ALCO RS-1 Road Switcher Diesel-Electric Locomotive
The ALCO RS-1 was a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by Alco-GE between 1941 and 1953 and the American Locomotive Company from 1953 to 1960. The Montreal Locomotive Works built three RS-1s in 1954. This model has the distinction of having the longest production run of any diesel locomotive for the North American market. The RS-1 was in production for 19 years from the first unit Rock Island No. 748 in March 1941 to the last unit National of Mexico No. 5663 in March 1960.

The hood unit configuration of the RS-1 pioneered the road switcher type of diesel locomotive, beginning the move away from the carbody units which featured on most diesel locomotives before then. Most North American locomotives built since have followed this basic design. In 1940, the Rock Island Railroad approached ALCO about building a locomotive for both road and switching service.

The first thirteen production locomotives were requisitioned by the US Army, the five railroads affected had to wait while replacements were manufactured. The requisitioned RS-1s were re-manufactured by ALCO into six axle RSD-1s for use on the Trans Iranian Railroad to supply the Soviet Union during World War Two.

Original Owners
First Thirteen

Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railroad
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 901–903

Notes: to US Army 8010–8012

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (“Milwaukee Road”)
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 1678–1679

Notes: to US Army 8002–8003

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 746–749

Notes: to US Army 8004, 8007, 8005, 8006; 748 first RS-1 built in 3/41.

New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 231, 233

Notes: to US Army 8000–8001

Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 601–602

Notes: to US Army 8008–8009

Total: 13

Remainder of production

Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road numbers: D-2

Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railway
Quantity: 11

Notes: to SLSF 101-111

Alaska Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 1000–1001
Notes: 1000 at The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry

Alton Railroad
Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 50–59

Ann Arbor Railroad

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 20–21
No. 20 Owned By Southern Michigan Railroad Society, on loan to Shepherd, MI Railroad Depot Museum and Display
No. 21 Owned By Southern Michigan Railroad Society

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 2385–2388, 2394–2395 2385–2388

Notes: renumbered 2396–2399

Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railroad
Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 904–913

904 is on display at Bay Line Railroad Headquarters.
905 Owned By Maryland and Delaware Railroad 22, Currently By Arkansas and Missouri Railroad 22
907 Owned By Conrad Yelvington Distributors 303
909 Owned By Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad 3, then Conrad Yelvington Distributors 3, Currently Conrad Yelvington Distributors 275
911 Owned By Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad 118, Currently Conrad Yelvington Distributors 294
913 Owned By Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum H and S Railroad 913, Current owner uncertain

Atlantic and East Carolina Railway
Quantity: 1
Road numbers: 500

Bamberger Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road numbers: 570

Notes: to Union Pacific 1270

Central Railroad of New Jersey
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 1200–1205

Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 5114–5115

5114 last numbered Baltimore & Ohio 9185
5115 last numbered Baltimore & Ohio 9186

Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railway
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 115–118

Chicago and North Western Railway
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 1066–1069, 1080–1081

Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 252–263

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (“Milwaukee Road”)
Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 1676, 1677, 961–963

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
Quantity: 11
Road numbers: 735–745

Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 100–107

100-107 to Soo Line Railroad
103 Owned By Algers, Winslow and Western Railway
104 Owned By Algers, Winslow and Western Railway

Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 105–108

Gaylord Container
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 302–303

GE-Atomic Energy Commission
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 39-3729 – 39-3732

Genesee and Wyoming Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 25, 30
Notes: 25 was Bay Colony Railroad 1064. Current owner unknown.

Grand Trunk Western Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 1950–1951

Notes: Last RS-1s built for US Railroad 11/1957.

Great Northern Railway
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 182–185

Notes: 182 at West Coast Railway Heritage Park, Squamish, BC.

Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
Quantity: 24
Road numbers: 1102–1117, 1120–1127

Illinois Terminal Railroad
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 750–752, 754–756

Kansas City Southern Railway
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 1110–1113

Lake Erie, Franklin and Clarion Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 20–21

Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 1001–1003

Long Island Rail Road
Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 461–469

Midland Continental Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 401–402

Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway
Quantity: 35
Road numbers: various
Notes: all later renumbered 200–234.

Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (NdeM)
Quantity: 64
Road numbers: 5606–5663, (5619–5624 twice)

Notes: 5619–5621 (first) built by Montreal Locomotive Works. NdeM 5663 was the last RS-1 built 3/1960.

New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 0660–0671

New York Central Railroad
Quantity: 14
Road numbers: 8100–8113

Notes: renumbered 9900–9913.

New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway
Quantity: 16
Road numbers: 230–256 (even numbers only), 231 and 233 (second)

Northern Pacific Railway
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 155–158 renumbered 800–803

157,802 Last numbered Burlington Northern 952.
158,803 Last numbered Burlington Northern 953.

Pennsylvania Railroad
Quantity: 27
Road numbers: 5619–5640, 5906, 8485–8486, 8857–8858

Rutland Railroad
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 400–405

Notes: 400 Owned By Maryland and Delaware Railroad. 22, Currently Arkansas and Missouri Railroad 22.

Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (“Soo Line”)
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 350–353

Soo Line (Wisconsin Central Railway)
Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 2360–2368

Spokane International Railroad
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 200–211

Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 50–51

Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway (Oregon Electric Railway)
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 52–55

Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 602–604

United States Navy
Quantity: 1
Road numbers: 6

Notes: renumbered 65-00078.

Washington Terminal Company
Quantity: 25
Road numbers: 40–64

46 Owned By Amtrak 46, Currently Massachusetts Central Railroad 46.
47 Owned By Amtrak 47, Currently Tioga Central Railroad 47 out of service needs friction bearings.
52 Owned By Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad 57, then Conrad Yelvington Distributors 97, Currently Conrad Yelvington Distributors 292.
54 Owned By Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad 38, Currently Conrad Yelvington Distributors 293.
57 Owned By Black River and Western Railroad 57, then East Penn Railways 57, Currently East Penn Railroad 57.
59 Owned by Essar Steel Algoma 59, Currently Southern Railroad of New Jersey 59.

Exported Units

Arabian American Oil Company (Saudi Arabia)
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: A11x50, A11x51, 1002–1005

Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil
Quantity: 38
Road numbers: 3100–3137

Gauge: 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)

São Paulo Railway, (Brazil)
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 504–509

Gauge: 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Notes: to Estrada de Ferro Santos a Jundiaí.

Estrada de Ferro Santos a Jundiaí (Brazil)
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 510–511

Gauge: 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)

Several examples exist at tourist railways and railway museums, including:

  Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad's RS-1 purchased in 1951 by the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad as No. 1002, sold to the Calumet & Hecla Railroad in 1967 as No. 205. Later purchased by Continental Grain Company, Marshalltown, IA circa 1975. Donated to the Iowa Railroad Historical Society, Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad in 1996, painted and lettered as Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway No. 244.
  Consumers Power (CPOX) 401 1951 built RS-1 No. 79350 former Rutland 401 spent her final years of service switching coal cars at the Consumers Energy Essexville, MI power plant on the Saginaw River the unit is now at the Saginaw Railway Museum.
  Grand Trunk Western 1951 (last domestic RS-1 produced serial number 82356) at the Illinois Railway Museum
  Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 745 (believed to be the oldest existing RS-1, and one of the replacements for the 13 taken by the U.S. Army) at the Louisiana Steam Train Association yard in Jefferson, LA
  Eastman Kodak Company 9 (built as Chicago & Western Indiana 260, sold to Genesee & Wyoming in 1971 and then to EKC) is preserved at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum.
  Green Mountain Railroad 405 (former Rutland Railway 405, serial number 79575)
  Catskill Mountain Railroad No. 400 (out of service & under repair) and No. 401 (operating) tourist train in Kingston NY.
  Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway No. 101, the only known locomotive existing from that railroad, is at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and has been restored for occasional use on the North Shore Scenic Railroad.
  Ann Arbor Railroad No. 20 is owned by the Southern Michigan Railroad Society in Clinton, MI and on loan to Shepherd, MI Railroad Depot Museum and Display
  Ann Arbor Railroad No. 21 is owned by the Southern Michigan Railroad Society in Clinton, MI. #21 is set to undergo cosmetic and operational repairs and a return to operational status by the end of 2015.
  Soo Line 350 survives on display at the Whippany Railway Museum in New Jersey as Morristown & Erie 21.
  Former Washington Terminal 57 is privately owned and in storage on the East Penn Railroad at Quakertown, Pennsylvania.
  Great Northern 182 is on display at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, British Columbia.
  Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 743 is on display at the Oklahoma Railway Museum in Oklahoma City, OK.

ALCO RS-1 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: American Locomotive Company
Builder: Montreal Locomotive Works
Model: RS-1
Build dates: March 1941 – March 1960
Total produced: 469
AAR wheel arrangement: B-B
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge and 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), Brazil
Trucks: AAR type B
Wheel diameter: 40 in (1,016 mm)
Minimum curve: 57° (116.14 ft or 35.40 m)
Wheelbase: 40 ft 5 in (12.32 m)
Length: 55 ft 5 3⁄4 in (16.91 m)
Width: 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
Height: 14 ft 5 in (4.39 m)
Locomotive weight: 247,500 lb (112,300 kg)
Fuel capacity: 1,000 gal (3,800 L; 830 imp gal)
Prime mover: ALCO 539T
Engine type: In line Four stroke diesel
Aspiration: Turbocharger
Displacement: 1,595 cu in (26.14 l) per cylinder
Displacement: 9,572 cu in (156.86 l) total
Generator: GE GT-553-C DC generator
Traction motors: (4) GE 731 DC traction motors
Cylinders: 6
Cylinder size: 12 1⁄2 in × 13 in (318 mm × 330 mm)
Locomotive brake: Independent air
Train brakes: Air
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 65 mph (105 km/h)
Power output: 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Tractive effort: 40,425 lbf (179.82 kN)

Locale: North America, Brazil, Saudi Arabia

See also:

Alco Diesel-Electric Locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives

American Locomotive Company


Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic No. 101, a 1945 Alco RS-1.
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Green Mountain Railroad Alco RS1 No. 405 at Bellows Falls, Vermont.

By NellsWiki - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Green Mountain Railroad Alco RS1 No. 405 at Bellows Falls, Vermont.

An Alco advertisement, circa 1941. - NFL Jerseys and Gear
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Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic 101, a 1945 Alco RS-1, led one of two photo charters for Lake Superior Railroad Museum's annual railfan weekend, near French River, Minnesota, September 2009.    By Jerry Huddleston - Flickr: 2009_09_12, CC BY 2.0,

An Alco advertisement, circa 1941.