West Central Diesel Locomotives


The West Central Railroad began to dieselize in the early 1940s with the purchase of 10 Alco 1,000 horsepower switchers (S-2) and 20 Alco 1,000 horsepower road switchers (RS-1).  The road switchers were to replace some of West Central's aging fleet of branch line steamers. As history has it, World War II interfered and the West Central's 20 road switchers went to Iran and Russia, never to return.  The war board allotted 30 4-8-4 main line steam locomotives to the West Central to make up for the loss.  The West Central would get no more diesels until after the war, when they received some of the early Alco FA & FB1s, a few RS-2s, and PA-1s for their  streamliners.

An Alco FA-2 moves freight through a tunnel on a  West Central line circa 1955.  The West Central experienced trouble with the Alco FAs when first added to the roster in 1947, but strict maintenance and better lubricating oils eliminated the problems.  This allowed the West Central to use the 244 horsepower powered Alcos until the prime movers were replaced by the 251 1,800 horsepowerp engines in the 1960s.  They are presently in storage and operated during times of power shortages.  These Model Power locomotives were painted by club member Dennis Hamilton.


In the 1960s, the West Central needed more motive power. They purchased several Alco Century series units.  Loco No.750 is a 2,500 horsepower Century 425.  These did very well for the West Central and can still be seen on main and branch line service.  This photo was taken in September 1967 on the 750's first revenue trip.  At that time people thought that 2,500 horsepower would be the limit for a four-axle diesel and some railroads bought them with high adhesion trucks to keep that much horsepower under control.  This Atlas model was painted by club member Dennis Hamilton.


An Alco Century 420 (West Central No. 701) emerges from the tunnel with an RS-11 in trail sometime in the 1980s.  These 2,000 horsepower units worked out very well for the West Central and are still used in branch line work, although some parts are getting harder to find.  Like most Alcos, this one has a habit of smoking heavily. This model by MRC (Lima of Italy) was painted by Dennis Hamilton.


One of the West Central's RS-2s switches reefers for icing in the Midland Meats area sometime in the early 1950s.  The RS series didn't get the gold striping separating the red and black like the main line FAs and Centuries, but still made for a striking appearance. This model by AHM was painted and modified by Dennis Hamilton.


Another photo of the Union Ice Company.  All reefers passing through Woodman Yard that needed icing had to be backed in here.  This track also serves Midland Meat’s stockyard making it a very busy area.


More Diesel Photos

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