Alton and Southern No. 45 was built by Alco in 1956 as a 1,600 hp model RS-3. The B-B diesel rests in the loco yard

in East St. Louis, IL, Saturday, June 19, 1965. Photo by K.C. Henkels from the Carl H. Sturner Collection.

(Audio-Visual Designs, Earlton, NY, Public domain, via the W. Lenheim Collection)


Alton and Southern logo.


The Alton and Southern Railway (reporting mark ALS) is a switching railroad in the Greater St. Louis area in Illinois. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad.


An early ALS service area map, taken from a vintage ink blotter.

(Alon & Southern, via W. Lenheim Collection)


Brief History

The Alton and Southern Railroad was formed in 1910, and in 1913 it absorbed the Denverside Connecting Railway (founded in 1910), and the Alton and Southern Railway (founded in 1911). The company was operated as a subsidiary of the Aluminum Ore Company, which was itself a subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), to serve the Bayer process bauxite-to-alumina refinery at Alorton, Illinois.

Alcoa sold the line to the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Chicago and North Western Railway (CNW) in 1968, and it was reorganized as the Alton and Southern Railway. In 1972, CNW's share was sold to the St. Louis Southwestern Railway. In 1982, the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) took ownership of the Missouri Pacific share and then became full owner in 1996 with the acquisition of SSW parent Southern Pacific Transportation Company. The Alton and Southern is still a legally separate entity but is wholly owned by UP.


Alton & Southern Railway Overview

Headquarters: East St Louis, Illinois
Reporting mark: ALS
Locale: Greater St. Louis
Dates of operation: 1913–Present
Successor: Missouri Pacific Railroad and Chicago and North Western Railway
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge