S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com ALCo Page keywords = ALCo American locomotive co company diesel boxcab oil electric rail road PA FA DL 109 way model train Z HO scale Ztrack LIRR Long Island Baltimore Ohio B&O CNJ Union Pacific Century Big Boy Challenger 4-12-2 restoration Berlinerwerke "

Updated:   16 Dec 2010, 23:35:  ET
    {some missing images restored 22 Jul 03 - last two 20 Jun 08 - see Problem}
[Page created 16 Dec 1999;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/alco.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/alco.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I am scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com

ALCo Page

Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"
Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher


NOTE:  Page size is limited by HTML to 30kB; thus I was forced to separate out ALCo from other RR pages.

See also ALCo Continuation Page 1.

ALCo Block Logo ALCo Script Logo

ALCo Wheel Logo


On this page:

  ALCo Love Song.
  PA Love Song.
  LIRR HEP Cabs.
  ALCo Auto.
  ALCo History.
  MLW (Montreal Locomotive Works).
  ALCos in Portugal.
      (moved to ALCo Continuation page 1 on 06 Mar 2002).

On the ALCo Continuation Page 1:

  Scrapping a C424.
  RS-1s and Six-Axle Sisters.
      (moved from this Main ALCo page on 06 Mar 2002).
  ALCos in Portugal.
      (moved from main ALCo page on 06 Mar 2002).

On the ALCo Continuation Page 2:

  Big Boy 4-8+8-4.
  ALCo FA Love Song.
      LIRR ALCo FA Roster.
  RS-1/RSC/RSD Love Song.
      Six-Axle ALCo RS-series Units.

On other pages:

ALCO-GE-IR Boxcabs,
ALCO-GE-IR Survivor Boxcabs continuation page, with roster, and
ALCO-GE-IR Survivor Boxcabs continuation page, with notes,
ALCO-GE-IR CNJ #1000 Survivor Boxcab (the first production unit sold),
ALCO-GE-IR Boxcabs Continuation Page, including LIRR #401,
  the world's first production diesel road switcher, and
See the Boxcabs index page for Baldwin, Westinghouse, other, and odd boxcabs.

There are endless other RR-oriented pages on this site, such as my Pennsylvania Railroad Page,
  and the Berlinerwerke Saga (HO-Scale, included with Horseshoe Curve information)
  and continuation pages with prototype and HO/N/S/Z scale dimensions,
    satellite photo, pictures, description of the Horseshoe Curve
  Long Island Rail Road,

and Z-Scale (1:220) Model Railroading;
visit my RR page for a master RR index.

ALCo started commercial dieselization in a big way in 1924; see my BOXCAB pages, starting with Boxcab Oil Electrics.  The original engine, CNJ #1000 and a few of her sisters still survive (and even run).

George Elwood has many ALCo photos on his fabulous site and also has a major, illustrated 1947 history of ALCo, especially the Schenectady works, well worth the time to read.

ALCo Love Song - The sun doesn't rise and set on PAs and RS-1s alone, although there are damn few "modern" diesels I love better, unless it's one of those 6-axle RSD-1s rebuilt from RS-1s or, even more handsome, the MLW RSC-13s (a Canadian-built lengthened RS-1 with C-trucks)!  RS-2s and -3s or RSD-4s or -5s, with their rounded cabs, just don't do it for me!

U.S. Army TD RSD-1 #8008 U.S. Army TD RSD-1 #8679
USA/TC official photograph (Photo: R. Tourret Collection) and
US Army RSD-1 8679 at Fort Bragg NC, May 74 (Dave Goss photo)
(both photos from RSD-1 History page -
the former processed by SB,III to bring up detail;
the latter has that "unfortunate" Euro-cab, but what a great shot!)
[Thumbnail images - click on the pictures for the full images.]

It took a Uruguayan to send me a page with a link to the "History of the ALCO-GE 127 ton DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES RSD-1 (USA/TC 8000-56 & 8600-99)" page!

Now, at long last, the Berlinerwerke has uncovered an old, long-forgotten project; it has "rediscovered" the fabled BW-ALCo RSD-1m:

{This aberration was perpetrated by the Berlinerwerke Art Dept.;
see Model Railroad page 3 for the full story.}
(Photo by and © Copyright 2001 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for the full image.]
{Missing image restored 20 Jun 08}}

A note on six-axle RS nomenclature - ALCO, illogically, calls the A-1-A versions the RSC-series and the C versions the RSD-series.  There's a good reason for the two; the A-1-A truck has equally spaced axles because it only has traction motors on the end axles, facing inward, whereas the C truck has one axle far away from the center axle because there are motors on all three axles and the greater spacing accomodates two motors back to back - RSC = A1A = 0o-0-o0 vs. RSD = C = 0o-0o-o0 (got it? - there'll be a test!).

See also RS-1s and Six-Axle Sisters.

Joe Testagrose was kind enough to post these old photos of D&H PA-1 #16 on the 'Net; here she is (was) at (l-to-r) Albany (NY) on 24 Nov 68, at Colonie (NY, undated), and at Hagerstown (MD) on 05 Feb 72:

D&H PA-1 #16 Albany 24Nov68 D&H PA-1 #16 Colonie undated D&H PA-1 #16 Hagerstown 05Feb72

There's news of #16 further down this page.

While at the Amherst Show at Springfield, Mass., on 05 Feb 00, I spotted this ALCo-GE builder's plate and had to buy it:
ALCo-GE Builder's Plate Pin
[Photo (06 Feb 00) by and © 2000 S. Berliner, III]
Of course, it's actually a clutch-back tie tack or pin and is NOT from a boxcab and is only 1" wide but, at $3.50, I couldn't resist the "bargain"!
ALCo-GE Builder's Plate Pin
It's made by Sundance Marketing of Portland, Oregon; I'll try to find the distributor's name.

Elsewhere on my site, I note that I live(d) just off the LIRR's Oyster Bay branch where FA-1 and FA-2 push-pull power cabs were still facing west and sounding their Nathan chime whistles all day and night until the end of 1999.  I've moved around a bit, but almost always within earshot of the sound and for many years (and then again) just up a glen from the line.  They no longer had motive power but they still sounded as sweet as a loco can when signalling westbound (going south, here).  The new DE30AC diesels and the dual-power DM30AC locos, both ugly, but growing on me (see "EPILOGUE to #401" toward the end of my LIRR boxcabs page) are taking over and sound just as good!  Thank you, LIRR!  All the FAs were spoken for, however.  Our museum site in Oyster Bay will have the FA cab portion (and obs car end*) that was in the LIRR exhibit at the 1964 Fair in New York City's Flushing Meadows (Mar 99 - they were already on site at Mitchel Field preparatory to moving the whole shebang to the Oyster bay site).  Take a look at them on LIRR Miscellany on my LIRR Continuation Page 4.   rev (16 Dec 2010)

  [* - Sorry, the obs. end was so rotted out it had to be scrapped!]

Oh, heck; this IS an ALCo page; here they are again:

#35's FA cab and obs. end
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for the full (120Kb) image.
Photo (24 Sep 99) by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III]

[This aberration was perpetrated by Engine #35,
ably assisted by the Berlinerwerke Art Dept.]
{You probably should be made aware that neither the cab nor the obs were from LIRR equipment.}


was originally the

American Locomotive Company,

one of the world's largest steam locomotive manufacturers (itself an agglomeration of many smaller, but very significant, steam engine builders going back to the 1850s, enumerated below).  ALCo is perhaps most famous today for its UP "Challenger" 4-6-6-4 (one of which, #3985, still runs) and its "Big Boy" 4-8-8-4 (one of which, #4018@, in Texas, was supposed to be restored to service@) and its glorious PA-series passenger cowl diesels (see below).

@ - Big Boy #4018 - the restoration project never really started and #4018 has not moved since the Fall of 1998!  The linked site has not been updated since about mid-2000 and no longer has any information whatsoever, other than a line stating "News Coming Soon . . . ", which it doesn't; the movie project stalled and nothing much was accomplished.  The loco sits, as it has for some 50 years, at the Age of Steam Railroad Museum at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, operated by the Southwest Railroad Historical Society.

A note on usage - I have always used ALCo, in lieu of ALCO, for the American Locomotive Company and have been taken to task for the affectation;
I don't remember where I first ran across it, but I'm not about to change now.

The American Locomotive Company built some of finest and longest-lived steam locomotives ever; a good "local" example is this "little" 0-6-0 steam switcher I stumbled across at the Whippany Railway Museum, "Morris County's Railroad Museum", in Hanover Township, while tooling across New Jersey on 01 Aug 00  She is Morris County Central's 135 ton #4039, the "Earl H. Gil", built by ALCo in November, 1942 for the U. S. Army's Class 155; a war baby.

Morris Cty Ctrl #4039 Whippany
(Photo 01 Aug 00 by and © 2000 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for a larger image.]

I-R 60-ton DemoA "new" boxcab!
Ingersoll-Rand Demonstrator #8835
(photo provenance uncertain; possibly from 1980s AAR flyer)

Protoype ALCo-GE-IR Boxcab

The first production diesel locomotive, then called an "oil electric" locomotive, was one of four (or five) boxcab locomotives built for speculation; the first was fired up and ran in December 1923 and was released for demonstration in June 1924.  It toured on the following lines (and plants): NYC, B&O, CNJ; NH, Union Freight RR, B&M, LIRR, Bethlehem Steel, RDG, DL&W, Hoboken Mfrs., New Jersey Zinc Co., and the Alan Wood Iron & Steel Co., and was returned to I-R's Phillipsburg plant.  The first unit sold went to the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) in 1924.  It was built by a consortium of ALCo, GE, already a well-recognized manufacturer of electric locomotives and components for electrics (and in co-operation with ALCo on these since the 1890s), and Ingersoll-Rand, a major builder of gasoline and diesel motors (and still famed for its air compressors).  After the initial four were sold, another eleven were built.  In 1929, ALCo acquired the McIntosh & Seymour Engine Co. and dropped the I-R engines, utilizing its own new M&S engines.

ALCo fan(atic)s should have a gander at Tom Gibson's ALCoHaulers page.  There is also good information on Rick Blanchard's Diesel Chronology and Motive Power Review, Andrew Toppan's old page.

Another great ALCo site is Rolf Stumpf's ALCo WORLD.

John Reay has a really fabulous site on Canadian MLW/ALCos!

While I'm not about to list all ALCo sites, another good one is JMech's ALCO NEWS AND INFORMATION page (don'cha just hate unsigned pages!).

ALCohaulics will also have to check out the ALCo Historic Photos collection site, wher they don't post prints of the almost 30,000 photographic negatives and about 10,000 drawings and documents relating to the American Locomotive Company (ALCo) and its successor, ALCO Products, but a few nice samples, anyway, in Schenectady, New York, under the protective wing of the Mohawk-Hudson Chapter of the NRHS and run by a dedicated group of volunteers.   rev (16 Dec 2010)

The AHP now has an e-mail address:


but you should check out their Website first or, at the very least, write to them at:

    Alco Historic Photos
    P. O. Box 655
    Schenectady, NY  12301

with the obligatory SSAE.

Incidentally, I had the pleasure of being at the Adirondack Steel Foundry plant [Mechanicsville (a.k.a Mickeyville to the locals), NY] on an SAE trip ca. 1952/53 when they were pouring ALCo PA/PB truck frames from arc furnaces!

ALCo PA Love Song

My favorite loco in my favorite colors in my favorite scale (Z):

R.Kluz' Z PA
(Photo from Ztrack by permission)
{Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.}

5-stripes, trainphone antennae, and all!

There are those who believe the old ALCo "Black Maria" (NH) and DL-103/105/107/109/110 chisel-nose cowl diesels to be the loveliest diesels (sounds oxymoronic, eh?) ever built but far more, perhaps a majority of all diesel fans, are madly in love with the successor DL-304/305 cowl unit, ALCo's PA-1 and its almost identical sisters, the PA-2, etc.

These units went off-line long ago but a few survived on the D&H line along Lake Champlain until sold off to Mexico, where they ended up scrapped.  We've had to content ourselves with photos and with four-axle "baby brother" MLW FP-4s and ALCo FA-1 and -2 units.

Well, I got the nicest Christmas present possible!  On 15 Dec 99, I happened to pick up the special January 2000 Centennial issue of TRAINS and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a big blue engine drawn by eight tiny reindeer!  Well, not quite that.

On page 17 is a photo taken in the former Chihuahua Pacific shop at Empalme, Sonora, Mexico, of the hulks of the two remaining ALCo PA-1 diesels, ex-D&H #16, which is pictured in D&H service at the top of this page (and which looks as if it had rolled down a mountainside and is going to the Smithsonian) and #18 (which is going out to Dale McCormack in Oregon for restoration) being loaded on flatcars for return to the U.S.!!!  Ah, bliss!

Looking more carefully at the TRAINS photo of derelict hulk #16 being placed on the flatcar, I noticed that whatever severe damage was already inflicted on the carbody was being greatly worsened!  The clown loading the body has run a cable and sling around the front at the seam between the nose and the carbody proper, without a spreader(!), thereby crushing the marker light housing and pushing it into the nose side sheetmetal!

Incidentally, if the Smithsonian is getting #16, I'll bet we have Bill Withuhn, Curator of Land Transportation and fellow NRHS member, to thank.

Railfan & Railroad, August 1999, pg. 27, has views of ALCo PA-1 hulks #16 and #18 on shop trucks at "Enpalme" on 13 Feb 99.
[I note that the left front marker light housing is NOT crushed on that photo!]

Wonder of wonders!  Doyle McCormack and James "PennEngineer" Aslaksen have put up a superb Website about the restoration (actually counterfeiting) of #18 as NKP #190 (why NKP? - because Doyle likes it that way)!  Doyle advises that ex-D&H #16, née AT&SF #59, is currently stored on the P&W railroad at Albany, Oregon, awaiting the Smithsonian's guidance (hope it fares better than the Stratoliner!).

Talk about ALCo love, you've GOT to see Andy Inserra's Alcos in the USA and Canada and Beyond site!  This teen covers a lot of ground and has recent photos of the PA's in Doyle McCormick's tender care.  He also has this fantastic Jun 79 "David and Goliath" shot (by Tim Darnell- "TAD") of LIRR GE 25-tonner #398 towing dead FA #600 (probably in the Morris Park yard) - unless, of course, the FA is pushing the GE:

[cropped and enhanced by SB,III from 6/79 photo by Tim Darnell ("TAD"), courtesy of A. Inserra, - all rights reserved]

Talking about FAs, there's a really odd FA-1½ body shell in HO; see my PRR cont. page 0.

    [For an ALCo FA Love Song, click here.]


As long as we are talking about the automotive-styled PA cabs and their baby-sibling FA cabs, didja know that the Long Island Rail Road had a fleet of cab units with (in most cases) their prime movers removed and Head End (housekeeping - heat and a/c) Power sleds substituted.  Bryan Turner documents these LIRR HEP (Head End Power) ALCo FA-1 and -2 (as above - and EMD F-7 and F-9) cabs.


Didja know that ALCo built automobiles?  And cup-winning racers (1909 and 1910) , as well?
See my AUTOMOTIVE page.

(Photo from Senior Times Website)

For pictures of the 1910 racer, see the top of the ALCo continuation page.

Didja know that ALCo built one of my favorite engines of all time,
the three-cylinder monster UP 9000-class 4-12-2 "Union Pacific" type engines?

UP #9005 Laramie WY
(Photo from Bud Law on the 'Net, from an undated, unused postcard noted "Laramie, Wyo.".)
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for the full, huge image.]

This class had the longest rigid wheelbase ever, at 30' 8" (368")!
The huge Pennsy eight- and ten-coupled duplexes only ran around 25' - 27'; specifically:

Q1   4-6-4-4   26' 10"
S1   6-4-4-6   26'  6"
Q2   4-4-6-4   26'  4½"
T1   4-4-4-4   25'  4"
J1   2-10-4    24'  4"
I1   2-10-0    22'  8"
N2   2-10-2    22'  4"
N1   2-10-2    22'  2"
with the other long-legged PRR ten-coupled engines shown just for reference.

Didja know that ALCo built the UP's 844/8444 Northern and her sisters
and the 4-6-6-4 Challengers and 4-8-8-4 Big Boys?

Didja know that Big Boy #4018@ was to have rolled in 1999?  But don't bother to see the
Official Restoration Site for Big Boy 4018; it just isn't so.

Didja know that 4-8-4 #833 moved in February 1999?
See coverage at Moving #833 on my Road Loads page,
and also on page 50 of the June 1999 Railfan & Railroad,
where you can also see the Centipede tender on a giant flat-bed.

How many of you ALCohaulics have seen the circulators (Challengers and Big Boys did not have thermic syphons) or the stoker screw of a Big Boy?  Here they are, on #4006 at the (then) National Museum of Transport outside St. Louis on 03 Jul 82:

#4006Circs #4006StokerScrew
(Photos 03 Jul 82 by and © 2000 - S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
{Missing images restored 20 Jun 08}}

ALCo History

The Schenectady Locomotive Engine Manufactory, Schenectady, New York, was organized in 1848.  In May of 1851, a new company, the Schenectady Locomotive Works, was formed.  On June 24, 1901, the Schenectady Locomotive Works merged with seven other companies to form the American Locomotive Company; they were Manchester, Brooks, Dickson, Cooke, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island and Richmond.

In 1904, ALCo bought control of the 21-year old Locomotive & Machine Company of Montreal, Ltd. (later the Montreal Locomotive Works*, Ltd.).

Then, in 1905, ALCo purchased the Rogers Locomotive Works of Paterson, New Jersey, founded in 1837, thus completing the firm that most modern ALCo enthusiasts know (or even remember).

* - Alco Products stopped producing domestic locomotives in 1969 and sold their locomotive designs to Montreal Locomotive Works (but not design rights to their diesel engines).

The September 2001 issue of TRAINS features ALCo ("American Locomotive Company - 100 Years") - a group of keen, insightful articles, well illustrated (with a great 31 Aug 46 shot of the year-old, Otto Kuhler-designed, DL-109-like "Black Maria" B-B unit #1500c on a passenger train at New Britain, Connecticut (page 40).

Volume 66, Number 4, 2001 of the National Railway Bulletin (National Railway Historical Society) is devoted to "The Rise and Fall of the AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVE COMPANY".

For sheer ALCo horror, see photos of the scrapping of a real (12" = 1') C424 on the ALCo Continuation Page 1.

There's a firm up in Canada that sells old ALCOs and parts; Benoit Girard Metal, Inc. (photos).

ALCos in Portugal - moved to ALCo Continuation Page 1 on 06 Mar 2002.

See also ALCo Continuation Page 1, with more about RS-1s and Six-Axle Sisters.

You may wish to visit the Railroad Continuation Page, et seq.

of this series of Railroad pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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