This changed, of course, when Electro-Motive successfully demonstrated to the North American railroad industry that diesels, through its FT cab model, were a cheaper and more efficient means of motive power. During 1949 EMD formed General Motors Diesel, Ltd. to serve the Canadian market (a year later the Canadian Locomotive Company was acquired by Fairbanks Morse, a newcomer to locomotive manufacturing, for the same purpose). While these new competitors gave MLW significant and growing competition in its home country the builder had actually been producing diesels since Alco released its S series switchers in 1940 beginning with the S1. After World War II it also began building road-switchers in the form of the RS2 and the FA cab model after 1950.
Interestingly enough, Canadian railroads seemed to take a greater interest in Alco-inspired products built by the Montreal Locomotive Works than American lines. For instance, several models released in the Road Switcher (RS) series were only available in Canada including the RS10, RS18, RSC13, RSD17, and RSC24. Additionally, the FA design was particularly well-liked. Alco stopped cataloging it domestically in the U.S. after 1953 due both to EMD's stronghold on the market through its F series as well as the result of the failed 244 prime mover that caused many railroads to lose faith in the manufacturer. However, MLW continued to produce a passenger version, the FPA4 for CN through the late 1950s (and which remained in service until the 1980s).
During 1963 Alco dropped its RS series for the new Century models starting with the C420. Only one four-axle and one six-axle model was sold by the Montreal Locomotive Works, the C424 and C630M purchased by both CN and CP (Pacific Great Eastern also ordered four examples of the latter). After Alco stopped producing locomotives in 1968, MLW acquired all of its parents designs and continued to operate independently. From 1970 through 1980 it produced its own line of what were essentially Century models, slightly renamed; the M424, M420, M640, M630, and M636. MLW's independence did not last long, though, as Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. purchased a majority interest in the company to expand its reach into the locomotive market.
Montreal Locomotive Works Diesel Models
|RSD-17||1 (Nicknamed "The Empress of Agincourt")||1957||2,400|
During the early 1980s Bombardier shed the Montreal Locomotive Works
name and began offering, somewhat unsuccessfully, its own line of
road-switchers. However, by 1985 it ceased production altogether and
turned its attention to producing equipment for the passenger/commuter
rail market. The company no longer needed the old MLW plant, which it
sold to General Electric in 1988. GE continued to use the facility for a
few years to rebuild and overhaul some of its early road-switchers but
had no further use for the plant by 1993. Ten years later the complex
was razed entirely during 2004. Ironically, today Bombardier has
returned to building locomotives for the commuter rail sector with
plants in Quebec, Ontario, and New York. To read more about the history of the American Locomotive Company please click here.
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Montreal Locomotive Works