SW1 EMDs Mighty Mite article

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  • Member since
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  • From: US
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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, October 25, 2018 11:33 PM

While working at B&O's Clark Ave. Yard in Cleveland got to watch the Valley local with a single SW-1 double together a train of 87 loads of cement for a customer at Willow about 3.8 miles South (geographical - not TT) of the Clark Ave. Yard Limit at RD Tower.  A train approximating 8700 tons with just 600 HP to move it.  Move it the SW-1 did - not fast, sometimes you had to look at the surroundings to verify that the train was still moving - but move it did - it took about 35-45 minutes for the train to clear the yard office.  I don't know how long it took the train to actually arrive Willow and get the train put away.  I do know the crew completed their work and made it back to Clark Ave. without exceeding the hours of service.

Horsepower for horsepower that little SW-1 was the strongest engine I have seen.  Bigger engines with more power can do more, but for 600 HP - Amazing.

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Posted by 3rd rail on Thursday, October 25, 2018 10:23 PM

There was nothing like the EMD SW-1... I remember one afternoon in the mid-1970's, watching a Penn Central SW-1 shoving about 100 cars past Nichols Tower Caboose first, in Battle Creek Michigan over the GTW diamonds. It was just barely moving, had the interlocking tied up for about 45 minutes. at the end, the little SW-1 was balls-out, smoking like a tire-fire, grinding its way over the diamonds.  You just can't see things like that anymore! 



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Posted by M636C on Thursday, October 25, 2018 8:41 PM

The Erie herald was designed by GM styling.

When the VR were looking for a suitable paint scheme for theit cab units, the Erie design was selected and modified to suit by GM Styling. That logo continued in use until 1983.


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Posted by Backshop on Thursday, October 25, 2018 8:33 PM

The VR herald reminds me of the old Erie Railroad.

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, October 25, 2018 6:19 PM

Another 80 locomotives were built in Australia from 1963 onward.

These were model G6B and were based on the standard EMD GL8 design (particularly those in Ireland), but with EMD 6-567C engines. The last 25 actually had 6-645E engines, rated at 750 HP.

The 75 for the Victorian Railways actually used trucks and GE traction motors from suburban electric commuter trains. The motors dated back to 1918 but the trucks were replacements from the late 1950s - early 1960s. These had an angled cab roof which didn't look much like an EMD switcher, but the five built for the Western Australian railways had the usual arched cab roof, and these had standard Flexicoil trucks, so looked a bit more like a real EMD. On the other hand, these had a pressurised carbody with a large filter box above the hood near the cab. Pressurisation was usually carried out with AC fans similar to radiator fans, but the G6B didn't have a companion alternator, having a mechanical cooling fan. So the pressurising fan was driven by a small air motor fed from the air brake system.

Details of the Victorian locomotives, including diagrams, are at:



  • Member since
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  • From: Shelbyville, Kentucky
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SW1 EMDs Mighty Mite article
Posted by SSW9389 on Thursday, October 25, 2018 9:26 AM

J. David Ingles article is a great tribute piece to a classic diesel locomotive.

A few corrections are noted here. The SW1 was built between December 1938 and November 1953. That looks like 15 years, but it isn't. There's the production gap between March 1943 and September 1945 when the SW1 wasn't built because of War Production Board restrictions. 

The year 1943 saw the shipment of either five or six SW1s, not just the Broward County Port Authority unit. There were either four or five New York Central SW1s completed between January 1943 and March 1943. See EMD order E-521 for New York Central #580-584. NYC #581 is shown as having been built in December 1942 in the 1959 EMD Product Data, but shows as built in January 1943 in two online sources. 

One of the last built SW1s, maybe the last one built was Cleveland Quarries Company #2 in November 1953. It was built with a 567AC engine, instead on the usual 567A. 

Ed in Kentucky


Tags: SW1
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