will be thrilled with this Alco RS-1 road switcher made by
weighs in at four pounds and comes in versions that will
operate on two-rail DC or three-rail AC layouts. Models
with Lionel TrainMaster command control and RailSounds 4.0
are also offered for AC systems.
model is a replica of the first road switcher, introduced
by Alco in March 1941. The first two prototypes were built
at the request of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
RR for a dual-purpose locomotive that could serve in light
road service during the day and do yard switching at
night. Alco combined its popular 1,000-hp switcher with a
longer frame and road trucks to create the smooth riding
road switcher started a revolution in locomotive design
that was copied by all diesel-electric locomotive
builders. Alco eventually built 623 RS-1s for 38 railroads
and dozens of industrial customers during its 19 years of
production from 1941 to 1960. Many remained in use for
more than 50 years.
RS-1 closely matches the prototype drawing published in
the Model Railroader
Cyclopedia: Volume 2, Diesel Locomotives.
model has a well-detailed body and a cab made of molded
plastic with separately applied wire grab irons, piping,
and lift rings. The all-metal handrails and stanchions are
also separately applied parts. Some models include steam
generator details for passenger service as appropriate for
the road name.
Much of the
model’s weight is provided by a heavy die-cast frame
that includes the pilots and fuel tank. Inside you’ll
find a pair of vertical can motors with flywheels (one for
each truck), a smoke unit, and a large printed-circuit
two-rail sample is wired with a removable secondary PC
board so the model can be converted to Digital Command
Control. A pair of plugs is provided to connect a DCC
decoder (not supplied) to the locomotive’s PC board.
These plugs have wires color coded to match the NMRA
Recommended Practice 9.1.1 color coding so they can be
connected to a standard decoder. Atlas includes an
instruction sheet covering this conversion.
rides on well-detailed die-cast Association of America
Railroads type B trucks with separately applied brake
cylinders, brake chains, and other details. It has
properly gauged nickel silver RP25 contour wheels. Each
motor drives an outboard axle, and five spur gears
transmit the rotation to the second axle on each truck.
to the DC model, Atlas is making two other versions that
include the Lionel TrainMaster command control and
RailSound digital sound system. A review of these models
is being published in the September 2003 issue of Classic
Toy Trains magazine.
sample RS-1 started and ran smoothly and quietly
throughout its speed range. However, its 150 scale mph top
speed was well above the prototype’s 60 mph. The
18.8-ounce draw-bar pull is equivalent t to 56
free-rolling cars on straight and level track.
die-cast scale magnetic knuckle couplers are mounted at
the proper height in insulated coupler boxes at each end.
came neatly painted for the Long Island RR with the
steam-generator stack on the short end (for passenger
service). The lettering is clear and sharp. The model also
has a painted crew inside the cab.
saw service on railroads all over the country, so I’m
sure this model will be popular with lots of O scale
modelers of the steam-to-diesel transition period. – Jim