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GBW 2407 at IRM.jpg
GBW 2407, preserved at IRM
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder ALCO
Model DL600B
Total produced 75
 • AAR C-C
 • UIC Co′Co′
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Trucks ALCO trimount
Wheel diameter 40 in (1,016 mm)
Length 66 ft 7 in (20.29 m)[1]
Width 10 ft 2 in (3.10 m)
Height 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m)
Loco weight 335,000 lb (151,953.4 kg)
Fuel capacity 3,350 US gallons (12,700 l; 2,790 imp gal)
Prime mover ALCO 251B
Engine type V16 Four-stroke diesel
Generator GE GT586
Traction motors GE 752 (6x)
Cylinders 16
Performance figures
Maximum speed 65 mph (105 km/h)
Power output 2,400 hp (1.79 MW)
Tractive effort Starting: 95,600 lbf (425.2 kN) at 25% adhesion;
Continuous: 79,500 lbf (353.6 kN) at 12 mph (19 km/h)

The ALCO RSD-15 was a diesel-electric locomotive of the road switcher type built by ALCO (the American Locomotive Company) of Schenectady, New York between August 1956 and June 1960, during which time 75 locomotives were produced. The RSD-15 was powered by an ALCO 251 16-cylinder four-cycle V-type prime mover rated at 2,400 horsepower (1.79 MW); it superseded the almost identical ALCO 244-engined RSD-7, and was catalogued alongside the similar but smaller 1,800 hp (1.34 MW) RSD-12, powered by a 12-cylinder 251-model V-type diesel engine.[2]

The locomotive rode on a pair of three-axle Trimount trucks, in an AAR C-C wheel arrangement, with all axles powered by General Electric model 752 traction motors. These trucks have an asymmetrical axle spacing because of the positioning of the traction motors. The six-motor design allowed higher tractive effort at lower speeds than an otherwise similar four-motor design.

The RSD-15 could be ordered with either a high or low short hood; railfans dubbed the low short hood version "Alligators", on account of their unusually long low noses.


A single example of the very similar model RSD-17 was built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1957. After demonstrating on the Canadian Pacific (as #7007), the Canadian National (as #3899), and the Pacific Great Eastern (as #624), the locomotive was purchased by the Canadian Pacific (as #8921). Nicknamed "The Empress of Agincourt", by Pete Fairfull, who was its primary operator for many years, (for its common presence around Toronto's Agincourt yard), the locomotive served the railway until 1995, when truck problems forced its retirement.[3]

Original owners[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 50 800–849 Low nose
Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad 6 50–55 Later Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad 881-886
Pennsylvania Railroad 6 8611–8616 Later Penn Central 6811–6816.
Southern Pacific Railroad 3 250–252 Low nose
St. Louis Southwestern Railway 10 5150–5159 Low nose
Canadian Pacific Railway 1 8921 RSD-17[3]


Surviving examples[edit]

RSD-17 locomotive in Elgin County Railway Museum, St. Thomas, Ontario.

Six RSD-15s survive in preservation; all are ex-Santa Fe units.[5] Only two are in operating condition; the Austin and Texas Central #442, ex-ATSF 842, painted in a modified Southern Pacific "Black Widow" scheme,[6] and Green Bay and Western Railroad RSD-15 #2407 (Ex-ATSF 841) at the Illinois Railway Museum.[7] Others that are preserved are ex-ATSF 823, in former owner Utah Railway colors at the Utah Railroad Museum, the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento has one and the Arkansas Railroad Museum has ex-ATSF #843.

The RSD-17 demonstrator, Canadian Pacific 8921 is preserved at the Elgin County Railway Museum, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.[3]


The RSD-15 has been produced in N scale by Mehano of Yugoslavia.

The RSD-15 has been produced in HO scale by Broadway Limited Imports.[8]

The RSD-15 has been produced in O scale by Atlas O in their Trainman line.[9]

No RSD-17 has been produced in any scale other than as a handmade brass import.

See also[edit]


  • Marre, Louis A. (1995). Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years. Kalmbach Publishing Co., Waukesha, WI (USA). ISBN 0-89024-258-5. 
  1. ^ "ALCO RSD-15 Data Sheet". The Diesel Shop. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  2. ^ a b Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Company. ISBN 0-89024-026-4. 
  3. ^ a b c "Elgin County Railway Museum...St. Thomas, Ontario...The Railway Capital of Canada". Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  4. ^ "ALCO RSD-15 Roster". The Diesel Shop. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Preserved ALCO Road-Switchers". The Diesel Shop. Archived from the original on 30 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  6. ^ "Alco Diesel 442". Austin Steam Train. Archived from the original on 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  7. ^ Glischinski, Steve (1997). Santa Fe Railway. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-7603-0380-1. 
  8. ^ "ALCO RSD-15". Broadway Limited Imports. Archived from the original on 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  9. ^ "ALCO RSD-15". Atlas O, LLC. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 

External links[edit]