• Bests Switch Engine

  • Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.
Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

  by shortlinerailroader

  by EDM5970
Yes, a CF-7 (or GP-7, basically with the same wiring and equipment) with the teaser circuit working will move out real nice.

Jim asked about the NW-2. My understanding is that they typically were a little bit heavier than the later EMD switchers (again, typically), and that weight allowed for better starting and stopping of long cuts. Remember that weight relates to tractive effort, while horsepower gives you acceleration. The NW-2 apparently offered a nice balance of the two.

Another trick was for railroads to order SW-8s, 800 HP, but ballasted to 124 tons or so. The eight cylinder engine was easier on fuel than the twelve cylinder, and again the extra weight helped out in the TE department.

  by Justin B
The standard operating weight for the NW2 was aprox 248,000 lbs. If I am correct that is pretty much the standard weight for a 4 axle locomotive. Regardless of the builder or the generation all B-B units were in the neighborhood of 250,000 lbs. I think the WP had some GP40s that were in the neighborhood of 260,000 lbs. and they had a tendency to tear up track and bridges. But I digress.....

My personal favorite switcher would be the GP38-2. Bigger than a switcher, smaller than a road freight. The best universal unit out there. And darn near bulletproof to boot. :D

  by prt1607j
  by fglk
Last edited by fglk on Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by EDM5970
Sorry, fglk, but I think you have your EMD history a bit confused. EMD was offering the SC, the NC, the NW-2 and the SW-1 before WWII. The GP-7 didn't come along until after the war.

There was nothing wrong with the NW-2s. They were built to last more than a few years, and most of them did. Where did you get all of this misinformation?

  by fglk
Last edited by fglk on Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by mxdata
Gosh, I guess all those pictures I took of NW-2 switchers must be really rare collectors items now, considering how few of them made it into the 1970s. You just can't expect that cheap construction to go much more than thirty (or forty, or fifty) years. Imagine thirty years in service and they could not find a cure for those electrical problems! ALCO used so much better material and construction than EMD, or it seems like somebody said that somewhere....... :wink:

  by EDM5970
What electrical problems? Please be more specific.

Yes, the newer SW-7, SW-9 and SW-1200 had higher capacity generators and traction motors, and the prime movers went through 567A, B, and C upgrades, but the NW-2 was never a problem child or hanger queen.

And one of the beauties of the EMD switchers is that they had a pretty indestructable frame and could always be rebuilt and upgraded. Perhaps you are thinking of some older units that went back to the factory (after 15 years or so of service) and got upgraded to SW-1200 standards?

(Pretty good defense of EMD switchers from an Alco guy, eh?)

  by missthealcos
The TH&B units lasted until 1988.....

  by mxdata
Only forty years, give or take a few? Imagine how much longer they could have run if EMD had been able to solve those electrical problems! Can you imagine letting a product run around having electrical problems for that long? Those guys must have had their heads stuck in.....the sand box! :wink:

I'll have to give my old boss a call and ask him why he let that happen! :D

  by AOS
My favorit is a Fairbanks Morse H12-44 1581/2379 or bigger there gist a littel bit better than EMD's. If Alcos where so great why did most of the railroads have a emd or other brand of loco to back it up. :)
Last edited by AOS on Mon Jul 19, 2004 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by EDM5970
Oh, you mean roads like the D&H, the D&M, the LIRR, the Green Bay and Western, the Rutland, the Susquehanna, and many others? Todays Arkansas and Missouri, GVT, Lake States, and LA&L/WNY&PA still rely on Alco power.

Alco made a good product, but in the long run, EMD and eventually GE put Alco out of business because they were bigger, had deeper pockets for R&D, and could offer financing (GMAC, GEC etc.) that Alco couldn't offer. Also, Alco was dependent on GE for their transmission equipment, as were Baldwin and FM in their final years.

I'd like to see some real proof of your statement that railroads having Alcos needed to have EMDs or other brands of locomotives to back up the Alcos. And since I don't understand your comment on the H12-44, I'll say nothing-

  by RdHseRat
My favorite switch engine would have been an ALCO S2 or S4. Real mules.

My favorite EMD switch engine would have been an SW1200 or SW900. Those little 567C 8 cylinder engines were a pure joy to work on.

The NW2 was good but it was a nightmare to work on. The oil coolers were an abomination. (They were a b---- to change) If the unit was equipped with the oil-bath air cleaners that was another joy to handle every month. Then there was the michiana lube oil filters. But the d--- things ran.
  by Allen Hazen
RdHseRat's comments on maintaining NW-2 are interesting. I know that EMD made some changes in equipment location in later switcher models (this had something to do wit UP's decision to rebuild SW-9 but not SW-7 to the "Headache" SW-10 configuration)-- were some of the changes efforts to simplify routine maintenance?