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N Scale - Atlas - 42080 - Locomotive, Diesel, Alco RS-3 - Boston & Maine - 1508

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N Scale - Atlas - 42080 - Locomotive, Diesel, Alco RS-3 - Boston & Maine - 1508 Image Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad


Brand Atlas
Stock Number 42080
Original Retail Price $104.95
Manufacturer Atlas
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Atlas Diesel Road Switcher RS-3
Prototype Type Locomotive, Diesel, Alco RS-3 (Details)
Road or Company Name Boston & Maine (Details)
Reporting Marks B&M
Road or Reporting Number 1508
Paint Color(s) Blue/White
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
DCC Readiness Friendly
Announcement Date 2007-10-01
Release Date 2008-04-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype Alco
Model Variety RS-3
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Atlas introduced the Kato-produced RS-3 in 1983. They followed up with the RSD-4/5 in 1987 (also Kato-produced). Kato also recyled the chassis for use in their RS-11. Atlas redesigned the RS-3 in 1999 and production moved to China. The models were again modified in 2001 (RS-3) and 2004 (RS-4/5) and from then on featured Atlas "Slow-Speed" motors. The Chinese RS-3 and RSD-4/5 share the same internal mechanism.

The early releases were the first locomotive produced by Kato for Atlas. It was vastly superior to the earlier models produced by Roco for Atlas. The combination of the split-frame design, directional lighting and 5-pole motor with bearing blocks to hold the worm gear in place made it the first "modern" N-Scale design for a North American locomotive. The 2001 Chinese version is very similar to the Kato version.

The Atlas-China version features: Golden-white LEDs; Directional lighting; Separately-applied painted handrails (where appropriate); Blackened metal wheels; Scale Speed™ motor and Accurate painting and printing.

DCC Information: Unfortunately the one modern feature this model lacks is a single-lightboard design to permit a "drop-in" decoder board installation. The split-board requires some soldering and careful installation to upgrade even the most modern edition of this locomotive to DCC. Special split decoders are available to convert these models to DCC. Some soldering required. TCS makes the 1278-CN which works pretty well.
TCS CN decoder installation shown on Brad Myers' N-scale DCC decoder installs blog and on TCS website.
A classical wired DCC decoder detailed installation was available on maritime.dns.ca/mgerrits/trains (website no longer exists).

Prototype History:
Introduced in 1950, the all-purpose, 1600-HSP RS-3 diesel locomotive had the stamina and strength for freight and passenger service yet was agile enough for yard work. With its rugged, dependable design, it's no wonder that many of these versatile RS-3 locomotives are still working today on short lines, tourist lines, and hauling freight. The ALCO RS-3 is a 1,600 hp (1.2 MW), B-B road switcher diesel-electric locomotive. It was manufactured by American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW) from May 1950 to August 1956, and 1,418 were produced - 1,265 for American railroads, 98 for Canadian railroads, 48 for Brazilian and 7 for Mexican railroads. It has a single, 12 cylinder, model 244 engine.

Well over 1,300 RS-3 road-switcher locomotives were built by ALCO between 1950 and 1956. It can be considered one of the most successful four-axle diesel road-switchers ever produced by the builder. These 1,600hp locomotives were powered by an ALCO 244 V-12 engine which was complimented by rugged GE electrical components. The RS-3 was truly a versatile locomotive. It could be found in virtually every type of service from passenger and commuter runs to heavy-haul and local freight assignments. Original owners of the RS-3 tended to be in the eastern and central regions of the US (with heavier concentrations in the northeast and southeast).

During this same time-period, ALCO offered a six-axle road-switcher which was more commonly found in the west. The RSD-4/5 was externally very similar to the RS-3, having six-axle trucks as an obvious spotting feature. They produced the same 1,600hp as an RS-3, but offered increased tractive effort due to the use of a larger generator. Many RSD-4/5s were assigned to operate in mountainous territory (with varying degrees of success) on the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe and the Utah Railway.

Road Name History:
The Andover and Wilmington Railroad was incorporated March 15, 1833, to build a branch from the Boston and Lowell Railroad at Wilmington, Massachusetts, north to Andover, Massachusetts. The line opened to Andover on August 8, 1836. The name was changed to the Andover and Haverhill Railroad on April 18, 1837, reflecting plans to build further to Haverhill, Massachusetts (opened later that year), and yet further to Portland, Maine, with the renaming to the Boston and Portland Railroad on April 3, 1839, opening to the New Hampshire state line in 1840.

The Boston and Maine Railroad was chartered in New Hampshire on June 27, 1835, and the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts Railroad was incorporated March 12, 1839, in Maine, both companies continuing the proposed line to South Berwick, Maine. The railroad opened in 1840 to Exeter, New Hampshire, and on January 1, 1842, the two companies merged with the Boston and Portland to form a new Boston and Maine Railroad.

The B&M flourished with the growth of New England's mill towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but still faced financial struggles. It came under the control of J. P. Morgan and his New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad around 1910, but anti-trust forces wrested control back. Later it faced heavy debt problems from track construction and from the cost of acquiring the Fitchburg Railroad, causing a reorganization in 1919.

By 1980, though still a sick company, the B&M started turning around thanks to aggressive marketing and its purchase of a cluster of branch lines in Connecticut. The addition of coal traffic and piggyback service also helped. In 1983 the B&M emerged from bankruptcy when it was purchased by Timothy Mellon's Guilford Transportation Industries for $24 million. This was the beginning of the end of the Boston & Maine corporate image, and the start of major changes, such as the labor issues which caused the strikes of 1986 and 1987, and drastic cost cutting such as the 1990 closure of B&M's Mechanicville, New York, site, the largest rail yard and shop facilities on the B&M system.

Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Technically, Boston & Maine Corporation still exists today but only as a non-operating ward of PAR. Boston & Maine owns the property (and also employs its own railroad police), while Springfield Terminal Railway, a B&M subsidiary, operates the trains and performs maintenance. This complicated operation is mainly due to more favorable labor agreements under Springfield Terminal's rules.

Read more on Wikipedia.

Brand/Importer Information:
In 1924 Stephan Schaffan, Sr. founded the Atlas Tool Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan, Jr., came to work for his father at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".

In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.

Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30, 1949, the Atlas Tool Company was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.

In 1985, Steve was honored posthumously for his inventions by the Model Railroad Industry Association and was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Steve was nominated and entered into the National Model Railroad Association Pioneers of Model Railroading in 1995.

In the early 1990s, the Atlas Tool Company changed its name to Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc.

Item created by: Bryan on 2016-08-11 05:29:03. Last edited by Alain LM on 2018-05-01 14:14:08

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