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TPW 400 20050716 Illinois Railway Museum.JPG
TPW 400, an RS-11 on display at Illinois Railway Museum, July 16, 2005.
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderALCO, MLW
Build dateFebruary 1956 to June 1961 (Alco) /November 1957-1 unit, June 1963 to April 1964 (MLW)
Total produced431
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
TrucksAAR type B
Wheel diameter40 in (1,016 mm)
Minimum curve21° (274.37 ft or 83.63 m)
Wheelbase39 ft 4 in (11.99 m)
Length56 ft 6 in (17.22 m)
Width10 ft 1 58 in (3.089 m)
Height14 ft 5 18 in (4.397 m)
Loco weight257,300 lb (116,700 kg)
Fuel capacity2,000 US gal (7,600 L; 1,700 imp gal)
Prime moverALCO 251B
RPM range1,000 rpm max.
Engine typeV12 Four stroke diesel
GeneratorGE GT 581
Traction motors(4) GE 752
Cylinder size9 in × 10.5 in (229 mm × 267 mm)
Performance figures
Power output1,800 hp (1,300 kW)
Tractive effort64,325 lb (29,177 kg)
LocaleNorth America South America

The ALCO RS-11 is a diesel-electric locomotive of the road switcher type rated at 1,800 hp (1.34 MW), that rode on two-axle trucks, having a B-B wheel arrangement. This model was built by both Alco (355 units) and Montreal Locomotive Works (76 units). Total production was 431 units.


The first three RS-11s were produced by ALCO in February 1956 as a demonstrator set. This locomotive, classified by ALCO as model DL-701, was their first high-horsepower road switcher,[1] intended to be a replacement for the very popular RS-3 road switcher. Featuring a V-12, 1,800 hp (1,300 kW) 251B diesel engine, the RS-11 was ALCO's answer to EMD's very successful GP9. The turbocharged RS-11 accelerated faster, had a higher tractive effort rating and typically used less fuel than the competition. It was also quite versatile and could be found in heavy haul freight as well as passenger service. It was produced in high-nose and low-nose versions. Montreal Locomotive Works also built nearly identical units, known as the RS-18, predominantly for the Canadian market.[1]

While the RS-11 benefited from the increased power and reliability offered with ALCO's new 251B engine, and was arguably a more advanced product than the GP9, its market acceptance was disappointing against the reputation EMD's locomotives had made for superior reliability.

Original purchasers[edit]

Owner Quantity Numbers Notes
Alco 3 701, 701A, 701B first RS11s built, sold to Southern Pacific, 701B steam generator
Carolina and Northwestern Railway 1 11
Delaware and Hudson 12 5000-5011 5000-5005 built as New York Central 8009-8014, 5006-5011 low nose
Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific 15 3600-3614
Erie Mining 15 300-314
Ferrocarril del Pacifico 1 1501 built by Montreal Locomotive Works, steam generator
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México 94 7200-7293 7205-7217 steam generator, 7218-7293 built by Montreal Locomotive Works, low nose, last built
Green Bay and Western 1 309
Lehigh Valley Railroad 4 400-403 low nose
Maine Central 1 801 Portland Terminal 1082 to Maine Central 802
Ministry of Communication and Transportation (Mexico) 4 7123-1 - 7123-4 7123-4 steam generator
Missouri Pacific 12 4601-4612
Monongahela Connecting Railroad 1 700
New York, New Haven and Hartford 15 1400-1414 steam generators
New York Central 9 8000-8008 to Penn Central then to Conrail and Rebuild to MT4's and 2 to Norfolk Southern
New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad 35 558-577, 850-864
Norfolk and Western 99 308-406
Northern Pacific 18 900-917
Pennsylvania 38 8617-8654 8640-8644, 8648 leased to Lehigh Valley 7640-7644, 7648 in 1964; 8617/8654 to Penn Central then remaining LV and PC to Conrail. Some rebuilt to MT4 slugs.
Portland Terminal 1 1082 to Maine Central 802
Seaboard Air Line 10 100-109 to SCL 1202-1211, all transferred to Louisville & Nashville in August 1976 and renumbered to L&N 950-959.
Southern Peru Copper Corp. 5 3-6, 8
Southern Pacific Railroad 34 5723-5729, 5845-5871 5866-5871 low nose, purchased Alco Demonstrators to SP 5720-5722
Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway 3 400-402 401 rebuilt by Alco after a wreck with low nose
Total 431

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Foster, Gerald (1996). A Field Guide to Trains. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 26. ISBN 0395701120.