The MLW RS-18 was the successor to the 1,600hp 244-powered RS-10 which proved to be somewhat unreliable. There were no such issues with the 1,800hp RS-18, with its 12-cylinder model 251B diesel engine, and it is widely considered to be MLWs most successful product from both an operational and a mechanical point of view.
Based on the Alco RS-11, the Canadian-specific RS-18 (which MLW designated DL-718) was alike in most aspects externally and internally except for the notchless hood ends. Montreal Locomotive Works constructed 351 RS-18s between December 1956 and June 1968 for eight railways including Canadian National (225), Canadian Pacific (72), Pacific Great Eastern (29), and 25 for smaller railways. The RS-18 was available in both “standard” and “lightweight” versions, which usually, but not always, rode on standard 9’-4” wheelbase AAR type B trucks or special lightweight trucks respectively. CN acquired examples of both (131 standard versus 94 lightweight units).
Canadian National’s fleet of 225 units, numbered 3615-3893, was delivered between December 1956 and August 1960, designated MR-18-a to MR-18-g. This included 30 units with 80-mph gearing and steam lines for passenger service. The last was retired in 1993 after nearly four decades of service.
One colourful aside took place in 1967 when CN rebuilt six RS-18s with a new engine and extended length short hood for Tempo passenger service in southwestern Ontario. Canadian Pacific’s units, numbered 8729-8800, were assigned classes DRS-18a and DRS-18b and were delivered between March 1957 and July 1958. All were equipped with a steam trainline so that they could be partnered with a steam generator equipped unit.
Starting in 1980 CP began a major rebuild program at Angus Shops, Montreal, to extend their useful lifespan another 10-15 years. Eventually all 69 remaining locomotives were upgraded, gaining the designation RS-18u. Both the CN and CP fleets mostly worked across Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, although CP’s units occasionally worked west of Winnipeg.
About the Rapido MLW RS-18 One of the most requested locomotives in Rapido’s history, the MLW RS-18 has been something of a labour of love for us because nearly all of us here at Rapido need them for our layouts! We’ve really gone crazy on the road specific details and, of course, we couldn’t make MLW’s classic Canadian roadswitcher without offering the entire fleet of Canadian National Tempo conversions, complete with Hawker-Siddeley Tempo cars!
Like many of our locomotive projects, our designers started with a 3D laser scan of the real thing. This means for the first time ever our Alco/MLW roadswitcher has the correct hood radius and main dimensions. The RS-18s come installed with standard Dofasco Type B trucks or one of two types of Canadian Steel Foundry (CSF) lightweight trucks, as appropriate. The long and short hood details correctly replicate the differences between CN and CP locomotives as well as changes that occured between various build groups. We’ve even made two different frame widths to replicate this never before offered feature!
Here are the versions of the RS-18 we're doing in the first run:
Two of the Tempo units, 3151 and 3153, were involved in wrecks and rebuilt without their HEP alternators in the short hood. These are available separately but the only way to get the HEP-equipped Tempo units is to buy the Tempo box set.
A range of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific paint schemes are available in this first run. Other Canadian roadnames, such as Pacific Great Eastern, will follow in the future if there is demand.
Our HO Scale MLW RS-18 features:
The MSRP is $249.95 (DC/Silent) and $359.95 (DC/DCC/Sound) in Canada. The US MSRP $225 (DC/Silent) and $335 (DC/DCC/Sound). As usual, these engines will be made to order.