Built: American Locomotive Company (ALCO), Schenectady, NY 1950
Serial Number: 78251
Built in September 1950 by American Locomotive (ALCO) in nearby Schenectady, NY for Alabama's Birmingham Southern Railroad as their 151, PC 5599 is an example of an ALCO RS-3. The RS-3 is a first generation diesel-electric road switcher which could handle a variety of tasks, making it extremely popular with railroads. The RS-3 was used extensively by the New Haven Railroad on the Berkshire Line for freight duties from the 1950's into the early 1970's under Penn Central.
The Birmingham Southern was bought by U.S. Steel in late 1973. The 151 was renumbered briefly to 251 so it wouldn’t conflict with 100-series locomotives that were already owned by U.S. Steel. After Birmingham Southern took delivery of new EMD switchers, the 251 was sold to Alpha Portland Industries and was renumbered 5. It had been in continuous service at the three cement plants in the Alsen, New York, area until the last coal train was unloaded at the Holcim Plant in October 2011. The cement plants no longer mine and process limestone in Alsen and the locomotive became surplus. The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum took ownership on June 1, 2011.
This is a fairly rare example of an RS-3 in that it is completely original, including hardwood cab floors, all factory gauges and switches and other equipment. The locomotive later went through a renewal program where it received the Phase III hood doors and upgrades to the 12 cylinder prime mover to make it a 244h engine. The 1,600hp locomotive is in very good mechanical shape and fully operational. It will undergo a full restoration in the future once we raise sufficient funds.
In the meantime, it wears the number and livery of a Penn Central diesel of the same class. When the New Haven Railroad merged with Penn Central in 1969, the RS-3 number series conflicted with those already on the PC roster. The company renumbered the class into the 5500 series. 5599 is a nod to this lesser preserved but important era in northeastern railroad history.