Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Roster - Locomotives - DERS-2c (RS-3) Locomotives

DERS-2c (RS-3) 529 in New Britain Yard with circus train c1953/4. Kent Cochrane photo.

Since I've started detailing and putting decoders into locomotives, plus narrowing my operating hours, I've started revisiting my research to verify what I'll need.

The DERS-2c (Alco RS-3) locomotives were delivered in 3 groups, 517-536 from August-September 1950; 537-546 in October-November 1951, and 547-561 in January-February 1952. 

Based on my notes from the past, I was planning on building at least six RS-3s, maybe as many as eight. Here's the info I've had on my site for years:

DERS-2c Assignments 4/27/52
526 - NY-2, YA-1
530 - NY-2, YN-1
531 - AY-1, YN-1
537 - 463
545 - 444
546 - 157, 421, 446, 472

DERS-2c Models

My initial choice for road numbers was based in part on the fact that I have four of Athearn 520. The Athearn is the most accurate option, although the cab windows are better in other models. But I have so many of this one because it's the only one released in the delivery scheme with the air-cooled stack. I selected four road numbers for the 1950 delivery, and two for the 1951 delivery since I have two undecorated models.

However, looking at the September 1952 assignments, there have been some changes:
523 - 444
532 - NY-2/YN-1
533 - NY-2/YN-1
538 - 467
555 - 446/443/458 (probably a typo and should be 448)
556 - 150/157
557 - 472
558 - 458/463

Now we're up to eight. But once I start looking at my schedule, that eliminates 448/458/467 along with NY-2/YN-1, eliminating 523, 533, and 538.

But digging a little deeper, the RS-3s were only in service on many of these trains until the Budd RDCs were delivered. So by November 443/446/458/460/463 were all handled by a new RDC-2.

That leaves only two RS-3s, 523 for train 444, and 556 for 150/157. So I went from 6-8 to only 2 RS-3s to model, one in each of the delivery schemes.

I'm still lacking engine assignments for 1951 (except steam, I wish I knew who copied that part so we could get the rest...).  In 1950, all passenger trains on the Highland were handled by RS-1s. It has been mentioned in several articles that they lacked the acceleration needed to maintain their schedules and were replaced "within weeks" but the engine assignments indicate they served the Highland Line passenger trains for at least 3 years, through 1950. In April '52 almost all of them are in yard service, after all of the RS-3s had been delivered.

The primary purpose of the RS-3s was to complete the dieselization of the NH (along with the C-Liners). By November '51, had the RS-3s bumped the RS-1s off of Highland passenger service? I'm going to guess that yes, some of them had been replaced already, since they were being serviced in April 1952 with locomotives delivered in 1951; 537, 545, 546. 

So that gives me a roster of 5 RS-3s:
523 - 1952
537 - 1951 - delivered 10-19-51
545 - 1951 - delivered 11-9-51
546 - 1951 - delivered 11-8-51
556 - 1952

While I haven't set a specific date for operations, I know I'm thinking early November, and a Monday. If I set that to the first Monday in November, then in 1952 that's November 5. Which leaves me with a roster of 3 RS-3s: 523, 537, and 556.

I like that not only because it reduces the number of locomotives needed, but it also puts the layout in the middle of a transition. An RS-3 is running on passenger service, but so is an RS-1. In 1950, train 157 is a DERS-3 (H16-44) and 131/136 is running with a DER-1 (DL-109), so each train has different motive power if I carry those forward.

Only one is from the 1950 group, but if I can get a good match for the Pullman Green used on the Athearn model it won't be hard to mask to paint the hood top


  1. Narrowing which engines existed on which date(s) is a challenging, but enjoyable, process... at least if you like research. I did it for the D&H for my layout, and it is still a work in progress. I only found out more information just this last week.

    But, collecting research is all part of the fun!

  2. I really enjoy it too. It's only been recently that I realized that since I had narrowed my operating schedule, that I wouldn't need nearly as many! Plus, revisiting the old research along with newly discovered information often has a big impact, and part of why I enjoy doing the research is sharing what I find.