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Alco: S1/S2

Written by Conductor

Reading Alco S-1 switcher #52 at work in the Philadelphia area.

Reading S-1 #54 idles at the Wilmington, DE roundhouse.In 1940 and 1941, the Reading purchased five S-1 switching locomotives from the American Locomotive Company (Alco).  Given the class OE-8, and numbered 50 through 54, the 660-horsepower locomotives spent most of their time in the Philadelphia area, working the tight industrial trackage around Port Richmond and Delaware Avenue.  They also were assigned to Wilmington, DE.  Locomotives #50-52 arrived on the property in September, 1940, while #53 and #54 were delivered in August, 1941.  Four out of the five S-1s were scrapped by 1964, while the final unit, #53 was sold to a private company in 1964 and survived until 1969.

Reading Alco S2 #46.After World War II, with the end of the purchasing restrictions imposed by the War Production Board, the Reading again purchased additional switching locomotives from Alco, this time six 1000 horsepower S2 units numbered 42 through 47, and assigned class OE-11. The principal mechanical difference between the two was the higher horsepower attained with the addition of a turbocharger. As with the S1s, these locomotives worked mainly in the Philadelphia area, though 44, 45 and 47 did see service at Port Reading, NJ. S2's #44 and #45 were scrapped in 1964, while the remaining locomotives were sold off in 1968.

MODELING NOTES:  The Reading's S1 and S2 locomotives were very similar in appearance.  All were painted in the 1st generation Pullman green scheme, and both models rode on Alco's "Blunt" switcher trucks.  The main spotting difference between the two can be seen in the radiator shutters.  On the S1s, they are rectangular (higher than wide), while on the S2s, they are square.  In addition, the exhaust stack was larger on the S2s account the turbocharger.  Compare the photographs of S2s #46 and #45, above and at left.  The numbering on the front of each unit is positioned differently.  Operationally, these units spent most of their time in the Philadelphia area, and most were off the property by the mid-1960s.

Reading Alco S2 #45.


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Did You Know?

October, 1962
Loss of mail and Railway Express Agency contracts prompts severe cuts in passenger service, including annulment of all service to Shamokin, and the Allentown-Harrisburg trains, and a reduction on remaining routes. RDCs replace most locomotive-hauled trains, freeing former passenger locomotives for freight service.


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