The ALCO S-1 and S-3 were 660 horsepower (490 kW) switcher diesel-electric locomotives produced by ALCO and their Canadian subsidiary Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW). Basically, the two locomotives differed only in trucks, with the S-1 using ALCO’s own Blunt trucks, and the S-3 riding on standard AAR type A switcher trucks.
The S-1 was built between April 1940 and June 1950, with a total of 540 completed, while the S-3 was constructed between February 1950 and November 1953 (MLW until 1957) with total sales of 292. A modified version, the S-10, was built by MLW only; 13 were built between January and June 1958.
The S-1 and S-3 are distinguishable externally from the very similar S-2 and S-4 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) switchers in that they have a smaller exhaust stack with a round base and a smaller radiator shutter area on the nose sides.
The S-1/S-3 radiator shutter area is taller than it is wide, while the S-2/S-4 radiator area is wider. The smaller stack is due to the lack of turbocharging. The S-10 is not externally distinguishable from later Canadian-built S-3 locomotives; it differed mostly in electrical equipment.
The S-1 and S-3 models were sold to an extensive list of railroads and industrial operators, as detailed below. Major owners of the S-1 included the New York Central Railroad (NYC), with 71 locomotives; the New Haven with 65 locomotives; the L&N with 45 locomotives; the C&NW, with 29 locomotives; and the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) with 27 locomotives.
Major customers for the S-3 included the CP, with 101; the CN, with 49; the NYC, with 43 locomotives; the B&M, with 16; and the PRR, with 13. The MLW S-10 was sold only to the CP.