RS-2 rebuilds

Discussion in 'RS2' started by Larry F., Sep 30, 2014.

  1. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    Just a curiosity question...when the the RS-2s were sent to EMD for rebuilding, did they go en masse? A really curioity question...if they didn't go all at once does anyone know the order in which each unit was rebuilt? Thanks Larry F.
  2. kdedgin

    kdedgin Member

    According to the book "Frisco Diesel Power" by Louis Marre and John Harper RS-2 550 & 552 were repowered October 1960 and 551, 553 & 554 were repowered November 1959.

    Keith E.
  3. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    FYI, they were also de-tuned from the normal 567C/567D specs (GP9/GP18) to more closely match the 567B output of the earlier GP7's.

  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Whereas the rebuilt Frisco RS-2's had a certain "interest" to them. They were much sexier all-original and in the full stripe scheme. :D
  5. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    Well, then, I got my curiosity satisfied. Thanks guys! I agree that the original paint scheme was terrific...too bad they made it a GP-9. Larry F.
  6. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I'd always thought the Frisco had the market cornered on the repowered RS-2 units. Naturally, I was surprised to see this CRI&P video. It's about 1:50 in.

    I've learned my something new for today.

    Best Regards,

    Joe Lovett likes this.
  7. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I believe the Rock rebuilt 4 RS-2s at about the same time as the Frisco. They look to be more like GP-7s:
    I was working on a kitbash years ago of both Frisco and RI RS-2Ms. I should dig them out...
  8. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Seems like someone -Doug H., perhaps-wrote up an article on kitbashing one of these in the old FMIG newsletters. Will have to look through index. Will also look forward to seeing your work as always, Gary.

    Best Regards,
  9. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Didn't MKT also repower some RS-2's with EMD engines?

  10. Yes, I think theirs had dynamic brakes. CNW had them too I am almost positive.

    Big Dawg resins offers a couple version as aftermarket shells for the Atlas chassis. $35 or so.
  11. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I was working on mine, and Railroad Model Craftsman came out with an article by Richard Napper on modeling one. Here are mine:


    Rock Island on left, Frisco on right.
  12. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

  13. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Yup... but...

    Still like 'em best the way Alco made 'em...


    Lovin' me some Frisco RS-2's!

    Joe Lovett and modeltruckshop like this.
  14. Nice pic Andre
  15. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Thanks on the pic. (Steve? Have I got that right?)


    As for a repowered Alco RS: Speaking strictly about the aesthetics of same, it's all in the eyes of the beholder. Aesthetically I'm "okay" with a repower and can understand what the railroad that had the Alco repowered was trying to accomplish. (Misguided though it was.) However, I prefer the cleaner look of the Alco RS-2,3 original designs. Of course, this is simply a preference thing. And again, we're only talking aesthetics here.

    Now to the mechanical...

    I also understand that many railroads did not like their 244 powered Alco engines, yet others thrived on them. (Even sought them out on the used market.) I can't explain that, other than the possibility that some shops understood the maintenance/care of Alco's better than others. In the early 1980's, I ran my first Alco: A Green Bay and Western RS-3u (larger, more robust generator). The engine apparently still had its 244 engine. It was a beast. One of (if not the) best switch engines I've ever throttled. (Even though it was technically a "road" switcher.) It was cat-like in its ability to start and stop and stout as a mule, and could kick (cars) like one, too. Far better than ANY EMD switch, or road, engine I've ever had to handle as a switcher to date (and that ranges from SW's all the way up to SD's and most things between.) As far as I know, the ex-GBW engine I ran is still in service. (I would have to dig out my slides to see which one it actually was.)

    Further, I lived with Alco's for the last 11 years of my railroading career, and though I was in 251 powered engines, I learned that Alco's are built like a brick crap house. In the cab, other than the screw-on Bakelite handle (throttle), there is ZERO plastic to be found in a second generation Alco. Everything is heavy gauge steel or brass. Alco built engines like they were expected to be used forever. So far, many are living up to that. (The Alco's I ran at the last were over 50 years old and still getting it done daily.)

    SO, even though my previous exposure in railroading (since about 1970) was almost all EMD (and make no mistake, I have a deep appreciation for 1st and early 2nd generation EMD), I am thoroughly impressed with the products of Alco. Given the type of care they are unique to, they will reward you with decades of good service. When I climbed out of an Alco cab for the last time (April 20, 2018 ), the engine that I had that day had been in service on the rails since 1963. That's 55 years in service switching or blowing its guts out hauling too much tonnage on grades of up to 2.69%. (The ruling grade of the A&M.) So, it was with deep respect (that was duly earned), that I took one last shot as a railroad employee of one of the Alco's that helped me earn my living for over a decade of my railroading career, and thus earn a nice retirement, and here's that picture:


    A person really has to run an Alco for a while to fully understand them, and truly appreciate them. Deep respect from this old rail for the boys of Schenectady.

  16. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    Really like both sides of this thread!
    I've always liked the RS-1's, 2's in all sorts of original and modified versions.
    Have to chuckle a little here ... The KATY had some that looked as if the late, great Dr. Frakendiesel put them together!
    Excellent photos, Andre!
  17. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Very fine photo, indeed Andre! #50's lineage stretches back to Lehigh & Hudson River, according to one source. Maroon looks great, but I really did like its original sky blue and gray scheme as well. It looked especially good in person along the Lehigh River headed past Easton, PA to Phillipsburg, NJ. It is great to learn you "graduated from employment" from such a good-looking locomotive!
  18. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Once the air-cooled turbo was replaced with a water-cooled turbo, the major problem with the Alco 244 was solved. They still suffered from crankshaft and piston problems, but a good maintenance program helped minimize that.

    The Frisco didn't mind keeping the new 567 rated at 1500HP. Mated better with the GP7's that way. I believe EMD used a GP18 hood for the repowering project, not a GP9.

    Agree with Andre - the best looking Alco's were the originals. I've always been a big fan of the way the FA1-FB1 units looked, as well as the RS-1, RS-2 and RS-3 road switchers, plus the S-1-S-4 yard switchers. No telling how many of the S-1 - S-4's are still running.

  19. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    I intended to dance for joy out in the parking lot. Instead I was surprised that while I was in the cab alone, packing up my grip to leave for the last time, I actually got a lump in my throat.

    It didn't help when later the Trainmaster got choked up saying his good bye's.

    In all, there was a whole lot more sorrow within me than I expected.

    However, when railroading is in your blood, it's a part of your life, so I should have expected such.

    Understand that I'm not talking about LIKING railroads in a hobby sense. I'm talking about the inward thing that craves RAILROADING. And RAILROADING is about the only thing you want to do with your life. There is a difference.

    For me and my life, railroading was one of two things that the Good Lord purposed in my life for me to do at the times appointed. My love of railroading is, well, God given. It's part of what I am, and has been since before I can remember. About 30 of my working years were in full time ministry w/part time railroading as an avocation. (With a bit over 20 of those years being at one church.) My final working years I was a full time railroader with a part-time avocation of ministry.

    Earlier in my life, I didn't understand that my railroading was going to be the means whereby God provided for me and mine a good retirement at the end of my working career. At first I thought railroading was to be my life long vocation. I simply could NOT get hired during my single or married years, because a complete working CAREER of railroading was not His purpose for my life. Instead, there was one church I was to pastor, and all my other ministry was prepping for that one assignment. Once that assignment was completed, THEN it was time for me to go full time railroading in order to provide the needed retirement resources for the wife and I.

    I'm very thankful that in my early twenties I decided to let the Good Lord direct my life and not me. The challenging part was following!


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