• Best ALCo Unit

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

Moderator: Alcoman

  by Centurylover68
What is your favorite Alco or what one do you think was operationally the best. My favorite passenger unit:DL109
My favorite freight unit: C420

  by mxdata
Favorite that got built or that didn't get built? I thought the concept for the PA-styled unit powered by the nuclear reactor was a pretty nifty design.

  by AmtrakFan
An Alco PA1 and C424.

  by MEC407
C430 and C636
Last edited by MEC407 on Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by Centurylover68
The topic is Alco diesel locomotives built for the US and Canada

  by MEC407
I also love the C415.

My favorite "non-ALCO" ALCOs are the M420W/M420R, M420TR, M630W, HR412, and HR616.
Last edited by MEC407 on Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by txbritt


  by Sam Damon
Oh, what the hay.

Passenger: DL-109.

Freight: C430.
  by H.F.Malone
The RS-3, of course!!!! Both passenger and freight.

  by 2spot
My favorite ALCo would be the C-424, favorite MLW is the M420w.

  by Alcoman
Thes Best Alco? built by Alco?
The S-2 is # 1
The RS-3 # 2
The RS-11 # 3
The C420 is # 4
  by Allen Hazen
Centurylover68's post initiating this string mentions both "favorite" and "operationally best," but there is a separate "What is your favorite Alco locomotive?" string. I think discussion on this string will be more interesting if we keep it focused on "best," where there are some objective grounds that can be given to support a candidate locomotive model.
-- So, what do I mean by "best"? As a first approximation: the locomotive model a rational railroad manager would be happiest to have on the roster. That's a bit of an oversimplification, though, for at least two reasons.
---Reason 1: By the 1960s it was pretty clear that Alco was on the way out, and no manager wants "orphans" on the roster. So let's stipulate: the model a rational railroad manager imagined to be ignorant of the future of the locomotive industry would be hapiest to have. (If you're familiar with John Rawls's "A Theory of Justice" in political philosophy: this is his idea, asking what a rational person would choose from behind a "veil of ignorance"!)
---Reason 2: Later models usually had improvements over earlier, so if we don't specify WHEN the rational railroad manager is choosing, the question gets biased in fqvor of the C430 and C636! So: that the rational railroad manager would...in comparison to other locomotive types (from Alco and other builders) available at the same time.
There's nothing about being a rational railroad manager that means one HAS to be insensitive to aesthetics! Even on a strict commercial basis, the LOOKS of a locomotive aren't totally irrelevant: a railroad's locomotives are among its most visible assets, and their appearance is surely of SOME importance for public relations: both external (potential customers and general public) and internal (employee morale). But aesthetic criteria would be among the LEAST important (and also the hardest to avoid subjectivity in), so I would recommend that this string stay away from them. (Besides, from a p.r. standpoint, it's probably more important that the locomotives be CLEAN than that they have distinctive sheet-metal work.)
--So: What's your choice? and WHY?

  by N. Todd
As far as "operationally best", here's my opinion:
Switchers: T-6
Road: C-420 or C-636
  by Matt Langworthy
For "operational best" Alcos- I'd have to choose the S-1/S-2 switchers and Centuries. Many of each type are still operating and in some cases are probably far older than the crews operating them. For example, LAL uses an S-2 built in 1941, while its subsidiary B&H has a pair of S-1s built in 1950. Rugged engines, indeed- especially when one compares the Centuries to GE's contemporary U25B and U25C.

Centuries and early S switchers also are very pleasing aesthetically, IMO. They were among the 1st engines to catch my eye as a child, and the love affair never ended.

PAs and RS-3s deserve honorable mention.

  by Ol' Loco Guy
I kinda dig that gas turbine job with the AC turbine and FA/PA styling. :-)