Powered by a 1,000-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder 539 series prime mover, Alco’s S-2 and succeeding S-4 diesel switchers were among its most successful diesel locomotive designs. Between 1940 and 1950, Alco produced over 1,500 Alco S-2 diesel switcher locomotives, followed by the S-4 with 797 built between June 1949 and August 1957. Amazingly, a few examples still toil away today on short lines and at industrial operations.
Now available at your favorite hobby dealer are all-new HO scale Alco S-2 and S-4 switchers from Atlas Model Railroad Company. Completely retooled from the ground up, these switchers are now part of Atlas’ premium “Atlas Master” product line. New features include optional sound effects provided by a Loksound 5 DC+DCC sound decoder from ESU, and a host of refined details including separately applied grab irons and coupler cut levers, finely-scaled flexible plastic handrails, and on S-4s, either a riveted cab or an all-new welded cab with sealed cab windows typical of later production Alco S-series switchers. The S-2s feature Alco’s Blunt trucks and either vertical or horizontal radiator shutters depending upon the prototype. All S-4s were built with AAR Type A switcher trucks, but sometimes, trucks were swapped between the two models on certain roads.
Late-production Alco S-series switchers feature a welded cab instead of one using riveted construction. A key spotting feature of the welded cab is the sealed cab windows with rounded gaskets at the window corners as seen here on Santa Fe 1517, an Alco S-4 from this latest production from Atlas.
Road names for this production of S-2s include Canadian National (black/red CN noodle), Chicago Great Western (maroon), Erie (black/yellow), Lehigh & New England (black/white stripe), Maine Central (black/red stripes), Southern Pacific (gray/scarlet), and two undecorated versions either with vertical or horizontal radiator shutters.
Liveries for Atlas Master S-4s include Baltimore & Ohio (blue/yellow), Santa Fe (blue/yellow), Southern Pacific (Tiger Stripe), Grand Trunk Western (black/red), Boston & Maine (black/red stripes), Pennsylvania (Dark Green Locomotive Enamel), and undecorated (vertical shutters).
DC/DCC-ready “Atlas Master Silver” units carry a $174.95 MSRP, while DC+DCC+Sound “Atlas Master Gold” units with ESU Loksound 5 sound decoders have a suggested $284.95 MSRP. Undecorated locomotives are $10 less. Available now.
Atlas Model Railroad Company, www.atlasrr.com