Tillig F7 (not the FP!)

Tillig F7 (not the FP!)

Postby areibel » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:29 pm

I was at a train show yesterday manning a table for our historical group (prototype, not TT). I found a back issue of Model Railroader I've been looking for. There's an article titled "Is TT on the rebound?" in the July 1993 issue. When I first saw it mentioned I wasn't sure what it was about, but turns out it was about Tillig's failed attempt to break into the American market in the 90's.
The one thing that has me wondering. It mentions that Tillig was making an F7 and a set of Amtrack passenger cars to display at American shows, then it would be produced in the us (CT). I would normally pass this off as more TT vaporware, but I've actually heard from several people they had seen it. Not the Rokal F7, and definately not the FP produced in association with the Iris Creek group- were they ever made? Anyone more familiar with Tillig ever seen or heard of one?
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Re: Tillig F7 (not the FP!)

Postby scaro » Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:26 am

Hi Al

Hmm, I think I mistakenly assumed the unit shown on the shop website associated with the Iris Creek Valley group and the Tillig one were one and the same . . . that 'FP' looks a lot like a production RTR model . . . it's been stated that it's a bit of a mix between an F7 and FP7.

Rock Island 403 was indeed an FP, however I think the model looks more like an F9, especially when it comes to length and the fact that it has a carbody filter ahead of the first porthole on the A unit. As Wikipedia has it 'A F9 can be distinguished reliably from a late F7 only by the addition of an extra filter grille ahead of the front porthole on the side panels on A units.'

It's kind of difficult to go from photos of any Rock Island unit as they were heavily modified especially in later years - the Rock liked to blank out the portholes and do all sorts of other 'edits' to their cab units. However, they did have one F9m at least, bought 2ndhand from the UP: http://rr-fallenflags.org/ri/ri4167ags.jpg

Ben
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Re: Tillig F7 (not the FP!)

Postby railtwister » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:23 pm

As far as I know, the F-unit and cars started as a project with Berliner Bahnen, prior to their takeover by Tillig. I think the Connecticut connection for the manufacture of the production units must have involved Fran Grasso, who at about that time had secured US distribution rights for Berliner Bahnen, and I suspect the idea of an American TT gauge train set was his. During those years, I was working at a large hobby shop in Miami, and we were a Berliner Bahnen dealer through Fran’s distributorship. Fran even came down and displayed TT products at a local NMRA Sunshine Region convention in Ft. Lauderdale during that time. Looking back on it, that convention was probably too small to really justify the expense of him coming down from Connecticut, but I seem to recall that Fran had a son attending college in South Florida, so he combined the sales trip with a visit to his son at school. It wasn’t long after that Berliner filed for bankruptcy following a mysterious fire at the factory. I seem to recall that at the time, there were suspicions about the fire’s origins, but I don’t know if anything was ever proven, and I believe Tillig acquired BB’s assets as a result of that bankruptcy. I left my job at the hobby shop in 1995, and I often wondered what ever happened to Fran and his plans for an American Prototype TT gauge train set. I know for years afterward, someone was selling the BB starter set that came in a unique T-shaped box for very reasonable prices, and I assumed it was Fran, selling off his excess inventory after BB ceased operations. From my own personal dealings with him, I thought he was a really nice guy.

Regards,
Bill
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Re: Tillig F7 (not the FP!)

Postby scaro » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:58 am

Thank you for your reminiscences, Bill.

Given that the Iris Creek F unit definitely isn't an FP7, but more of an F9 (not far from an F7 excepting one louvre), I wonder, is there any relationship between the provenance of that loco body and the BTTB/Tillig F7 project?

Or is it just a coincidence that two TT F units originated in Germany in this period?

Ben
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Re: F units vs. FP units

Postby railtwister » Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:19 am

Since I never saw the originall BB F7 samples, and I'm not familiar with the Iris Valley unit, I can't comment on the similarities or origins of the two. However, we need to remember that while the differences between an F7 and F9 were only cosmetic (so far as modeling them is concerned), the difference between the FP and F units was visibly significant due to the FP having steam generation equipment, which necessitated an extra four feet being added to the frame, which resulted in a rather large open space gap being visible between one of the trucks and the fuel tank.

Bill
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Re: F units vs. FP units

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:32 am

railtwister wrote:....which resulted in a rather large open space gap being visible between one of the trucks and the fuel tank.
Bill


Ah, thanks for pointing that out. I've been infinitely confused about how to tell them apart - this makes it very easy.
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