Berskhire Scenic Railway Museum, Lenox, Massachusetts


The Locomotive Experience






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Berskhire Scenic Ry. 5

Built: American Locomotive Co., 1950
Serial No.: 78251

The latest addition to the Berskhire Scenic Railway roster is this example of an RS-3 from American Locomotive Company. Built in September 1950 for the Birmingham Southern as their 151, the locomotive later went through a renewal program where it received the Phase III hood doors and upgrades to the prime mover to make it a 244h engine. The Birmingham Southern was bought by U.S. Steel in late 1973. The 151 was renumbered briefly to 251 so it wouldn’t conflict with 100-series locomotives already owned by USS.

After BS took delivery of new EMD switchers, the 251 was sold to Alpha Portland Industries and was renumbered 5. It has been in continuous service at the three cement plants in the Alsen, New York, area until the last coal train was unloaded at the Holcim Plant in October 2011. The cement plants no longer mine and process limestone in Alsen, and the locomotive became surplus. The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum took ownership on June 1, 2011.

This is a fairly rare example of an RS-3 in that it is completely original, including hardwood cab floors, all factory gauges and switches and other equipment. Don’t let the exterior appearance fool you. The outside is rough looking from the almost 40 years spent in the cement plant, but it is in very good mechanical shape and fully operational. It will go through a cosmetic restoration in the future once we raise sufficient funds. We hope to paint the engine as an example of a New Haven diesel of the same class, an appropriate choice since our museum is located along the former New Haven Berkshire Line!

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