Saving some big Alcos?

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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oibu
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Saving some big Alcos?

Post by oibu »

With apologies for cross-posting, thought this was something somewhat timely that would be appropriate here and might be of interest to those who read and post:

Given the relative scarcity of the MLW C630 (There are only about 2-3 others left IIRC) perhaps the M&E could be persuaded to gut the unit (ex CBNS 2029) for parts but leave it intact externally for preservation purposes? Could make a little tax writeoff if donated to a museum or other nonprofit, I'd imagine. If anyone else has similar thoughts or knows of any such thoughts within the M&E itself or within any preservation organizations, please share! There are only a handful of 6-motor Alcos/MLWs safely preserved, but a fair number of them are still either running or rusting here in the northeast-IMHO the time is now to start thinking ahead about how to make sure at least one example of each 630/636 model or major variant left to this world ends up in safe, caring hands. We Alco fans in the northeast have a golden opportunity on our hands right now, between the 2029, the active DL units, the LA&L units, and the NYS&W units- we should enjoy them now; but we should also take steps to ensure that when the bell eventually tolls for these beauties, some of them can enjoy their days in retirement as memorials to their fallen sisters, nostalgia for those who knew them, and time machines for those who were too late. If we wait until the dismantler's truck pulls up, it will be too late. Our Canadian friends have already preserved a small handful; but in the US, I know of only two 6-motor Centuries that are safely preserved.

Ok, I'll get down off my soapbox; but I do think that collectively, northeastern Alco/MLW fans have on their hands, or will at some time in the not unforseeable future, a unique opportunity that will be lost forever if we don't think ahead. It could be done by a few who each give a lot, or by a lot who each give a little (be it planning, dollars, or elbow grease); but it could certainly be done IF the plans are made and the cooperation is there.

Right now I'm just throwing this out in hopes that others will agree and thoughts will begin to jell. But I will also say that if it can be done, count me in for logistical assistance, modest financial input, and plenty of elbow grease!

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scottychaos
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Post by scottychaos »

its a great idea..and I agree it should be thought about *now*..
just look at how many C628's we have on display in the US! :(
(the answer of course is "none")
we should learn from that lesson..

Scot

Luther Brefo
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Post by Luther Brefo »

Maybe those of us who truly care, myself included, should form some kind of preservation organization potentially in Schenectady?

I'd love to see some Alcos preserved/restored, even if it is suffed and mounted. An yes people say musuems are good for this sort of thing but why not one specifically dedicated to Alcos. The closest to this would be the Alco only shortlines of the Northeast and maybe the Adirondack Scenic.
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scottychaos
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Post by scottychaos »

Two of the Alco C636 DEMONSTRATORS are among the 8 Susquehanna Alcos! (the other 6 are MLW's)
these are very historic, and rare engines.
One of the two demonstrators has been the fleet's parts-unit and hasnt operated since it arrived on NYSW..its in Utica.
It will likely never operate again..
excellent preservation canidate..the pair of them would make a great display!

Who owns and maintains the Great Northen RS3 "Alco Display" in Schenectady?
We know the Albany area NRHS is basically useless..the locos they have owned for decades are rusting into the ground..it would have to be a totally different group to create an Alco display in the Schenectady area..

Image

And what about Montreal?
Is there any kind of MLW memorial there?
One or two of the big MLW's could be displayed there..to commerorate Montreal's MLW heritage.
the Cartier MLW's are Canadian classics..you cant get much more of a "classic Canadian MLW" than those things..

Scot

Luther Brefo
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Post by Luther Brefo »

I know that either CN or CP has preserved the only 18 cylinder locomotive ever produced. It was produced by Alco in some Canadian rail museum.

In theory that engine could see the road again considering FM has produced and will produce 18 cylinder 251s. It's still listed on their site as a product they build.
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mp15ac
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Post by mp15ac »

lutherkb wrote:I know that either CN or CP has preserved the only 18 cylinder locomotive ever produced. It was produced by Alco in some Canadian rail museum.

In theory that engine could see the road again considering FM has produced and will produce 18 cylinder 251s. It's still listed on their site as a product they build.
Its CP #4744, the M640, and its at the museum near Montreal (the name escapes me at the moment). I saw the engine, and its in pretty good shape. They also have a C424 and an M630 as well.

Stuart
The light at the end of the tunnel may be the headlight of an on-coming train.

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

lutherkb wrote:Maybe those of us who truly care, myself included, should form some kind of preservation organization potentially in Schenectady?

I'd love to see some Alcos preserved/restored, even if it is suffed and mounted. An yes people say musuems are good for this sort of thing but why not one specifically dedicated to Alcos. The closest to this would be the Alco only shortlines of the Northeast and maybe the Adirondack Scenic.
I have been working on such an idea myself during the past year, but getting people to help out is difficult.
The other thing that one must realize is that a formed group with a 501(b) status has a much better chance to aquire equipment than a loosely formed group. The other problem is : where do you display it?
It takes time to work out these details. Its not done overnight.

oibu
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Post by oibu »

Agreed, it doesn't happen overnight- that's why I brought it up now, while there's still time to act IF we start planning now.

I agree, some sort of 501 nonprofit organization, or a partnership with one, would be the best. Damn shame that the folks up in the capital district of NY haven't put something together already- especially with the Alcos that are currently languishing at Colonie- they'd be a pretty good little corss section of 1st-gen. Alcos for a museum, IF they were in one instead of rusting into oblivion. Plus if such a museum or organization existed and were well-organized and pro-active, finding a home for some more Alcos would probably not be too difficult. But alas, at this juncture no such place or group exists.

I haven't the foggiest how any of them would react but some places/folks that might take interest would be the Catskill Mountain, D&U, Adirondack Scenic, Canadian Ry. Museum, Upper Hudson River, LRHS, just to name a few posisbilities off the top of my head. The Canadian RY. Museum almost seems like the most logical and perhaps potentially most receptive/supportive place to start... space and money might be tight there though.

And to answer the question above, the CRM IS pretty much the Montreal-area MLW memorial. Numerous MLW steam locos, as well as an Alco S2 (exCP), MLW RS2 (ex R&s),a couple of MLW switchers, an ONR RS10, CN M420, CN FA-1 and FPA-4, CN RS18, and one each CP M630, C424, and M640 all reside there, and several of them run! (for sure, the CP M630, CN Rs18, and one of the Alco switchers are operable) In other words, an Alco/MLW fan who hasn't been there pretty much owes themself a visit!

The tragedy of the lack of any similar Alco museum collection in the Albany-Schenectady area should be obvious when one looks at the CRM collection.

However given that most of the "survivors" are MLWs, the Canadians might have a more vested interest. One of the Alco-built C-636s that NYS&W has should without a doubt find an eventual retirement home somewhere in NY though, given that the C636 was pretty much the pinnacle of Alco's standard diesel production and dvelopment, as well as their final bid in the high-horsepower race of the mid-late 60s before shutting their doors.

The units that are out there in the northeast are:

NYS&W: 6 M636 (ex CN/Cartier), 2 C636 (ex Cartier/MK/Alco Demos)

WNYP: 1 MLW C630 (ex CP), 1 M630 (ex CP)

M&E: 1 MLW C630 (ex CBNS/CN)

DL: 1 C636 (ex DBT/COnrail/PC), 1 M630 (ex BCOL), 1 M636 (ex CP)

Preserved six-axle Centuries/Ms:

CRM: 1 M630, 1 M640 (ex CP)

Farnham, Que: 1 M636 (ex CP)

???? (forget right now): 1 Alco C630 (ex Cartier/DMIR/UP)

RT&HS: 1 Alco C630 (original Reading)

Others in service, stored, or otherwise "out there, but not preserved":

ESDC, Lachine Quebec: 1 MLW C630 (ex CP)

Indiana Boxcar: 1 MLW C630 (ex CBNS/CN) (???? unsure of status on this one)

CN: 1 MLW M636 (original CN)

MNNR: 1 MLW M636 (ex CP 4711, has CAT engine)

GE: I think still has one or two ex BCOL M630s

Cartier: Still running 5 or so rebuilt M636s

While of course I'd love to see those still running live on forever, it won't happen; likewise, I'd love to see ALL of these units presevred, but it won't happen. So being realistic, my personal vision would be to focus preservation efforts right now on the CN 2338, M&E 2029, the IBCX 2028 if it still exists, and the Cartier 77 which is being cannibalized at Utica; and to keep the active WNYP, other NYS&W, ESDC, and DL units in mind for the future. Ultimately, one each Alco C630, MLW C630 (ex CP), MLW C630 (ex CBNS), MLW M630 (ex BCOL), MLW M630 (ex CP), Alco C636, MLW M636 (ex CP), MLW M636 (ex CN), MLW M636 (original QCM), and MLW M640 should be preserved SOMEWHERE. So far, it appears only 4 of these 10 types ( Alco C630, MLW (CP) M630, MLE (CP M636), and M640) are represented by at least one "safely preserved" specimen. But if 4 are already "safe" somewhere- is saving 6 more really all that insurmountable?

I don't think it is!


(I'm not bringing up the C628 here as none exist in the US or Canada, and I believe a group in Mexico has saved one or two there- but I'd certainly support a repatriated C628 for preservation as well)

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

While I agree with much of what is being said in the above post, there are a couple of points to ponder :
1) How do you define preservation? Just because a shortline is running Alcos does not mean that they are perserved. Yes, they will be around alot longer than if they been operated by a non-Alco shortline. Look what happened to the KB&S. A change in mangement could mean the difference between life and death for an Alco.
2) Starting another group will be reinventing the wheel. There are plently of groups in New York alone that need more support in the form of $$$ as well as sweat. In addition, working with a group that already has a museum will increase the chances of an Alco be saved from the scrappers torch.
3) If an Alco museum could be started, where would you put it?
4) Who has the big bucks to finance that kind of undertaking? Even an estabished museum could not do it. The land cost are out of reach in many cases.
4) The railroads in Canada are much more generous when it comes to donations. In addition, transportation is not as much as an issue as it is here in the U.S. In fact, the Canadian Railroads often tranport locomotive for free or at very low cost over their own lines. You rarely see that in this country any more.
The best way to preserve Alcos is to belong to a group who already has been saving them. There are dozens of groups around the country who are doing the same thing.

oibu
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Post by oibu »

"1) How do you define preservation? Just because a shortline is running Alcos does not mean that they are perserved. Yes, they will be around alot longer than if they been operated by a non-Alco shortline. Look what happened to the KB&S. A change in mangement could mean the difference between life and death for an Alco. "

This is precisely why I broke the already-preserved units from those still active or extant but "in limbo"

"2) Starting another group will be reinventing the wheel. There are plently of groups in New York alone that need more support in the form of $$$ as well as sweat. In addition, working with a group that already has a museum will increase the chances of an Alco be saved from the scrappers torch. "

Agreed, this is why I threw out the names of a few of them.

"3) If an Alco museum could be started, where would you put it? "

The obvious choice would be somewhere in NY, either in the capital district or south from there to have geographic relevance AND access to a heavily populated area.


"4) Who has the big bucks to finance that kind of undertaking? Even an estabished museum could not do it. The land cost are out of reach in many cases. "

My point is, relatively speaking, it might not requrie "big bucks" to move a unit to an existing "safe haven". For iinstance, if the unit could be donated as a tax-writeoff by teh owner, and moved to a place that already had space for it and would be interested in owning or "hosting" it, the only costs would be making the unit moveable (which could be costly or not- for isnatnce, teh CBNS 2029 just did move to the M&E, and the NYS&W 77 moved not too long ago) and paying to move it (which again, it would hardly eb prohibitive to move a unit by rail from northern NJ or upstate NY to soem other upstate NY location)


"4) The railroads in Canada are much more generous when it comes to donations. In addition, transportation is not as much as an issue as it is here in the U.S. In fact, the Canadian Railroads often tranport locomotive for free or at very low cost over their own lines. You rarely see that in this country any more. "

All true, but we wouldn't be able to get much help from the Candian lines since at this point most of these units are in the US.


"The best way to preserve Alcos is to belong to a group who already has been saving them. There are dozens of groups around the country who are doing the same thing."

I agree in principle; however most of the Alco preservation is of smaller units that are often more common (i.e, several are already preserved) and/or are more appropriate for a shortline/scenic RR excursion operation setting; The ONLY "big" that has been prserved in the US is the RDG 5308! And I am not aware of any groups that are actively targeting further big Alco/MLW preservation goals.

If there are some, who are they?

oibu
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Post by oibu »

I guess the overall point is, a genuine "Alco Museum" or at least soemthing that would serve as such in spirit and holdings is something worthwhile.

But more to the point and more urgent, is that the remains "bigs" be saved. I don't really care who does it where or how, if they all end up in one place or if various individuals and organizations each target one and "bring it home." As long as they are saved from the torch, restored/maintained, viewable by the public, and in safe, stable hands- as far as I;m concerned that's what matters.

It's stating the obvious that few of us are in a positon to save even one of them alone... but it also appears that it would take no more effort or money to save some bigs than that which numerous people/organizations already lavish upon other diesels, steam locos, or their local passenger depot.

I'd also venture to guess there are plenty of fans out there who happen to care more about big Alcos than steam or passenger depots- and taht therefore are not already "comsumed" by other preservation efforts.

pablo
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I'm very angry

Post by pablo »

I'm pissed, because in the middle of the crash, I had a huge response for all this...and it's gone. I even copied and pasted....and then nothing. Allow me to try again, based on John's comments, and oibu's additions...

1. How do you define preservation? John's right: we need to modify our thinking if this is going to work. Let me take John's idea a bit farther: this needs to be done in such a way that the ALCO's have a chance to earn their keep, so to speak. Yes, we are focusing on preservation, but if they can get out and run, and earn revenue, they're putting money back that goes to that unit, or to other unit. A preserved unit in original paint making money is a rolling billboard.

2. Starting another group is reinventing the wheel. I don't think I agree with John here completely; after all, look at what's been done with the units in Albany, and they belong to a group. Still, he's basically right. Are there groups that would have the infrastructure to take something like this on? Look beyond simply railroads and RHS, lok at other museums and historical societies, or even to areas where more than one society can join together. Perhaps there's something for everyone in such a grouping.

3. Where? Ah, point #3. First off, there's no shortage of land anywhere in NY that couldn't be better served by a museum or historical society, so ignore that constraint. Now...limit our choices, if you agree with #1 above, to places where they could get out and run, revenue or no. I know it doesn't eliminate Binghamton, Jamestown, and possibly Syracuse. Are there places in Buffalo where a railroad (pick a railroad, any railroad) would let you run your six axle in revenue service? CSX won't, remember? I doubt NS would take on a lease for an ALCO product either. Ditto GWI, CN, CP...etc. Is there room in Schenectady? I don't know. Albany? Again...i don't know. Utica? Maybe...but six axles? I don't know. Friendly railroads in NY operate 6 axle ALCOs now. I submit Binghamton as of now, second place to Jamestown (though that's more my wishful thinking than anything else: I know the city here is looking for something to attract 100K visitors a year. Would this be enough? Doubtful...but, hey...we're trying)
Binghamton is close enough to Albany and closer to NYC (not to mention Scranton, where someone else operates 6 axle ALCOs, don't forget) and as we all know, where the D&H kept shops. And we know that they ran ALCOs, naturally. Other suggestions?

4. Who has the big bucks? Not me. I'll write to Bill Gates, but lets' see if we can tap educational dollars with the idea that people can learn something here...

5. Damn canucks. First socialized medicine, now free locomotive movements...

Again, not sure I agree with John's ending point, but the idea is sound. More comments, anyone?

Dave Becker
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Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

I would like to ask that the "group" in Albany not be used as a bad example without explanation.
About 16-20 years ago, the group in Albany had a very active equipment preservation committee of which I was both a member and later the Chairman.
Until Guilford took over the D&H, the group had a very nice building to work on the equipment. After Guilford took over the Colonie property, we were asked to leave due to insurance liaibilties. The group was then left with no place to work on the equipment. This still stands today. This is why the group is disposing of their equipment. Its not entirely the groups fault that this has happened.
My point being, unless you have a building to work and protect the locomotives, it will be no better than what you see in Colonie.
This is why I don't want to reinvent the wheel(as in starting another group) as there are groups such as the one in Rochester who have the means of restoring and protecting the equipment they have.

pablo
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Understandable...

Post by pablo »

But it's hard to not use the group as a bad example, when so much evidence exists. Viable companies and organizations have backup plans. Where was this groups? Are there no buildings in Troy, Rennselaer (did I spell that right?), Mechanicville, Scehenectady, etc., that could have been used? Perhaps not...but maybe this group could have been using the ALCO plant location? In any case, all that they had is junk now. They aren't the only group to do this, but they happen to be germane to the conversation.

Any thoughts on places? Other cities?

Dave Becker
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ANDY117
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Post by ANDY117 »

Don't write off the 3662 quite yet. They may restore it to service once the EMDs are all rebuilt.

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