A guide to Rutland RS-3s

When the Rutland dieselized in 1951-52, it created an image that became a classic for 1950s railway enthusiasts. The Rutland chose three diesels to modernize with: Alco RS-1, Alco RS-3, and the GE 70-tonne switcher. The RS-1s were for local and yard switching duties while the RS-3s were for mainline freight and passenger service. Passenger trains ended in July 1953, and this led to modifications to some of the engines. The Rutland abandoned its own Chatham line in 1952, opting to run on the New York Central line of the same name. This added equipment and modelling challenges.

This guide references multiple sources including Robert Nimke’s nine-volume opus on The Rutland, articles published in The Newsliner and The Whippet magazines, and photos (many photos). The guide only deals with differences, if you want to know what type of steam generator is used or the type of lightbulb was used in the headliner, look away.

For a good article on modelling an RS-3, check out Don Janes article which was published in the hobby magazines, The Newsliner, and is available on the RRHS Website here.

Backgrounder

The Rutland used Alco demonstrator 1601 and later purchased it. That engine became 200 and sister(brother?) locomotive 201 arrived shortly after in 1951. Engines 202, 203, and 204 arrived later in the same year. The last batch of RS-3s, 205, 206, 207, and 208 arrived in 1952 and had some different features from the first five engines. For serial numbers and engine class information, click here. And if you want to know the nitty-gritty of how much it cost the Rutland to dieselize, click here.

Common features

All nine engines were delivered with air-cooled turbochargers which were troublesome. These were converted to water-cooled turbos in the late 1950s. Alco sent crate diesel engine kits for a service life rebuild, and that included the new turbos. The Rutland shops took care of between 1957 and 1959. If you model before 1957, the exhaust stacks on your models need to be offset, not centred on the long hood. If you model 1959 on, those stacks should be centred on the long hood. If you model 1957-59, there is a guide to help you with this, click here. – As I write this I realized I messed up on an engine myself and now I have to move one back as well. (!@#$%)

Three classes, two versions

200 and 201 are the first class (DRS-6a), 202-204 the second (DRS-6b) and 205-208 (DRS-6c) are the three classes. BUT 200-204 are grouped together, for a lot of the details. Alco-fans will know more information on the differences but there was some phase upgrade/update to the model line etc. Why those details are different doesn’t matter, just that they will be different.

Caveats and credit

Richard Dermody wrote a great article that was published in The Whippet and The Newsliner magazines. This gives lots of details for “as-delivered” RS-3s but there are a couple of small issues with equipment through the years that this guide will update.

Now for the breakdown, engine by engine. These have been verified through the articles, and also published photos of each engine. Is this the definitive guide, no. As always, you should use photos to verify as well if you are trying to be accurate to a specific year. If not, model what you want, it’s your railroad.

Engine by engine listing

Engine 200 – Built in 1950. Had a single light headlight, no steam generator, no steam generator intake, no oil cooling rad, vertical battery box vents, narrow rad fan walkway, a V-shaped pilot, polling pockets, solid end handrail with no walkways, and the short hood handrails were one high on the box, two on the walkway deck. As early as 1954, the narrow walkway over the rad fan was upgraded to a wide walkway. KV Models makes a great one in HO-Scale, click here to buy. This engine had a thinner font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Microscale decals are best for this.

Engine 201 – Built in 1951. Had a single light headlight, no steam generator, no steam generator intake, no oil cooling rad, vertical battery box vents, narrow rad fan walkway, a V-shaped pilot, polling pockets, solid end handrail with no walkways, and the short hood handrails were one high on the box, two on the walkway deck. As early as 1954, the narrow walkway over the rad fan was upgraded to a wide walkway. KV Models makes a great one in HO-Scale, click here to buy. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this.

Engine 202 – Built in 1951. Had a single light headlight, no oil cooling rad, horizontal battery box vents, narrow rad fan walkway, a flat wedge pilot, polling pockets, solid end handrail with no walkways, and the short hood handrails were one high on the box, two on the walkway deck. As early as 1954, the narrow walkway over the rad fan was upgraded to a wide walkway. KV Models makes a great one in HO-Scale, click here to buy. When passenger service ended, the steam generator exhaust shroud was removed, but the intake vent stayed. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this. The engine drove through the Altona station in the mid-50s and the nose was banged up. The centre windows of the cab were plated over then.

Engine 203 – Built in 1951. Had a single light headlight, no oil cooling rad, horizontal battery box vents, narrow rad fan walkway, a flat wedge pilot, no polling pockets, solid end handrail with no walkways, and the short hood handrails were one high on the box, two on the walkway deck. As early as 1954, the narrow walkway over the rad fan was upgraded to a wide walkway. KV Models makes a great one in HO-Scale, click here to buy. When passenger service ended, the steam generator exhaust shroud and intake vent was removed. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this.

Engine 204 – Built in 1951. Had a single light headlight, no oil cooling rad, horizontal battery box vents, narrow rad fan walkway, a flat wedge pilot, no polling pockets, solid end handrail with no walkways, and the short hood handrails were one high on the box, two on the walkway deck. As early as 1954, the narrow walkway over the rad fan was upgraded to a wide walkway. KV Models makes a great one in HO-Scale, click here to buy. When passenger service ended, the steam generator exhaust shroud was removed, but the intake vent stayed. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this.

Engine 205 – Built in 1952. Had a dual-beam sealed headlight, an oil cooling rad beside the battery box under the walkway on the fireman’s side of the engine, horizontal battery box vents, no rad fan walkway, a flat wedge pilot, polling pockets, drop-walkway end handrails, and the short hood handrails were two high on the box, one on the walkway deck. This engine had ATCS equipment installed on the truck and walkway/long hood. The steam generator shroud and intake stayed installed the entire time the engine was on the Rutland. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this.

Engine 206 – Built in 1952. Had a dual-beam sealed headlight, an oil cooling rad beside the battery box under the walkway on the fireman’s side of the engine, horizontal battery box vents, no rad fan walkway, a flat wedge pilot, polling pockets, drop-walkway end handrails, and the short hood handrails were two high on the box, one on the walkway deck. This engine had ATCS equipment installed on the truck and walkway/long hood. The steam generator shroud and intake stayed installed the entire time the engine was on the Rutland. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this. The Rutland experimented with painting the trucks silver on this engine, but it was quickly switched back to black.

Engine 207 – Built in 1952. Had a dual-beam sealed headlight, an oil cooling rad beside the battery box under the walkway on the fireman’s side of the engine, horizontal battery box vents, no rad fan walkway, a flat wedge pilot, polling pockets, drop-walkway end handrails, and the short hood handrails were two high on the box, one on the walkway deck. This engine had the brackets for ATCS equipment installed on walkway/long hood, but no photos have been shown that the equipment was indeed installed. A 1955 photo published in Phil Jordan’s excellent book “Rutland in Color” shows 207 without ATCS equipment. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this.

Engine 208 – Built in 1952. Had a dual-beam sealed headlight, an oil cooling rad beside the battery box under the walkway on the fireman’s side of the engine, horizontal battery box vents, no rad fan walkway, a flat wedge pilot, polling pockets, drop-walkway end handrails, and the short hood handrails were two high on the box, one on the walkway deck. This engine had ATCS equipment installed on the truck and walkway/long hood. The steam generator shroud and intake stayed installed the entire time the engine was on the Rutland. This engine had a thicker font for the Rutland lettering and numbering (yellow on green) and the Herald King decals are best for this.