ALCO C-420's #200-229
C420-WorldsFair_Phase1_LIRR200_WillAnderson.jpg (48678 bytes)
LIRR #200 C420 Worlds  Fair Phase 1 
C420-Wave-PhaseII_LIRR229_WillAnderson.jpg (48410 bytes)
LIRR #229 C420 Phase 2 
C420-MTA-phase1_LIRR200_WillAnderson.jpg (47991 bytes)
LIRR #200 MTA Phase 1
Graphics by: Will Anderson's Train Art 

LIRR C420 #200 promo photo 1963  Archive: Dave Keller

LIRR #200 C420 with new unit arrival banner (HELLO! I AM THE FIRST OF 21 DIESELS COMING YOUR WAY!) eastbound at Pinelawn Station view W 12/11/1963
This is one of only two eastbound trains on the main line that still carried baggage at that time: #246 which terminated at Ronkonkoma and #204 which terminated at Greenport.
In the last years of baggage handling, they only carried newspapers. (Dave Keller archive and data)

LIRR train #606 (right) has L-1 #213 and train #623 has L-1 #211 meet at W. Pulaski Rd., Huntington Station  8/17/70 Photo: Richard F. Makse

C420 #226 short hood  Photo/Archive: Joe Tischner

LI Railroader 12/19/1963 'First to Arrive' Archive: Dave Morrison
Note: The text indicates already in service, thus the photo below: Wednesday, 12/11/1963.

lirr200MIneolaRobertBDunnet.jpg (125023 bytes)
LIRR #200 as delivered (note: fuel tanks) at Mineola eastbound passing under Mineola Blvd.
View NE 12/11/1963  Photo: Robert B. Dunnet Archive: John Scala

Overhead shot of an RS1 #464 and the new Alco C420 #213, 216, 220 engines in Morris Park 5/1965 Note the paint scheme on the C420s has the orange stripe extending up to the radiator fan  Photo: Vincent Alvino Archive: Arthur Erdman   Note: C420 roof horn locations and smoke deflectors added. Info: Al Castelli
LIRR Road No.


ALCO Builder No. Build Date
200-203 4 84722-84725 12/63
204 1 84726 1/64
205-207 3 84727-84729 2/64
208 1 84779 2/64
209, 210 2 84780, 84781 3/64
211-214 4 84782-84785 4/64
215-220 6 84786-84791 5/64
221 1 3384-01 7/64
222-229 8 6006-01/-08 8/68


C420_smoke_deflectors-L2alcastelli.jpg (46495 bytes)

C420_smoke_deflectors-L2alcastelli-2.jpg (40583 bytes)#200-204 were delivered without the smoke deflectors (and #200-203 delivered with the smaller 900/1100 fuel/water capacity tanks). The deflectors were added by the LIRR on these units, and the rest were delivered with them. I'm not sure if they were the same design on the L1s & L2s. I've never seen detail shots of those on the L1s, but it would make sense as Alco used the same design. (The tanks were also modified by the LIRR to the larger capacity ones with the familiar bulge on the initial units.) Photos/Info: Al Castelli

LIRR #222 Farmingdale 08/31/85

LIRR C420 #200 Chemical Bank Trust Stencil on the fuel tank (as delivered), 
Morris Park shop 03/14/64 (Votava-Keller)









The extra capacity was added to these engines as they were running out of water for the steam generators on Montauk runs. Info: John Scala

L203-Ronkonkoma.jpg (178090 bytes)

'Diesels of the Sunrise Trail' Author : John Scala page 44.
"... #200 12/1963.....modified by Morris Park... #207 (built 2/1964) "...the 207 has the deflectors at the top of the long hood to keep smoke away from the cab.." Photo: 11/01/1967 John Scala text..."

Folks: Based on all the above:
1. Smoke deflectors 
2. Added by Morris Shops
3. Not a standard Alco option
4. Not employed by other railroads
5. Perhaps, didn't work that well, thus no further use by LIRR or any other railroad in USA
6. Due to LHF (long hood forward), a stop gap that perhaps failed... Steven Lynch

First thing, my understanding is that running the locomotives LHF was a company preference, not a safety decision. According to copies of documents from ALCO that I have, the short hood of the Century (Cxxx) and Road Switcher (RSx) series was touted as being equally protective in a head-end collision. I am not sure I completely buy into this, so it is possible that the LIRR did not either, but I was under the impression that the influx of steam-era guys in management and engine service influenced the decision to have the C420 set-up for LHF operation.

                            LIRR #203 Ronkonkoma Photo: Steve Hoskins

Second, I am 90% sure that the LIRR added the smoke deflectors. ALCO did not intend these to be used as commuter engines; the smoke kicking up at the start of a freight run was not a huge inconvenience, but when the engine would be revved up dozens of times from a dead stop on just one run on the LIRR, it became unbearable in the cab. To paraphrase what a former employee told me, the LIRR saw the deflectors as the quickest solution to the smoke problem. It wasn't a huge help at start-up because of the reasons Al states, but it was enough to lift a fair amount of smoke up and over the cab and make the situation manageable. Info: Kyle Mullins 

1) Throttle-idle position
2) Dynamic Brake handle-locked out not used
3) Automatic Brake valve-train brake
4) Independent Brake valve-full applied position
5) Head Light switch-rear
6) Head Light switch-front
7) Bell valve
8) Console Light
9) Manual sander valve
10) Console Light
11) Emergency fuel cut off switch
12)  Switches-Control-battery-generator field-fuel pump
13) Reverser
14) Air brake gauge-Main Res/Equalizing res
15) Air Brake gauge-Brake pipe/Brake cylinder
16) Air Brake gauge-Supression air
17) Air Brake gauge-Timing Air
18) Amp gauge-Traction
19) Two Horn chains encased in rubber hose-city/country(1)
20) Brake pipe regulating valve
21) ABVCOC (Automatic Brake Valve Cut-Out Cock)
22) Independent brake regulating valve
23) MU2a valve-multiple unit/lead-dead




ALCO C420 control stand c.1968 (Jay Bendersky-Robert Anderson)


The Long Island Rail Road's Workhorse 
by Rich Gorddard

In June of 1963, the American Locomotive Company, better known as ALCO, began to build the Century 420 locomotive in their assembly plant in Schenectady, New York. The C-420, as it was called, was very similar to the layout and designs of predecessor engines, such as the RS-I1, RS-32 and RS-36. However, the C-420 was of the new Century-styled, central air intake design. The long hood seemed noticeably longer when compared to other RS (Road Switcher) engines. This was because the various car body filters were replaced by a centralized air system intake near the cab. This allowed the famous ALCO radiator shutters to be replaced by a smaller fixed air intake at that same spot. 

These engines were built with 12 cylinder 251c prime movers, and came in two distinct models, with various options. The C-420 was available in both high and low nose short hoods. The reason for the high short hood was to provide space for a steam generator. Both the Long Island and Monon Railroads had the high nose option for steam generators. The Norfolk & Western ordered the high nose hood version as well; however, they were not equipped with a steam generator. Their reasoning was simply for crew safety. Some railroads, such as N&W and Southern, believed the high nose short hood gave the crews a safer buffer in case of a grade crossing accident or other mishap.

Orders for low nose C-420's included such railroads as the Union Pacific, Piedmont & Northern, Lehigh & Hudson River and Lehigh Valley. The low nose was used due to the fact that a steam generator was not necessary and would provide better visibility for the entire crew.

Of the 129 units that ALCO built, 127 were for domestic railroads. Two were built for Mexico.

In 1963, the Long Island Rail Road went shopping for new motive power. The C-420 was the railroad's choice. However, the LIRR decided to lease the engines from ALCO, rather than buy them. These units were numbered 200 -221.

When the units arrived on the property, they were painted gray and orange, more commonly referred to as the World's Fair paint scheme. When delivered, engines 200 through 203 had a 900 gallon fuel tank and an 1,100 gallon water tank. The Morris Park shop crews removed and replaced the tanks with 1,000 gallon fuel tanks and 1,900 gallon water tanks. Before 204 or 205 were delivered, the LIRR had ALCO remove the smaller tanks and replace them with the larger tanks. All subsequent engines were built with the larger tanks. It is also interesting to note that engines 210 through 221 were equipped with snow plows on the pilot of the long hood.

ALCO denoted the model of these engines as C-420, and was classified as AGP-20msc. What does this mean? AGP stood for ALCO General Purpose unit. The 20 after the dash meant 2,000 horsepower and msc meant it was capable of being MU'd (used in multiple units), and had a steam generator with speed control; hence the classification. The MTA LIRR, however, re-classed them as L-l's in 1968.

The L-l's saw service in almost every aspect of LIRR operations. Passenger and freight trains alike were pulled by these engines. From crack passenger trains like The Cannonball, working the Silver Streak to Smithtown, to working the Patchogue to Babylon Scoot, these engines fit the bill. From local freights and road jobs, to switching Kings Park, Central Islip and Pilgrim State Hospitals, the Centuries always seemed to come through.

In 1968, the LIRR needed additional motive power. Again, they went back to ALCO and this time purchased eight more C-420's. This order was placed by a different parent company; the MTA. With the LIRR no longer under control of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, purchased the new engines.

The MTA made their presence known when the engines showed up at Morris Park. Instead of the familiar gray and orange livery, the second order arrived in the New York State colors of blue and yellow. Not just regular blue and yellow, but pastel blue and yellow. I remember when I first saw them I hated those colors, but later I grew to like them. Not many people did like the colors, in particular railroad management. Eventually, the colors were subdued and the entire fleet of Alcoís were painted in this newer scheme.

Alcoís 222 though 229 were classified as L-2's. These engines had a 79:24 gear ratio, as compared with the 64:19 gear ratio of the L-1ís. The reason the MTA chose a different gear ratio was because the LIRR was hoping to get other freight contracts that were to be exclusively handled by these engines. In particular the LIRR was a contender to haul trainloads of sand from Bridgehampton. The idea never materialized and the L-2's were placed in service throughout the island.

The C-420's served the LIRR and its customers well. However, the engineers never seemed to like them. They complained the engines were noisy, dirty, rough riding, had smoke-filled cabs and the long hood would sway back and forth on the rails too much. I think that sounds great to me, everything an ALCO should be. But then I didn't have the honor of running a C-420 for a living. Some people just have all the luck! Copyright 2004 by Rich Gorddard 

Alcoís 200 - 221 were classified as L-1's by the MTA in 1968
lirr200AlcoIndustries.jpg (56068 bytes)
C420 #200 Alco Industries builder photo as delivered 900/1100 fuel/water capacity tanks.

C420 #200 new banner - Ronkonkoma
12/1963 Archive: Dave Morrison

C420 #200 Archive: Dave Morrison

#200 Oyster Bay 1972
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

C420 #200 in shop Archive: Dave Morrison


C420_200_MorrisParkShops_3-14-64_RalphAShelhamer.jpg (96265 bytes)
C420 #200 Morris Park Shops 3/14/64 Photo/Archive: Ralph A. Shelhamer

C420 horn spec Nathan.jpg (46262 bytes)
The 1951 Nathan catalog M3R1
Click for recording courtesy of 
Ed Kaspriske's Horns Inc.

lirr201-C420_Hicksville12-27-63ArtSingle.jpg (44520 bytes)
C420 #201 at Hicksville Friday 10:03am westbound 12/27/1963 "Dashing Dan" yet to be applied. Photo/Archive: Art Single

C420 #201 at Mineola (Hoskins-Lynch)

Here you see the Morris Park Shop modifications on #201 and #202: The larger 1,100 gal. fuel tank, black numbers on a white marker board, and the added smoke deflectors.



C420 #202 eastbound on Old Town Road trestle east of Setauket - View N 12/1971 Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

C420 #202 at Morris Park Shops  (Hoskins-Lynch)
When delivered, engines 200 through 203 had a 900 gallon fuel tank and an 1,100 gallon water tank. The Morris Park shop crews removed and replaced the tanks with 1,000 gallon fuel tanks and 1,900 gallon water tanks. Before 204 or 205 were delivered Jan-Feb 1964), the LIRR had ALCO remove the smaller tanks and replace them with the larger tanks. Research: Rich Goddard

lirr203-C420_delivered900-1100-fuelwatercapacity_1964_DuntonTower.jpg (156349 bytes)
C420 #203 as delivered 900/1100 fuel/water capacity Dunton Tower, Morris Park 1964

C420 #203 Ronkonkoma

C420 #203 Train #4012 with parlors at Bethpage 8/02/1970 Archive: Mike Boland
C420_204_MorrisParkShops_3-14-64_RalphAShelhamer.jpg (90935 bytes)
C420 #204 Morris Park Shops 3/14/64 Photo/Archive: Ralph A. Shelhamer

C420 #204 Morris Park 
LIRR204-MTA_3-1970+_SteveHoskins.jpg (216888 bytes)
C420 #204 3/1970+  "Purlie" Broadway poster opened 3/15/70

C420 #204 Oyster Bay c.1972
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

LIRR #205 C420 stenciled larger capacity fuel tank Port Jefferson 6/14/64 (Arnoux-Keller)
  L205-Jamaica.jpg (156888 bytes)
C420 #205 Jamaica 
lirr205-C420_Port-Jefferson_4-70_JimParker.jpg (81630 bytes)
C420 #205 Port Jefferson 4/70 
Photo: Jim Parker

C420 #206 Oyster Bay
C420_206_MorrisParkShops_3-14-64_RalphAShelhamer.jpg (100670 bytes)
C420 #206 Morris Park Shops 3/14/64 Photo/Archive: Ralph A. Shelhamer
C420_206_MP-Shops_8-1968_JimParker.jpg (109863 bytes)
C420 #206 Morris Park Shops 8/1968 Photo/Archive: Jim Parker

C420 #207 LI City
Collection: Dave Keller

C420 #207 Belmont (Alvino-Morrison)

#207 Oyster Bay 1973
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

C420 #208 Morris Park
Collection: Dave Keller

C420 #209 Mineola
LIRR209_01-75.jpg (91262 bytes)
C420 #209 1/1975 Oyster Bay view NE
L210-Morris Park1.jpg (64982 bytes)
C420 #210 Morris Park
LIRR210-C420Landia11-1-70JT.jpg (51566 bytes)
C420 #210 Landia 11/01/1970 
Photo: John McCluskey
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C420 #211 Builder Photo
L211-Brightwaters.jpg (58788 bytes)
C420 #211 Brightwaters
 L212-Long Island City.jpg (218292 bytes)
C420 #212 LI City Photo: Steve Hoskins

#212 1968 Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

C420 #213 Mastic

C420 #214 Babylon
C420-214-one-car-train-Riverhead-4-8-74.jpg (61715 bytes)
C420 #214 Riverhead
04/08/1974  (Erlitz - Keller)

C420 #214  (Alvino-Morrison)

C420 #214 double-heading at Forest Hills View NE  5/1968 Archive: Dave Keller
lirr215_passingSunnysidetoHuntPtAve-QBlvdoverpass10-74JoeDaly.jpg (88829 bytes)
 #215 Sunnyside MTA Scheme
10/1974 Photo: Joe Daly
 lirr215-C420_Jamaica_8-68_JimParker.jpg (103785 bytes)
#215 World's Fair scheme Jamaica 8/68 
Photo: Jim Parker
lirr215_Ronkonkoma-1976.jpg (76241 bytes)
#215 MTA scheme Ronkonkoma 1976
Photo: Unknown
C420-216CloseupTopLouvers1-18-66.jpg (50393 bytes)
LIRR #216 Close-up of long hood top louvers 01/18/1966 Archive: Dave Keller

  #216 Bay Shore

C420 #216 B Tower, Bethpage 

#216 at east end of  BK Stony Brook 1971 Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

LIRR #216 Ronkonkoma Wye 1972
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

C420 #217 Nassau Tower

C420 #217  (Alvino-Morrison)

C420 #217 Parlor train westbound Montauk Branch viaduct - Hillside
View SE  6/1966 Archive: Dave Keller

C420 #218 Bay Shore

#218 MTA with no road numbers after fresh repaint Oyster Bay 1968
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

C420 #219 HALL Tower, Jamaica

C420 #219 Bay Shore
lirr219joetischner-southampton.jpg (55483 bytes)
C420 #219 Southampton
LIRR219atUnionHallStation2-22-70JT.jpg (66898 bytes)
C420 #219 Union Hall Station
02/22/70 Photo: John McCluskey

C420 #220 Brightwaters


C420 #221 Brightwaters
 C420 #221 Archive: Dave Morrison


C420 #221 MTA Rails to the Sunrise logo Archive: Dave Morrison

C420-221-206-RunningAroundTrain-Montauk-7-1971.jpg (54174 bytes)
LIRR C420 pair #221 #206 Montauk "Run around Move" 07/1971 Trainman still wearing old gray uniform.
Info/Photo: Dave Keller archive

All photos Steve Hoskins, c.1964-65 unless noted.
Alcoís 222 - 229 were classified as L-2's by the MTA in 1968
Sold to Naporano Iron & Metal of Newark, NJ and scrapped

LV "Snowbirds" lashed to MTA color scheme C420s #228-229 at Lehighton, PA
for delivery to the LIRR. 8/12/1968  - Photo: Bob Wilt Archive: Guy Fluck

LIRR C420 #255 running cab (short hood) forward has just departed Oyster Bay Station
in the winter of 1978.  View NE  Photo/Archive: Paul De Luca
Alco Century 420 Locomotive Date Sheets - November 1968 Archive: Dave Morrison

C420 #222 Brightwaters
lirr223speonk09-1986tomcollins4.jpg (30863 bytes)
C420 #223 Speonk 08/1986 
Photo: Tom Collins
lirr223-MP15Smithtown.jpg (69227 bytes)
C420 #223 Smithtown
lirr223PineAire.jpg (46558 bytes)
C420 #223 Pine Aire

C420 #223 Brightwaters
C420-223_Patchogue_10-1985.jpg (82492 bytes)
C420 #223 Patchogue 10/1985

C420 #224 Holban
lirr224-C420_Port-Jefferson_4-70_JimParker.jpg (86805 bytes)
C420 #224 Port Jefferson 4/70 Photo: Jim Parker
lirr224_Morris-Park_1976.jpg (100325 bytes)
C420 #224 Morris Park 1976

C420 #224 new repaint - Oyster Bay 1976 Archive: Dave Morrison

lirr224-bordens-bobanderson.jpg (75040 bytes)
LIRR #224 upper stripe narrow Borden's, LI City Archive: Bob Anderson
lirr224upperstripenarrow-tdarnell.jpg (69853 bytes)
LIRR #224 upper stripe narrow 
Morris Park c. 2/03/1976
Photo: Tim Darnell
lirr224-upperstripe-tdarnell.jpg (91412 bytes)
LIRR #224 upper stripe 
"correct" repaint
Photo: Tim Darnell

C420 #225 LI City
lirr225PineAire.jpg (63494 bytes)
C420 #225 Pine Aire

C420 #225 Oyster Bay 8/05/1973
Photo: Henry Maywald
lirr226Smithtown.jpg (81399 bytes)
C420 #226 Smithtown

C420 #226 Pilgrim State Hospital Station Brentwood - View W 3/1976 (Madden-Keller)

C420 #226 Morris Park

C420 #226 Train #4 eastbound Engineer Becker - Operator Sorensen Orders at PD Patchogue - View NW 9/1971 Photo/Archive: Dave Keller
lirr227_first-days-service_Nassau-Tower_viewSE_8-1968+_RGlueck.jpg (90415 bytes)
C420 #227 First days in service westbound at Nassau Tower 8/1968+ Photo: Richard Glueck
lirr227HunterspointAve.jpg (100714 bytes)
C420 #227 Hunters Point
Photo: Joe Daly
C420-227_Haberman_1975.jpg (96178 bytes)
C420 #227 Haberman 1975
lirr227PineAire.jpg (109240 bytes)
C420 #227 Pine
lirr227Riverhead.jpg (101028 bytes)
C420 #227 Riverhead

 lirr227-229Smithtown.jpg (72202 bytes)
C420 #227, #229 Smithtown

C420 #227 LI City
lirr228eastwilliston11-09-69joetestagrose.jpg (61129 bytes)
C420 #228 E. Williston
Photo: Joe Testagrose

#228 Oyster Bay 1972
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

C420 #228 Brightwaters

C420 #228 eastbound onto Oyster Bay Branch from NASSAU Tower, Mineola View NE 1975
Archive: Dave Keller
lirr228OBay09-03-78.jpg (69973 bytes)
C420 #228 Oyster Bay 09/03/1978
lirr228lentorney.jpg (72787 bytes)
C420 #228  St. James 1979
Photo: Len Torney
lirr228Setauket.jpg (69607 bytes)
C420 #228, #229  Setauket

#228 Greenvale 10/22/1979
Photo/Archive: Paul DeLuca

C420 #229 Brightwaters
lirr229LongIslandCity02-04-76.jpg (53043 bytes)
C420 #229 LI City 02/04/1976
lirr229-155_cabC55KingsPark06-10-85.jpg (51638 bytes)
C420 #229, MP15AC  #155, LIRR C55 King's Park 06/10/1985
lirr229eastport07-89tomcollins.jpg (49489 bytes)
C420 #229 Eastport 07/1989
Photo: Tom Collins
The Long Island Rail Road's Workhorse 
by Rich Gorddard
- Part 2

Editorís note: The following is part 2 of a two part series. We ran part 1 in the last edition of the RPO. Both parts of this story were originally run in the Sep/Oct. and the Nov/Dec. editions of the RPO in 1996. Please note that the whereabouts of the former LIRR C-420ís listed in this article were factual in 1996 but may not be factual today.  

When the LIRR brought the L-1ís to the island, it spelled the end of the Fairbanks-Morse era on the railroad. What goes around comes around, because in 1976, the LIRR started to take delivery of EMD GP 38-2ís. This was the beginning of the end for the C420ís. In 1977, EMD MP-15ACís and SW -1001ís arrived on the property and that was the final nail in the coffin for the L-1ís. The L-2ís miraculously survived into the late 1980' s.

The C420ís as a group wore different paint schemes over the years. From grey and orange, to blue and yellow, to the blue and white wave scheme to match the GP 38ís to the handsome bicentennial wave scheme of the famous LIRR President Francis Gabreski era.

I must admit that I had an unhealthy appreciation for these hulking Alcos. There was always something that increased the adrenaline flow when I saw a C420 rumble by. The earth trembled, black smoke belched forth, it was something I will always remember. On a quiet night, I could hear the C420ís idling in the Ronkonkoma yards. Even the sound of an Alco 251 engine, was like music to my ears. I was so attached to these engines, I could tell the difference in the sound of these engines from the rest of the fleet.

As the lease on the L-1's were about to expire, the LIRR felt that to continue to lease the engines was too costly a proposition, so they were removed from the property, and replaced by a fleet of aging GP-7ís and 9ís, from Precision National and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad.

In September of 1989, I was lucky enough to ride, photograph and video the last trip in passenger service of the C420ís. The Morris Park forces had the 225 and 229 looking great for the fan trip that day. The highlight of the trip came at the Clinton Avenue grade crossing for a final photo run by. The engineer was given the OK and he loaded the engines up to send plumes of glorious Alco smoke into the sky.

They are all gone now, just a memory. Besides working on Long Island, the engines did, but briefly leave the island. In 1964, units 207 and 208 were loaned briefly to the New Haven Railroad. The Delaware & Hudson leased many different C420ís over the years. The 223 was leased to Metro-North for work train service. Metro-North even thought about acquiring the L-2 fleet, but the units were too high to work the tunnels of Park Avenue.

You may ask whatever happened to the C420ís. Some survived the scrapper's torch and are still in operation, one in New York State.

When the lease on the Alcos expired, 200-209 were shipped to the Delaware and Hudsonís Colonie Shops. Number 208 was sent to Morrison-Knudsen in Boise, Idaho. Numbers 210-221 went to the Morristown & Erie. Soon afterward the final fate was sealed and the engines were sold off all over North America.  200 was sent to Delaware and now operates on the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville RR.  201 & 202 were Sold to M-K and used on the Vermont Northern RR.  203, 205  & 207 went to Trans Action Lines and were used on the Erie-Western RR (205: 09/26/77 first run). 204, 210 & 221 were sold to DMV, and leased to Virginia & Maryland. 206, 210-216, 218 & 219 were sold to the Roberval & Saguenay RR in Canada.  208 was sold to M-K then later used on the Detroit & Mackinac.  217 & 220 were sold to Naporano Iron & Metal in Newark, New Jersey.

The L2ís lasted until the late 1980ís. As I mentioned before, 225 and 229 ran a fan trip in 1989. After that trip, the L2ís were seen in work train service, most notably on the Port Jefferson branch. Shortly after that, one of the engines developed severe trouble with either the trucks, wheels or traction motors, and the decision was not to incur the expense of repairing the problem. Also, Alco parts were getting very hard to come by. I have been told that 222-229 were all sold to Naporano Iron & Metal of Newark New Jersey.  Naporano resold the engines to a South American country.

The units which went to the Roberval & Saguenay RR in Quebec are all still in operation. Several of them have had their high short hoods chopped down, others have not received this disfigurement. Hopefully they will not. Hi-Ball productions of New Hampshire has a video on the Roberval & Saguenay, and I recommend this tape if you would like to see these ex-LIRR units in action.

The Arkansas & Missouri run almost exclusively C420ís. None to my knowledge are of LIRR heritage. The Livonia, Avon & Lakeville RR in upstate New York is running ex-LIRR #200. The policy of LA&L is to number the engine according to the model. Hence, it has been renumbered 420. They also have a C425, and its number is, you guessed it...425.

Ex-LIRR 221 eventually made it from the Virginia & Maryland to the New York, Susquehanna & Western. The NYS&W renumbered her 2002 and 230. Rumor has it this engine is somewhere in or around Buffalo, and is owned by a private owner. {Editor's Note: As of press time, it has been learned this locomotive has been purchased by Buffalo Southern #2010}

After retirement on the LIRR, the C420's saw service on the railroads named above. However, some units went on to live even fuller lives.

 The 201, 204, 217 and 220 worked on the Mexican Railway system. The 207 went from the Erie Western to become 101 on the Little Rock & Western. The 201,202 and 204 were used by Morrison-Knudsen on the Vermont Northern. Number 202 was later resold to P. V. Commodity Ltd. in Calgary, Canada. The 207 worked the Green Bay yards on the Green Bay & Western.

In 1976, a new person in charge of the fleet came from the Milwaukee Road, which sported an all-EMD fleet. Besides at this time ALCO had ceased to exist since 1969. LIRR/MTA management switched to GP 38-2ís, MP-15ACís, and SW-1001ís as the ALCO fleet was aging. The 252 was the only GP 38-2 to be delivered in bicentennial colors, and was almost exactly the same as the bicentennial engines of the Milwaukee Road. 

ALCO C420 Plows

The question arises as to the C420 plows, as delivered or added later, and the provider: ALCO, OEM after market, or built by the LIRR Morris Shops:

C420 L-1 #200-209 delivered without plows. Info: Richard Glueck

C420 L-1 #210-221 and L-2 #222-229 equipped with plows as delivered by ALCO. Info: "Diesels of the Sunrise Trail" by John Scala

With the exception of #226 they appeared to be permanent and never removed.  #226 has numerous photos in the MTA delivered scheme, red strip scheme, and the blue/white wave with and without the plow. Research: Al Castelli
Note: C420 ALCO #211 builder photo with the plow. (see left column) 
ALCO #225 has an ALCO builders photo with the plow. (unconfirmed)


ALCO Plows in Snow Usage

Question: Why plows on RS-3's and not heavier C420's?

Answer #1: The heavier an engine is, the less it needs a plow to get thru the snow buildup. Example: Our GE center cabs are dead meat in winter if not run thru snow as it falls to clear tracks; our GP9's will shove thru anything we've had in 25 years without a plow. We have a plow on one end of one GP9, and one end of one GE center cab 44-tonner. But we keep the RR open by running patrol trains when it snows, so really don't count on the plows for much beyond clearing the berms piled up by the hiway plows at crossings. 

Answer #2: Greenport trains of 1 or 2 cars usually drew an RS3, not a 420. Greenport trip had many places with deep snow piles (cuts). So, why not put a plow on a few RS3s to protect the Main Line service which didn't see 420s much??

No proof for any of this, just pure speculation guided by experience digging out engines in the snow (just GE's, never big EMD's or Alcos!). Info: Art Single

Question: When you ran on LI, in the winter snows, did it make much difference whether you had an engine equipped with a plow, or not?" 

Answer: "Never had much thought on plow on loco's. Basically same as you about grade crossings. I did run many MU's on snow patrol to keep third rail clear. One most remembered is West Hempstead Branch. After making about seven round trips from WH to Valley Stream (4.7 miles) if sleet or snow was forecast you had to pick a 12 car train in yard and make three more trips until morning trains ran. This was manual block track so you had to get running orders as an extra train for this plus flag about three grade crossings as watchmen were done after last ran. Patrol trains were ran in third rail areas also." Info: Mark Smith

We have a plow on one end of one GP9, and one end of one GE center cab 44-tonner. But we keep the RR open by running patrol trains when it snows, so really don't count on the plows for much beyond clearing the berms piled up by the hi-way plows at crossings. 

SO not much reliance on plows for the most part, apparently; except at grade crossings to ease the crunch going over to the other side. Patrol trains take care of removing the snow while it's still powdery or at least not yet set up into one solid block of ice. Not much has changed in 50 years! Info: Art Single

LIRR-L226-MorrisPark-redwhiteblue-noplow.jpg (137191 bytes)
LIRR #226 Morris Park red/white/blue no plow
LIRR-L226_Farmingdale_viewN_09-14-86_.jpg (136572 bytes)
LIRR #226 Farmingdale view N  with plow 9/14/86
LIRR-L226-bluewhite-noplow.jpg (157128 bytes)
LIRR #226 LI City wave scheme no plow
LIRR C420's Status

In early 1976 through 1977, the Delaware and Hudson found itself with an ever increasing need for extra motive power.  This was due to the newly aquired trackage rights that was brought on by the formation of Conrail. 

In March of 1976 and then later in September of that year - the D&H Shops at Colonie, NY were used to store several High Hood ALCO C-420's that were being returned back to their original owner, the Railway Traction Company - as their leases had expired from the Long Island Railroad.  Seizing the opportunity to gain more ALCO Motive Power, the D&H leased several of these units for their own use in 1977.  All of the locomotives were quickly pressed into service - still wearing their MTA paint scheme, and keeping their original 200-series road numbers - while only receiving a small D&H Shield on the sides of the cab to signify their new operator.  As these locomotives did not have dynamic brakes, they were mostly used in the northern divisions of the railroad, where the terrain was not quite so mountainous.  And their tenure on the Delaware and Hudson was indeed a short one, as by the end of 1977 - all the units were either sold off or leased to other railroads. LIRR 200-209 received 1/1977 and sold/returned 12/1977. Research: The Bridge Line Historical Society

Units ex-LIRR #200-221 owned by Rail Traction Corp and on lease to D&H 1976-1977. A number of units later sold and were not sequentially re-numbered into the R&S roster as follows: 

206 40 Sold to Benoit Girard Metal Co Scrapped
209 33 Sold to Benoit Girard Metal Co Scrapped
211 41 In Scranton, PA as a parts source for the Delaware Lackawanna
212 37 Scrapped by Roberval & Saugernay (R&S)
214 34 Scrapped by R&S
215 35 Scrapped by R&S
216 36 Sold to Benoit Girard Metal Co Scrapped
217 Mexico with the 201, 204, and the 220
218 38 Scrapped by R&S
219 39 Scrapped by R&S

200 is now (LA&L) Livonia, Avon & Lakeville #420, Lakeville, NY, operational  in service 1995
Photo: Lakeville Yard Bulk Transfer Facility
LALRR-C420-exLIRR200.jpg (31301 bytes)
Lakeville, NY 3/09/2023T
Photo/Archive: Tim Darnell



DH_ex-LIRR-201_BillWeibel.jpg (83101 bytes)D&H ex-LIRR #201 Photo: Bill Weibel NdeM, Mexico ex-LIRR- #201 - eBay
DH_ex-LIRR-204_Colonie-NY_7-25-76_EdMcKernan.jpg (88934 bytes)D&H ex-LIRR #204 Colonie, NY 7/25/1976 Photo/Archive: Ed McKernan
204, 220 in Mexico, going to museum, scrapped 204 parts to go for 220  08/2008  Photo: Otto Vondrak
LIRR 200 working freight upstate on the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville, from this past August.jpg (78879 bytes) 
DH_ex-LIRR-206_Mechanicville-NY_7-25-76_EdMcKernan.jpg (78499 bytes)D&H ex-LIRR #206 Mechanicville, NY 7/25/1976 Photo/Archive: Ed McKernan
Erie Western no.207_Little Rock-and-Western_C420 - ex LIRR-2071989William S. Smith, Sr.jpg (141353 bytes)207 Erie Western #207, Green Bay & Western,  Little Rock & Western #101 (LR&W), Little Rock, AK. Chop nose, scrapped, used for parts. 1989 Photo: William S. Smith, Sr. C420 #207 LR&W #101 is scrapped, used for parts.
208 Lake States #976 chop nose, had major fire recently and will be scrapped. 208 was supposedly scrapped. Info from Nicholas Todd.  C420 #208 Lake State #976 has been parted out and scrapped.
210 Went to the Virginia & Maryland RR with 221, 210 sunk on a carfloat & was scrapped. Info: Tim Darnell
LIRR #211 at Meadows Yard, South Kearny, NJ. Pulaski Skyway, view S, in background 10/1976 Photo: eBay

The lease on C420 #211 ended on 9/14/1976 per John Scala's "Diesels of the Sunrise Trail".
It was then leased briefly to McCormack Sand & Gravel in S. Amboy, NJ.
Later leased to the Roberval & Saquenay as their #41 between 3/1977 and 5/1978.

As this was shot in October, 1976, it was off Long Island and probably in transit to McCormack Sand & Gravel.  Dave Keller
Lineage: LI #211,  VLIX #41,  DL #41,  DH #211

ex-LIRR #211 with M&E (Morristown & Erie RR) cab stencil at D&H, Oneonta, NY 4/26/1977 Photo/Archive: Charles Maxim
ex-LIRR #211 with cab stencil M&E RR at Whitehall, NY 8/1977 Archive: Gil Ford
DL41-LI211_Scranton_11-12-2016_TimDarnell.jpg (145458 bytes)ex-LIRR #211  VLIX #41 at Delaware Lackawanna shops, Scranton, PA. It may have been heavily vandalized,  now owned by Delaware Lackawanna.
Paul Strubeck 7/2008

Delaware Lackawanna #41 at Scranton, PA shops as part of Genesee Valley Transportation Company (GVT Rail) 11/12/2016  Photo/Archive: Tim Darnell


DH_ex-LIRR-212_WhitehallNY_JamesCsmithJr.jpg (109993 bytes)D&H  ex-LIRR #212 - Whitehall, NY Photo: James C. Smith, Jr.

North-American_Car_Corp _ex-Dakota-Southern_ex-LIRR- C420-no.213_c.1986+.jpg (93333 bytes) 213 Dakota Southern RR  #213, operational, needs wheel work. 213 was supposed to have a truck swap with an EMD, which would lower it to the standard 70 mph. I assume they did or planned to do this to take advantage of the famous Alco acceleration capability. Info from Nicholas Todd.

North American Car Corp., ex-Dakota Southern, ex-LIRR C420 #213  Photo: c.1986+



DH_ex-LIRR-214_Colonie-NY_5-21-1977_EdMcKernan.jpg (81374 bytes)D&H ex-LIRR #214 Colonie, NY  5/21/1977 
Photo/Archive: Ed McKernan
Roberval & Saugernay Railroad #34, ex-LIRR #214 
Photo: eBay

DH219-C420_DH1976-RS3M_OneontaHump-formerLIRR219_8-1-77-archiveRandyKotuby.jpg (98532 bytes) D&H ex-LIRR  #219, RS3M  #1976 Oneonta Hump 08/01/1977 Archive: Randy Kotuby



DHex-LIRR219-1976 oneonta08-1977_RandyKotuby.jpg (100031 bytes)D&H ex-LIRR  #219, RS3M  #1976 08/01/1977 Archive: Randy Kotuby

DandH C420-219 (ex-LIRR) On 2-C420, 2-C628, 2-U33C_4-1977.jpg (116250 bytes)D&H (two ex-LIRR) C420 #219 and unknown, two D&H C628, two D&H-U33C units Photo: 4/1977
LIRR #219 to R&S #39 (Roberval & Saguenay)  1978, 1988 wrecked, scrapped 1992 Research: Tim Darnell

NdeM, Mexico City - Ex-LIRR C420 #220 1/01/1967 Photo: Toshihiko Yamada
NdeM, Mexico City - Ex-LIRR C420 #220 being relocated to the new YucatŠn Museum 3/2023 Photo: DeAndre Walthers
The 222-229 were to be sold through Naporano in 1989, which bid the highest price, to a company in Suriname. There was only one company that I was aware of that had rails there: A bauxite firm which bought two SP RSD12s from Chrome Crankshaft ca. 1980. Supposedly this operation never got off, but the tracks still exist. I doubt the ALCOs exist, but one never knows. Info from Tim Darnell
201 and 217 were scrapped down in Mexico. I've received sad news about ex-LIRR C-420 #204, it was cut up in July 2004 in Mexico. The good news is parts were taken to restore C-420 #220 and ex-D&H C-628 610. Apparently radiators were replaced with those from C-424s or M-424s by FNM or possibly MLW.  #220- Supposedly preserved in Mexico, possibly at the 220 is at the Meridia (MX) museum
C420 #221, the last of the first batch of C420s was withdrawn from service in October, 1977.    Info from Tim Darnell

NYSW260_ex-LIRR221_Buffalo-Engine-House_6-87.jpg (103950 bytes) ex-LIRR #221 - NYS&W #260  Buffalo, NY Engine House 6/1987 Went to the Virginia & Maryland RR with 210. Tim Darnell

BS2010-C420-ex-LIRR221_Gowanda-NY_7-7-2001_Scot Lawrence.jpg (149607 bytes)ex-LIRR #221 - Buffalo Southern #2010  Gowanda, NY  7/07/2001 Photo:  Scot Lawrence 

C420 #222, the first of the second batch of C420s was withdrawn from service 1/21/88.

200 is now (LA&L) Livonia, Avon & Lakeville #420, Lakeville, NY, operational in service 2019 Photo: Lakeville Yard Bulk Transfer Facility  Info: Tim Darnell
201 D&H ex-LIRR #201 unknown
202 scrapped
203 scrapped
204 scrapped 220 in Mexico, going to museum, scrapped 204 parts to go for 220 08/2008
205 scrapped
206  #40 scrapped Benoit Girard Metal Co
207 scrapped, used for parts. 1989 Photo: William S. Smith, Sr. C420 #207 LR&W #101 is scrapped, used for parts.
208 scrapped
209 #33 scrapped Benoit Girard Metal Co
210 scrapped Went to the Virginia & Maryland RR with 221, 210 sunk on a carfloat & was scrapped. Info: Tim Darnell
211 #41 In Scranton, PA as a parts source for the Delaware Lackawanna
212 #37 scrapped by Roberval & Saugernay (R&S)
213 Dakota Southern RR #213, stored, needs wheel work and a traction motor
214 #34 scrapped by R&S
215 #35 scrapped by R&S
216 #36 scrapped Benoit Girard Metal Co
217 Mexico with the 201, 204, and the 220
218 #38 scrapped by R&S
219 #39 scrapped by R&S
220 Mexican museum, scrapped 204 parts to go for 220
221 NYS&W #260 Buffalo 6/1987 Went to the Virginia & Maryland RR with 210. Buffalo Southern #2010 Gowanda, NY 7/07/2001