Infobox Locomotive
name=ALCO PA and PB

caption=|#1776 was a PA-1 constructed especially for hauling the American Freedom Train of 1947.
builder=Partnership of American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and General Electric (GE)
primemover= ALCO 244 V16
builddate=June 1946 –December 1953
locale=North America, Brazil
poweroutput=convert|2000|hp|kW|-1|abbr=on — PA-1/PB-1
convert|2250|hp|kW|-1|abbr=on — PA-2/PB-2
enginetype=Four-stroke diesel
cylindersize=9 in × 10½ in
(229 mm × 267 mm)
transmission=DC generator,
DC traction motors
locobrakes=Independent air. "Optional:" Dynamic
buildmodel=PA, PB

ALCO PA refers to a family of A1A-A1A diesel locomotives built to haul passenger trains built in Schenectady, New York in the United States by a partnership of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and General Electric (GE) between June, 1946 and December, 1953. They were of a cab unit design, and both cab-equipped lead A unit PA and cabless booster B unit PB models were built.

Two different models were offered: the convert|2000|hp PA-1/PB-1 (built between September, 1946 and June, 1950); the convert|2250|hp PA-2/PB-2 (built between April, 1950 and December, 1953)

It should be noted that models popularly termed the PA-3/PB-3 were in fact only an upgrade of the PA-2/PB-2. The true PA-3/PB-3 model would have boasted convert|2400|hp, though none were ever built. Aside from the small power increase between the PA-1 and the PA-2, differences between the models were minor. Externally, PA-3s could be distinguished by the absence of the "eyebrow" trim piece on the grille behind the cab and the porthole window behind the radiator shutters. Internally, later PA-2 and PB-2 production featured a water-cooled turbocharger and other engine compartment changes, but these were frequently added to older models undergoing major repairs and/or overhauls.

Like its smaller cousin, the ALCO FA, the PA had distinctive styling, with a long, straight nose tipped by a headlight in a square, slitted grille, raked windshields, and trim pieces behind the cab windows that lengthened and sleekened the lines. The overall design owed something to the Fairbanks-Morse Erie-built design, which had been constructed by ALCO's electrical equipment partner General Electric at their Erie, Pennsylvania plant. GE's industrial designer Ray Patten styled the PA and PB, and some believe it possible that he took drawings of the Erie-built as a starting point, lengthening and squaring the nose and giving it a more aggressive look. The majority of PA components were compatible with the FA.

The ALCO 244 V16 diesel prime mover proved to be the undoing of the PA: The engine had been rushed into production, and proved to be unreliable in service. The PA locomotives failed to capture a marketplace dominated by General Motors Electro-Motive Division and their E-units. The original Santa Fe three unit set #51L, 51A and 51B was repowered in August 1954 with EMD 16-567C engines rated at 1,750 hp (1,305 kW) in an attempt to improve the PA's service recordFact|2008-06-02|date=June 2008. The later 251-series engine, a vastly improved prime mover, was not available in time for ALCO to recover the loss of reputation caused by the unreliability of the 244. By the time the ALCO 251 engine was accepted into widespread use, General Electric (which ended the partnership with ALCO in 1953) had fielded their entries into the diesel-electric locomotive market. General Electric eventually supplanted ALCO as a manufacturer of locomotives. ALCO's loss of market share led to its demise in 1969.

Original Buyers

Foreign sales

The PA-2 units sold to the 5'–3" (1600 mm) broad gauge Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro of São Paulo State in Brazil were (for unknown reasons) equipped with a bar pilot and solid horizontal steel pilot beam, which did not help the PA's looks. Two of these locomotives survive.

Surviving examples

Six PA units survive; four (#16-#19) are of the ex-Santa Fe group of locomotives kept in service by the Delaware and Hudson Railway. In 1974-1975, these four units were rebuilt for the D&H by Morrison-Knudsen and equipped with ALCO 251V12 engines. During this rebuilding the units were given the designation PA-4 by MK. These locomotives were later sold to Mexico. The other two are from the order of three broad gauge units sold to the Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro in Brazil. These latter are said to be in very poor shape. Of the D&H units, two are in the United States, #16 and #18. #16, which was heavily damaged in a derailment while in Mexico, is planned to be cosmetically restored into its AT&SF "Warbonnet" colours for the Smithsonian Institution, while #18 is privately owned by Doyle McCormack and is being restored to operating condition as Nickel Plate Road #190 (recreating the first locomotive in which Doyle McCormack, whose father worked for the Nickel Plate Road, got to ride), fitted with a more modern Montreal Locomotive Works 251V12 diesel prime mover removed from a wrecked former BC Rail M420B. The other two survivors, #17 and #19, are in the Puebla Museum in Mexico. At least one Mexican unit is operational and provides power for railroad excursions; this unit, DH-17 (former D&H #17) is painted in the classic Southern Pacific Daylight colors.


* Aslaksen, James and McCormack, Doyle. " [] ". Retrieved on March 26, 2005.
* Stumpf, Rolf. " [ ALCO World: Paulista RR] ". Retrieved on March 26, 2005.

External links

* [ Alco PA & PB Roster]
* [ Preserved Alco Cab Units]
* [] documents the restoration of Nickel Plate Road #190, a PA-1.
* [] Repowered Santa Fe original PA1 PB1 PA1 set.

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