNofficial EMD Homepage; The Diesel Shop: S-BC roster & Preserved EMD F-Units; Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association NP Roster; S-BC ROSTER: The
S-BC 2101 Switching at Benjamin Hill, 12-1974

switching our train at
Benjamin Hill (above, below)

2101 builder's plate

S-BC logo on
passenger car

(click on the photo below for a Wx4 HumongOphoto; click here for detail of 'capacities' lettering)

More S-BC 2101
Clicking on, and comparing, the above two photos will give you some measure of S-BC's harsh operating climate. At left, 2101 still looks pristine as it idles at Mexicali on February 13, 1975, less than two years before Wx4's December, 1976 shot, which shows-off the loco as fraying a bit around the edges. Only three-and-a-half years later - seen at right on May 9, 1980 - the old girl looked as if she was a hundred years old, as she rusted-away on one of Benjamin Hill's back tracks in not too genteel retirement. (left: Michael A. Tedesco, Wx4 Collection; right: Michael Reid, Wx4 Collection)

9-29-2022: We see her performing as the railroad gods intended in the two shots below. At feft is a 1973 photo at Caborca, Sonora by Steve Gartner, and at right is a C.G. Parsons photo of her at Mexicali, ready to depart on train #56, El Rapido.
S-BC 2202
These photos show the 2202 in the latter-day paint schemes (we haven't located an S.C.O.P. -era photo for reproduction here). At left, she is the object of some sort of special occasion, purportedly at Mexicali, in 1972. At below left, the unit has just arrived at Benjamin Hill on the head end of what must be "El Burro", Train 6, from Mexicali. Finally, below, we see the 2202 in early 1977, we're guessing: at Mexicali. We note that not only has sister 2201 survived, its orange-and-silver likeness is now available on a mousepad.
S-BC 2203 & 2203B
Both of S-BC's, which had come from Northern Pacific via General Electric in 1964, were out of service by 1980 (possibly much earlier), when the above shot was taken at the Benjamin Hill deadline, where it apparently still rests in late 2012. FT-A 2203 is more fortunate, having been resurrected, complete with an overhauled prime-mover (we believe, a later model 567 out of one of the other F's) in the early 1990's. The loco was not just a show-pony, she worked in all manner of regular service until privatization of Mexico's railroads at the end of the century. Below are YouTube videos of 2203's two lives:

Mexico Index
Large RR's

last addition: 9-29-22