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Alco RS-3, which end is front?

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  • Alco RS-3, which end is front?

    Can anyone tell me which end was the front on Alco RS-3s? Was the end considered the front determined by the owning Railroad?

    I ask because it's my understanding that for the four Northern Pacific's RS-1s they owned, they where driven long hood forward. Diagrams from the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association, show the long hoods truck to be labeled #1 and the short hoods truck is labeled #2. However, the numbering is reversed on and RS-3. This leads me to believe the RS-3 was driven short hood forward. The Northern Pacific had 14 RS-3s.

    I like how both of these locomotives look going long hood forward. However, for the real locomotive, from a visibility standpoint, the RS-3 going short hood forward sort of makes sense.

    Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    Yes, some railroads ran long hood forward for safety reasons like Great Northern to be safer from head on crashes. However most of the locomotives have the letter "F" printed onto the front side of the locomotive in question. In this photo it shows NP running Short hood forward, shown by my red circle.

    Both the 908 and 863.

    Here was a past thread on the letter "F" on locomotives; http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/t...TOPIC_ID=28156








    Louis L&R Western Railroad
    Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

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    • #3
      While some roads preferred to have the long hood forward. That being a throw back to the steam era. I don't believe any RR goes long hood forward unless it just happened to be set up that way. It's more of a safety issue now.


      Frank

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      • #4
        Adding to Frank's post here is a further note:

        Builders like Alco & BLW used the 'long hood forward' as the default, unless the customer specified that the short hood would be the front. EMD built their GP's & SD's with the short hood forward by default. Some roads did change their mind with later orders. The Milwaukee took delivery of RS1's and RS2/RSC2's with the default 'long hood forward' - later RS3 & RSD5 orders came delivered with the 'short hood forward'. Great Northern specified their EMD GP/SD units to be delivered with the 'long hood forward'. Their EMD GP30's and GE U25B engines were delivered with the 'short hood forward', and following GE/EMD orders were the same. IIRC, SP had different Alco RS-11 orders that were both ways! They were inconsistent. Many (probably most) railroads that bought RS-3s ran them long hood forward, even while operating their GP-7 or GP-9s short hood forward. Some were consistent; NP ran both types short hood forward, and GN ran both long hood forward. It was really up to the railroad, but 90% of RS-1/2/3 engines ran long hood forward, and maybe only 20-30% of early GPs and SDs were delivered to run long hood forward.


        Louis L&R Western Railroad
        Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

        Comment


        • #5
          Mark, Not to beat a dead horse here, but if it is Prototype you are looking for, than all RS-3's for Northern Pacific I found on the web shows the short hood forward. Scroll down to RS-3's for NP pictures here, shows about 10 locomotive numbers listed; http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locoList.aspx?id=NP




          Louis L&R Western Railroad
          Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

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          • #6
            I always thought it depended upon which way you were standing.

            They don't turn these things around so one end is the front heading west and the other end is the front on the return visit.

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            • #7
              Thanks guys! Where did you get the wonderful Northern Pacific photos? I'm a member of the NPRHA and looked through the photo collections and in particular, the Joe Caron collection and did not see these photos. I always understood the F on the frame meant "this end front", I did not catch this when repainting my Bachmann RS-3, as the Joe Caron photos are not clear enough to see the "F". Pretty cut and dried with these photos, although Louis, your lead off photos are not of RS-3s. thanks again! Also thanks for the link to the Railroad Picture Archive!

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              • #8
                quote:


                Originally posted by NP2626


                Thanks guys! ............................ I did not catch this when repainting my Bachmann RS-3, as the Joe Caron photos are not clear enough to see the "F". Pretty cut and dried with these photos, although Louis, your lead off photos are not of RS-3s. thanks again! Also thanks for the link to the Railroad Picture Archive!


                My lead off photos was the only clear picture showing the letter "F" for you. Being RS-11's Northern Pacific Alcos 912 and 908 at the shops in Pasco, WA in the summer of 1970. (RS-3's or not). I would image that you found the rest to be of RS-3's?


                Louis L&R Western Railroad
                Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

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                • #9
                  Louis, that's a fantastic site. I have it marked for a dozen roads. it's especially nice when you "group by model" (upper right corner).
                  Frank

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                  • #10
                    The 861 is the loco I modeled, it had a somewhat simplified paint scheme with the radius for the yellow nose only on the short hood end. The NPRHA's Joe Caron photos where not clear enough for all the details I could have put on. The N.P. had different types of Number Boards for the RS-3s than other roads used. Also, what do you figure the black ball things are above the number boards in the above photo of 861? I figure some type of lights? I wonder if the number boards on the other end also had the black balls above them, I don't see them in this photo.

                    Wonderful photos! I wish I would have known about the rrpicture archive site while I was paining my 861.

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                    • #11
                      The black objects above NP 861's numberboards are marker lights. In that era, RRs were transitioning from the older separate markers to built-ins. Separate markers were placed in brackets on front of the loco (or lead unit) when a train was made up, moved if the loco changed ends and removed when the run was over. Built-ins appear as a single lens near the numberboard; the crew would turn the bulb illuminating it on when needed, and turn a rotating color gel carrier to select green, red, white as necessary. Markers were critically important to timetable/train order operations, but they're very difficult to model in HO.
                      James

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                      • #12
                        quote:


                        Originally posted by jbvb


                        The black objects above NP 861's numberboards are marker lights. In that era, RRs were transitioning from the older separate markers to built-ins. Separate markers were placed in brackets on front of the loco (or lead unit) when a train was made up, moved if the loco changed ends and removed when the run was over. Built-ins appear as a single lens near the numberboard; the crew would turn the bulb illuminating it on when needed, and turn a rotating color gel carrier to select green, red, white as necessary. Markers were critically important to timetable/train order operations, but they're very difficult to model in HO.


                        I wouldn't have been able to answer this question as well as you just did!

                        Well explained.


                        Louis L&R Western Railroad
                        Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

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