successful first run of road switchers (The RS-1), Alco’s second
attempt at a versatile four-axle locomotive came in late 1946.
This was the stylized RS-2, keeping similar features as the
RS-1 (Long carbody and short front nose), but with many upgrades.
The most notable features were the rounded carbody and a new
244 prime mover, which increased the horsepower to 1,500, a
500hp upgrade over the RS-1. With the added horsepower, the
RS-2 was received well by railroads for its ability to tackle
any service it was given.
On a daily
basis, one could see two RS-2’s powering a general merchandise
freight, plying the hills with a loaded coal train coming back
from the tipple, or running a passenger train at speed. The
Delaware & Hudson would later retrofit their fleet with
steam boilers and water tanks for passenger service. The Laurentian
was one such service it powered, with dual RS-2’s and a striking
lightning stripe consist. Alco and Canadian counterpart, Montreal
Locomotive Works, successfully built over 370 of these versatile
locomotives for railroads large and small. A good example was
the Southern, Delaware & Hudson, and the New York Central
ordered over 20 each, whereas the Birmingham Southern and the
Texas and Pacific railroads both ordered just a single locomotive.
The success of the RS-2 would later pave the way for the RS-3.
Today, only a handful of prototypes exist, mostly in museums
or on tourists operations.