Alligators: Make Strange Pets

T.H. Chenweth photo at Kansas City (R. Craig collection)

Steve Schmollinger photo at Eugene, OR in August 1972

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.

A Photo Study

Second-Hand Owners

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 at Evansville, IN on 25 April 1993

Mike Danneman photo

Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2401

Chuck Schwesinger photo

Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2405 at Eagle Mills, MI on 12 August 1986

Tom Lundeen photo

Squaw Creek 9842 at Boonevill, IN on 16 February 1987

Sid Vaught photo

Utah Railway 403 at Provo, Utah on 28 May 1977

James Belmont photo

Wabash & Ohio 442 at Defiance, OH

R. Craig photo

Museum Exhibits

click on image to enlarge

Arkansas Railway Museum

Andy Tucker photo

Elgin County Railway Museum

John Benson photo

GB&W 2407 at Illinois Railway Museum

Robby Gragg photo

ATSF 9820 at California State Railway Museum

John Smatlak photo


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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