ALCO RS-1

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ALCO RS-1
DSSA RS-1 (cropped).jpg
DSSA #101 of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum poses for a photograph near French River, Minnesota.
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderAmerican Locomotive Company
Montreal Locomotive Works
ModelRS-1
Build dateMarch 1941 – March 1960
Total produced469
Specifications
Configuration:
 • AARB-B
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), Brazil
TrucksAAR type B
Wheel diameter40 in (1,016 mm)
Minimum curve57° (116.14 ft or 35.40 m)
Wheelbase40 ft 5 in (12.32 m)
Length55 ft 5+34 in (16.91 m)
Width10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
Height14 ft 5 in (4.39 m)
Loco weight247,500 lb (112,300 kg)
Fuel capacity1,000 US gal (3,800 L; 830 imp gal)
Prime moverALCO 539T
Engine typeIn line Four stroke diesel
AspirationTurbocharger
Displacement1,595 cu in (26.14 l) per cylinder
9,572 cu in (156.86 l) total
GeneratorGE GT-553-C DC generator
Traction motors(4) GE 731 DC traction motors
Cylinders6
Cylinder size12+12 in × 13 in (318 mm × 330 mm)
Loco brakeIndependent air
Train brakesAir
Performance figures
Maximum speed65 mph (105 km/h)
Power output1,000 hp (746 kW)
Tractive effort40,425 lbf (179.82 kN)
Career
LocaleNorth America, Brazil, Saudi Arabia

The ALCO RS-1 was a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by Alco-GE between 1941 and 1953 and the American Locomotive Company from 1953 to 1960. ALCO subsidiary Montreal Locomotive Works built an additional three RS-1s in 1954. This model has the distinction of having the longest production run of any diesel locomotive for the North American market. The RS-1 was in production for 19 years from the first unit Rock Island #748 in March 1941 to the last unit National of Mexico #5663 in March 1960.

Design[edit]

In 1940, the Rock Island Railroad approached ALCO about building a locomotive for both road and switching service.[1] To meet the Rock Island's request, ALCO created the RS-1. Their new design was a hood unit, in contrast to most existing locomotive designs at the time which were predominantly carbody units. The hood unit design allowed for improved visibility, especially to the rear. Rear visibility is very important for switching, which often involves reverse movements. Unlike carbody units, hood units such as the RS-1 can be operated in reverse without much difficulty, eliminating the need to turn them around at the end of a line.[2] For these reasons, most North American locomotives built since have followed this basic design, which is known as the road switcher.

Though the locomotive could operate in either direction, the "long" hood was officially designated as the front.[2]

Production[edit]

The first thirteen production locomotives were requisitioned by the US Army, as U.S. involvement in World War II began shortly after ALCO began production. The five railroads affected had to wait while replacements were manufactured. The requisitioned RS-1s were remanufactured by ALCO into six axle RSD-1s for use on the Trans-Iranian Railway to supply the Soviet Union during the war.

Variants[edit]

RSD-1: An RS-1 with two three axle trucks instead of the normal two axle trucks. The three axle trucks allowed the locomotive to operate safely on lighter track, as its weight was more evenly distributed by the additional axles. Unlike the RSC-1, all axles were powered.

RSC-1: An RS-1 with three-axle trucks, having an A1A-A1A wheel arrangement. It was used in much the same manner as the original variant, though the axle load was distributed for operation on light rail such as are found on branch lines.

Operating History[edit]

RS-1s were primarily operated in freight service, though in some cases they were also assigned to passenger trains. A few railroads equipped their RS-1s with steam heading equipment for passenger trains.[3] Many RS-1s were stationed in train yards for switching duties, assembling and taking apart trains to be hauled by mainline locomotives. True to their designation as 'road switchers', RS-1s could also be frequently found hauling mainline trains, especially on branch lines.

The RS-1 enjoyed a long service life, despite its manufacturer ALCO shutting down in 1969, just 9 years after the last locomotive was produced. Despite ALCO's closure, spare parts have been produced and marketed by other manufacturers for the RS-1 and other ALCO products.[4] Many served for decades, and even in the 21st century a number of examples can still be found in freight service on shortline railroads, or on excursion trains at railroad museums.

Successors[edit]

The RS-1 was succeeded by two improved versions in ALCO's catalogue, the RS-2 and RS-3. Despite this, the RS-1 remained in production even after both of its successors were discontinued.

Original Owners[edit]

First Thirteen[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railroad
3
901–903 to US Army 8010–8012
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("Milwaukee Road")
2
1678–1679 to US Army 8002–8003
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
4
746–749 to US Army 8004, 8007, 8005, 8006; 748 first RS-1 built in 3/41
New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad
2
231, 233 to US Army 8000–8001
Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company
2
601–602 to US Army 8008–8009
Total 13

Remainder of production[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road Numbers Notes
Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad
1
D-2
Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railway
11
101–111 To SLSF 101-111
Alaska Railroad
2
1000–1001

1000 at The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry

Alton Railroad
10
50–59
Ann Arbor Railroad
2
20–21
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
6
2385–2388, 2394–2395 2385–2388 renumbered 2396–2399
Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railroad
10
904–913
Atlantic and East Carolina Railway
1
500
Bamberger Railroad
1
570 to Union Pacific 1270
Central Railroad of New Jersey
6
1200–1205
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
2
5114–5115
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railway
4
115–118
Chicago and North Western Railway
6
1066–1069, 1080–1081
Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad
12
252–263
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("Milwaukee Road")
5
1676, 1677, 961–963
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
11
735–745
Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway
8
100–107 to Soo Line Railroad
DuPont
4
105–108
Gaylord Container
2
302–303
GE-Atomic Energy Commission
4
39-3729 – 39-3732 39-3729 & 39-3731 are preserved as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Hanford, Washington
Genesee and Wyoming Railroad
2
25, 30

25 was Bay Colony Railroad 1064 Current owner unknown

Grand Trunk Western Railroad
2
1950–1951 Last RS-1s built for US Railroad 11/1957
Great Northern Railway
4
182–185 182 at West Coast Railway Heritage Park, Squamish, BC
Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
24
1102–1117, 1120–1127
Illinois Terminal Railroad
6
750–752, 754–756
Kansas City Southern Railway
4
1110–1113
Lake Erie, Franklin and Clarion Railroad
2
20–21
Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad
3
1001–1003
Long Island Rail Road
9
461–469 467 privately owned, stored inoperable at Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum
Midland Continental Railroad
2
401–402
Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway
35
244, 744, 944, 1044, 1144, 645, 745, 845, 945, 146, 246, 346, 446, 546, 646, 746, 846, 946, 1046, 547, 948, 1048, 1148, 849, 949, 1049, 1149, 1249, 950, 1050, 1150, 1250, 751, 851, 951
originally numbered by month and year of delivery, renumbered 200–234
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México
64
5606–5663, (5619–5624 twice) 5619–5621 (first) built by Montreal Locomotive Works. NdeM 5663 was the last RS-1 built 3/1960.
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad
12
0660–0671 0670 currently owned by the Central New England Railroad, stored out of service due to missing parts
New York Central Railroad
14
8100–8113 renumbered 9900–9913
New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway
16
230–256 (even numbers only), 231 and 233 (second)
Northern Pacific Railway
4
155–158 renumbered 800–803
Pennsylvania Railroad
27
5619–5640, 5906, 8485–8486, 8857–8858
Rutland Railroad
6
400–405 400 Owned By Maryland and Delaware Railroad 22, Currently Arkansas and Missouri Railroad 22. 405 now on the Green Mountain Railroad.
Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad ("Soo Line")
4
350–353
Soo Line (Wisconsin Central Railway)
9
2360–2368
Spokane International Railroad
12
200–211
Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway
2
50–51
Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway (Oregon Electric Railway)
4
52–55
Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company
3
602–604
United States Navy
1
6 renumbered 65-00078
Washington Terminal Company
25
40–64
Locomotive ALCO RS1 292 CYXX - Conrad Yelvington Distributors in Orlando-FL
Arabian American Oil Company (Saudi Arabia)
6
A11x50, A11x51, 1002–1005
Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil
38
3100–3137 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
São Paulo Railway, (Brazil)
6
504–509 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) to Estrada de Ferro Santos a Jundiaí
Estrada de Ferro Santos a Jundiaí (Brazil)
2
510–511 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Total 456

Preservation[edit]

Green Mountain Railroad (formally Rutland Railway) Alco RS1 #405 in Bellows Falls, Vermont in August 2006.

Several examples exist at tourist railways and railway museums, including:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Otte, David (October 2003). "THE ATLAS O RS-1 DIESEL ELECTRIC". Model Railroad News. Lamplight Publishing Co. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b Schafer, Mike (1998). Vintage diesel locomotives. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International. p. 50. ISBN 0-7603-0507-2. OCLC 38738930.
  3. ^ Schafer, Mike (1998). Vintage diesel locomotives. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International. p. 55. ISBN 0-7603-0507-2. OCLC 38738930.
  4. ^ "New & Remanufactured Alco Engine Parts - Hatch & Kirk, Inc". Hatch & Kirk. 2015-09-23. Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2021-07-24.
  5. ^ "Pictures of AWW 4".
  • Dorin, Patrick C. (1972). Chicago and North Western Power. Burbank, California: Superior Publishing. p. 138. ISBN 0-87564-715-4.
  • Alco RS1 Study-Part I The Original Road Switcher by Don Dover Extra 2200 South Issue #57 Jul-Sep 1976 pp. 18–24.
  • Alco RS1 Study-Part II The Original Road Switcher by Don Dover Extra 2200 South Issue #58 Oct-Dec 1976 pp. 18–21.
  • Alco RS1 Roster Part 1 by Bob Carman and Joe Brockmeyer Extra 2200 South Issue #58 Oct-Dec 1976 pp. 22–23.
  • Alco RS1 Study-Part III The Original Road Switcher by Don Dover Extra 2200 South Issue #59 Jan-Mar 1977 pp. 24–26.

External links[edit]

Diesel Shop roster with all data from Extra 2200 South http://www.thedieselshop.us/Alco_RS1.HTML Archived 2014-05-12 at the Wayback Machine