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Classic Streamliners - TRAIN​CYCLOPEDIA

EMD SW1500 Diesel-Electric Locomotive
The EMD SW1500 was a 1,500 hp (1,119 kW) Diesel-electric locomotive intended for switching service and built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division between June 1966 and January 1974. 808 examples were constructed. It was closely related to the less powerful EMD SW1000 model, forming a line of switchers powered by the new EMD 645 engine. The SW1500 replaced the SW1200 in the EMD product line, and was in turn replaced by the MP15DC.

The SW1500 was a substantially bulkier locomotive than the SW1200, with a much bulkier frame, larger cab and bigger hood. In many respects it was approaching a road switcher in abilities. While the SW1500 came as standard with AAR switcher trucks, the majority of them were delivered with the optional Flexicoil trucks which permitted speeds up to 60 mph (100 km/h). The SW1500 was, in fact, often operated as a road-switcher for branchline service, and continues in this role today.

The very similar SW1504 was fundamentally a SW1500 mounted on Blomberg trucks, and was produced for the Mexican national railroad, Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México.

Original owners

Alton and Southern Railway

Quantity: 18
Road numbers: 1500–1517
Notes: No. 1503 now belongs to the Acadiana Railway.

Alcoa Terminal Railroad

Quantity: 1
Road number: 9

Apalachicola Northern Railroad

Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 712-719
Notes: Nos. 717 & 718 now on the Central Midland Ry in St Louis.

Armco Steel

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 701-705

Ashley, Drew and Northern Railroad

Quantity: 1
Road number: 150
Notes: Now on the Fordyce and Princeton Railroad.

Angelina and Neches River Railroad

Quantity: 1
Road number: 1500

Armco Steel

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 701-705

Belt Railway of Chicago

Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 530-532

Burlington Northern Railroad

Quantity: 15
Road numbers: 310-324
In service as BNSF 3456-3470.

Cambria and Indiana Railroad

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 15, 16

Chattahoochee Valley Railway

Quantity: 1
Road numbers: 101

Chicago Short Line Railroad

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 30, 31

General Motors Electro-Motive Division

Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 106-114
Notes: 106-108 to IU 22-23, 25, 109 to IHB 9222, 110-112 to IU 27-29, 107 is first SW1500 built in 6/66.

Georgia Power

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 1401–1402, 1405, 1503–1504

W.R. Grace Chemical

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 101, 102

Great Northern Railway

Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 200-209
Notes: To Burlington Northern 300-309, Most now in service with BNSF.

Houston Belt and Terminal Railway

Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 50-55

Howe Coal

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 1, 2
Notes: To Kansas City Southern.

Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad

Quantity: 27
Road numbers: 9200-9221, 9223-9227
Notes: Penn Central Subsidiary company.

Illinois Terminal Railroad

Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 1509–1515

Indianapolis Union Railway

Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 24, 26, 30-32
Notes: IU 22-23, 25, 27-29 are former EMD Plant Switchers 106-108, 110-112.

Inland Steel

Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 119-125

Kansas City Southern Railway

Quantity: 42
Road numbers: 1500–1541
Notes: In service with KCS.

Kentucky and Indiana Terminal Railroad

Quantity: 16
Road numbers: 67-83
Notes: K&IT 67 is the first production SW1500 7/66, K&IT 83 is the last production SW1500 1/74.

Lake Erie, Franklin and Clarion Railroad

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 23, 24

Longview, Portland and Northern Railway

Quantity: 1
Road number: 130

Louisville and Nashville Railroad

Quantity: 30
Road numbers: 5000-5029

Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 36-37

Minnesota Taconite US Steel

Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 949-954

Minnesota Transfer Railway

Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 300-306
Notes: MT 300 to C&NW 1301.

Mississippi Export Railroad

Quantity: 1
Road number: 64

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad

Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 50-55

Missouri Pacific Railroad

Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 1518–1521

New Orleans Public Belt Railroad

Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 151-153

Patapsco and Back Rivers Railroad

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 160, 161

Penn Central

Quantity: 84
Road numbers: 9500-9583

Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad

Quantity: 40
Road numbers: 1534–1563, 9280-9289
Notes: Penn Central Subsidiary.

Reading Railroad

Quantity: 21
Road numbers: 2750–2770

Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad

Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 1-8, 91

Rock Island Line

Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 940-949

Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 500, 600

St. Mary’s Railroad

Quantity: 1
Road number: 503

Sandersville Railroad

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 100, 300

St. Louis-San Francisco Railway

Quantity: 46
Road numbers: 315-360

Southern Railway

Quantity: 48
Road numbers: 2300–2347
Notes: 2300-2329 Southern, 2330-2331 Interstate, 2332-2335 New Orleans Terminal, 2336-2337 CNO&TP, 2338-2339 Carolina & Northwestern, 2340-2347 Central of Georgia.

Southern Pacific Railroad

Quantity: 204
Road numbers: 2450–2480, 2493–2510, 2523–2578, 2591–2689

St. Louis Southwestern Railway

Quantity: 36
Road numbers: 2481–2492, 2511–2522, 2579–2590
Notes: 2511-2522 leased from SP.

Tennessee Copper

Quantity: 1
Road number: 108

Tennessee Eastman Corporation (Eastman Kodak)

Quantity: 1
Road number: 1

Terminal Railroad Alabama State Docks

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 681, 682

Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis

Quantity: 17
Road numbers: 1501–1517

Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad

Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 303-306
Notes: NASA Railroad, Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Union Railroad

Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 1-9

U S Pipe and Foundry

Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 51-54

Vermont Railway

Quantity: 1
Road number: 501
Notes: sold to the Lancaster and Chester Railway.

Weyerhaeuser Timber Co.

Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 306, 307

Winifrede Railroad

Quantity: 1
Road number: 13
Notes: Currently owned and operated by Big Eagle Railroad as BER 01.

Western Pacific Railroad

Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 1501–1503
Notes: to Union Pacific. WP 1503 now preserved at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.

EMD SW1500 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model: SW1500
Build date: June 1966 to January 1974
Total produced: 808
AAR wheel arrangement: B-B
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length: 44 ft 8 in (13.61 m)
Locomotive weight: 248,000 lb (112,491 kg)
Prime mover: EMD 645
Engine type: V12 2-stroke diesel
Aspiration: Roots blower
Displacement: 9,072 in3 (149 L)
Generator, Main: D32
Traction motors: D77/78DC
Cylinders: 12
Cylinder size: 9.0625 in × 10 in (230.2 mm × 254.0 mm)
Transmission: Diesel-electric
Locomotive brake: Straight air
Train brakes: Air
Performance figures
Power output: 1,500 hp (1,119 kW)
Locale: North America, South America

See also:

EMD Diesel-Electric Locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives


Kansas City Southern Railway No. 4358, an EMD SW1500.

​By terry cantrell (originally posted to Flickr as KCS 4358) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Kansas City Southern Railway No. 4358, an EMD SW1500.

Indiana Harbor Belt EMD SW1500 No. 1509.


BNSF No. 3400, an EMD SW1500.

RMPX EMD SW1500 No. 2680.

​By terry cantrell (originally posted to Flickr as RMPX 2680) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

BNSF No. 3400, an EMD SW1500.

​By Intelati (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

GM-EMD logo
Indiana Harbor Belt EMD SW1500 No. 1509.
RMPX EMD SW1500 No. 2680.