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Alco S1 (Life-Like)




The Steel Company of South Wales operated a fleet of Alco S1 engines from 1950 to the mid 1980s. The engines were based at the Port Talbot steel works and numbered 801 to 805. All five had been retired from service by 1985.


Engine number 802 was retired early to provide spare parts to keep the others running, but three of the engines made it into preservation: 801 (renumbered as 805 for a while), 803 and 804. The fate of 805 seems uncertain; most likely it was cut at Port Talbot in the mid-1980s but I imagine it took on a new lease of life on Shelf Island. The engine thus worked here until the equally imaginary arrival of a Mak Di8 from British Steel in 2012.


I have taken one of the Life-Like Proto 2000 models and made some minor modifications to it. So far I have removed the bell and stripped most of the paint. I have also trimmed the bottoms of the buffer beams and added four buffers.





The model will probably stay like this for a while. The cab glazing has a white haze (I took this out before stripping the paint!), this makes it almost opaque and I need to cut some new glazing or find some as a spare part. I also need to decide on the form of the exhaust stack. I have plenty of photos of the South Wales engines, but not one shows the top of the bonnet.


Buffers: Markits 4mm Oleo buffers


Notes on the fates of the South Wales locos

These are my notes, compiled from bits and pieces I have found online, plus inputs from other members of the RMweb:

801 was purchased for preservation, repainted in Union Pacific livery, and displayed at a roadside diner in Oswestry. Some sources say, this loco was renumbered as 805 while displayed at the diner. By 2017, the loco was being restored at Overton at the Nene Valley railway.

802 was retired from service in 1982 and provided spare parts to keep the others running until 1985. The loco was cut in 1986.

803 was stored at Wallingford on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, but is now reported to have been cut.

804 was donated to Railworld.

805 is unconfirmed, but possibly cut at Port Talbot in 1986.

I'm happy to change these of course. A photo of 802 or 803 would help.


There is a topic for the engines here:

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If anyone has a photo showing the top of one of the South Wales engines this would be ever so useful to me ... it would let me see the arrangement of the exhaust and any additional details on the top of the bonnet - the Life Like model includes parts for extra walkways.


- Richard.

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