Two DERS-2c locomotives at New Britain Yard c1953.
Thomas J McNamara Collection.

In December 1947 the New Haven received its first road switchers, the Alco RS-2 (NH class DERS-2b). The second delivery was of the earlier pioneering Alco RS-1 class. Road switchers were a new type of locomotive at the time, providing the visibility of a switcher in both directions, but operable at road speeds. All of the original New Haven road switchers had steam generators and were geared to operate at passenger speeds allowing use in both freight and passenger service.

DERS-1b - Alco-GE RS-1

Delivered in early 1948, the RS-1 locomotive was essentially an S-2 locomotive with a steam generator and a short hood added for passenger service. Unfortunately, the design did not prove to be efficient enough for passenger service, and within a couple of years they were moved to freight only work. 
Paint Scheme
Delivery Scheme: Warm Orange hoods and Hunter green cabs.

DERS-2b - Alco-GE RS-2 

The New Haven took delivery of the first 10 RS-2 locomotives in December 1947 through January 1948 to dieselize the Berkshire Line. They received 7 more in November and December, 1948 to complete the dieselization of the Highland Line. These seven locomotives (510-516) were initially assigned to Waterbury.
Paint Scheme
Delivery Scheme: Warm Orange hoods and a Hunter Green cab with a curved filet of Hunter Green at the bottom of the hoods where they meet the cab.

DERS-2c - Alco-GE RS-3

The Alco RS-3 locomotives was a further evolution of the RS-2 locomotive. They quickly became the dominant locomotive for passenger and freight service on the Highland Line. Delivered in three orders: August - September 1950; October-November 1951; and January-February 1952.

In October of 1950 there were two assigned to trains through New Britain. By September 28, 1952 there were 8, with the exception of trains 131-136 based in Boston, all passenger trains used DERS-2c locomotives (Although these would soon be replaced with the delivery of the Budd RDCs). The only other locomotives assigned was an DERS-2b for HDX-5 and the DER-2 sets for the Maybrook freights.
The first 20 RS-3 locomotives on the roster were Phase Ia, and the last 25 were Phase Ib. The major visible differences on the phase Ib included horizontal louvers on the battery boxes, the lack of coupler buffers for passenger service, and they have a drop step in the end railings.
Paint Schemes
Delivery Scheme 517-536: Warm Orange Hoods, with Pullman Green Cabs, and a band of Hunter Green along the base of the hood.
Delivery Scheme 537-561: Warm Orange Hood, with a band of Pullman Green along the base and top of the hood. Pullman Green cab.

DERS-3 - F-M H16-44

When delivered in late 1950, the Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 locomotives were originally numbered from 560-569. In January 1952 they were renumbered to 590-599 to free up the original numbers for more DERS-2c locomotives.
This initial delivery of the locomotives are Phase Ia with Type B trucks and featured the distinctive rounded window designed by Raymond Loewy. These were the first non-Alco road switchers delivered to the New Haven.
Paint Scheme
Delivery Scheme: Warm Orange hood with a band of Pullman Green at the bottom. Hunter Green cab, black frame. 


Volume 17, Number 3
pg 11: "Modeling the New Haven: New Haven's DERS-2C (RS-3) Part I."
Volume 17, Number 4
pg 14: "Modeling the New Haven: New Haven's DERS-2C (RS-3) Part II - The Rebuilds."

Volume 30, Number 4
pg 6: "New Haven DERS-1b: The Alco RS-1."

New Haven Diesel Locomotives Volume 1: Switchers & Road Switchers; Robert A. Liljestrand & David R. Sweetland.

Layout at a Glance

From 1948-1952, operating sessions on the layout will provide an interesting study of the evolution of road switchers on the New Haven Railroad. While some of these classes were on the property earlier, they were initially assigned to other jobs (such as the initial delivery of the DERS-2b's on the Berkshire line).

1948 - DERS-1b's (passenger)
1949 - DERS-1b's (passenger); DERS-2b's (freight)
1950 - DERS-1b's (passenger); DERS-2b's (freight)
1951 - DERS-2b's (passenger); DERS-2c's (freight)
1952 - DERS-2c's (all except HDX-5, 131, 136)

DERS-1b Assignments

  • 4/24/49 - 0661 - 157, 444, 472, 474
  • 4/24/49 - 0662 - 446, 463
  • 4/24/49 - 0665 - 421
  • 10/2/50 - 0660 - 421
  • 10/2/50 - 0661 - 446, 463
  • 10/2/50 - 0663 - 444, Inspection

 DERS-1b Models

  • 0660
  • 0661
  • 0662
Atlas has a nice model (7106, 7107) in the second paint scheme (beyond my era) and (7117, 7118) in the McGinnis scheme. So I will start with the undecorated models (7100).

"New Havenizing" modifications planned:
  1. Add steam generator stack 
  2. Add steam generator intake 
  3. Add poling pockets (Atlas-994229)
  4. Add passenger buffers (Custom Finishing-306)
  5. Add markers
  6. Add MU jumpers in end railing
  7. Add additional underframe piping
  8. Add sanding pipes
  9. Add handbrake chain guides (Custom Finishing-147)
  10. Add air distribution valve
  11. Move fuel fill to front of cab
  12. Move fuel overflow pipe to short hood
  13. Modify short hood number boards (0660-0669)
The number boards could be quite a challenge and might be skipped, but the remaining modifications shouldn't be too bad.

DERS-2b Assignments

  • 4/24/49 - 0502 - NY-2, YN-3
  • 4/24/49 - 0503 - NY-4, YN-3
  • 4/24/49 - 0510 - 131, 136
  • 10/2/50 - 0502 - NY-2, YN-3
  • 10/2/50 - 0503 - NY-4, YN-1
  • 10/2/50 - 0508 - NY-2, YN-3
In 1950, locomotives 0504, 0507, 0510, 0512, 0513, 0514 and 0516 are assigned to the Hartford Division. 

DERS-2b Models

  • 0502
  • 0503
  • 0510

Along with many brass releases, two versions of the RS-2 have been released in plastic. Kato released one a few years ago, fellow NH modeler Jim Fellowes says the NYC-lettered one has the appropriate details. Other modelers have pointed out that the fan housing is too tall.

The other model is the Life-Like/Walthers Proto 1000 model It has been released in the delivery scheme, among others. They decided to skip grab irons altogether, adding nbw detail and small dimples to drill and install your own. I prefer this approach to the molded grabs, since I won't have to scrape any off. The ones painted in the delivery scheme were also conveniently numbered as #0503 and #0510.

"New Havenizing" modifications planned:
  1. Add markers
  2. Add sand pipes
  3. Add handbrake chain guides (Custom Finishing-147)
  4. Add MU jumpers (Custom Finishing-347)
  5. Add passenger buffers (Custom Finishing-306)
  6. Add uncoupling levers
  7. Add all grab irons
  8. Add steam generator stack (Custom Finishing-151)
  9. Add steam generator intake
  10. Add lift rings
  11. Add poling pockets (Atlas-994229)
  12. Add short hood horn
  13. Add fuel overflow pipe
  14. Add fuel tank modifications

DERS-2c Assignments

  • 4/27/52 - 526 - NY-2, YA-1
  • 4/27/52 - 530 - NY-2, YN-1
  • 4/27/52 - 531 - AY-1, YN-1
  • 4/27/52 - 537 - 463
  • 4/27/52 - 545 - 444
  • 4/27/52 - 546 - 157, 421, 446, 472

DERS-2c Models

  • 520
  • 526
  • 530
  • 531
  • 545
  • 546
The RS-3 is available from more manufacturers than any other New Haven locomotive. Bowser sells the old Stewart kit version, Atlas, Athearn and Bachmann all have additional versions, not to mention several brass releases.
I'm using the Athearn model, part #94060 road number #520 for the phase Ia models. It comes in the delivery scheme for #517-536. The reason I'm using this model is because it's the only version available with the original water-cooled stack. For the phase Ib locomotives I'm using the undecorated Athearn model (94000).
From what I've read, other modelers seem to prefer the tooling on the Athearn model as well, although the motors in the Atlas ones are considered superior.
Hobbytown also released a model in kit form some time ago that is no longer available. Although I've seen many modelers reference it as the best in terms of the body contours, the grab irons are molded on. It was available as a cast metal powered unit, or an unpowered plastic model.
The old Stewart kit is available from Bowser, although they don't have a drive for it yet. It also has cast on details. These models are available in the three major phases.
"New Havenizing" modifications planned:
  1. Add steam generator intake
  2. Add poling pockets (Atlas-994229)
  3. Add markers
  4. Add grab iron to top of hood ends
  5. Add small round stack
  6. Add cab signal box, reroute railing (Custom Finishing-125)
  7. Add cooling coils (Custom Finishing-152)
  8. Add handbrake chain guides (Custom Finishing-147)
  9. Add sand pipes
  10. Add fuel overflow pipe
  11. Add speed recorder
  12. Add uncoupling lever and pilot grabs
  13. Add drop steps (units 537-561)
  14. Add passenger buffers (units 517-536)
  15. Add MU Receptacles (units 537-561)(Detail Associates 1507) 
  16. Add cross supports to fan grill
  17. Add hood lift rings
  18. Add windshield wipers (Cal Scale 190-419)
  19. Move short hood horn forward
  20. Replace battery boxes (units 517-536)
  21. Replace grab irons (Cal Scale 190-529,530,532,533)
  22. Correct end railings (units 517-536)
  23. Reshape pilot and add missing rivets

DERS-3 Assignments

  • 10/2/50 - 563 - 157, 472 (when received)
  • 10/2/50 - 569 - 131, 136 (when received) 

DERS-3 Models

  • 591
  • 594
Although listed in the Engine Assignment book for October 1950 (which indicates they are assigned when delivered to the New Haven), I have no in service evidence on any passenger or freight trains on the Highland in my era. In addition, nobody that I'm aware of remembers seeing them in this service on the Highland.
There are, however, pictures of 591 and 594 in freight service in later years. Atlas released very nice models in the delivery scheme, though, so I plan to add them to the roster in the future.