The Alco T6
The Alco T6 can be classified within the S series because the design is
basically an S6 with an additional 100 horsepower and intended for use
in slow, drag service (the "T" designation simply stood for Transfer switcher). This type of locomotive dated back to the 1940s with the Baldwin Locomotive Works' DT-6-6-2000 and later RT624 models believing that there was a market for this type of switcher moving cuts of cars
or freight over short distances (such as terminal operations or between
yards). However, the idea never really caught on as railroads saw
little use for a such a specialized design believing (quite correctly)
that standard switchers or small road switchers (like early Geeps and RS
models) could perform that task just as well. Today, at least four
Alco T6s are preserved; Norfolk & Western #41 is the most notable,
which is owned by the Roanoke Chapter of the National Railroad
The American Locomotive Company (Alco), despite knowing of Baldwin's
unsuccessful earlier models went ahead and released the T6 in late 1958
still believing that there would be a market for such a locomotive.
Even the Electro-Motive Division, the industry leader since main line
diesels first hit the market in the late 1930s, understood that there
was not a significant market for transfer switchers. The Alco T6
debuted in March, 1958 and as can probably be guessed was most
successful with industries and in mining applications including Brewster
Phospahtes, Kaiser Steel, Portland Terminal Railroad, Newburgh &
South Shore, and the Monongahela Connecting Railroad. However, a few
Class Is also found an interest in the model including the Norfolk &
Western and Pennsylvania railroads purchased the T6. Additionally,
Altos Hornos de Mexico, S.A. also picked up two units.
The Alco T6 (which was designated by the company as its DL440) was almost identical to the S6 save for its notched number boards, a later Alco hallmark (particularly for the Century line) that no other model within the S series featured. The T6 also differed from previous models in that it was a foot longer at 46 feet, 5 inches and also featured a slightly taller hood. Aside from these differences the transfer design was about the same internally; it featured a B-B truck setup using General Electric traction motors and generators as well as Westinghouse components. Interestingly, the locomotive's tractive was a bit less than the S6; 60,000 pounds starting and 46,000 pounds continuous.
For the 57 examples of Alco T6s built they were apparently well liked,
particularly by the Norfolk & Western, which purchased 40 of them.
The N&W found them especially useful along the extreme eastern
region of their system near the ports of Norfolk, Virginia. There they
were used for years shuffling empty and loaded coal hoppers,
and other relevant freight, around the docks located there. Some of the
units even continued to operate into the early Norfolk Southern years
although all were retired soon
afterwards. Interestingly, despite the few T6s ever built there are
actually numerous examples still operational aside from the one N&W
unit preserved. For more technical information related to the T6 please click here.
Alco T6 Production Roster
|Altos Hornos de México, S.A. (Mexico)||126-127||2||1964|
|American Cyanamid Company||16-17||2||1966|
|Chesapeake Western Railway||10-11||2||1959|
|Kaiser Steel Corporation||1022-1023||2||1959|
|Newburgh & South Shore||1016-1017||2||1969|
|Norfolk & Western||12-49||38||1959|
|Portland Terminal (Oregon)||46-47||2||1968|
These units include Middletown & Hummelstown #1016 is an original
Newburg & South Shore unit; Arkansas & Missouri operates six,
#12, #14, #16, and #18 are original N&W units while #15 and #17 are
of Pennsylvania Railroad lineage; and International Terminals #9624.
From a historical standpoint, the T6 was the final locomotive
ever outshopped by the American Locomotive Company when Newburgh &
South Shore Railroad #1016 and #1017 rolled out of the Schenectady plant
in January, 1969. To read more about other Alco switchers please visit the Diesel Locomotives section of the site, which can be reached from the top of this page.
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