American Locomotive Company

American Locomotive Company

Overview
The American Locomotive Company, often shortened to ALCO or Alco (or incorrectly ALCo), was a builder of railroad locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

The company was created in 1901 from the merger of several smaller locomotive manufacturers:
  • Brooks Locomotive Works
    Brooks Locomotive Works
    The Brooks Locomotive Works manufactured steam railroad locomotives and freight cars from 1869 through its merger into the American Locomotive Company until 1934.-History:...

     in Dunkirk, New York
  • Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works
    Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works
    The Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works, located in Paterson, New Jersey, manufactured steam railroad locomotives from 1852 until it was merged with seven other manufacturers to form American Locomotive Company in 1901...

     in Paterson, New Jersey
    Paterson, New Jersey
    Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023...

  • Dickson Manufacturing Company
    Dickson Manufacturing Company
    Dickson Manufacturing Company was a manufacturer of boilers and steam engines used in various industries but most known in railway steam locomotives...

     in Scranton, Pennsylvania
    Scranton, Pennsylvania
    Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

  • Manchester Locomotive Works
    Manchester Locomotive Works
    Manchester Locomotive Works was a manufacturing company located in Manchester, New Hampshire, that built steam locomotives in the 19th century. The first locomotive they built was for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in March 1855. In 1901, Manchester and seven other locomotive...

     in Manchester, New Hampshire
    Manchester, New Hampshire
    Manchester is the largest city in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, the tenth largest city in New England, and the largest city in northern New England, an area comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It is in Hillsborough County along the banks of the Merrimack River, which...

  • Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works
    Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works
    The Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works was a railroad equipment manufacturing company founded by Andrew Carnegie and T.N. Miller in 1865. It was located in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.It repaired an early locomotive known as Bausman's Rhinoceros in April 1867....

     in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

  • Rhode Island Locomotive Works
    Rhode Island Locomotive Works
    Rhode Island Locomotive Works was a steam locomotive manufacturing company of the 19th century located in Providence, Rhode Island. The factory produced more than 3,400 locomotives between 1867 and 1906, when the plants locomotive production was shut down...

     in Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

  • Richmond Locomotive Works
    Richmond Locomotive Works
    Richmond Locomotive Works was a steam locomotive manufacturing firm located in Richmond, Virginia. It began operation in 1887 and produced approximately 4,500 engines during its 40 years of operation...

     in Richmond, Virginia
    Richmond, Virginia
    Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

  • Schenectady Locomotive Works
    Schenectady Locomotive Works
    The Schenectady Locomotive Works built railroad locomotives from its founding in 1848 through its merger into American Locomotive Company in 1901.After the 1901 merger, ALCO made the Schenectady plant its headquarters in Schenectady, New York....

     in Schenectady, New York
    Schenectady, New York
    Schenectady is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135...



The new company was headquartered in Schenectady and eventually closed all the other locomotive manufacturing plants, except for the main plants in Schenectady, New York, and Montreal, Quebec.

In 1904, control of the Locomotive and Machine Company of Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Quebec, was acquired; this company was eventually renamed the Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 (MLW), and after over 50 years of closely working together, was to ultimately continue locomotive manufacturing operations after the U.S.
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Encyclopedia
The American Locomotive Company, often shortened to ALCO or Alco (or incorrectly ALCo), was a builder of railroad locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Early history


The company was created in 1901 from the merger of several smaller locomotive manufacturers:
  • Brooks Locomotive Works
    Brooks Locomotive Works
    The Brooks Locomotive Works manufactured steam railroad locomotives and freight cars from 1869 through its merger into the American Locomotive Company until 1934.-History:...

     in Dunkirk, New York
  • Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works
    Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works
    The Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works, located in Paterson, New Jersey, manufactured steam railroad locomotives from 1852 until it was merged with seven other manufacturers to form American Locomotive Company in 1901...

     in Paterson, New Jersey
    Paterson, New Jersey
    Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023...

  • Dickson Manufacturing Company
    Dickson Manufacturing Company
    Dickson Manufacturing Company was a manufacturer of boilers and steam engines used in various industries but most known in railway steam locomotives...

     in Scranton, Pennsylvania
    Scranton, Pennsylvania
    Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

  • Manchester Locomotive Works
    Manchester Locomotive Works
    Manchester Locomotive Works was a manufacturing company located in Manchester, New Hampshire, that built steam locomotives in the 19th century. The first locomotive they built was for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in March 1855. In 1901, Manchester and seven other locomotive...

     in Manchester, New Hampshire
    Manchester, New Hampshire
    Manchester is the largest city in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, the tenth largest city in New England, and the largest city in northern New England, an area comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It is in Hillsborough County along the banks of the Merrimack River, which...

  • Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works
    Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works
    The Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works was a railroad equipment manufacturing company founded by Andrew Carnegie and T.N. Miller in 1865. It was located in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.It repaired an early locomotive known as Bausman's Rhinoceros in April 1867....

     in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

  • Rhode Island Locomotive Works
    Rhode Island Locomotive Works
    Rhode Island Locomotive Works was a steam locomotive manufacturing company of the 19th century located in Providence, Rhode Island. The factory produced more than 3,400 locomotives between 1867 and 1906, when the plants locomotive production was shut down...

     in Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

  • Richmond Locomotive Works
    Richmond Locomotive Works
    Richmond Locomotive Works was a steam locomotive manufacturing firm located in Richmond, Virginia. It began operation in 1887 and produced approximately 4,500 engines during its 40 years of operation...

     in Richmond, Virginia
    Richmond, Virginia
    Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

  • Schenectady Locomotive Works
    Schenectady Locomotive Works
    The Schenectady Locomotive Works built railroad locomotives from its founding in 1848 through its merger into American Locomotive Company in 1901.After the 1901 merger, ALCO made the Schenectady plant its headquarters in Schenectady, New York....

     in Schenectady, New York
    Schenectady, New York
    Schenectady is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135...



The new company was headquartered in Schenectady and eventually closed all the other locomotive manufacturing plants, except for the main plants in Schenectady, New York, and Montreal, Quebec.

In 1904, control of the Locomotive and Machine Company of Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Quebec, was acquired; this company was eventually renamed the Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 (MLW), and after over 50 years of closely working together, was to ultimately continue locomotive manufacturing operations after the U.S. parent company had ended production in 1969. The next year, 1905, Alco purchased Rogers Locomotive Works
Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works
Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works was a 19th-century manufacturer of railroad steam locomotives based in Paterson, in Passaic County, New Jersey, in the United States. It built more than six thousand steam locomotives for railroads around the world. Most railroads in 19th-century United States...

 of Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023...

, the second largest locomotive manufacturer in the U.S. behind Baldwin Locomotive Works
Baldwin Locomotive Works
The Baldwin Locomotive Works was an American builder of railroad locomotives. It was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, originally, and later in nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Although the company was very successful as a producer of steam locomotives, its transition to the production of...

.

Steam locomotives



Alco was the second-largest steam locomotive builder in the United States (after Baldwin
Baldwin Locomotive Works
The Baldwin Locomotive Works was an American builder of railroad locomotives. It was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, originally, and later in nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Although the company was very successful as a producer of steam locomotives, its transition to the production of...

), producing over 75,000 locomotives. Among these were a large number of well-known locomotives. Railroads that favored Alco products included the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, the New Haven Railroad, the New York Central Railroad
New York Central Railroad
The New York Central Railroad , known simply as the New York Central in its publicity, was a railroad operating in the Northeastern United States...

, the Union Pacific
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

 and the Southern Pacific
Southern Pacific Railroad
The Southern Pacific Transportation Company , earlier Southern Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific Company, and usually simply called the Southern Pacific or Espee, was an American railroad....

. Alco was known for its steam locomotives of which the 4-6-4
4-6-4
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 4-6-4 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and four trailing wheels on two axles .Other equivalent classifications are:UIC classification:...

 Hudson
NYC Hudson
Hudson was the name given to the 4-6-4 steam locomotive wheel arrangement by the New York Central Railroad which was the first to use locomotives of this type in North America.-History:...

 and the 4-8-4
4-8-4
Under the Whyte notation classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-4 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and four trailing wheels on two axles .Other equivalent classifications are:UIC classification: 2D2...

 Niagara
NYC Niagara
The New York Central Railroad Niagara was a type of steam locomotive named after the Niagara River and Falls.They were express mixed traffic locomotives with a wheel arrangement of 4-8-4 in the Whyte notation....

 built for the New York Central and the 4-6-6-4
4-6-6-4
In Whyte notation, a 4-6-6-4 is a railroad steam locomotive that has four leading wheels followed by six coupled driving wheels, a second set of six driving wheels and four trailing wheels.Other equivalent classifications are:...

 (Challenger) built for the Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

 were fine examples. Alco built many of the biggest locomotives ever constructed, including Union Pacific's Big Boy
Union Pacific Big Boy
Big Boy was the name of the Union Pacific Railroad's 4000-class 4-8-8-4 articulated steam locomotives, built between 1941 and 1944 by American Locomotive Company...

 (4-8-8-4
4-8-8-4
In the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives by wheel arrangement, a 4-8-8-4 is a locomotive with a four-wheel leading truck, two sets of eight driving wheels, and a four-wheel trailing truck.Other equivalent classifications are:...

).

Alco also built the first steam locomotive in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 to use roller bearings: Timken 1111
Timken 1111
Timken 1111, also called the Timken Four Aces, was a 4-8-4 steam locomotive built in 1930 by American Locomotive Company to serve as a demonstration unit for new roller bearings produced by the Timken Roller Bearing Company...

, a 4-8-4 commissioned in 1930 by Timken Roller Bearing Company
Timken Roller Bearing Company
The Timken Roller Bearing Company was one of the first to introduce roller bearings for railroad cars. Railroad cars owned and operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway were some of the first to use roller bearings rather than "oil waste journal" boxes.Also, the ATSF was the first...

 was used for 100000 miles (160,934 km) on fifteen major United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 railroads before it was purchased in 1933 by Northern Pacific Railroad.


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, ALCO produced many 2-10-0 Decapods
2-10-0
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-10-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, ten powered and coupled driving wheels on five axles, and no trailing wheels...

 for the USSR. Many of these were undelivered at the end of the war, and 10 of these were sold to Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 in 1947. One, ALCO builder's no. # 75214, is preserved at the Finnish Railway Museum
Finnish Railway Museum
The Finnish Railway Museum is located in Hyvinkää, Finland. It was originally founded in 1898 and located in Helsinki. The museum was moved to Hyvinkää in 1974.The museum is on the original station and yard site of the Hanko–Hyvinkää railway...

.

Though the dual-service 4-8-4 steam locomotive had shown great promise, 1948 saw the last steam locomotives erected in Schenectady. These were the seven A-2a class 9400-series Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad
Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad
The Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad , also known as the "Little Giant", was formed on May 11, 1875. Company headquarters were located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The line connected Pittsburgh in the east with Youngstown, Ohio at nearby Haselton, Ohio in the west and Connellsville, ...

 2-8-4
2-8-4
In the Whyte notation, a 2-8-4 is a railroad steam locomotive that has one unpowered leading axle followed by four powered driving axles and two unpowered trailing axles. This locomotive type is most often referred to as a Berkshire, though the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway used the name Kanawha for...

 "Berkshires". Their tenders, however had to be subcontracted to Lima Locomotive Works
Lima Locomotive Works
Lima Locomotive Works was an American firm that manufactured railroad locomotives from the 1870s through the 1950s. The company took the most distinctive part of its name from its main shops location in Lima, Ohio. The shops were located between the Baltimore & Ohio's Cincinnati-Toledo main line...

, as Alco's tender shop had been closed, and the building converted to diesel locomotive manufacture.

Joseph Burroughs Ennis (1879-1955) was a senior vice president between 1917 and 1947 and was responsible for the design of many of the locomotives manufactured.

Alco automobiles


The company diversified into the automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 business in 1906, producing French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Berliet
Berliet
Berliet was a French manufacturer of automobiles, buses, trucks and other utility vehicles, based in Vénissieux, outside of Lyon, France.-Early history:...

 designs under license. Production was located at ALCO's Rhode Island Locomotive Works
Rhode Island Locomotive Works
Rhode Island Locomotive Works was a steam locomotive manufacturing company of the 19th century located in Providence, Rhode Island. The factory produced more than 3,400 locomotives between 1867 and 1906, when the plants locomotive production was shut down...

 in Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

. Two years later, the Berliet license was abandoned, and the company began to produce its own designs instead. Alco cars won the Vanderbilt Cup
Vanderbilt Cup
The Vanderbilt Cup was the first major trophy in American auto racing.-History:An international event, it was founded by William Kissam Vanderbilt II in 1904 and first held at a course set out in Nassau County on Long Island, New York. The announcement that the race was to be held caused...

 in both 1909 and 1910 and also competed in the Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis 500
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, also known as the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Miles at Indianapolis, the Indy 500 or The 500, is an American automobile race, held annually, typically on the last weekend in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana...

 in 1911, but they had less success in sales, abandoning automobile manufacture in 1913. The Alco automobile story is chiefly notable for starting the automobile career of Walter P. Chrysler, the plant manager, who left for Buick
Buick
Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

 in 1911 and subsequently founded the Chrysler Corporation
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 in 1925.

Diesel-electric locomotives


For a list of Alco diesel locomotive models, see List of ALCO diesel locomotives.


Although it was strongly committed to the steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

, Alco produced the first commercially successful diesel-electric locomotive in 1924 in a consortium with General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 (electrical equipment) and Ingersoll-Rand (diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

). This locomotive was sold to the Central Railroad of New Jersey
Central Railroad of New Jersey
The Central Railroad of New Jersey , commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines or CNJ, was a Class I railroad with origins in the 1830s, lasting until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail with the other bankrupt railroads of the Northeastern United States...

, and subsequent locomotives were built for a number of railroads including the Long Island Rail Road
Long Island Rail Road
The Long Island Rail Road or LIRR is a commuter rail system serving the length of Long Island, New York. It is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, serving about 81.5 million passengers each year. Established in 1834 and having operated continuously since then, it is the oldest US...

 and the Chicago and North Western Railway
Chicago and North Western Railway
The Chicago and North Western Transportation Company was a Class I railroad in the Midwest United States. It was also known as the North Western. The railroad operated more than of track as of the turn of the 20th century, and over of track in seven states before retrenchment in the late 1970s...

.

The company bought an engine manufacturer, McIntosh & Seymour Diesel Engine Company, in 1929 and henceforth produced its own diesel engines, although electrical equipment was always from GE. Alco was in the 1930s the pre-eminent diesel locomotive builder in the United States, but the General Motors Electro-Motive Division took over that position with aggressive marketing, a ready supply of development capital from its parent company, and the intervention of the war years. During that troubled time, Alco was allocated the construction of diesel switching locomotives, a handful of ALCO DL-109
ALCO DL-109
The ALCO DL-109 is one of six models of A1A-A1A diesel locomotives built to haul passenger trains by the American Locomotive Company between December, 1939 and April, 1945...

 dual-service engines and its proven steam designs, whereas EMD was allocated the construction of mainline road freight diesels (the production of straight passenger-service engines was prohibited by the War Production Board). This was because Alco's revolutionary RS-1
ALCO RS-1
The ALCO RS-1 was a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by Alco-GE between 1941 and 1953 and the American Locomotive Company from 1953 to 1960. This model has the distinction of having the longest production run of any diesel locomotive for the North American market.The carbody configuration of...

 roadswitcher was selected by the U.S. Army for a vital task. The Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

's capital ships, led by the Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

, and the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 were threatening Allied shipping to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 at the port of Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

 from bases in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. This was, at the time, the Soviet lifeline. Thanks to successes in Africa, the U.S. was able to rehabilitate the Trans-Iranian Railway
Trans-Iranian Railway
The Trans-Iranian Railway was a major railway building project started in 1927 and completed in 1938, under the direction of the Persian monarch, Reza Shah, and entirely with indigenous capital. It links the capital Tehran with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea...

 and extend it to the USSR, and the power they chose for it was the RSD-1
ALCO RSD-1
The ALCO RSD-1 was a diesel-electric locomotive built by American Locomotive Company . This model was a road switcher type rated at and rode on three-axle trucks, having a C-C wheel arrangement...

, a six-axle, six traction motor
Traction motor
Traction motor refers to an electric motor providing the primary rotational torque of a machine, usually for conversion into linear motion ....

 variant of the light Alco. Not only was the company prevented from selling them to mainline U.S. railroads, the thirteen RS-1s that had already been built were commandeered for Iranian duty and converted to RSD-1. This gave EMD a lead in the market that could not be overcome. Also a factor was that Alco's diesel locomotives were competing with its own steam locomotive products, while EMD had no such overlap. In 1940, Alco and GE entered into a partnership to build diesels under the name Alco-GE
Alco-GE
Alco-GE was a partnership between the American Locomotive Company and General Electric that lasted from 1940 to 1953. Their main competitor was EMD. Under this arrangement, Alco produced the locomotive body and prime mover, and GE supplied the electrical gear...

, an arrangement that lasted until 1953.
By 1948, Alco possessed 40% of the diesel locomotive market. PA
ALCO PA
ALCO PA refers to a family of A1A-A1A diesel locomotives built to haul passenger trains that were built in Schenectady, New York in the United States by a partnership of the American Locomotive Company and General Electric between June, 1946 and December, 1953...

 and FA
ALCO FA
The ALCO FA was a family of B-B diesel locomotives designed to haul freight trains. The locomotives were built by a partnership of ALCO and GE in Schenectady, New York, between January 1946 and May 1959. They were of a cab unit design, and both cab-equipped lead FA and cabless booster FB models...

-type road units, as well as the ubiquitous S series (660
ALCO S-1 and S-3
The ALCO S-1 and S-3 were switcher diesel-electric locomotives produced by ALCO and their Canadian subsidiary Montreal Locomotive Works . Basically, the two locomotives differed only in trucks, with the S-1 using ALCO's own Blunt trucks, and the S-3 riding on standard AAR type A switcher trucks...

 and 1000
ALCO S-2 and S-4
The ALCO S2 and S4 were switcher diesel locomotives produced by ALCO and Canadian licensee Montreal Locomotive Works . Basically, the two locomotives differed only in trucks, with the S-2 using ALCO's own Blunt trucks, and the S-4 riding on standard AAR type A switcher trucks. Both were powered...

 horsepower) switchers and RS series (1000, 1500
ALCO RS-2
The ALCO RS-2 is a , B-B road switcher railroad locomotive. It was manufactured by American Locomotive Company from October 1946 to May 1950, and 378 were produced — 369 by the American Locomotive Company, and 9 by Montreal Locomotive Works in Canada. Eight of the ALCO RS-2s were exported to...

, and 1600
ALCO RS-3
The ALCO RS-3 is a 1,600 hp , B-B road switcher railroad locomotive. It was manufactured by American Locomotive Company and Montreal Locomotive Works from May 1950 to August 1956, and 1,418 were produced — 1,265 for American railroads, 98 for Canadian railroads, 48 for Brazilian and 7...

 horsepower) road switcher
Road switcher
A road switcher is a type of railroad locomotive used for delivering or picking up cars outside of a railroad yard. Since the road switcher must work some distance away from a yard, it needs to be able to operate at road speeds, it must also have high-visibility while it is switching, and it must...

s represented Alco well in those years of motive power transition. Much of their success in this period can be tied to their pioneering RS locomotives, representing the first modern road-switcher, a configuration
Hood unit
A hood unit, in railroad terminology, is a body style for diesel and electric locomotives. On a hood unit, the body of the locomotive is less than full-width for most of the locomotive's length, with walkways on the outside of the locomotive. In contrast, a cab unit has a full-width carbody for...

 which has long outlasted Alco. General Electric was represented in the electrical gear of every locomotive produced by Alco. The complete conversion to diesels, unfortunately, did not mean that Alco was to maintain this production standing.

Nevertheless, the company held the number two position in the market until General Electric
GE Transportation Systems
GE Transportation, formerly known as GE Rail, is a division of General Electric. The organization manufactures equipment for the railroad, marine, mining, drilling and energy generation industries. It is based in Erie, Pennsylvania. Locomotives are assembled at the Erie plant, while engine...

, dissatisfied with the results of its partnership with Alco, entered the domestic road diesel locomotive market itself in 1956. GE quickly took the number two position from Alco, and eventually eclipsed GM-EMD in overall production. Despite continual innovation in its designs (the first AC/DC transmission among others), Alco gradually succumbed to its competition, in which its former ally, General Electric, was becoming an important element. A new line of "Century" locomotives including the C630 (the first AC/DC transmission), the C430 and the C636, the first 3,600 horsepower (2.7 MW) locomotive, failed to keep the enterprise going. Third place in the market proved to be an impossible position; Alco products had neither the market position or reputation for reliability of GM-EMD's products nor the financing muscle and customer support of GE, and profits were not forthcoming. Alco gradually ceased locomotive production, shipping its last two locomotives, a pair of T-6
ALCO T-6
The Alco T6 was a diesel-electric locomotive of the switcher type rated at , that rode on two-axle trucks, having a B-B wheel arrangement....

 switchers to the Newburgh and South Shore Railroad
Newburgh and South Shore Railroad
The Newburg & South Shore Railroad is a railroad that operates in Cleveland, Ohio. The line operates on 13 miles of railroad track. It was originally built to service U.S. Steel mills in Cleveland. The line is owned by Omnitrax....

 (#1016 and #1017) in January 1969. Alco closed its Schenectady locomotive plant later that year, and sold its designs to the Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.

Diversification


Although its fling with automobiles was ultimately unsuccessful, Alco diversified into other areas with greater success. During World War II, Alco built munitions for the war effort, in addition to locomotive production; this continued throughout the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. After the Korean War, Alco entered the oil production equipment and nuclear power plant markets, the latter also starting the company's involvement in the heat exchanger
Heat exchanger
A heat exchanger is a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. The media may be separated by a solid wall, so that they never mix, or they may be in direct contact...

 business.

In 1955, the company was renamed Alco Products, Inc. because locomotives were no longer its predominant product.

Purchase and division


The company was purchased in 1964 by the Worthington Corporation, which merged with the Studebaker
Studebaker
Studebaker Corporation was a United States wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the...

 corporation in 1967 to form Studebaker-Worthington, Inc. (SWI), Alco remaining a wholly owned subsidiary. Former divisions of Alco became semi-independent subsidiaries in 1968.

After the termination of locomotive production in 1969, the locomotive designs (but not the engine development rights) were transferred to the Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

, who continued their manufacture. The diesel engine business was sold to White Motor Corporation in 1970, who formed them into White Industrial Power. In 1977 White Industrial Power was sold to the British The General Electric Company plc
The General Electric Company plc
The General Electric Company or GEC was a major British-based industrial conglomerate, involved in consumer and defence electronics, communications and engineering. The company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It was renamed Marconi Corporation plc in 1999 after its defence arm,...

 (GEC) who renamed the unit Alco Power, Inc. The business was subsequently sold to the Fairbanks-Morse
Fairbanks-Morse
Fairbanks Morse and Company was a manufacturing company in the late 19th and early 20th century. Originally a weighing scale manufacturer, it later diversified into pumps, engines, windmills, locomotives and industrial supplies until it was merged in 1958...

 corporation, who continue to manufacture Alco-designed engines in addition to their own design.

The heat exchanger business continued as Alco Products, Inc. for a time. At some later point, some of the heat exchanger products were manufactured by the Alco Products Division of Smithco Engineering, Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma (Smithco). In January, 1983, certain assets of the Alco Products Division of Smithco, namely double-pipe and hairpin-type heat exchanger products sold under the "Alco Twin" name, mark and style were sold in an asset sale by Smithco to Bos-Hatten, Inc., a subsidiary of Nitram Energy, Inc. (Nitram). Following the sale of these assets Smithco remained in business, manufacturing other heat exchange products. In 1985, the assets acquired from Smithco were assigned by Bos-Hatten, Inc. to its parent, Nitram. Nitram manufactures "Alco Twin" double-pipe and hairpin-type heat exchangers through Nitram's unincorporated Alco Products Division.

Epilogue



After the closure of Alco's Schenectady works, locomotives to Alco designs continued to be manufactured in Canada by Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

, and in Australia by A. E. Goodwin
A. E. Goodwin
A. E. Goodwin was an Australian heavy engineering firm, which produced railway locomotives and rolling stock, as well as roadmaking machinery....

. In addition, Alco-derived locomotives form the major chunk of diesel power on the Indian Railways
Indian Railways
Indian Railways , abbreviated as IR , is a departmental undertaking of Government of India, which owns and operates most of India's rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India....

. Many thousands of locomotives with Alco lineage are in regular mainline use everywhere in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and around 100 new locos are added every year.

The ALCO 251
ALCO 251
The Alco 251 diesel engine was developed by the American Locomotive Company to replace the 244 and 539. The 251 was developed to be used in diesel locomotives, as a marine power plant in ships and as a stationary power generator.-Development:...

 diesel engine is still manufactured by Fairbanks-Morse
Fairbanks-Morse
Fairbanks Morse and Company was a manufacturing company in the late 19th and early 20th century. Originally a weighing scale manufacturer, it later diversified into pumps, engines, windmills, locomotives and industrial supplies until it was merged in 1958...

 of Beloit, Wisconsin
Beloit, Wisconsin
Beloit is a city in Rock County, Wisconsin, United States. As of the 2010 census, Beloit had a population of 36,966. The greater Beloit area is home to more than 91,000 residents.-Claim to fame:...

, a company which also manufactured diesel locomotives. Additionally, ALCO diesel engines are used to power the NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Crawler Transporter.

Most of these locomotives are built by the Diesel Locomotive Works
Diesel Locomotive Works
The Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi, India, is a production unit owned by Indian Railways, for which it manufactures diesel-electric locomotives and spare parts.-Company:...

 (DLW), located at Varanasi, India. The Diesel Loco Modernisation Works (DMW) at Patiala, India, do mid-life rebuilding and upgrading the power of these locomotives, typically the 2600 hp WDM-2 to 3100 hp. See also: Indian locomotives
Indian locomotives
Locomotives in India consist of electric and diesel locomotives. Steam locomotives are no longer used, except in heritage trains. Locomotives are also called locos or engines....

.


A number of Alco and MLW diesel-electric locomotives (models DL500C, DL532B, DL537, DL543, MX627 and MX636) are in daily use hauling freight trains of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) in Greece. The oldest of them (class A.201, DL532B) were delivered to the former Hellenic State Railways
Hellenic State Railways
Hellenic State Railways or SEK was a Greek public sector entity which was established in 1920 and operated most Greek railway lines until 1970.-History:...

 (SEK) in 1962. In addition to a variety of standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

 locomotives, the fleet includes 11 metre gauge
Metre gauge
Metre gauge refers to narrow gauge railways and tramways with a track gauge of . In some African, American and Asian countries it is the main gauge. In Europe it has been used for local railways in France, Germany, and Belgium, most of which were closed down in mid 20th century. Only in Switzerland...

 Alco locomotives, mainly used for departmental trains in the Peloponnese network. The MX627 and MX636 locomotives have been extensively rebuilt at Piraeus Central Factory of OSE. The remaining Alco locomotives are also being rebuilt, starting with models DL532B and DL537.

Alco and MLW locomotives still work on many regional and tourist railroads across the United States and Canada, including the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad
Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad
The Delaware–Lackawanna Railroad is a shortline railroad operating in Pennsylvania.The DL began service in August 1993 and is the designated operator for 85 miles of trackage in Lackawanna and Monroe Counties. It is a subsidiary of holding company Genesee Valley Transportation Company, Inc...

 in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

, the Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad
Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad
The Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad is a short line railroad that operates in Livingston County and Monroe County in New York, United States...

 family of lines based in Lakeville, New York, and the Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad
Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad
The Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad is a shortline railroad which operates freight and passenger excursion trains in Middletown, Pennsylvania to Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, just outside of Hershey and Harrisburg.-Passenger excursion trains:...

 in Middletown, PA. The M&H owns one of the last true ALCO switchers ever built, #1016. The 1016 is a T-6 type switcher engine. This and ALCO sister 151 (ex Western Maryland S-6
ALCO S-6
The Alco S-6 was a diesel-electric locomotive of the switcher type constructed by ALCO of Schenectady, New York; a total of 126 locomotives were built between May 1955 and December 1960. The S-6 was a development of the earlier S-5; instead of the 800 hp ALCO 251 engine on the previous...

) still see daily service in Middletown.

ALCO-Cooke 2-8-0 #18, built in 1920, survives in passenger service on the Arcade & Attica Railroad in Arcade NY. It returned to service in May 2009 after a six-year overhaul to bring it into compliance with the FRA's new steam locomotive regulations.
Some Alcos survive on Australian networks and in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Another fleet of Alco Bombardier locomotives run in rugged terrain on the Sri Lanka railway network. Argentina also has a healthy fleet of Alcos DL540 running commuter and cargo trains.

The Glenbrook Vintage Railway in the Franklin District, south of Auckland, New Zealand, has a 2-4-4-2
2-4-4-2
In Whyte notation, 2-4-4-2 refers to a railroad steam locomotive that has two leading wheels followed by four coupled driving wheels, a second set of four coupled driving wheels, and two trailing wheels.-Equivalent classifications:...

 articulated compound mallet, built by ALCO in 1912. Only four mallets with this wheel arrangement were ever built; the other three by Baldwin. This unique loco is currently out of service awaiting overhaul.

See also


External links