• Do you miss the ALCOs?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Ken V

  by Ken V
(with apologies for stealing one of our member's names for the subject) Tonight I was playing one of my collection of railway video tapes in the background (plug: Graham Robinson's CN, Fall on the Dundas and Strathroy Subdivisions: ©GTVP, G-Train Video Productions, 1995) and found I was constantly rewinding the tape whenever I heard the distinctive sound of a MLW motor.

While most of the locomotive power in the video was GM, with no GE that I noticed, there were enough HR616, M636, etc. locos to (temporarily) satisfy the craving. While I am becoming somewhat sentimental about many other almost extinct locomotives (e.g. F9, GMD-1), I can't explain my attraction to these things -- I didn't know the difference between a GP-9 and a RS-18 until about the time the last MLW was retired from the CN and CP rosters, and if I saw a PA (which I probably did) I couldn't tell.

'Though I never really knew 'em, I do miss 'em. How 'bout you?

  by SRS125
There is a guy in Binghamton, NY that has MLW and ALCO Sound recordings taken on the CP Rail and Delaware & Hudson Railroads I don't have the address with me but will post his name and address for you if you are intrested along with the 2 tapes or CD's that have CP Rail sounds on them.

  by missthealcos
Absolutely!...things just haven't been the same since The Alcos were purged....they had been a fixture in Canada for so long. The evil GE's just don't do it....sad state of affairs when SD40-2's elicit excitement!

This must have been what it felt like at the end of steam....

  by SRS125
I my self love ALCO and MLW locomotives my grandfather worked for many years as a welder for ALCO in there Plant in AUBURN, NY. Hes long sents passed on now the past comes alive on occation when I dig threw the old boxes of papers and outher junk and stumble across blue prints and mics. parts and tools on occation. I have been putting all this stuff in one location in the house and hope to save it for when the local city museum dose a history section on Auburns Industrys so that I can display all of these idems from used at ALCO.

  by 2spot
You bet I miss the ALCos, Ken V. I'm starting to realize how few there really are now. It seems like BCs been almost purged. Like you, I didnt know one from another when there were many, now I'm not sure where to go to even see one. At least nearby theres the Alberni Pacific (ex CPR) RS3 with a chopped nose (a really ugly modification) after that, I dont know... Is there a list of ALCos/MLWs still in service in Canada? Bet its a short list.

  by SRS125
Ottawa Valley Railink has or had a few MLW's in North Bay, Ontario Canada. They may or may not be on the property last time I saw them was in July of 2003.
  by cp270019
Well, we have an all MLW/BBD fleet. Our Port Colborne Operation (PCHR) uses on regular power 2 ex-CN MLW S13's, and an S3 slug, while our Tillsonburg operation (STER) uses ex-CN BBD HR 412 3582. We recently acquired an ex-CPR S2 (ALCO) and another S13 (MLW), both from Marathon. 2 other units call Port COlborne home,and they are ex-CN S13 117, which is a parts unit only (no control stand, used as a B unit) and the only non Alco/MLW/BBD unit is a small GE 45t centercab from Stelco, which is usually used only as a plant switcher. Pics of all these can be seen on the Trillium Website @ www.trilliumrailway.com

I think I remember seeing a list of operating MLW/ALCO's in Canada somewhere, mostly on shortlines of course. Ontario Southland has a huge stable of Alco/MLW power scatter across Ontario, as well as a couple GM's. I don't know where a list is for them, other than in the "bible" (Trackside Guide). They have a bunch at Tillsonburg, as well as at Guelph Jct.


  by ENR3870
SRS125 wrote:Ottawa Valley Railink has or had a few MLW's in North Bay, Ontario Canada. They may or may not be on the property last time I saw them was in July of 2003.
Probably gone, RailAmerica has been purging its roster of all non-EMD 645 powered locomotives.

  by SnoozerZ49
I can close my eyes and still here the thundering approach of MLW engines pulling hard on freights through Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Boy they sure played the part of a brute well.

I had the opportunity to work with ALCO C-425s and although the ride was a bit like the deck of a Navy destroyer battling a North Atlantic gale you sure felt important sitting up in that big girl!

  by SRS125
seems like the only places where the old girls can be found are on short lines or scattered about Mexico, Cuba, and a few outher odd ball 3ed world countrys that don't have the money to buy or replace older locomotives with brand new locomotives. I can only wonder this how many will be left in active service around the world or here in the states with in the next 10-30 years or even 50 years? I know this is most likeley a domb question but Its only a thought.

  by SnoozerZ49
SR, it seems that NY state is a real haven for the ALCOs. There must be more of them in NY state than any other state in the US. I would bet that their may be more in NY than those left in Canada. Down my way we used to see a lot of CP RS-18s and C-424s come down on a B&M-CPR pool freight.

  by SRS125
I;m suprised with the number of ALCO's that have come home as well. I have the 3 tape set of thow Incredable ALCO's by Pentrex Video. Are New parts still avalabale for ALCO/MLW Locomotives. Or is the markit mostley used/referbished parts?

  by Alcoman
There are a number of places scattered around North America where one can buy Alco parts; both new and used.
The Alco 251 engine is still being made by FM/Alco and DLW in India.
Electrical gear is avaliable from GE and dealers that sell reconditioned material. In fact, there are some electrical parts that you can get from Radio Shack. Cutler-Hammer still makes switchgear for Alcos.

So getting parts is not difficult as long as you know where to get them.

  by SnoozerZ49
I wonder how long they can continue on? My experience switching with ALCO engines, I found them great engines as far as quickly loading and moving a cut of cars. They were much more agile than their looks and sounds indicated. They certainly moved quicker than EMD GP-9s which are great engines but did not load and move as quickly.

I would think with the right care these engines could continue on, as long as the replacement parts market exists.

  by ANDY117
Theres a count of all the total ALCOs in NY on the NY state railfan forum.