Thanks to Smithsonian Institution donation the ALCO # 8011 is added to the US Army Transportation Museum collection at Ft. Eustis

Thanks to a donation from the Smithsonian Institution, the US Army Transportation Museum has recently added ALCO # 8011 to its collection at Ft. Eustis. Following is Friday's (2/4/11) Ft. Eustis newspaper, the PENINSULA WARRIOR, public consumption account of the addition of the 8011. The second entry was worked up several weeks ago while the unit was still at Strasburg, PA. Later in the year the museum will be holding a dedication ceremony that will be open to the public. We will keep you advised as a specific date is confirmed.

Photo by Kel MacKavanagh at Strasburg, PA

Mark Metz,Rail Committee
US Army Transportation Museum Foundation

WWII locomotive makes its final stop at U.S. Army Transportation Museum By Lyna Tucker, Assistant Editor Peninsula Warrior -After a long life of service spanning duty in World War II, on the Alaskan Railway and testing at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Army RSD-1 locomotive #8011 pulled into its final station Jan. 21 at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis.

Built in March 1941, the locomotive was a four-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by the American Locomotive Company for the Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railway, #902. After the outbreak of war in 1942, #902 was requisitioned by the Army for service overseas. Originally designated a model RS-1, the engine was remanufactured into a C-C design six-axle locomotive (three powered axles per truck, or wheel assembly), re-designated Army RSD-1 #8011, and shipped to the Persian Gulf for use on the Trans Iranian Railroad. During the war years, #8011 was used to increase the flow of supplies to the Soviet Union as part of the Allied war effort. At war’s end, the locomotive entered into service with the Alaskan Railroad as #1034. In 1975, #1034 transferred to the U.S. Department of Transportation Test Track in Pueblo, Colo., and re-numbered DOT/FRA # 013. The locomotive served at the test track for eight years and was then donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The engine eventually moved to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg, Pa., where it has been on display since the early 1980s. Because of space issues, the museum returned the locomotive to the Army and in January #8011 began a long trek to its final home at the Army Transportation Museum to be part of the museum’s exhibits.

“It took about 12 days to get here, but we’re glad it’s finally here,” said David Hanselman, Transportation Museum director. The locomotive was loaded on two flatbed cars: the engine on one and the trucks on another. The trucks were removed and the components shipped on separate cars because the engine would have been too tall for transport. The engine began its journey from Pennsylvania, moving from station to station by CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad companies. Although the two are competitors in rail transportation, this was not the first time they have come together for a common interest.What’s interesting about having the two companies move the engine is that they actually have a direct lineage with Army rail transportation,” Mr. Hanselman said. “In World War II, we (the Army) needed better rail transportation so we turned to CSX and Norfolk Southern and they helped with training Soldiers for rail transportation and raising Army rail companies,” he said.

Once the locomotive arrived, the engine and trucks were lifted from the cars by two cranes supplied by Lockwood Bros., Inc. of Hampton. The cranes – a 365-ton rated capacity and a 110-ton rated capacity – were outfitted with 1 ½-inch diameter polyester slings with a lift capacity of up to 80,000 pounds each. After ensuring the slings were safely and securely in place the cranes removed the trucks from the flatbed. Once the trucks were in place, the nearly 75-ton engine was then prepared for removal from its flatbed and placement onto its trucks. Unlike the trucks, lifting of the engine was much more of a challenge because the two cranes had to lift in sync, preventing uneven lift on either end of the locomotive. The lift and descent went according to plan.
With the hard part over, the museum staff can now turn to the rest of the work toward restoring the engine and preparing it for display. This spring, Mr. Hanselman is hoping for a visit from the Army Reserve’s 757th Railway Operating Battalion from Fort McCoy, Wisc. “The plan is that they will hopefully be able to come down here this spring and split up into two groups. One will work on hooking all the connectors back and possibly repainting the train, while the other – the track people, will build a fourth rail spur,” Mr. Hanselman said. The mission of the 757th Railway Operating Battalion is charged with the operation and maintenance of locomotives and building and repair of railroad tracks.The engine, although not restored, is visible in the railway display yard at the museum along with other locomotives and cars that honorably served throughout Army rail transportation history.


Army RSD-1 locomotive number 8011 has been donated by the Smithsonian Institution to the U. S. Army Transportation Corps Museum at Fort Eustis, VA. The locomotive was originally built in March 1941 by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) as a standard RS-1 for the Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railway where it wore number 902. Early in World War II (WW II) it was requisitioned by the U. S. War Department and returned to ALCO in Schenectady, NY, where it was modified for overseas service and equipped with three-axle trucks. After rebuilding in December 1942, it was one of 57 similar diesel locomotives shipped to the Persian Gulf to be operated by Military Railway Service (MRS) units on the Iranian State Railway transporting wartime Lend Lease supplies to the Russians. MRS units serving in Iran included the 702nd (UP) Railway Grand Division, the 711th, 730th (PRR), and 791st Railway Operating Battalions, and the 754th (SP) and 762nd (ALCO) Railway Shop Battalions.

At the end of WW II the locomotive saw service on the Alaska Railroad and later at Pueblo, CO, on the U. S. Department of Transportation's Test Track. From Pueblo the locomotive was donated to the Smithsonian and moved to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg, PA, where it has been on display since the early 1980s. The locomotive moved on two flatcars to Fort Eustis where it will join other military rail equipment as part of the museum's exhibits and displays paying tribute to the service and accomplishments of MRS Veterans. Included among MRS Veterans serving in Iran were Major W. Thomas Rice who became Chairman of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and a Major General in the U. S. Army Reserve, Colonel Arthur E. Stoddard who served as President of the Union Pacific Railroad from 1949 to 1965, and Colonel Frank S. Besson, Jr. who became the Transportation Corps' first four star general. The transportation museum at Fort Eustis is named in honor of General Besson.