The RS-11 is one of my all-time favorite locomotives. I already have one built from Lego bricks, a chop-nose LTV mining workhorse in yellow and maroon. While aimlessly browsing for Bicentennial paint schemes one night, I came across the top image of an Apache Railway RS-11 in a glorious red, white & blue. Despite already having an RS-11 as well as another Apache Railway ALCO (a C424 in green and white) I simply *HAD* to build one of these patriotic high-nose units!
The Apache Railway is a 72-mile line between a now-defunct paper mill at Snowflake, Arizona, and an interchange with BNSF at Holbrook, Arizona. The bulk of the railroads traffic came from the paper mill, and in the wake of the paper mill closing, several local business owners saved the railway from bankruptcy. The railroad is currently surviving on freight car storage and repair for income, while the new owners seek out additional customers to serve by rail. The railway has primarily operated only American Locomotive Company products, save for two H10-44s from Fairbanks Morse. The RS-11s were bought secondhand from Southern Pacific and were operated in groups with RS-36s purchased new, all of which were painted in the bold paint scheme of red on the bottom, white stripe in the middle, blue across the top, with white trim. The RS-11s featured extra headlights and a mars light, likely as-ordered originally by Southern Pacific, and the Apache Railway has kept that design choice for their current fleet of ALCO C420s and C424s, all of which are painted in green and white. While the railroad was transitioning from RS engines to Century series engines, the railway briefly used a light-blue on silver paint scheme. This means that technically, the red white & blue painted units never operated with green and white units, but modelers license with the qualifier of "it looks cool" wins out!
Despite using my existing Lego RS-11 as a template, this build was rather challenging. Several times I had to take apart lots of brickwork to solve a problem with the color striping, and I made modifications to the LTV engine to better match the prototype, and to ensure that the units were as identical as possible, save for the height of the short nose. I came up short on grill bricks in the appropriate colors, so some green grill pieces are used on the engineers side of the locomotive until the correctly colored parts arrive in the mail. I took the creative liberty of adding the extra light arrays to both ends of the locomotive so I can operate it Long Hood Forward. My Lego Apache C424 is currently assigned to the multicolored brick hopper train with the LTV mining RS-11, and this new RS-11 will join them. They will be run alternately in pairs, and occasionally as a trio with an extra-long train. I'm also considering a matching caboose, but that's a project for another day.
Please enjoy the gallery below of the building process, all steps are captioned and explained, and look forward to seeing this engine hauling hopper trains on my layouts!