Pioneering, Stylish, Exotic
Written by Gary Dolzall
The Alco DL109 diesel, in five New Haven liveries and accompanied by a magnificent set of NYNH&H streamlined passenger equipment, is coming soon to Train Simulator!
The early years of America’s diesel era were extraordinary times, with multiple locomotive builders turning out pioneering, often stylish, and even exotic diesel locomotives. And the Alco DL109 – which is soon coming to Train Simulator – was indeed pioneering, stylish, and exotic!
The upcoming Alco DL109 for Train Simulator is being developed by DTM and will re-create the extraordinary locomotive with exquisite detail in five authentic New Haven liveries -- and the DLC will also include a magnificent set of New Haven streamlined passenger equipment featuring ten NYNH&H car types in multiple liveries and with full interiors!
The American Locomotive Company – Alco, for short – was one of America’s “Big Three” locomotive builders in the steam era (along with The Baldwin Locomotive Works and Lima Locomotive Works). Among the classic steam locomotives to have rolled out of Alco’s Schenectady (New York) works were the likes of New York Central’s fabulous J-series 4-6-4 Hudsons, Rock Island’s great fleet of 4-8-4 Northerns, and the biggest of the big, Union Pacific’s 4-8-8-4 Big Boys. And yet, with the advent of railroading’s diesel age, Alco, like its competitors, was faced with the daunting and urgent need to develop a line of diesel locomotives and compete with the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, which was quickly establishing itself as the dominant diesel builder in North America.
Alco’s exploration of diesel-building dated all the way back to 1917 when it entered into a joint venture with Ingersoll-Rand and General Electric for construction of early box cab diesels. Alco and GE would prove to be long-time partners in diesel production. Alco began building a line of standard end-cab diesel switchers in the 1930s, but the company largely missed out on any role in the dramatic emergence of lightweight diesel passenger trains than began with the Burlington Route’s Electro-Motive/Budd-built Pioneer Zephyr of 1934. In 1936, Electro Motive – with Baltimore & Ohio EA No. 51 – debuted its classic and successful line of “E-unit” passengers diesels and with Electro-Motive’s E6 of 1939, the builder began to tally significant sales. Alco needed to create a competitor to the formidable Electro-Motive E-unit.
Alco’s answer arrived January 1940 in the form of Rock Island No. 624, the builder’s first 2,000-horsepower, six axle (A1A-A1A) diesel passenger locomotive. Powered by a pair of 6-cylinder diesels developed by McIntosh & Seymour (a firm Alco had purchased in 1938), the new locomotive was striking in appearance, styled with a long, knife-sharp nose by noted industrial designer Otto Kuhler (among Kuhler’s great works were the New Haven’s elegant I-5 streamlined 4-6-4s build by Baldwin in 1937). Before the entry of the United States into World War II, Alco would build a modest number of sister units for Rock Island, Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, Santa Fe, and the Southern Railway. RI No. 624 was designated by Alco as a DL103b and the units that immediately followed carried DL105 and DL107 designations until, with Santa Fe No. 50, the cab unit was given designation DL109, a moniker that remained with the locomotive type thereafter (the cables booster version was designated DL110).
Enter the famed New York, New Haven & Hartford. In what was a pioneering concept at the time, New Haven chose and intended to employ the DL109 as a “dual-service” diesel. On the NYNH&H, the DL109 would haul passengers by day and then come night, when there were few passenger duties to perform, haul freight and mail. The New Haven ordered an initial group of ten cab units, the first pair of which arrived on the property two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor that carried America into World War II. With the war, passenger locomotive production in the U. S. was all but curtailed for the duration by War Production Board edict, but New Haven was allowed to purchase more DL109s due to the locomotive’s dual-service role. By 1945, when New Haven accepted the last DL109 constructed, the railroad had acquired a roster of sixty units (road numbers 0700-0759, all cab equipped). Built with strengthened frames and geared for a maximum 80 miles per hour, the NYNH&H DL109s were well matched for their dual duties. Whether leading one of the railroad’s flagship passenger trains or grinding tonnage in all directions out of sprawling Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven, Connecticut, the long and lean diesels, their distinctive-sounding, big-piston 539-series power plants churning away at a leisurely 740 rpm, made for an impressive showing.
As if the DL109 did not carry enough train-watcher’s appeal unto itself, New Haven over the years splashed the diesels in many colors and the Alcos appeared in five different liveries (and with some variation even among those schemes). Originally delivered in a stylish green and gold livery that did full justice to their long and trim lines, the DL109s would also wear liveries of Hunter green, orange, red, and even – in the case of No. 0759 – a version of the flashy and iconic “McGinnis” scheme. With the coming of the New Haven’s large fleet of EMD FL9s in the late 1950s, the veteran DL109s days were numbered and the DL109s service on the NYNH&H ended in July 1959. Over their 15-year careers, the New Haven DL109s had hauled premier varnish, secondary passenger trains, mail, freight, and even commuters (and yes, they did often haul freight during the daytime as well as at night).
With the upcoming New Haven Alco DL109, developer DTM has created a truly remarkable DLC that features the pioneering Alco in five superb liveries, a superb set of New Haven’s beautiful postwar streamlined passenger equipment featuring ten car types (which we’ll cover in an upcoming article), and a set of five excellent career scenarios for the Train Simulator Springfield Line: Springfield – New Haven route (route available separately). The Springfield Line provides an authentic and era-appropriate venue for the Alco DL109 and the realistic scenarios, created by Springfield Line co-creator Michael Stephan, put the DL109 to work in passenger, mail, and freight duties.
Get ready to take the throttle of a pioneering, stylish, and, yes, rather exotic American diesel locomotive – with the New Haven Alco DL109 coming soon to Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
Soon, through the skills of talented developer DTM, Alco’s pioneering and stylish Alco DL109 diesel – in five authentic and beautiful New Haven liveries – is coming to Train Simulator. Five of NYNH&H’s fleet of sixty 2,000-horsepower DL109s have gathered at the railroad’s Springfield (Massachusetts) roundhouse in a demonstration of the New Haven’s penchant for dramatic and diverse diesel liveries! Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
With the upcoming Alco DL109, DTM has superbly recreated every aspect of the classic diesel, from exterior details to sounds to the first-generation diesel’s large and roomy operating cab. With its long prow and three-piece windshield, the DL109 provided a memorable view for any engineer who climbed aboard. Note: Screenshots depict content while in development.
New Haven purchased its DL109s for dual (passenger and freight) duties. NYNH&H’s DL109s began arriving in December 1941 just as America went to war. The railroad originally purchased ten DL109s and by 1945 its roster of DL109s would grow to sixty units. NYNH&H 0701 is wearing the beautiful original green-and-gold livery specified by the New Haven (above), and No. 0746 is on the point of NYNH&H’s Bankers passenger train as it approaches Hartford, Connecticut on the Train Simulator Springfield Line: Springfield – New Haven route (below).
In 1945, New Haven DL109s began arriving from Alco in a stylish Hunter green and light gray scheme (above). Demonstrating the DL109s typical nocturnal assignments of hauling freight, a duo of the lanky Alcos hustle tonnage northbound on the NYNH&H Springfield Line (below).
Yet another attractive livery for the New Haven’s DL109s made its debut in 1948, this time featuring orange and green colors (above). A duo of NYNH&H Alco DL109s are easing through Hartford’s station with tonnage bound for Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven (below). The New Haven specified its DL109s with extra-sturdy frames and 80-mph gearing to ensure their ability to handle both passengers and freight. Indeed, the DL109s would do just that for a decade-and-a-half on the NYNH&H before eventual retirement in 1959.
New Haven’s Cranberry passenger train operated between Boston and Hyannis (Massachusetts) on Cape Cod, and in 1949 the railroad dressed DL109 0722 in a special and stunning red-and white livery (above). Taking a break from its usual Cape Cod duties, NYNH&H 0722 is easing out of the Springfield roundhouse on a wintry night (below). The 0722 was repainted back into standard green and gold livery in December 1953.
The New Haven’s iconic “McGinnis” livery was introduced near the end of the service careers of the DL109s, but nonetheless NYNH&H 0759 received the flashy scheme (above). Recalling the NYNH&H DL109s’ final and first liveries, the Connecticut Yankee passenger train hustles past New Haven’s sprawling Cedar Hill Yard (below). The upcoming DL109 DLC features five authentic career scenarios on the Train Simulator Springfield Line: Springfield – New Haven route (route available separately).
The upcoming Alco DL109 DLC will deliver the classic Alco in five New Haven liveries and offer five superb scenarios – and yet there’s even more to be enjoyed in this upcoming DLC, which will also include a superb set of New Haven’s postwar streamlined passenger equipment featuring ten car types (which we’ll cover in an upcoming article). Get ready to take the throttle of a pioneering, stylish, and, yes, rather exotic American diesel locomotive – with the New Haven Alco DL109 coming soon to Train Simulator!
Pioneering, Stylish, Exotic