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  • Rock Island Repowered Alco Road Switcher

    Rock Island RS-2 No. 452 re build works a local freigh t switching job on the Texas, Crawford & Prairie Railroad of the Houston Society of Model Engineers. - Photo by Doug Geiger

    Broadside view of Rock Island No. 452 showing modifications and details, plus subtle weathering, really capturing the feeling of the Rock's prototype units. - Photo by Doug Geiger
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 27 width=

    by Norman F. Eubanks

    Upper: Rear 3/4 view of No. 452 showing the ex-Athearn GP-7 long hood and the work done by Joe Sindelar did in producing his prototypical RS-2 "rebuild" in HO. - Photo by Doug Geiger.

    Lower: Front 3/4 shot of No. 452 showing details added by Joe Sindelar. Unit is awaiting assignment in Anderson Yard on the TC&PRR. - Photo by Doug Geiger
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 28 width=

        The Rock Island, like the Katy and Frisco, acquired some of the ubiquitous Alco RS-2 and RS-3 road-switchers during the changeover from steam to diesel, along with similar power from EMD and Baldwin.

       This was a natural practice, because in steam days the railroads had regularly gone to Alco, Baldwin, and Lima for their power.

       As the years (and miles) went by, however, spare parts and maintenance began to be a problem to the owners of these multiple-builder fleets. Accordingly, these roads, whose rosters had since be come mostly EMD, had some of their Alco and Baldwin road switchers repowered by EMD, so that they were essentially GP-7's from the cab forward (remember, the RS units had the long hood end as the front).

       Rock Island had five of its RS-2's, 450-454, and one of its RS-3's, 456, rebuilt by EMD in 1957 and 1958.

       Joe Sindelar, a dedicated Rock Island modeler, has produced a fine model of a re-engined RS-2 452 for his roster. As the photographs show, Joe has done a great job in re-creating the distinctive appearance of the prototype. It is a unit well worth bringing to your attention.

       The basis for Joe's modification is an Alco Models brass RS-2, which had its long hood removed, just as on the prototype. In its place, Joe attached the long hood from an Athearn GP7, after removing the winterization hatch and dynamic brake blister/fan, for a "clean" top, as per Rock Island.

       Joe models the late fifties/early sixties Rock Island, so he finished his unit in the all-maroon scheme with white striping, which evolved from the original red and black scheme of the late forties/early fifties.

       Spark arresters, cab awnings, arm rests are but a few of the details that Joe has added to his m del to further enhance its appearance. A careful study of the photographs will reveal some of the things Joe has done in his efforts to do some very impressive prototype modeling.

       You may not have a brass Alco RS-2, and might not want to "modify" it as Joe did, if you do have one, but plastic RS-2's have been, and probably are, available for you to use as a basis for your own "re-engined Alco."

       No matter if you model Rock Island, Frisco, Katy, or MP - the presence of such a unit in your own roster will be a welcome relief from the usual run-of-the-mill look of most diesel stables, and an other convincing argument for the benefits to be gained from prototype modeling.

    Article Details

    • Original Author Norman F. Eubanks
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date February 1980

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