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EMD "SW1000" Locomotives

Last revised: June 22, 2023

By: Adam Burns

The SW1000 was the first 8-cylinder model Electro-Motive offered featuring its new 645 prime mover.  From a catalog standpoint, it followed the SW900, another 8-cylinder variant equipped with the earlier 567C power plant.

EMD's system for designating its switchers was not consistent, particularly in the early years, which makes deciphering each models' lettering and numbering somewhat difficult.

The SW1000 was fairly straightforward, however; the "SW" denoted it a switcher that offered 1,000 horsepower. Built during the mid-1960s, it was a second-generation variant and featured classic SW series styling.

Like the SW900, EMD found few buyers for the SW1000.  Its big sister, the SW1500 saw many more sales thanks to its increased horsepower.

In any event, sales for switchers began to decline by the 1960s as lines found that their older first generation units could be reassigned to secondary and yard duty. Interestingly, despite only a little more than one hundred SW1000s, built several remain in operation on short lines and in industrial services.  


Rio Grande SW1000 #140 switches a cut of tank cars at Roper Yard in Salt Lake City, Utah, circa 1967. American-Rails.com collection.


The SW1000 began production in the summer of 1966 offering a new prime mover and slightly updated carbody. The builder stuck with the typical overall length found in earlier SW models at just over 44-feet.

It featured EMD's new model 645 prime mover (645E), an 8-cylinder engine cable of producing 1,000 horsepower.

While the switcher's taper near the cab remained, the hood featured harder lines with less beveling and a wider, boxier cab that no longer included an arched roof. It also featured a single, conical stack, the result of its 8-cylinder power plant.  This feature could also be found on the SW8, SW900, SW1001, and SW600 (6 cylinder).


Once again EMD kept the model light at 115 tons.  It featured General Motors' newest model D77 traction motors that could produce a respectable 36,000 pounds of continuous tractive effort and 57,500 pounds of starting effort. 

Sales for the SW1000 never came around, largely due to its lower horsepower rating compared to the SW1500. The switcher was produced over a six-year period; by the time the last unit rolled out of LaGrange, Illinois in October, 1972 114 had been built with another 5 constructed for foreign companies.

Data Sheet

Entered Production6/1966 (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy #9310)
Years Produced6/1966 - 10/1972
EMD ClassSW1000
Engine645E (8 Cylinder)
Engine BuilderEMD/GM
Length44' 8"
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)15' 0"
Width10' 3"
Weight230,000 Lbs
Fuel Capacity600 Gallons
Air CompressorWXO (Gardner-Denver)
Air Brake Schedule24L (Westinghouse)
Truck TypeGRS Rigid Bolster, Drop-Side Equalizer (AAR Type-A)
Truck Wheelbase8' 0"
Wheel Size40"
Traction MotorsD77 (4), EMD/GM
Traction GeneratorD36, EMD/GM
Auxiliary GeneratorEMD/GM
MU (Multiple-Unit)Optional
Dynamic BrakesNo
Gear Ratio62:15
Tractive Effort/Starting57,500 Lbs
Tractive Effort/Continuous36,000 Lbs at 11.0 mph
Top Speed65 mph

Production Rosters


(Total Built = 114)

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date Quantity
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy9310-931731696-3170378796/1966-7/19668
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy9318-932131704-3170778807/19664
Armco SteelB-813208744969/19661
Mobile Chemical Corporation23216044996/19661
Denver & Rio Grande Western140-14532175-3218045019/1966-10/19666
Detroit Edison2163218145001/19671
Denver & Rio Grande Western14632313450110/19661
Inland Steel115-11632395-32396450311/19662
Duluth & North Eastern353239979312/19671
Cuyahoga Valley Railroad105032494793911/19661
Inland Steel1183258679412/19671
Inland Steel11732587450712/19661
Jones & Laughlin Steel Company1023309645136/19671
Youngstown Sheet & Tube9053312145145/19671
Hampton & Branchville Railroad1203318445168/19671
Birmingham Southern10-1133186-33187707011/19672
Youngstown Sheet & Tube906-90733212-3321345197/19672
E. I. du Pont De Nemours & Company (DuPont)10633316452212/19671
Wisconsin Electric Power CompanyNo Number3349045268/19681
Houston Belt & Terminal40-4233522-3352470781/19683
E. I. du Pont De Nemours & Company (DuPont)10733756452212/19671
Denver & Rio Grande Western147-14933915-3391745384/19683
Public Service Company Of Indiana13402645399/19691
Youngstown Sheet & Tube908-90934027-3402845346/19682
Youngstown Sheet & Tube9103412945488/19681
Eastman Kodak Company834349455112/19681
Birmingham Southern12-1334472-3447371431/19692
Youngstown Sheet & Tube9113452445525/19691
Jones & Laughlin Steel Company1033452545532/19691
Corn Products Corporation68-6934871-3487245555/19692
Youngstown Sheet & Tube912-91435041-3504345595/19693
Appalachian Power Company135830456912/19691
Burlington Northern435-44935882-35896458912/1970-1/197115
Birmingham Southern1435944723710/19691
Burlington Northern427-43436353-3636072601/1971-2/19718
Birmingham Southern153680045901/19711
New Orleans Public Belt101-10637388-37393730910/19716
Birmingham Southern16-1737892-37893460710/19712
Burlington Northern375-3894610-1 thru 4610-1546101/1972-2/197215
Great Lakes Steel584615-1461510/19711
General Motors-Central Foundry DivisionNo Number4622-146224/19721
Burlington Northern390-3944624-1 thru 4624-5462410/19725


(Total Built = 5)

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date Quantity
Kaiser Bauxite (Jamaica)51093225271072212/19661
Altos Hornos (Mexico)1323426971111911/19681
Cementos Anahuac Company (Mexico)No Number368547117719/19711
Chihuahua Cellulose (Mexico)1811370167118068/19711
Altos Hornos (Mexico)137370167121969/19721


  • Foster, Gerald. A Field Guide To Trains. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
  • Hayden, Bob. Diesel Locomotives: Cyclopedia, Volume 2 (Model Railroader). Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1980.
  • Marre, Louis A. Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, A Guide To Diesels Built Before 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Marre, Louis A. and Pinkepank, Jerry A. Contemporary Diesel Spotter's Guide, The: A Comprehensive Reference Manual To Locomotives Since 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1989.
  • Solomon, Brian.  EMD Locomotives.  Minneapolis: MBI Publishing Company, 2006.

Rio Grande SW1000 #147 and Western Pacific GP40 #3534 in Salt Lake City, Utah, circa 1975. Robert Eastwood, Jr. photo. American-Rails.com collection.

Interestingly, the company's Ontario plant, General Motors Diesel Division, did not take any orders for the SW1000 although the later SW1001 did see a few built in Canada. 

The updated SW1001, which corrected a clearance issue over its predecessor, remained in production for nearly twenty years. 

The final switcher model that proved truly successful for the company was the aforementioned SW1500, which sold nearly 1,000 examples domestically.

Additionally, EMD found quite a bit of interest with its MP15 series, the final switcher model it ever cataloged, which ended production in 1987.

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