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BN 251, an EMD SW1200, works the yard in Eola, Illinois.

By Slambo at English Wikipedia - Photo by Sean Lamb (en:User:Slambo, CC BY-SA 2.0,

EMD SW1200 Diesel-Electric Locomotive
An EMD SW1200 is a diesel switcher locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division between January 1954 and May 1966. Power was provided by an EMD 567C 12-cylinder engine which generated 1,200 hp (895 kW). Late SW1200s built in 1966 were built with the 567E 12-cylinder engine. Additional SW1200 production was completed by General Motors Diesel in Ontario Canada between September 1955 and June 1964.

737 examples of this locomotive model were built for American railroads, 287 were built for Canadian railroads 4 were built for Brazilian Railroads, 25 were built for a Chilean Industrial firm, and 3 were built for the Panama Canal Railway.

A cow-calf variation, the TR12, was cataloged, but none were built.

A few units were built with dynamic brakes, featuring large square box with a fan on top of the hood, right in front of the cab.

An SW1200RS is a variation of the standard SW1200 that featured large front and rear (on some units) numberboard housings, EMD Flexicoil B-B trucks, and larger fuel tanks for road switcher service. The majority of the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific SW1200 fleets were purchased as SW1200RS units. The Sandersville Railroad Company EMD SW1200 road number SAN 1200 formerly SAN 200 was originally built with the V-12 EMD 567C Prime Mover but it was replaced with a V-12 EMD 645 Prime Mover, the two both produce 1,200 Horsepower, even though the same motor in the EMD SW1500 produces 1,500 Horsepower. The SAN 1200 also has EMD Flexcoil trucks instead of the standard switcher trucks found on other EMD SW1200s.

Original buyers
Units built by Electro-Motive Division, USA
Owner: Aliquippa and Southern Railroad
Quantity: 13
Road numbers: 1201–1213

Owner: Amapa Railway
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 1-4
Notes: Exported to Brazil.

Owner: Ashley, Drew and Northern Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 176, 178

Owner: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 2439–2441

Owner: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 9614–9621

Owner: Bauxite and Northern Railway
Quantity: 1
Road number: 11

Owner: Bellefonte Central Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road number: 5624

Owner: Belt Railway of Chicago
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 524–526

Owner: Birmingham Southern Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 200–201

Owner: Chicago and Illinois Midland Railroad
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 18–23

Owner: Chicago and North Western Railway
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 310–321

Notes: Acquired by EJ&E Railway then to Gary Railway Co. (315 and 316 not part of GRW fleet).

Owner: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
Quantity: 22
Road numbers: 9271–9292
Notes: to Burlington Northern 229-250.

Owner: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("Milwaukee Road")
Quantity: 48
1637–1642, 2020–2061
Notes: Renumbered 600–619, 625–652 (not in order).

Owner: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
Quantity: 17
Road numbers: 920–936

Owner: Chile Exploration Company
Quantity: 25
Road numbers: 911–935
Notes: Exported to Chile.

Owner: Colorado and Southern Railway
Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 156–160
Notes: to Burlington Northern, same numbers.

Owner: Commonwealth Edison
Quantity: 1
Road number: 16

Owner: Conemaugh and Black Lick Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 120–121

Owner: Coos Bay Lumber Company
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 1201–1203
Notes: Built with dynamic brakes.

Owner: Cuyahoga Valley Railway
Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 1280–1286

Owner: Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 561–568
Notes: to Erie Lackawanna 456–463.

Owner: Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad
Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 130–139

Owner: De Queen and Eastern Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road number: D-5

Owner: Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 300–307
Notes: 300, 301, 303, 304, 305 and 307 are now part of the Gary Railway Co. fleet per the 2009 CN acquisition of EJ&E Railway. 306 to LTEX 306.

Owner: Florida East Coast Railway
Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 229–235

Owner: Fort Worth and Denver Railway
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 607–610
Notes: to Burlington Northern same numbers.

Owner: Grand Trunk Western Railroad
Quantity: 18
Road numbers: 1269–1270, 1505–1508, 1511–1519, 7017–7019

Owner: Great Lakes Steel
Quantity: 16
Road numbers: 16, 39–53

Owner: Great Northern Railway
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 29–33, 100
Notes: to Burlington Northern 162-166.

Owner: Houston Belt and Terminal Railway
Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 33–37

Owner: Illinois Terminal Railroad
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 775–786

Owner: Inland Steel Company
Quantity: 27
Road numbers: 88–114

Owner: Kansas City Terminal Railway
Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 70–79

Owner: Lake Superior Terminal and Transfer
Quantity: 1
Road number: 105

Owner: Louisville and Nashville Railroad
Quantity: 4
Road numbers: 2297–2300

Owner: Midland Electric Coal Company
Quantity: 1
Road number: 1201

Owner: Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway
Quantity: 6
Road numbers: 30–35
Notes: to Soo Line.

Owner: Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad ("Soo Line")
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 321–328
Notes: 321, 323 and 324 were acquired by EJ&E Railway then part of Gary Railway Co.

Owner: Soo Line (Wisconsin Central Railroad)
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 2120–2127

Owner: Missouri Pacific Railroad
Quantity: 116
Road numbers: 1100–1166, 1175–1201, 1255–1259, 1263–1279

Owner: Missouri Pacific (Texas and Pacific Railway)
Quantity: 20
Road numbers: 1280–1299

Owner: Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad
Quantity: 8
Road numbers: 1–6, 43–44

Owner: New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad
Quantity: 20
Road numbers: 640–659

Owner: New Orleans Public Belt Railroad
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 71–72

Owner: Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad
Quantity: 15
Road numbers: 101–115

Owner: Northern Pacific Railway
Quantity: 59
Road numbers: 119–177
Notes: to Burlington Northern 170-228.

Owner: Oliver Iron Mining Company
Quantity: 9
Road numbers: 940–948

Owner: Pacific Power and Light
Quantity: 1
Road number: 10

Owner: Panama Canal Railway
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 661-663

Notes: Exported to Panama.

Owner: Patapsco and Back Rivers Railroad
Quantity: 10
Road numbers: 125–134

Owner: Pennsylvania Railroad
Quantity: 35
Road numbers: 7900–7934

Owner: Peoria and Pekin Union Railway
Quantity: 1
Road number: 500

Owner: Philadelphia, Bethlehem and New England Railroad
Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 39–43

Owner: Point Comfort and Northern Railway
Quantity: 1
Road number: 4

Owner: Reading Company
Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 2715–2719
Notes: Equipped with 930 Gallon Fuel tanks.

Owner: Republic Steel Corporation
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 362, 895

Owner: Reserve Mining Company
Quantity: 1
Road number: 1212

Owner: Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad
Quantity: 5
Road number: 81–85

Owner: River Terminal Railway
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 63–64

Owner: Rockdale, Sandow and Southern Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road number: 8

Owner: Sandersville Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road number: 200
Notes: renumbered 1200, upgraded to 12-645 specifications.

Owner: Simpson Logging Company
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: 1200–1201
Notes: Built with Dynamic Brakes.

Owner: Southern Pacific Transportation Company
Quantity: 27
Road numbers: 1597–1623

Owner: Southern Pacific (Texas and New Orleans Railroad)
Quantity: 12
Road numbers: 113–118, 123–128

Owner: St. Louis Southwestern Railway ("Cotton Belt")
Quantity: 17
Road numbers: 1062–1073, 2289–2293

Owner: Steelton and Highspire Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road number: 44

Owner: Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis
Quantity: 25
Road numbers: 1219–1243

Owner: Tooele Valley Railway
Quantity: 1
Road number: 100

Owner: U.S. Steel
Quantity: 2
Road numbers: SX1–SX2

Owner: Wabash Railroad
Quantity: 5
Road numbers: 375–379

Owner: West Virginia Northern Railroad
Quantity: 1
Road number: 52
Notes: Built with Dynamic Brakes.

Owner: Weyerhaeuser Timber Company
Quantity: 1
Road number: 304

Owner: Wheeling Steel
Quantity: 7
Road numbers: 1250, 1254–1259

Owner: Woodward Iron Company
Quantity: 1
Road number: 52

Total U.S. Units: 769

Units built by General Motors Diesel, Canada[edit]
Owner: Canadian Forest Products
Quantity: 3
Road numbers: 301–303
Notes: Flexicoil trucks, built with dynamic brakes.

Owner: Canadian National Railway
Quantity: 208
Road numbers: 1227–1268, 1271–1397, 1575–1597, 7020–7035
Notes: 12/13/1500's have Flexicoil trucks and numberboards at both ends.

Owner: Canadian Pacific Railway
Quantity: 72
Road numbers: 8100–8171
Notes: Flexicoil trucks, numberboards at front only.

Owner: Dominion Foundries and Steel ("Dofasco")
Quantity: 1
Road number: 14

Owner: Essex Terminal Railway
Quantity: 1
Road number: 105

Owner: Quebec Iron and Titanium
Quantity: 1
Road number: 5
Notes: Romaine River Railway.

Owner: Roberval and Saguenay Railway
Quantity: 1
Road number: 23

Total Canadian Units: 287

Surviving and preserved units
Grand Trunk Western 1512 is now owned by the West Michigan Railroad and is currently in use as a short line freight hauler.

Lake Superior Terminal and Transfer Railway 105 is operated by the Minnesota Transportation Museum as Northern Pacific Railway 105.

Fremont and Elkhorn Valley Railroad 1219 built in March 1962 for Chicago & North Western is utilized for their excursion trains as well as the Fremont Dinner Train and currently pulls 1920s era passenger cars for their non-profit excursion operations & the for-profit dinner train cars.

HudBay Minerals 1274 built for Canadian National Railway and HudBay Minerals 8153 built for Canadian Pacific Railway are operating as industrial yard locomotives at HudBay Minerals Flin Flon.

Coos Bay Lumber Company 1203 is now being operated by Coos Bay Rail Link as a road switcher and can be seen anywhere from Eugene, OR, to Coos Bay, OR, wearing road number 1203.

Crab Orchard and Egyptian 1136 and 1161 are both still in operation as short line freight haulers on the CO&E lines based in Herrin, Illinois and Marion, Illinois respectively.

Resolute Forest Products used 1305 at its now closed mill in Iroquois Falls, Ontario, Canada. It was rebuilt by Diesel Electric Services in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, in August and September 2012.Quincy Railroad (California), owned by Sierra Pacific Industries at their mill in Quincy, California, has QRR SW1200 No. 5, builder No. 28344, built June 1963. Lineage is; ex-Amador Central No. 11, former Ashley Drew and Northern No. 1208, formerly ADN No. 178.

Former B&O 9614 was acquired many years ago by the Potomac Electric Power Company for use at its power generating station in Alexandria, Virginia, which later became the property of Mirant, then GenOn Energy. Over the years the surrounding area changed from industrial use to residential and, after much community action, the plant closed on October 1, 2012. As of August 2013 the locomotive was still on site at the dormant plant but has since been transferred to the power generating station near Morgantown, MD.

Former Texas and New Orleans 113 is now working for Key Cooperative in Newton, Iowa at its grain facility.

Englewood Railway on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, operates four SW1200, three of which have been rebuilt with 1,500 hp (1,100 kW) Caterpillar engines, the fourth retaining its original power plant. The locomotives also have larger fuel tanks, dynamic brakes, and operate as "road" locomotives hauling lumber. Three of these locomotives were originally owned by Canadian Forest Products (units 301 to 303), and one from COOS (Englewood Unit 304).

Commonwealth Edison unit 16 and Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis unit 1231 are now being operated by Steel Dynamics Inc. Pittsboro, IN. Both locomotives are used as scrap yard switchers at the Pittsboro facility.

Sandersville Railroad SAN 200 purchased in 1964 is still used in daily switching service with the Sandersville Railroad as of 2017 but has been re-stenciled as the SAN 1200. Its original 567C engine was upgraded to 645 specs at some point in its history.

Northern Pacific Railway 146, after being inherited by successor railroads Burlington Northern Railroad and BNSF Railway, was sold to Evraz North America and renumbered 3540. In November 2015, it was acquired by the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in Virginia City, Nevada, and renumbered D-4 to fit the railroad's diesel numbering series. It is in operable condition.

EMD SW1200 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division and General Motors Diesel, Canada
Model: SW1200
Build date: January 1954 – May 1966
Total produced: 1,056
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Gauge: 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge, Chile
Gauge: 5 ft (1,524 mm), Panama
Prime mover: EMD 567C
Engine type: V12 diesel
Cylinders: 12
Performance figures
Power output: 1,200 hp (895 kW)
Locale: North America, South America
Disposition: many scrapped, many still in use.

GMD SW1200MG Electric Locomotive
The EMD SW1200MG was a 4-axle electric locomotive built by General Motors Diesel between 1963 and 1971. This locomotive was the electric version of the diesel powered SW1200, with the prime mover replaced by a motor-generator set, hence the MG suffix in the model number.

Locomotives run under 2400V 60 Hz, in automatic control without driver.[clarification needed] The difference with SW1200 is that a single-phase electric motor is provided in place of the diesel motor, with adapted control.

Nine examples of this locomotive were built for a single Canadian customer – Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC).

EMD SW1200MG Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Electric
Builder: General Motors Diesel
Serial numbers: A1945–A1949, A2176, A2558–A2560
Model: SW1200MG
Build dates: 1963 (5), 1968 (1), 1971 (3)
Total produced: 9
​ • AAR B-B
 • UIC Bo'Bo'
Electric systems: 2400 V AC 60 Hz catenary
Current pickup: Pantograph
Operator: Iron Ore Company of Canada
Road Numbers: 431501–431509
Locale: North America

See also:


Electro Motive Diesel

General Motors Diesel Canada

EMD Diesel-Electric Locomotives

GMD Diesel-Electric Locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives