Diesel Era Extra Board

EMD SW1001: Part 1

Altos Hornos de Mexico 156 (EMD 788063-3) and 155 (EMD 788063-2) at East St. Louis, Ill., on November 27, 1978. This was part of a three-unit order of SW1001s built in November 1978. More AHMSA SW1001s came in 1979 and 1980. A roster of all SW1001s will be included in a later in-stallment. —David Busse photo, Paul Wester collection

EMD SW1001: Part 1

2024-01by Diesel Era Staff/photos as noted

Electro-Motive Divison’s (EMD) SW1001 diesel locomotive was introduced in response to 1966’s SW1000. Both four-axle switchers produce 1,000-hp and the shortcoming for the SW1000 was actually not “short” but too tall. Industrial customers were a goal for EMD’s SW1000 and feedback showed the restricted space these locomotives were required to navigate on these roads wasn’t friendly to the SW1000’s height. Designers fitted the newer hood and powertrain (8-645E prime mover) of the SW1000 on the frame of the older SW1200, which had recently been removed from EMD’s catalog (it was introduced in early 1954 with the 9-series) and production of more than 1,000 examples concluded by mid-1966.

This combination of old and new elements provided the SW1001 with a unique appearance with both a lower frame/walkway height and a cab similar (though not identical) to the SW1200 and the modern hood and front end introduced by the SW1500/SW1000 of 1966. The SW1000 (Rio Grande’s roster was presented in Diesel Era’s Fourth Quarter 2023 edition) saw production through October 1972 with 119 examples built, while SW1001 production ran from September 1968 to June 1986 with sales of 230 units.

ABOVE: Detroit Edison Company (DEEX) 217 at St. Clair, Mich., on April 30, 1993. —Ken Church photo, Randy Keller collection

Like the SW1000, EMD’s SW1001 found little interest among major U.S. railroads (Reading was the largest road to buy with 25 examples built in 1973). The low-height switcher answered the clearance call for industrial and similar operators in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with exports to England, Africa, and Korea, among others.

This survey will present EMD’s SW1001 in several installments. Diesel Era is looking to fill openings in our current photo archive on this units. If you have SW1001 images in your collection, please contact the editor.

EMD SW1001

ABOVE: Armco Steel Corp., E-155 (756059-3) is brand-new at Riverdale, Ill., on October 6, 1975. —Richard Campbell photo, Paul Wester collection

EMD SW1001

ABOVE: Champion International Corporation 06056 (786212-1) was built in July 1979. It is shown at Canton, N.C., on March 5, 1994. Note the unorthodox “6056” seemingly hand-applied to the tank below the frame. —Doug Boyd photo, Paul Wester collection

2024-01Read the rest of this article in the First Quarter 2024 issue of Diesel Era. Subscribe Today!