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Coast Division Model Contest

September 2006 Meet - supplemental prototype information:

GM&O Ingalls Diesel #1900   


The following history of GM&O Ingalls Diesel #1900 was written in 1999 by:

Demetre Argiro
Lawrenceville, GA

Demetre had a long and personal relationship with the Ingalls unit, having ridden
in it, and even operated it, for many miles and hours during its twenty-year service life.

Used with his express permission - thx, Demetre!

He requests that we credit the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Historical Society.  Most of the
information below is from the GM&OHS News, issue # 42, 1986.  This issue was
devoted entirely to the Ingalls unit and is a "must read" for anyone interested in the machine.
This issue can still be ordered from the GM&O Historical Society.

In 1945 Pascagoula, Mississippi based Ingalls Shipbuilding corp.  announced
their entry into the railway locomotive market with a proposed slate of five
models.  There were two switching engines of 660 (model 16-S) and 1000 hp.
(model 5-S) similar to Alco's S1/S2, a 2000 hp. model 17-S passenger
locomotive that looked sort of like a hybrid cross between an EMD F unit and a
Baldwin babyface and, finally, a 1000 hp. 3-S and the 1500 hp. 4-S.  Of this
extensive line only a single 4-S was built; G M & O 1900.

The engine was powered by a Superior inline eight cylinder adapted marine
engine of 1840 cubic inches displacement per cylinder for a total swept volume
of 14,726 cu. in.  The engine produced 1650 hp, at 660 rpm of which 1500 HP was
available for traction.
Only Baldwin, also with its adapted  De La Vergne marine engine, was slower.
Traction motors were the large Westinghouse models that were also used by
Baldwin.  The big 11 pole Westinghouse motors necessitated a six inch longer
wheelbase than did the GE motors used by Alco.

Truly a pioneer in the world of diesel locomotives, the 4-S employed features
that were years ahead of its time, some of which have never been replicated byany other builder.

One such feature was the turret cab which appeared on the scene again in 1961
when Kraus-Maffei, A. G. sent 21 units to D&RGW and SP from their Munich,
Germany plant.  The K-M units looked for all the world like a second
generation progeny of Ingall's unit.  The KM's were not, of course, and failed
miserably in North American service due to their excessively high maintenance costs,
while the lone 4-S, now 16 years old, toilled loyally on.

Another feature never seen on another U.S. built locomotive was the passenger
car like vestibule at the rear .  This feature was actually designed with the
purpose of crew comfort, safety and ease of use in mind.  In inclement weather
the ground crew could be sheltered from the elements and could even go inside
the locomotive's roomy machinery spaces to put on rain or snow gear, and dry
off or warm up.  When switching along line of road, mounting and dismounting
from the unit was very easy.

Once, while the unit was working the J&O local between Okolona, Ms. and
Jackson, Tn., the Okolona Yardmaster was instructed by Chief Dispatcher Bittle
to load down the 1900 to see what it would pull over Booneville Hill.  When
the Chief found out how much tonnage had been put on the engine, he became
very upset and told Okolona that the unit would never make it over the hill.
But it did make the hill with more tonnage than any other single unit had ever handled.

The 4-S was tougher than a Waffle House T-bone. Once, the engine derailed and
rolled down the embankment coming to rest upside down in the woods alongside
the right of way.  Dragged out, set back on its trucks and towed to Mobile,
the unit was back in service three weeks later seemingly none the worse for the wear.

William K. Davis, General Mechanical Inspector for the GM&O said of the 4-S:
"In my opinion, the 1900 was a fine locomotive."  Davis added: "As to why no
more of these locomotives were built by Ingalls, we learned that it would take
two years after #1900 was delivered before Ingalls could take adequate
deliveries of electrical equipment from its suppliers, and, thus, they decided
to exit the market. I am sorry that they could not build more of these units"

Delivered to the G M & O in June 1946, the unit spent virtually its entire
service life in Mobile, Alabama,  where the author was fortunate enough to see it
frequently and even ride it on many occasions.

Traded in on new GP 38's, the 1900 went to La Grange in 1967.  It was offered
for sale by EMD for $3000 but there were no takers.  In the fall of that year
the locomotive was hauled across the tracks to Pilet Bros. and reduced to a pile of scrap.

Click on the following links to see more information about this unique one-of-a-kind North American diesel locomotive:

1)  The Superior diesel engine used in the Ingalls Diesel, by Will Davis:
Will also has a nice web site on Locomotives at

2)  The text and description above, used by permission of the original author, Demetre Argiro. 
3)  The GM&O Historical Society issue #42 is devoted to this diesel, see more at :

4)  The Ingalls Shipbuilding Co. 1500-hp. road locomotive, Model 4S, is described  in the:
    Model Railroader Cyclopedia - Volume 2: Diesel Locomotives    page 108

5)  Here are three O scale model photos that were posted online on the Atlas O Forum, a scratchbuilt model by Malcolm Byrnes (used with permission) :

6)  Here is a nice side view picture of the GM&O #1900 Ingalls diesel, from the Northeast Railfan web site (allow some time to load, this web site isn't very fast):

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