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N Scale - Atlas - 4409 - Locomotive, Diesel, Alco RS-1 - Gulf Mobile & Ohio - 1108

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Stock Number 4409
Original Retail Price $69.95
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Kato
Body Style Atlas Diesel Road Switcher RS-1
Prototype Vehicle Locomotive, Diesel, Alco RS-1 (Details)
Road or Company Name Gulf Mobile & Ohio (Details)
Reporting Marks GM&O
Road or Reporting Number 1108
Paint Color(s) Maroon
DCC Readiness Friendly
Release Date 1988-10-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype Alco
Model Variety RS-1
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era NA Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Atlas introduced this model in 1988. From 1988 - 1997 this model was produced for Atlas by Kato Japan. In 1998, a new version was designed by Atlas and production was moved to China.

Both versions feature a split-frame design with flywheels. They run smoothly and quietly, but despite the split frame they use a two-part lightboard. In my opinion they should have upgraded to a single-piece lightboard when they did the retooling in 1998 or better yet, introduced a NEM 651 socket. The detail on the shell is typical high quality Kato/Atlas work and the printing is crisp and accurate.

DCC Information: These locomotives qualify as DCC-Friendly because even a relatively solder-clumsy idiot like myself can successfully install a TCS CN-Series decoder into one of these. It was a lot more work than a drop-in decoder, but there are lots of good internet resources explaining how to complete this. I was able to work off the well-written instructions included with the engine, but it was difficult enough, I have been hesitant to install anymore. Furthermore, the CN-Series decoders are a bit pricier than the simpler one-piece "drop-in" decoders most of us are familiar with. One note I would like to make is that the engine was much noisier with the decoder installed than it was when in DC mode. I suspect this was do to my sloppy installation technique, but I had been fairly careful and when I disassembled it to find the sources of the noise, I was baffled.

In summary, a nice engine for DC operations. If you want a DCC version, you can upgrade it yourself with some trouble or hire a pro to do it for you.

Prototype History:
The ALCO RS-1 was a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by Alco-GE between 1941 and 1953 and the American Locomotive Company from 1953 to 1960. The Montreal Locomotive Works built three RS-1s in 1954. This model has the distinction of having the longest production run of any diesel locomotive for the North American market. The RS-1 was in production for 19 years from the first unit Rock Island #748 in March 1941 to the last unit National of Mexico #5663 in March 1960.

The hood unit configuration of the RS-1 pioneered the road switcher type of diesel locomotive, beginning the move away from the carbody units which were the standard design for road diesel locomotives before then. Most North American locomotives built since have followed this basic design. In 1940, the Rock Island Railroad approached ALCO about building a locomotive for both road and switching service.

The first thirteen production locomotives were requisitioned by the US Army, the five railroads affected had to wait while replacements were manufactured. The requisitioned RS-1s were remanufactured by ALCO into six axle RSD-1s for use on the Trans Iranian Railroad to supply the Soviet Union during World War Two.

From Wikipedia

Road Name History:
The GM&O was the product of the 1940 merger of Gulf Mobile & Northern and the Mobile & Ohio. During these early years, the GM&O consisted of a route from St. Louis south to Jackson, Tennessee where it then split into 2 routes to the port of Mobile, Alabama. In addition, there were routes to Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. GM&O also served New Orleans and Paducah via trackage rights. The merger was championed by Ike Tigrett from the GM&N and Ike would lead the GM&O for most of its history.

In 1947, GM&O acquired the Alton Railroad. This linked Chicago and Peoria with St. Louis and Kansas City. This acquisition made GM&O a Great Lakes to the Gulf carrier and pushed the mileage up over 2,700. GM&O tried to sell the Kansas City line in the 50’s to Santa Fe and Burlington but there was tremendous pressure from other lines to keep Santa Fe out of St. Louis. In the end, GM&O kept the route and Burlington got trackage rights on a portion of it to shorten its own route.

GM&O dieselized early with the last steam locomotive retired in 1949. The first generation freight diesel fleet included Alco switchers, road switchers (all of which were long-hood-forward,) and FA series cab units and EMD F units. For passenger service, GM&O had power from both Alco and EMD. Everything was painted red and maroon with gold lettering. Both Alton and GM&N had used red in the past so this was appropriate. The oddball of the fleet was #1900, a cab unit model 4-S built by Ingalls Shipbuilding. It was the only locomotive Ingalls would ever build.

The 60’s brought fleets of GP30’s and 35’s. These were delivered on Alco trucks from traded in FA’s and wore a new black and white paint scheme designed by EMD. A few years later, more new power arrived from EMD, this time GP38’s and SD40’s wearing two variations of red and white. First generation diesels still on the roster received solid red or maroon in some cases. The diesel fleet consisted of around 260 units.

As for passenger service, The Rebels ran south of St. Louis with a train each to New Orleans and Mobile. Seven trains a day connected St. Louis and Chicago – more than all other railroads combined between those cities. These included the Abraham Lincoln, Ann Rutledge, and Alton Limited. They also had a single daily Chicago commuter train called The Plug. Amtrak took over three of the Chicago – St. Louis departures in 1971.

By contemporary accounts, GM&O was a class operation with a thin layer of responsive management, esprit de corps in the ranks, and good track - all of this despite serving one of the poorest regions of the country. As the 1960s drew to a close, GM&O faced the impending retirement of the original management team. Because the management layer was so thin, there were few young up-and-comers being groomed to take their places. So, to protect the shareholders, GM&O began shopping for merger partners. In 1972, Gulf Mobile & Ohio merged with Illinois Central to form Illinois Central Gulf.

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: gdm on 2015-11-04 08:36:18. Last edited by gdm on 2018-05-22 19:50:17

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