Making sense with proto freelancing, found my motive power is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


For some time now, I have been planning a small proto freelanced shortline set in north central Indiana. But finding the right "dirt cheap" motive power has been a challenge for me. I have bought and resold several engines as at first they seemed like a good fit, but then I didn't get that "fuzzy" feeling once I had it. That has changed. If we go back to the mid 80's at shortlines flourished on abandon sections of lines that shippers decided to once again ship by rail, we have to consider what would have been on the market in the real world. EMD's would have commanded the most money, with others such as Alco, GE, Baldwin ect being the odd balls and not as expensive. Most GE road units went to scrap, as had most Baldwin and FM road units. I didn't want just a switcher, although I had several offered at keen prices. Then I spotted this odd ball low hood Alco RSD12 on It was cheap, a non runner with foamatosis(foam attacked the clearcoat on the brass and stuck to it). So I bought it and it arrived today. The non running part, the motor was missing a brush. I do not believe its ever been run. I had to replace 2 cracked gears(common on these) and I installed a spare open frame motor till the new can motor arrives. With a complete service, she now runs really well for an older brass import. I added the SP nose Gyralight. I am going to model the unit like the upper SP light cluster and long hood were redone to a more common style set up when my line repainted the unit. These would have been cheap from the scrapper/locomotive reseller, its 251 powered in real life and being a small 6 axle, easy on lighter rail yet good for lugging grain hoppers and fertilizer cars at slow speeds. Now to get her painted and the Richmond Controls lighting circuit installed. Mike the Aspie



Well-Known Member
Looks nice, I've usually spent a bit more on power and gone cheap on the cars. For me it's easier to paint, decal, and add detail to a car then mess with a local. I guess my biggest concern is something happening and the whole thing gets fried.
Be sure to update as you paint it.


BN Modeller
Good looking loco and back history!
I agree with Tom on not cheaping out on the loco tho, get her running good and you’ll be happy.
Be sure to post some progress pics!

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.