Why are some of you folks so ga-ga about Alco's ?

Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

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Ol' Loco Guy

Why are some of you folks so ga-ga about Alco's ?

Post by Ol' Loco Guy »

Why are some of you guys so ga-ga about Alcos ? Inquiring minds want to know. Do tell !!!!

jmp883
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Post by jmp883 »

For me it's the styling.

The RS2/3 is a much better looking roadswitcher than an EMD GP.

The Alco Centuries are also much better looking than their EMD counterparts. The thing I like about the Centuries is that there is no windshield overhang of the numberboards like there is on an EMD. I don't know why but it just gives them a more powerful look. I especially like the 628/630/636 series.

While Alco may have been one of the top dogs in steam locomotives they were an underdog when it came to diesel production due to some questionable management decisions in the early days of diesel production.

Most people root for the underdog! :-D
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mxdata
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Post by mxdata »

I guess it has something to do with the 244 engine in particular, the stench of partially burned diesel fuel, the rattling of every loose fitting in the carbody, the sickening odor from the crankcase exhauster, the unstable idle speeds, and the occasional burst of thick black smoke as the electric governor tries desperately to keep the engine from dying. chudda-lunk, chudda-lunk, chudda-lunk, chudda-lunk. Put six RS-3's in front of the Marion Ohio shop on a foggy night and add the alarm bell of the one that just shut down and it is truly a grand symphony of first generation dieselization.

jmp883
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Post by jmp883 »

Can't top those reasons........... :-D
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MEC407
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Post by MEC407 »

Same reason I like GE U-Boats... they're noisy, smokey, have unique styling, and they're rare these days.
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rdganthracite

Post by rdganthracite »

For me it was the sight of five RS3s roaring with all they had to lift the Johanna Ore Turn up the grade. Later the same type of experience with trios of C630s with ore drags on the Reading's North Penn branch.

Matt Langworthy
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Why I'm ga-ga for Alcos

Post by Matt Langworthy »

Whether it was a single S-1 chugging away on the Bath & Hammnodsport, or the mighty roar of a set of Centuries on EL or LV, the sound of an Alco is very distinctive to me. I can close my eyes and hear the distinctive four-cycle rumble from my childhood. I like an Alco for the same reason I like women- great body (with curves and bumps in all the right places), disctinctive sounds and needs plenty of attention. 'Nuff said.
Last edited by Matt Langworthy on Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."

Allen Hazen
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Post by Allen Hazen »

Thinking back to the 1970s when I first became a serious railroad enthusiast...
It seemed to me that the aesthetics of the locomotive designs from the two active and one recently departed U.S. builders seemed to match the personalities of the corporations.
---EMD had lots of straight lines (remember, by the time I got interested the standard EMD was a hood unit with a "Spartan" cab), and a roof line characterized by lots of identical modules: three to six 48" fans, depending on model. And GM was a big, modern, corporation, with (at that time!) a reputation for good management and a devotion to mass production.
---GE (remember, we're talking U-series here) had lots of smooth curves, and a touch of elegance: whatever you think of having the same fan cool the radiator when the engine is at full power and the dynamic brake grids when the engine is at reduced power, you gotta admit it's an ELEGANT idea. This was the company you'd go to if you wanted to find scientists!
---Alco... looked as if it was building locomotives from a box of mis-matched parts: think of all the ups and downs in the roof line of a C-636. (It reminded me of an old building-- Vermont farmhouses are the best example, but you could see similar achitectural effects in old, long-established, industrial sites: railroad shops, for example-- that had been repeatedly extended with additions built from available material with no unified architectural plan.) And Alco was the one of the three that was an old-line railroad supply company with 19th Century roots rather than a 20th C (yes, I know GE goes back to the 1890s, but you get the point) conglomerate.
So. Why was I an Alco fan? Why did I (then) think the C-636 was my favorite locomotive (even though the only one I ever actually SAW was shooting flames out of its exhaust stack)? Certainly it was the aesthetic and historical side of my railroad interest, not the rational side interested in efficiency (and environment-friendliness)!
---
((((PS:Since I'm now a ga-ga GE locomotive fan, I suppose I could say I'm a recovering Alco-haulic. ))))

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MEC407
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Post by MEC407 »

Allen Hazen wrote:(even though the only one I ever actually SAW was shooting flames out of its exhaust stack)?
That's reason enough to love 'em! :-D
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Ol' Loco Guy

Post by Ol' Loco Guy »

Interesting observations, Allan.

The guy who ran the U25B program was absolutely focused on the concept of " if it ain't on the locomotive, it can't break"-hence the decision to locate the dynamic brake grids in the radiator cab. Even now and again-that decision made for some spectacular fires when the grids would short out and would begin to melt.

The scene that sticks in my mind was my first exposure to the D&H Alco RS fleet in the early 70's. Over the late summer weekends, there would be a bunch of the things idling away on the fuel pad at Colonie-north of Building 1. As daylight fell away to night-and if the air was just stagnant enough-the overall effect was not unlike the moors of Scotland. I can almost smell the aroma of partially burnt fuel as I write this.

jmp883
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Post by jmp883 »

Matt Langworthy wrote:

I like an Alco for the same reason I like women- great body (with curves and bumps in all the right places), distinctive sounds and needs plenty of attention.
Now that's a description......... :wink:
Joe P, KC2PJL

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GN_RS-3

Post by GN_RS-3 »

3 reasons:

1.smoke-they smoke like steam engines
2sound-ever heard the clankity clank of an rs-3 right after startup, you cant get that on any other locomotive
3-curves-well, Matt pretty much summed up the curve topic ;)

TerryC

Post by TerryC »

I just love ALCos for their uniqueness, rariety, beautiful curves, and their ability to wear paint schemes well.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=79539
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=69587
http://crcyc.railfan.net/locos/alco/rs11/cr7652cf.jpg
keep searching keep finding

Centurylover68

Post by Centurylover68 »

Alcos are so neat cause they are rare. They have nice curves to them unlike Geeps. The way they smoke is beautiful and they sound amazing. EMDs are too angular, BLWs too weird, I hate GEs because they killed Alco. F-Ms are sweet. I feel like everyone talks about PAs and Centuries hardly are mentioned though

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Post by Alcoman »

Centurylover68 wrote:Alcos are so neat cause they are rare. ....... I hate GEs because they killed Alco...........
While GE did not help Alco, Alco,Studabaker Worthington and EMD Killed Alco.

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