Alton is a diesel fuel-swilling freight expert from the BNSF's northeastern connection of Illinois, and is one of the more versatile members of the roster of the Dock Railway.
A fierce temper, a fascination with all things freight related, and a terrible derailment in Berwyn cost Alton (then a F7) his original sleek body, which was cut clean off. Later, after being rebuilt into a CF7, Alton's freight skills improved dramatically. His disposition and total number of passenger trains to haul, however, did not.
Word of his proficiency with freight spread, and it was not long before the railroad received a visitor; the then-CEO of EMD, who lovingly explained that all CF7's are abandoned from freight service until their skills manifest themselves. His unhappy life on the ASTF had ended in the 80's, but his Dock Railway work had just begun.
Alton is based on a rebuilt EMD CF7, an EMD F-unit railroad locomotive that has had its streamlined carbody removed and replaced with a custom-made, "general purpose" body in order to adapt the unit for road switching duty. All of the conversions were performed by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in their Cleburne, Texas workshops between October, 1970 and March, 1978. The program was initiated in response to a system-wide need for more than 200 additional four-axle diesel hood units to meet projected motive power demands on branch lines and secondary main lines. Alton is a "angled roof" variation.