The first RS-11s were produced by Alco in early 1956. This locomotive, classified by Alco as model DL-701, was their replacement for the very popular RS-3 road-switcher. Featuring a V-12, 1,800hp 251B diesel engine, the RS-11 was Alco’s answer to EMD’s very successful GP9. The turbocharged RS-11 accelerated faster, had a higher tractive effort rating and typically used less fuel than the competition. It was also quite versatile and could be found in heavy haul freight as well as passenger service.

The largest owner of RS-11s was Norfolk & Western which purchased a total of 99 units (an additional 35 were added to the fleet after the merger with Nickel Plate). Other major purchasers included Northern Pacific, Pennsylvania and Southern Pacific, all of whom placed repeat orders. With approximately 426 units built for the US and Mexico over 8 years of production, the RS-11 was successful for Alco in that it provided ongoing competition for EMD’s popular road-switchers. A few examples of this model are still in service today and can be found working for various shortlines in the US.

Maine Central

801Jun 195681916ALCO RS-11DRS-1FDelivered in Pine Green with Yellow Stripes. Harvest Gold September 2005 Atlas Maine Central Pine Green Standard 42616, DCC 42706. June 2007 Atlas Maine Central Harvest Gold Standard 42647, DCC 42734.
80281917ALCO RS-11DRS-1FPine Green with Yellow Stripes until at least Jul 1976. Harvest Gold by Jun 1979.Purchased as Portland Terminal 1082, to Maine Central Nov 1956. Retired Feb 1988; to Midwest Steel & Alloy 14th Mar, scrapped Sep 1989.September 2005 Atlas Maine Central Pine Green Standard 42617, DCC 42707. June 2007 Atlas Maine Central Harvest Gold Standard 42648, DCC 42735.

Maine Coast

Maine Central Harvest Yellow with Pine Green roof.

367City of RocklandNorfolk & Western unit was later owned by Central Vermont and eventually was acquired by Maine Coast.RR Pictures Archive

Portland Terminal

No.BuiltSerial No.Type NotesPhotographs
1082Jun 195681917ALCO RS-11DRS-1fTransferred to Maine Central 802 Nov 1956 


More Information

  • Melvin, George F. Maine Central in Color Volume 3. Morning Sun Books Inc., 2008, p.11.
  • Robertson, E. B. (1978). Maine Central Diesel Locomotives. Westbrook, USA: Edwin B. Robertson, pp. 66-69.