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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Camelback
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Post by Camelback » Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:02 pm

Why are some folks so ga-ga about Alcos?

IMO, Alcos are the Harley Davidsons of diesel locomotives: loud, smoke like a steam locomotive and don't give a crap about what decent folks think when one rolls past. Nowadays they thrive on shortlines where dedicated mechanics keep 'em smoking.

Centurylover68

Post by Centurylover68 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:46 pm

You could put on almost any paint job and it looked good. An Alco is smooth looking, while EMDs are just angular and BLEAH! Those L&HR C420s are so good-looking. Those RS-27 looked beautiful yet no-nosense like with those stubs of a nose. Alco probably made the best looking engine, not to mention they started the road-switcher craze. Without Alco you wouldn't have none of those precious SD70ACe's. Isn't that agood enough reason to love those Alcos?

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MEC407
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Post by MEC407 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:07 pm

Even though ALCO did build the first true roadswitcher (the RS1), the EMD GP7 usually gets credit for starting the roadswitcher craze. ALCO sold 417 RS1s. EMD sold 2,610 GP7s. ALCO did a lot better with the RS3, selling 1,370 of them, but as you can see, the GP7 still outsold the ALCOs by a wide margin.

Then EMD came out with the GP9, and sold a whopping 3,436 of them. ALCO responded with the RS11, but only sold 426 of those.

Nevertheless, ALCO does deserve credit as being the first builder to pioneer the concept of a unit that is equally useful as a switcher and as a road freight unit.
MEC407
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Ol' Loco Guy

Oral History ?

Post by Ol' Loco Guy » Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:26 pm

My guess is that the Smithsonian (History and Technology Museum) probably has something of the sort. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Strasburg) seems to have a seriousand scholarly research archive. And there is the (employee-run?) museum at GE's Erie works. Whether any of these have the sort of resources needed to collect and catalogue interviews from the people who saw the diesel locomotive industry first-hand in the 1940s (there must be a few left, though not many)
The museum at Erie is staffed by retired folks. I doubt that current Erie employees are spending much time there-that is, if they wish to remain employed (:wink:). I woulds suspect that Smithsonian and RMPA are resource constrained. Besides, what has Smithsonian done for railroad history in the last 25 years anyhow ? To switch the subject...

It has been stated (by others) that the mission of a university is threefold: a) scholarship (education), b) research and c) service. If one substitutes the word museum for university-does the statement remain true ?

My point is that a legitimate museum is supposed to do more than just collect and operate equipment. The floor is open...

mxdata
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Post by mxdata » Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:57 pm

If you go to the RMPA you will find some exhibits and displays pertaining to folks who worked for railroads, but very little documentation of people who worked for locomotive builders. This is an ongoing problem in the historical preservation community at this time, people who worked in the locomotive building industry "aren't railroaders" in the view of the intellectual elite.

Anybody who worked in a position of responsibility at one of the locomotive builders during the 1940s is now in their 80s or older. The time to interview these people is just about gone. And it is a shame these folks experiences were not better documented, there were many great people in the "wartime" crew, and a lot of them were glad to share their expertise.

A friend who has participated in the production of a number of video documentaries recently commented to me, that several generations of people who designed and built diesels have now passed away with minimal notice by the railroad museums.
"We Repair No Locomotive Before Its Time"

espeefoamer

Post by espeefoamer » Tue Aug 09, 2005 7:44 pm

TerryC wrote: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
That second picture is NOT an ALCo! It is an EMD GP59.

espeefoamer

Post by espeefoamer » Tue Aug 09, 2005 7:54 pm

I go loco(pun intended :wink: ) over ALCos because they are so rare,and also because the sound great and put out that famous ALCO smoke cloud :P !

TheChessieCatLives
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Post by TheChessieCatLives » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:27 pm

There is nothing like an Alco putting a smoke cloud over a neighborhood.

UPRR engineer

Post by UPRR engineer » Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:02 am

Camelback wrote:Why are some folks so ga-ga about Alcos?
I dont get it eather :wink: The underdog is dead, the company that is.

N. Todd
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Post by N. Todd » Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:45 pm

I dont get it eather The underdog is dead, the company that is.
sp. "either"
Well, both SP, MP, and CNW are gone too; all were more fun than UP.
The new EMD is also kinda dead... I don't get how anyone could go ga-ga over the new SD90 cab.

UPRR engineer

Post by UPRR engineer » Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:10 pm

<-----Im not a foamer.
What im getting at, how can you "love" something so much, knowing you'll never step foot inside let alone run? Thats what i dont get.

EMD is dead.... ah ok i guess. Maybe those brand new ones i ran lastnight werent new.
Last edited by UPRR engineer on Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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GOLDEN-ARM
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Post by GOLDEN-ARM » Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:21 pm

Who won't get to run one ? I have been fortunate enough to have run every model still in service, except for the HH series, and a few "oddballs". The ALCO's are just like any other old, rare thing. Why do people love those old chevies, fords, etc., from the 30's and 40's and 50's? They weren't fast, didn't handle or brake too well, no luxury items, per se, yet folks can't get enough of them. Ever really look at an ALCO before. Check out an RS-3. All those curves, you wont find a corner, anywhere, not even on the exhuast stack. One piece flows into the next. A lot of craftsmanship went into hand forming those pieces. The noise, the smell and the smoke. If you can't appreciate these things, what do you appreciate ? Anyone can bend up some sheetmetal, and weld up a body. CRAFTSMAN constructed those ALCOS, and the work they did still looks exciting, to this day. Those ALCO's are also famous for pulling themselves to destruction. Where a lesser engine would have slipped it's wheels, and dropped it's load, with the sanders blowing, a lot of those ALCO's would pull, and continue pulling, with the load meter buried off the end of the scale. Try running some of the newer stuff, at 1800+ amps, for ANY period of time. Chances are, traction is lost, somewhere around 1200 amps. These things would (and still do) pull until they burnt-up, exploded, or caught on fire. They don't put grit like that into a loco, anymore. All the while, they are throwing fire, and copious amounts of thick, acrid smoke, out of the glowing red stacks. That's why we are so "GA-GA" over ALCO's. (me, anyways) Regards :wink:

UPRR engineer

Post by UPRR engineer » Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:26 pm

I wasnt talking about you buddy, i know you run them. The question should be why are foamers so ga-ga about Alco's.

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GOLDEN-ARM
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Post by GOLDEN-ARM » Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:34 pm

For the very same reasons I am enjoying them, I would imagine. Pick some hobby, or interest that you like. Now imagine what you would feel, if you saw the "ultimate" thing related to your hobby. Are you a car guy ? If so, how would a '71 Plymouth hEMICUDA convertible make you feel, or maybe a '69 COPO LS-7 Camaro, or perhaps a Ford GT-40, with a side oiler 427. You will never own one, or drive one (unless you hit the lotto), but you still get excited, when you see one (IF you ever see a real one, in person) Same for bikes, trucks, etc..... You got a girl, so think of the absolute "HOTTEST" babe you can imagine, from film, tv or from a magazine. You wont ever know her, date her or.......... :wink: but, she's still "hot", isn't she. Everyone has their "vices" and some folks feel about an ALCO, as you might about a pristine Indian, or Harley, if that's YOUR thing. Pretty simple, actually. Now give me a 69 1/2 "M" code SuperBee, 446 PAK, 4 speed 4:10 Dana rear................. :wink:
Last edited by GOLDEN-ARM on Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

UPRR engineer

Post by UPRR engineer » Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:48 pm

I get you there Arm buddy, but a guy can take the steps to get most of whats on your list, may not be the same. A guy that likes the new Ford GTO's can buy an older 5.0 mustang and bolt some extras on it. If a guy likes hot chicks, you can change the way you look and go get one thats cute. See my point there buddy, we get to touch the stuff and move it, they dont. It would be pretty stupid of me to love motocross and not ride myself. Thats what i dont get about these guys dude. lol Sorry..... feeling evil again today i guess. :wink:

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