West Central Diesel Locomotives
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Steam on the WC