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Alco "RS3" Locomotives

Last revised: February 11, 2024

By: Adam Burns

The RS3 was Alco's pinnacle in its early road switcher designs. While the American Locomotive Company would have some success in later Road Switcher (RS) series models, like the RS11 and RSD5, nothing would compare to the amazing success of the RS3. 

When it was released Alco had already cataloged two previous versions, the RS1 and RS2, both of which had seen modest success as the first true road-switchers ever produced.

Overview

Unfortunately, overall the Schenectady manufacturer had considerable trouble seriously competing with Electro-Motive whose cab designs were far outpacing anything in its catalog.

In any event, the RS3 would go on to be the most commonly seen Alco model across the country and remained in the company's catalog for more than six years. Today, numerous examples of this locomotive remain preserved, several of which are still operational.

Photos

LV0211BETHLEHEM.jpgLehigh Valley RS3 #211 at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on April 28, 1975. One of the unique "Hammerhead" variants, this unit began its career as Pennsylvania #8445, featuring a high short hood which included a steam generator and dynamic brakes. In 1966 it was renumbered 5569. Following Penn Central's formation, the locomotive was swapped with Lehigh Valley RS2 #211, which was then traded in to General Electric in 1970. The "Hammerhead" unit was then painted in LV colors and numbered 211. It managed to survive scrapping under Conrail - albeit rebuilt with an EMD power plant - and was eventually acquired by the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum where it resides today fully restored in LV colors. Warren Calloway collection.

The RS3 entered production in 1950 replacing its predecessor the RS2. The new model produced slightly more horsepower than the earlier design at 1,600 hp using Alco's commonly problematic 12-cylinder, model 244 prime mover. 

From a visual standpoint the RS3 looked almost identical to the RS2. Both had much improved styling over the RS1 albeit it was quite subtle with heavy beveling to corners and edges giving the unit a much more streamlined appearance (because of its good looks some railroads elected to employ theirs in passenger/commuter service). 

Instantly beloved by railroads for its versatility and reliability, RS3s began rolling out of Alco's Schenectady shops in the masses.

Missouri Pacific RS3 #982 and GP7 #236 are tied down in Lee's Summit, Missouri during September of 1964. American-Rails.com collection.

Perhaps more than any other locomotive the RS3 defined Alco as a locomotive manufacturer offering eye-appealing, classy designs with their trademark belching black smoke.  

While the RS1 and RS2 had sold relatively well perhaps it was the RS3's extra 100 horsepower over its predecessor that really appealed to railroads. 

While the model 244 proved generally reliable and rugged in its smaller switcher and light road switcher designs (like the RS3) the prime mover simply not been properly researched and developed for heavy-haul use. 

As such, the FA and PA models in production at the time experienced significant mechanical issues.  This allowed Electro-Motive to gain a notable edge and these problems ultimately resulted in Alco's exit from the market.

Erie Lackawanna RS3 #1044, a former Lackawanna unit (#906), is seen here in the early 1960s. American-Rails.com collection.

Interestingly, a year prior to the RS3's release EMD was finally cataloging a competitor, the GP7. Unfortunately for EMD their initial design, the BL2, proved unsuccessful although the industry leader quickly learned from their mistake.

The model used the same road switcher design setup pioneered by Alco in its 1941 RS1 with a long trailing hood, offset cab, and short front hood.   Both as the time as well as from a historical stance the RS3 has been deemed an incredible success for Alco.

However, had the builder acquired the reputation of EMD it may have sold even more.  The GP7 went on to sell more than 2,700 examples before its production run ended in 1954 and its successor, the GP9, was even more successful.

36930945672358296329889379890.jpgPennsylvania RS3 #5456 between assignments in Cincinnati, Ohio during the summer of 1967. Fred Byerly photo. American-Rails.com collection.

When the RS3 was produced Alco was still working in conjunction with General Electric and Westinghouse to supply internal components for its locomotives.

As such the model contained air brakes and compressors from the latter while the former provided its model 752 traction motors that gave the RS3 around 60,000 pounds of initial tractive effort (more than 2,000 more than the RS2).

The model weighed around 114.5 tons, was 55 feet/5 inches in length and equipped with dynamic braking. This latter ability allowed railroads to use the RS3 in heavy-haul service, such as moving coal drags up steep grades and many did not shy away from doing so; for instance the Reading, Lehigh Valley, Louisville & Nashville, Southern and others beat theirs to pieces in this capacity.

Canadian Pacific RS3 #8441. Date and location not recorded. American-Rails.com collection.

Success

It was the model's ability to take this abuse regularly and continue operating on a daily basis that so endeared them to railroads and resulted in many returning to Alco for more.  

It's a shame that the company could not have produced other locomotives that emulated the success of the RS3. By the time production ended in 1956 Alco would sell more than 1,300 and even today you can still find these venerable locomotives operating on short lines and tourist trains all across the country.

Most interesting is that when Alco introduced its RS line in 1941 and found success with a locomotive that could be used in multiple roles EMD was convinced to begin manufacturing its own line of road switcher that would eventually help put Alco out of business one day.  

Data Sheet and Specifications

Alco Class404-DL-247
Entered Production5/16/1950 (Great Northern #198)
Years Produced5/16/1950-8/1956
Model SpecificationE1662/A/B: MLW = ME1600R
Engine244, V-12
Horsepower1,600
Carbody StylingAlco
Length (Between Coupler Pulling Faces)56' 6"
Weight247,000 Lbs. (Optional ballasting to 250,000 Lbs.)
Dynamic BrakesOptional
TrucksB-B
Truck TypeSwing Bolster, Drop-Side Equalizer (AAR Type-B)
Truck Wheelbase9' 4"
Wheel Size40"
Traction MotorsGE 752 (4)
Traction GeneratorGT581
Steam GeneratorOptional
Gear Ratio74:18
Tractive Effort Rating42,500 Lbs. at 11 MPH
Top Speed65 MPH

Production Rosters

Alco

Total Built = 1,272

Owner Road Number(s) Serial Number(s) Date Built
Alco (Demonstrator) 1601 (became Rutland #200) 78252 11/1950
Alco (Demonstrator) 1607 (became Interstate Railroad #37) 80159 8/1952
Alton & Southern 43, 44 78366, 80504 11/1950, 6/1953
Alton & Southern 45 81849 2/1956
American Smelting & Refining (ASARCO) 2, 3 78371, 78372 11/1950
Atlantic & Danville 107 78902 6/1951
Birmingham Southern 151 78251 9/1950
Birmingham Southern 152 79096 10/1951
Blue Ridge Railway 1, 2 78324, 78325 10/1950
Boston & Maine 1505-1509 80732-80736 4/1954 - 5/1954
Boston & Maine 1510-1517 80749-80756 10/1954
Boston & Maine 1518, 1519 81162, 81163 4/1955
Boston & Maine 1535-1545 79602-79612 1/1952
Carolina & Northwestern Railway 5, 10 78326, 80514 10/1950, 6/1953
Central of Georgia Railway 108-110 78246-78248 9/1950
Central of Georgia Railway 111-119 78753-78761 5/1951
Central of Georgia Railway 133-147 80140-80154 7/1952
Central of Georgia Railway 148 80267 4/1953
Central of Georgia Railway 149, 150 80269, 80270 4/1953
Central of Georgia Railway 151-154 80248-80251 4/1953
Central of Georgia Railway 155-159 80262-80266 4/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1540-1547 78058-78065 6/1950
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1548, 1549 80234, 80243 3/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1550, 1551 80247, 80255 3/1953, 4/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1552, 1553 80261, 80268 4/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1554, 1555 80271, 80276 4/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1700, 1701 80236, 80237 3/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1702, 1703 80232, 80233 3/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1704 80235 3/1953
Central Railroad of New Jersey 1705-1709 80238-80242 3/1953
Central Vermont 1859, 1860 80747, 80748 9/1954
Chesapeake & Ohio 5600, 5601 81160, 81161 4/1955
Chicago & North Western 1551 78940 8/1951
Chicago & North Western 1552-1554 78942-78944 8/1951
Chicago & North Western 1555 79056 8/1951
Chicago & North Western 1613-1618 80131-80136 7/1952
Chicago & North Western 1621-1624 80515-80518 7/1953
Milwaukee Road 2475, 2476 80578, 80579 12/1953
Milwaukee Road 2477 80581 12/1953
Milwaukee Road 2478-2482 80650-80654 12/1953
Milwaukee Road 2483-2487 80738-80742 5/1954
Milwaukee Road 2488-2495 81703-81710 11/1955
Rock Island 455-467 78253-78265 9/1950
Rock Island 468, 469 78290, 78291 9/1950
Rock Island 470-472 79058-79060 8/1951
Rock Island 473, 474 79062, 79063 8/1951
Rock Island 485-499 79261-79275 10/1951 - 11/1951
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha (C&NW) 162-164 80137-80139 7/1952
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha (C&NW) 165-167 80519-80521 7/1953
Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (Southern) 6208-6222 79637-79651 3/1952
Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (Southern) 6223-6239 79680-79696 3/1952
Danville & Western 1, 2 78327, 78328 10/1950
Delaware & Hudson 4026-4032 78051-78057 6/1950
Delaware & Hudson 4033-4036 78356-78359 10/1950
Delaware & Hudson 4037-4045 78336-78344 10/1950
Delaware & Hudson 4046-4048 78353-78355 10/1950
Delaware & Hudson 4049 78886 6/1951
Delaware & Hudson 4052-4054 78887-78889 6/1951
Delaware & Hudson 4055-4067 79652-79664 2/1952
Delaware & Hudson 4068-4069 79665-79666 3/1952
Delaware & Hudson 4070-4094 80160-80184 8/1952
Delaware & Hudson 4095-4098 80185-80188 9/1952
Delaware & Hudson 4099-4117 80299-80317 9/1952
Delaware & Hudson 4118, 4119 80318, 80319 10/1952
Delaware & Hudson 4120-4129 80522-80531 8/1953
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 901-904 78076-78079 8/1950
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 905-910 78573-78578 4/1951
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 911-918 79667-79674 3/1952
Denver & Rio Grande Western 5200-5204 78895-78899 6/1951
Erie Railroad 914, 915 78322, 78323 10/1950
Erie Railroad 916-923 78555-78562 4/1951
Erie Railroad 924-927 79629-79632 2/1952
Erie Railroad 928-933 80226-80231 3/1953
Erie Railroad 1005, 1006 77975, 77976 4/1950
Erie Railroad 1007-1016 78305-78314 9/1950 - 10/1950
Erie Railroad 1017, 1018 78320, 78321 10/1950
Erie Railroad 1019-1026 78547-78554 3/1951
Erie Railroad 1027, 1028 79359, 79360 11/1951
Erie Railroad 1029-1036 80116-80123 7/1952
Erie Railroad 1037, 1038 80224, 80225 10/1952
Federal Barge Lines 60, 61 80130, 81686 7/1952, 10/1955
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (Mexico) 6700-6703 80124-80127 7/1952
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (Mexico) 6704-6706 81894-81896 4/1956
Grand Trunk Western 1861, 1862 80745, 80746 9/1954
Great Northern 197-199 78043-78045 5/1950
Great Northern 220-224 78046-78050 5/1950
Great Northern 228-232 80497-80501 6/1953
Green Bay & Western 305, 306 78856, 78857 5/1951
Green Bay & Western 307, 308 81286, 81287 7/1955
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio 1515-1518 78072-78075 7/1950
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio 1519-1521 79249-79251 10/1951
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio 1522, 1523 80128, 80129 7/1952
Interstate Railroad 30-36 80559-80565 10/1953
Interstate Railroad 38, 39 81843, 81844 1/1956
Kennecott Copper Corporation 109 78426 12/1950
Lake Superior & Ishpeming 1604, 1605 78301, 78302 9/1950
Lake Superior & Ishpeming 1606, 1607 80478, 80479 5/1953
Lake Superior & Ishpeming 1608, 1609 80737, 81350 5/1954, 8/1955
Lake Superior & Ishpeming 1610 81365 9/1955
Lehigh & Hudson River 1-3 78069-78071 6/1950
Lehigh & Hudson River 4-9 78292-78297 9/1950
Lehigh & Hudson River 10, 11 78369, 78370 11/1950
Lehigh & Hudson River 12, 13 78926, 79244 7/1951, 10/1951
Lehigh Valley 215, 216 78367, 78368 11/1950
Litchfield & Madison 301, 302 79628, 80280 5/1952, 5/1953
Litchfield & Madison 303 81900 8/1956
Long Island Rail Road 1551-1560 81351-81360 8/1955 - 9/1955
Louisville & Nashville 100-108 79385-79393 11/1951
Louisville & Nashville 109 79394 12/1951
Louisville & Nashville 110-113 80320-80323 10/1952
Louisville & Nashville 114-117 80505-80508 6/1953
Louisville & Nashville 118-123 80661-80666 12/1953
Louisville & Nashville 124-149 80667-80692 1/1954
Louisville & Nashville 150, 151 80259, 80260 4/1953
Louisville & Nashville 152-154 80509-80511 6/1953
Louisville & Nashville 170-172 80252-80254 4/1953
Louisville & Nashville 173-175 80256-80258 4/1953
Louisville & Nashville 176 81695 11/1955
Louisville & Nashville 177-179 81697-81699 11/1955
Louisville & Nashville 214-217 81678-81681 10/1955
Louisville & Nashville 219-221 81683-81685 10/1955
Louisville & Nashville 222-229 81687-81694 10/1955 - 11/1955
Louisville & Nashville 230-243 80693-80706 1/1954 - 2/1954
Louisville & Nashville 244-252 81851-81859 3/1956
Louisville & Nashville 253-255 81891-81893 3/1956
Macon, Dublin & Savannah 1703, 1704 78360, 78361 10/1950
Macon, Dublin & Savannah 1705, 1706 79361, 81850 11/1951, 2/1956
Maine Central 556, 557 80566, 80567 11/1953
Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie (Soo Line) 352, 353 80978, 80979 5/1954
Minnesota Transfer 200, 201 79245, 79246 10/1951
Missouri-Illinois Railway 19, 20 81150-81153 3/1955
Missouri-Illinois Railway 62, 63 78545, 79252 1/1951, 10/1951
Missouri-Illinois Railway 64 79942 6/1952
Missouri-Illinois Railway 65, 66 80512, 80513 6/1953
Missouri-Illinois Railway 67, 68 80548, 80551 10/1953
Missouri-Illinois Railway 69, 70 80730, 80731 3/1954
Missouri-Illinois Railway 71-74 81150-81153 3/1955
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) 1551, 1552 78303, 78304 9/1950
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) 1553-1558 78454-78459 12/1950
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) 1559-1563 79091-79095 9/1951
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) 1701, 1702 78892, 78893 6/1951
Missouri Pacific 4501-4512 80758-80769 1-2/1955
Missouri Pacific 4513-4526 81136-81149 2/1955
New Orleans & North Eastern (Southern) 6875-6882 78329-78336 10/1950
New York Central 8223-8230 78080-78087 8/1950
New York Central 8231-8241 78595-78605 5/1951
New York Central 8242, 8243 78751, 78752 5/1951
New York Central 8244-8263 78860-78879 5/1951 - 7/1951
New York Central 8264, 8265 78900, 78901 6/1951
New York Central 8266-8280 78903-78917 5/1951 - 6/1951
New York Central 8281-8284 79240-79243 10/1951
New York Central 8285-8303 79097-79115 10/1951
New York Central 8304-8307 79236-79239 10/1951
New York Central 8308-8312 79675-79679 3/1952
New York Central 8313-8319 79852-79858 9/1952
New York Central 8320-8328 79879-79887 5/1952
New York Central 8329, 8330 79889, 79890 5/1952
New York Central 8331-8333 79892-79894 5/1952
New York Central 8334-8336 79896-79898 5/1952
New York Central 8337-8339 79900-79902 5/1952
New York Central 8340-8342 79904-79906 5/1952
New York Central 8343-8352 80535-80544 7/1953 - 10/1953
New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road) 535-557 80707-80729 3/1954
New York, New Haven & Hartford 517-536 78164-78183 8/1950
New York, New Haven & Hartford 537-544 79253-79260 10/1951
New York, New Haven & Hartford 545, 546 79357, 79358 11/1951
New York, New Haven & Hartford 547-561 79613-79627 1/1952
Norfolk & Western 300-303 81361-81364 9/1955 - 10/1955
Norfolk & Western 304-307 81845-81848 1/1956 - 2/1956
Northern Pacific 850-852 80244-80246 3/1953
Northern Pacific 853-856 80655-80658 12/1953
Northern Pacific 857-862 81154-81159 3/1955 - 4/1955
Northern Pacific 863 81164 4/1955
Oliver Iron Mining Company 1108-1110 78066-78068 6/1950
Pennsylvania Railroad 8435-8438 80572-80575 11/1953
Pennsylvania Railroad 8439-8442 80568-80571 11/1953
Pennsylvania Railroad 8443, 8444 80576, 80577 12/1953
Pennsylvania Railroad 8445 80580 12/1953
Pennsylvania Railroad 8453-8455 79928-79930 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8456, 8457 79907, 79908 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8458-8461 79910-79913 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8462-8464 79915-79917 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8465-8470 79931-79936 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8471, 8472 80114, 80115 7/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8473, 8474 79919, 79920 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8475-8479 79922-79926 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8480-8484 79937-79941 6/1952
Pennsylvania Railroad 8590-8593 81711-81714 12/1955
Pennsylvania Railroad 8594-8603 81795-81804 12/1955
Pennsylvania Railroad 8604, 8605 81840, 81841 12/1955
Pennsylvania Railroad 8817-8836 79365-79384 11/1951
Pennsylvania Railroad 8837-8856 79395-79414 12/1951
Pennsylvania Railroad 8902, 8903 78585, 78586 4/1951
Pennsylvania Railroad 8904, 8905 78579, 78587 4/1951
Pennsylvania Railroad 8906-8909 78580-78583 4/1951 - 5/1951
Pennsylvania Railroad 8910-8913 78588-78591 4/1951
Pennsylvania Railroad 8914 78584 5/1951
Pennsylvania Railroad 8915, 8916 78592, 78593 4/1951
Piedmont & Northern Railway 100, 101 78249, 78250 9/1950
Piedmont & Northern Railway 102-105 78762-78765 5/1951
Piedmont & Northern Railway 106 79065 8/1951
Piedmont & Northern Railway 107, 108 79067, 79068 8/1951
Piedmont & Northern Railway 109 79070 8/1951
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (NYC) 8353-8355 80545-80547 10/1953
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (NYC) 8356, 8357 80549, 80550 10/1953
Reading Railroad 444-450 80552-80558 10/1953
Reading Railroad 460-472 79866-79878 5/1952
Reading Railroad 473 79863 4/1952
Reading Railroad 474, 475 79864, 79865 5/1952
Reading Railroad 481-483 80532-80534 8/1953
Reading Railroad 484, 485 79943, 79944 6/1952
Reading Railroad 486-495 80104-80113 6/1952 - 7/1952
Reading Railroad 496-499 79859-79862 4/1952
Reading Railroad 500-509 78563-78572 4/1951
Reading Railroad 510 78918 7/1951
Reading Railroad 511-513 78920-78922 7/1951
Reading Railroad 514, 515 78924, 78925 7/1951
Reading Railroad 516, 517 78928, 78929 8/1951
Reading Railroad 518-520 78931-78933 8/1951
Reading Railroad 521-523 78935-78937 8/1951
Reading Railroad 524 78939 8/1951
Rutland Railroad 201 78594 4/1951
Rutland Railroad 202-204 78880-78882 6/1951
Rutland Railroad 205-208 80155-80158 8/1952
St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 308-310 79849-79851 4/1952
St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 311 (1st), 312 78858, 78859 5/1951
St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 311 (2nd) 80223 10/1952
St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 313, 314 78890, 78891 6/1951
St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 315-318 79415-79418 12/1951
St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 356 79848 3/1952
St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) 357-360 80219-80222 10/1952
St. Marys Railroad 501, 502 78546, 81842 3/1951, 1/1956
San Manuel Copper Mine 1 80757 1/1955
San Manuel Copper Mine 2, 3 81289, 81288 3/1955
Seaboard Air Line 1629-1647 78431-78449 11/1950
Seaboard Air Line 1648-1656 78467-78475 11/1950 - 12/1950
Seaboard Air Line 1657-1664 78531-78538 12/1950-1/1951
Seaboard Air Line 1665-1672 79419-79426 12/1951
Seaboard Air Line 1673, 1674 79592, 79593 12/1951
Seaboard Air Line 1675-1679 80214-80218 10/1952
Seaboard Air Line 1680-1684 79825-79829 10/1952
Southern Railway 2025-2029 79697-79701 4/1952
Southern Railway 2030-2047 79830-79847 10/1952
Southern Railway 2048-2062 80480-80494 11/1953
Southern Railway 2131, 2132 79072, 79073 8/1951
Southern Railway 2133, 2134 79075, 79076 10/1951
Southern Railway 2135, 2136 79078, 79079 9/1951
Southern Railway 2137-2145 79081-79089 9/1951
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 65-68 78461-78464 12/1950
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 69, 70 79247, 79248 10/1951
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 71-78 79594-79601 1/1952
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 79, 80 80495, 80496 6/1953
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 81, 82 80502, 80503 6/1953
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 90-93 81366-81369 10/1955
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 94, 95 81676, 81677 10/1955
Spokane, Portland & Seattle 96-98 81700-81702 11/1955
Tennessee Central 251-254 78362-78365 10/1950
Tennessee Central 255-258 79633-79636 3/1952
Tennessee Central 259, 260 81898, 81899 4/1956
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis 1600-1603 78450-78453 12/1950
Texas Pacific-Missouri Pacific Terminal Railroad 24 81897 4/1956
Toledo, Peoria & Western 207 78460 12/1950
Western Maryland 185 80275 4/1953
Western Maryland 186-188 80281-80283 4/1953
Western Maryland 189-194 80472-80477 11/1953
Western Maryland 195, 196 80659, 80660 12/1953
Western Maryland 197, 198 80743, 80744 9/1954
Yadkin Railroad 9 79090 9/1951

Montreal Locomotive Works

Total Built = 146

Owner Road Number(s) Serial Number(s) Date Built
Canadian National 1818-1840 81013-81035 8/1954 - 10/1954
Canadian National 7830-7834 79124-79128 11/1953
Canadian National 7835-7847 79180-79192 11/1953 - 12/1953
Canadian Pacific 8426-8446 80991-81011 3/1954 - 6/1954
Canadian Pacific 8447-8461 81036-81050 11/1954 - 12/1954
Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil (Brazil) 3301-3348 77650-77697 5/1952
Ontario Northland 1304-1307 76112-76115 10/1951
Ontario Northland 1308-1311 76727-76730 11/1951, 12/1951
Pacific Great Eastern 569-571 79121-79123 7/1953 - 8/1953
Pacific Great Eastern 572 81012 7/1954
Pacific Great Eastern 573-575 81172-81174 11/1954 - 12/1954
Pacific Great Eastern 576-578 81204-81206 5/1955
Quebec, North Shore & Labrador 102, 103 76110, 76111 7/1951
Roberval & Saguenay 22 81185 4/1955

Sources

  • Foster, Gerald. A Field Guide To Trains. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
  • Kirkland, John F. Diesel Builders, The:  Volume Two, American Locomotive Company And Montreal Locomotive Works. Glendale: Interurban Press, 1989.
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. Diesel Spotter's Guide.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967.
  • Solomon, Brian. Alco Locomotives. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press, 2009.

89239427652y970029287289932907.jpgIn a photo taken from the 4th Street footbridge, Pennsylvania Railroad RS3 #8906 switches a cut of cars near the locomotive shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania on May 5, 1960. David R. Sweetland photo. American-Rails.com collection.

Of note, Alco's Canadian arm, the Montreal Locomotive Works, was not nearly as successful with the RS3 selling just 98 to the Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Ontario Northland, Pacific Great Eastern, Quebec, North Shore & Labrador, and the Roberval & Saguenay. 

Additionally, Alco built another 69 units for foreign sale including the Algerian Railways, Central do Brazil, Consolidated Railways of Cuba (before trade bans with Cuba were enacted), Ferrocaril del Pacifico, and National de Mexico (the above production roster includes only domestically sold RS3s). 

From the historical narrative it is fascinating that it was Alco, not EMD, which pioneered the endearing locomotive design still regularly used in freight service today; the common road-switcher.  

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