Alligators: Make Strange Pets

T.H. Chenweth photo (R. Craig collection)

Steve Schmollinger photo at Eugene, OR

A survey of Alco fans would probably show that the six-axle RSD15/17 "alligator" was one of their all-time favorite diesels. The Schenectady, NY manufacturer built sixty-three of the elongated low-nose models between January 1959 and March 1960. (It also built 12 high-nose versions of the 2400-hp locomotive.) ATSF was the largest alligator buyer with 50 units (#800-849), SSW bought 10 (#850-859), and SP purchased 3 (#4816-4818). The ranks of the so-called alligators grew slightly when Quebec Cartier Mining chopped the nose of six ex-B&LE high-nose RSD15s #881-886 (nee DM&IR #50-55). The only other example was Canadian Pacific RSD17 #8921. The one-of-a-kind model was built in 1957 by Montreal Locomotive Works, (an Alco subsidiary). Comparable to its 2400-hp Alco-built cousins, it received the low-nose treatment from CPR shop forces in 1988.

A few of the popular alligators now reside in museums. The one at the Illinois Railroad Museum is still active, while the others are primarily static exhibits.


Second-Hand Owners

click on image to enlarge

Austin & Texas Central 442

David Hawkins photo

Cartier 95

John C.Benson photo

Fox River Valley 2406

Mike Danneman photo

Green Bay & Western 2407

Chuck Schwesinger photo

Indiana Hi-Rail 442

Mike Danneman photo

Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2401

Chuck Schwesinger photo

Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2404

Frank Keller photo

Squaw Creek 9842

Sid Vaught photo

Utah Railway 403

James Belmont photo

Wabash & Ohio 442

R. Craig photo





Museum Exhibits

click on image to enlarge

Arkansas Railway Museum

Andy Tucker photo

Elgin County Railway Museum

Dave Broughton photo

Illinois Railway Museum

Robby Gragg photo

Please help: Good photos are needed of the RSD15s at:
  • California State Railroad Museum (ATSF 9820)
  • Utah State Railway Museum (Utah Railway 400)


    Format by: R.Craig New: 1 November 2017
    Reference sources: Extra 2200 South (November / December 1969 issue) and The Diesel Shop website. Additional data provided by Chuck Schwesinger.

    The "," Rail Pictures. Net and Flickr.Com websites were especially helpful here in identifying potential photographers and related images. We extend our thanks to these valuable resources.

    New: 1 January 2018

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