The reference for locomotives and railcars


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ALCO RSD-1, RSD-4 and RSD-5
United States | 1942 | 403 produced
Jersey Central No. 1606, an RSD-4, in July 1970 at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Jersey Central No. 1606, an RSD-4, in July 1970 at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Roger Puta

During the Second World War, the Soviet Union ordered high-traction diesel locomotives from the USA via the Lend-Lease Act. These should be used primarily in the southern parts of the country, where only little water was available for the operation of steam locomotives. In response, ALCO equipped the RS-1 with two additional powered axles. Despite the same engine power, a higher starting tractive effort was now available, but a decreasing power with increasing speed.

70 RSD-1s were sent to the Soviet Union via the Trans-Iranian Railway, with 12 engines already falling victim to submarines at sea. There they were given the designation ДA20 (DA20), which stood for “Diesel, ALCO, 20 tonnes axle load”. They served there as a basis for the ТЭ1 and its successors. Another 87 locomotives went to the US Army and six to the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México.

36 RSD-4 were built in 1951 and 1952, based on the RS-3. They had the new 244 series engine with 1,600 hp and were all delivered to US customers. Since the generator was considered too weak, the RSD-5 was built with a new generator from 1952. A total of 167 RSD-5s were built for US customers and 37 for Mexico.

VariantRSD-1RSD-4, RSD-5
Axle configC-C 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length55 ft 5 in56 ft 6 in
Wheelbase43 ft 6 in
Fixed wheelbase10 ft 6 in
Service weight247,580 lbs287,040 lbs
Adhesive weight247,580 lbs287,040 lbs
Axle load41,225 lbs47,840 lbs
Power sourcediesel-electric
Top speed60 mph65 mph
Starting effort51,000 lbf71,700 lbf
EngineALCO 539T-6LALCO 244
Engine type6-cyl. dieselV12 diesel
Fuel1,200 us gal (diesel)1,300 us gal (diesel)
Engine output1,000 hp (746 kW)1,600 hp (1,193 kW)
Power Plant
Calculated Values
diesel locomotive
last changed: 03/2023

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