TIPS & TECHNIQUES
ARISTO RS - 3
The RS-3 was made by ALCO starting in 1950. It is a 1600 HP locomotive powered by
ALCO's smoky 4-stroke diesel engine. Many railroads bought this locomotive and it was used for
both freight and passenger service. The "RS" designation stood for "Road-Switcher").
The short hood on these locos often housed the steam generator for train heat. When this option
was present, there was a stack that ran up between the windshield post, and an intake vent on the
Aristo has once again come out with a winner. Their RS-3 pulls well, runs smoothly and
has great detail. Remarkably this loco does not require a great deal of "tweaking". Aristo has
painted this locomotive in a variety of road names and as usual the artwork is well done. Most
roads ran their units long hood forward, but several roads including the Santa Fe and the Southern
Pacific, ran their short hoods forward for better visibility. None of the Aristo diesels come with
the steam generator option. Since I model Southern Pacific, I will have to move the engineer.
This will probably be when I open up the unit to install a sound system.
The RS-3 comes with a standard Aristo knuckle coupler. A hook and loop coupler can be
installed, but it is difficult and requires cutting on the pilots. Since this is a long loco, the
couplers will not work well on 2' radius curves. Kadee makes a coupler that will fit, and by
following their instructions you will wind up with a satisfying installation. They state that they
have a kit for small-radius, so choose your options and carefully follow the instructions enclosed.
The diesel comes with a speaker installed and putting a sound system into the unit is
fairly straight forward. I would recommend a sound system by either Phoenix or Soundtraxx for
UPDATE: Kadee has two kits for couplers for the RS. #786 will work for 4 foot radius curves,
and the #787 will work on Large radius curves. They are easy to install, and require no
modifications to the original mount on the loco. As stated previously, follow the Kadee
instructions and the installation will go smoothly.
I chose a Soundtraxx sound system for my RS. It was fairly simple to open the
locomotive once all the handrails were removed. I mounted the sound system in the fuel tank, and
the battery in the locomotive itself. Since I put the typical SP "barrel style" MARS lights on either
end I had to program the sound card for this feature.
While this locomotive was painted and lettered for the Southern Pacific, it was one
that the railroad never had on their roster. The Cotton Belt did have RS-3's so this locomotive
will be repainted from the "Tiger Stripe" scheme and repainted to the Cotton Belt's version of the
"Black Widow" scheme.