What does the future hold for Alco locomotives?

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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What does the future hold for Alco locomotives?

Postby Alcoman » Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:22 pm

Recently; a shortline was looking for a special tool for a 539 engine and had some trouble getting it. A shortline in California contacted me looking for a fuel filter for a 6-251. ( I was able to steer him in the right direction)
A couple of short lines are recently giving up on the 244 engine. In all cases listed here, with exception on the 251 engine; Good used parts are getting harder to find. New parts for the 539 and 244 are just about impossible to find in the USA or Canada. Tools are also becoming hard to come by as tool companies no longer support the 539 or 244 tool lines.
So what does this mean for current owners of 539 and 244 engines? Does this mean the end of these engines some day as used parts supply dry up ? GE does not support older electrical systems anymore either found in Alco's S-1 thru 4's.
Or does anyone make new parts elsewhere in the World for these 2 engines? I am not aware of any.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Postby scharnhorst » Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:17 am

has anyone thought to check with any operations in Central & South America?, Asia, or Europe?

If anything and I hate to say it but if the shell is still in good shape what about repowering these units with a Caterpiller?


Bombadier's (ALCO) Auburn plant in Auburn, NY had an Auction a few weeks ago everything in the building and on the grounds sold!
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Postby pablo » Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:38 am

What was available at this auction? Was it a well-known auction?

And regarding ALCO stuff...you've always got India. Whether the 539 was built there ever...I don't know.

Don't forget the Navy, ours and others, and last of all...Russia

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Postby scharnhorst » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:57 am

pablo wrote:What was available at this auction? Was it a well-known auction?

And regarding ALCO stuff...you've always got India. Whether the 539 was built there ever...I don't know.

Don't forget the Navy, ours and others, and last of all...Russia

Dave Becker


The Stuff that was auctioned off at the old Bombadier/ALCO Complex in Auburn, NY was everything from tools to indoor shop equipment to the removel of the indoor track and floor cranes. I do not recall seeing anything about this Auction in the local paper or is it was even open to the Public or not.

India I think still builds ALCO Power units but don't know the models my self. I do not think Russia has anymore ALCO copys rolling around. They lost that factory when Ukraine broke away from the USSR. 60% of the Diesal Locomotives running in the former Soviet Republics were built in Ukraine. The Main Locomotive Factory in Kiev, Ukraine is in the Southwest corner of the City some place around the Airplane and Tractor Factory's! I have seen this complex and it is a monster. They also build Railroad cars in the same factory building as well. Takeing photos in that area is forbidden due to it being close to the airplane factory!

I can ask my Brother who's in the Navy if they still use or have ALCO's emploeed on Navy ships anymore.

Merchent ships on the Great Lakes only show 3 boats left 2 oilers and a tug with pure ALCO power still being used to move them around. One might want to check a place that I think is called the Brooklin Ship Yard which is a Grave site for old Tug boats being scraped one might want to look there?
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Postby alcodoc » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:02 pm

I don't have any trouble getting parts.

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Postby Alcoman » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:07 pm

So are there any sources for NEW 539 and 244 parts?
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My 2 cents..

Postby amtrakhogger » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:09 am

The problem with finding parts and tools is that there too small a market
to make a profit for only a handful of operating units that were built 50-60
years ago. If a shortline wanted to, they could have the parts and tools
custom made, but that in itself would be cost prohibitive for most shortlines with limited resources.
"I will stop at St. Avold."
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Navy 251s

Postby Kuyahoora Valley » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:07 am

Yes the Navy still operates 251s...we had two new ones (I think 251Fs)installed on my last ship, USS BATAAN, as auxiliary diesels. The ship was commissioned in 1998 and there have been three ships built since then of the same class. Only problem was the exhaust came out on the port side just under the flight deck and a nice black cloud of smoke would emerge when they were started. Was cool except when a Harrier or Helicopter was coming in to land. I never checked into the tools but normally ships are given a full set of tools to effect repairs underway and they are usually located in the operating spaces.

I also noticed several solicitations by US Army for ALCO 251 components for rebuilding engines on their dredges...one in October in Philadelphia. They wanted all new parts, not remanufactured.

It would be nice to try to capture the tools and spare parts as known operators phase out these engines. I asked one railroad who was phasing out a 244 locomotive and he said all the tools were kept by the old mechanics when they received the locomotive back in the 90s.
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Postby Alcoman » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:27 pm

Parts and tools for the 251 is not a problem. There are several sources of these.
The problem arises when needing parts and tools for a 539 and 244 engine.
They are harder to find then hens teeth!
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Postby Nova55 » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Its all about where you look..

On a side note, theres 2 539s on railswap now..
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Postby Alcoman » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:05 pm

Nova55 wrote:Its all about where you look..

On a side note, theres 2 539s on railswap now..


Used 539 parts are not a problem. I know 1/2 dozen places to get them. New parts on the other hand are like Hen's teeth.....
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Postby scharnhorst » Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:47 pm

When ALCO closed the Auburn, NY Plant in 1979 they donated a lot of stuff to the local BOCIES havey equipment class, and Machinest Class. I rember seeing many locomotive parts siting on shelves. I do not know what these parts were off the top of my head outher than what I was told. I do know that they had hundreds of Bars in storage which would have been used to make the railings. I do not know if they keeped any of this stuff when BOCIES moved out of its South Street campus in Auburn in September 2007 to there new Building on West Genesee St near Half Acre.
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Postby midwest fred » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:08 pm

Well since we all seem to keep saying that tools are tough to find, why not start a "database" of people and locations that have the equipment to maintain 539's and 244's? Seems to me somebody should do this if we all want to keep them running.....

Fred.
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Postby JKR251 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:10 pm

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Last edited by JKR251 on Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Alcoman » Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:58 pm

midwest fred wrote:Well since we all seem to keep saying that tools are tough to find, why not start a "database" of people and locations that have the equipment to maintain 539's and 244's? Seems to me somebody should do this if we all want to keep them running.....

Fred.

I am willing take that challenge. What information should this database contain?
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