Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Friday, December 11, 2015

The One and Only

Greetings All,

A couple of weeks ago I was at my L.H.S. to take advantage of a big sale they were having. I checked out the used Atlas locomotives hoping to spot an RS3 to assist a fellow modeler in his ALCO Quest. I did not find an RS3 but did stumble onto a Reading ALCO C424 which was an Atlas / Kato model. I seemed to remember that the NYC may have had these units or at least the PC had some. So off to the L.H.S. test track where the engine ran smooth as silk.

Upon returning home I fired up the computer, got out my New York Central and Penn Central books and went to work looking to find some information on NYC - PC C424 ownership. Turns out the NYC did not have any C-424s, they had C-430s. The PC had the ten ALCO C430s from the NYC, forty one ALCO C425s from the PRR and NH and exactly one C424 from the PRR on it's roster. That's right one.

Penn Central #2415 was a one of a kind unit. It was built as PRR 2415 in 1963 utilizing the electrical equipment from ALCO's scrapped DL640 (AKA an RS27) demonstrator 640-1.

So what's an ALCO C424? Good question. Here's a brief summary. The ALCO Century 424 is a four axle 2,400 horsepower diesel electric locomotive built between 1963 and 1967. 98 units were built by ALCO and 92 by Montreal Locomotive Works. Candian Pacific bought the most units, 51 with the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México coming in second with 45 units. Some are still active today with their fourth and fifth owners.

Reading C424 5207 as purchased

Reading C424 5207 being tested on the layout
The RDG paint scheme is quite nice but not long for this world

The engine was disassembled and the paint stripped in 91% Alcohol.
Rattle can black and some Microscale Decals were the used to
paint and letter the engine.

The newly painted Penn Central 2415 sits on track 2 at North Side Yard

Numbers in the number boards, air hoses and an ACI label bring the unit close to the prototype.

PC 2415 chortles away at North Side Yard while a part of ML-12 sits on track 1. The horn placement is not correct on this unit. Next trip to the L.H.S. I may look to correct that. Current horn is not glued on and can be easily removed.

Truck detail on the C424 and C425 appears the same. 
The NYC C430s were equipped with ALCO's new high adhesion trucks.    

A view of the conductor's or fireman's side

As with all of my engines that bear some semblance to a prototype I enjoy exploring their history and disposition. This one of a kind PRR and PC engine had quite a life. Here are some links to the history of this locomotive;

Alco C424 model history

As Alco Demonstrator 640-1 (with 640-2)

As PRR 2415

As PC 2415 in 1968
As Conrail 2474

As Green Bay & Western 319 in 1980

As Caddo, Antoine & Little Missouri(CALM) 319 in 1998

As Livonia Avon & Lakeville(LAL) 319 in 2009

As Livonia Avon & Lakeville(LAL) 319 in 2012

And last but not least some Alco C424 action on the Minnesota Commercial


  1. Great research in discovering this was a unique unit in the massive P{C locomotive roster! #2415 wears that black paint well. The air hoses are a nice touch. I enjoyed following the history of the unit as it changed hands post PC, especially when seeing it became part of the MN Commercials famous ALCOs. I have likely seen this locomotive in the Twin Cites not realizing I was looking at a former Penn Central unit! I don't know if its still operating but I'll make a mental note to look sharply!

    1. Thanks Ralph! It was nice to learn about this engine and to find that the C424s are still soldiering on in your neck of the woods.

  2. It's worth pointing out that for many months, and some cases years, after the Conrail merger, locos from the smaller components ran in full paint for the former owners, including numbers. There's lots of video footage of Reading units mixed in with PC, so if you run into other such units that catch your eye, you may not need to repaint them if you allow dates to slip a little bit. That said, I like the PC paint job, especially the ACI label. Hooray for ACI labels!

    1. Thanks John! As soon as I saw the prototype had ACI labels I knew it would be John Bruce approved! Good point on the Conrail merger with the Reading units. I have an Atlas Yellow Box RDG GP40-2, #3672 that I use on Conrail days. It adds a nice touch of color and history to the CR lash ups. Here's a picture of it http://newyorkcentrallayout.blogspot.com/2014/10/nyc-h16-44s-need-helpers-and-reading.html