EMD "NW2" Locomotives

Last revised: July 26, 2022

By: Adam Burns

The NW2 followed Electro-Motive's earlier NW, NW1, and NC models; switchers capable of producing 900 horsepower.

All of these original designs were equipped with Winton's 201-A prime mover while the NW2 was the first to utilize General Motors' model 567.

Electro-Motive saw enough interest in these early designs, along with its first SW models, to warrant cataloging further switchers through the 1940s.

At the time, then-EMC was fast becoming the industrial leader in diesel-electric manufacturing having released its popular FT cab model in 1939.

That particular locomotive would silence steam power nearly single-handedly.  For Electro-Motive, it seemed every model it released from the 1940s through the 1970s was a success. 

The NW2 would go down as one of EMD's most popular small switchers.  When its 10-year production run had ended some 1,139 units had been built for a variety of Class Is, short lines, industrial operations, and even a few Canadian lines.

Today, several of these resilient switchers carry on in service at private industries, small short lines, and tourist lines. Its rugged design is a testament to the engineers at EMD during the company's height of production. 

Burlington (Fort Worth & Denver) NW2 #605 switches a local customer in Wichita Falls, Texas, circa 1965. American-Rails.com collection.

History and Background

Electro-Motive's NW series entered production in 1937 as a successor to the NC, a switcher sporting a cast frame.

At the time some railroads still preferred this manufacturing method which had long been employed in the construction of steam locomotives.  However, welded frames were proven to be stronger and cheaper to produce.

The NW originally referring to:

  • Nine-hundred horsepower

  • Welded frame.

However, with the NW2's introduction the nine-hundred reference was dropped as its new 12-cylinder 567 could produce an additional 100 horsepower. 

Lehigh Valley NW2 #183 sits next to Reading C424 #5205 at Allentown, Pennsylvania on May 17, 1975. Author's collection.

The NW2 featured a frame with the same length (44 feet, 5 inches) as its predecessors with the taper near the cab for improved visibility.

It also came equipped with EMD's standard B-B trucks and lacked a sandbox on the front platform that was commonly found on early SW models.

Its other notable spotting feature was two conical stacks mounted just ahead of the cab.  As Jerry Pinkepank notes in his book, "Diesel Spotter's Guide," the NW2 is most easily distinguishable from its earlier counterparts by the lack of small louvers on the side of the hood. 

Erie Lackawanna NW2 #425 (built as Erie #424) is seen here at work in October, 1969. Location not listed. Author's collection.

Sales for the NW2 quickly took off; not only were these little switchers ideal for any application but they were also inexpensive. EMD also offered a cow-calf version known as the TR, TR2, and TR3.

The first and final models (TR, TR3) were sold only to the Illinois Central (three sets) and Chesapeake & Ohio (two sets).

Data Sheet and Specifications

Entered Production5/1939 (Minneapolis & St. Louis D-139)
Years Produced5/1939 - 12/1949*
EMD ClassNW2
Engines567, 567A (12 Cylinder)
Engine BuilderGM/EMD
Horsepower1000
RPM800
Length44' 5" (Per Locomotive)
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)14' 4 5/8"
Width10' 0"
Weight248,000 Lbs
Fuel Capacity600 Gallons
Air Compressor3C2C (Westinghouse)
Air Brake Schedule24EL (Westinghouse)
TrucksB-B
Truck TypeGRS Rigid Bolster, Drop-Side Equalizer (AAR Type-A)
Truck Wheelbase8' 0"
Wheel Size40"
Traction Motors (Per Locomotive)D37 (4), GM/EMD
Traction GeneratorD15C, GM/EMD
Auxiliary GeneratorGeneral Motors/EMD
MU (Multiple-Unit)Yes
Dynamic BrakesNo
Gear Ratio62:15
Tractive Effort/Starting62,500 Lbs
Tractive Effort/Continuous31,000 Lbs at 11.0 mph
Top Speed65 mph

* Most construction was suspended between 1942-1945 (World War II).

Production Rosters

EMD

(Total Built = 1,115)

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date Quantity
Minneapolis & St. LouisD-139844E2355/19391
Milwaukee Road1650-1651845-846E2416/19392
Kansas City Southern1100847E2485/19391
Missouri Pacific9104848E2509/19391
Phelps Dodge Corporation (New Cornelia Branch Mine)1-2849-850E2565/19392
Great Northern5302-5309861-868E2192/1939-5/19398
Great Northern5310-5311883-884E2195/19392
Phelps Dodge Corporation (New Cornelia Branch Mine)3-4885-886E2566/19392
Soo Line300-301887-888E2749/19392
Electro-Motive (Demonstrator)889*889E30810/19391
Santa Fe2353-2365915-927E2587/1939-9/193913
Illinois Central9150928E28512/19391
Atlantic Coast Line601929E2961/19401
Great Northern5312-5323939-950E2606/1939-8/193912
Erie401-403951-953E28010/1939-11/19393
Northern Pacific101-103995-997E2942/1940-3/19403
Wheeling & Lake ErieD-1998E2994/19401
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy9203999E3094/19401
Union Pacific1001-10091000-1008E3085/19409
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy92041009E3094/19401
Terminal Railroad Association Of St. Louis551-5521080-1081E3126/19402
Missouri Pacific91051084E3178/19401
Southern Railway (St Johns River Terminal)85601086E3207/19401
Wheeling & Lake ErieD-21089E3267/19401
Lake Champlain & Moriah191090E3278/19401
Baltimore & Ohio400-4081114-1122E32510/1940-11/19409
Union Pacific1010-10141123-1127E3287/19405
Reading Railroad901132E3308/19401
Minneapolis & St. LouisD-7401135E3328/19401
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern403-4041168-1169E3399/19402
Phelps Dodge Corporation (Morenci Mine)5-61170-1171E34010/19402
Milwaukee Road1652-16541187-1189E34411/19403
Illinois Central91511193E3592/19411
Chicago & North Western (Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha)701195E34712/19401
Southern Railway2200-22041209-1213E35512/1940-1/19415
Central of Georgia Railway201232E3661/19411
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern405-4061240-1241E3681/19412
Union Pacific1015-10241244-1253E37112/1940-3/194110
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy9205-92191286-1300E3762/1941-5/194115
Northern Pacific104-1061310-1312E3815/19413
Denver & Rio Grande Western70001313E3821/19411
Missouri Pacific91061315E3848/19411
Southern Pacific1310-13191353-1362E3956/1941-7/194110
Great Northern5324-53311370-1377E4007/1941-9/19418
Terminal Railroad Association Of St. Louis553-5551393-1395E4068/19413
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern4071405E4088/19411
Wheeling & Lake ErieD-3, D-41422-1423E4146/1941, 8/19412
Pennsylvania39091426E41610/19411
Kansas City Southern1101-11021433-1434E4219/19412
Fort Worth & Denver City (Burlington)6031447E4246/19411
Reading91-921454-1455E4289/1941-10/19412
Illinois Central91521456E41910/19411
Central of Georgia251460E4422/19421
Boston & Maine1200-12011461-1462E43111/19412
Southern Railway2206-22071463-1464E43210/19412
Southern Railway (Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific)6050-60561465-1471E43412/1941-2/19427
Southern Railway (New Orleans & Northeastern)6850-68511472-1473E43311/1941-12/19412
Philadelphia, Bethlehem & New England2191476E4386/19411
Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis251538E44412/19411
Grand Trunk Western7900-79141539-1553E44510/1941-3/194215
Seaboard Air Line1406-14071595-1596E4593/19422
Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (Monon)1-31598-1600E4614/19423
Louisiana & Arkansas (Kansas City Southern)1125-11261607-1608E4641/19422
Central Railroad Of New Jersey1060-10611612-1613E4664/19422
Atlantic Coast Line603, 6051630-1631E4684/1942-5/19422
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis556-5571667-1668E4882/1943-3/19432
Union Pacific1025-10261686-1687E47610/19412
Union Pacific1027-10351688-1696E4765/1942-7/19429
Great Northern5334-53361711-1713E4778/1942-9/19423
Pere Marquette51-521715-1716E47910/1942-11/19422
Pere Marquette53-541717-1718E4792/1943-3/19432
Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal409-4111729-1731E4631/19433
New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road)7-101752-1755E4949/1942-10/19424
Santa Fe2366-23671769-1770E4973/19432
Republic Steel CorporationD-8151836E5085/19421
Seaboard Air Line1408-14121873-1877E5206/19425
U.S. Navy (Fallbrook Naval Ammo Depot)1-41922-1925E5263/19424
Atlantic Coast Line611-615 (Odds)1926-1928E5278/1942-10/19423
Boston & Maine1202-12041933-1935E5357/19423
Illinois Central9153-91562063-2066E5477/19454
Phelps Dodge Corporation (Morenci Mine)7-82351-2352E58611/19422
U.S. Navy (Hawthorne, Nevada)442385E5963/19431
Great Northern145-1502475-2480E6048/1945-9/19456
Boston & Maine1205-12073091-3093E7269/19463
New York, Ontario & Western111-1153164-3168E8243/1948-4/19485
New York, Ontario & Western116-1273169-3180E8246/1948-7/194812
Illinois Central9157-91663279-3288E6677/194510
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western461-4653391-3395E67711/19455
Pennsylvania5921-59223417-3418E6804/1946, 11/19452
Philadelphia, Bethlehem & New England2223421E6826/19461
Union Pacific1036-10503422-3436E6835/1946-7/19465
Pere Marquette55-643463-3472E68511/1945-5/194610
New York Central8700-87043606-3610E6967/19465
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy9220-92473616-3643E6997/1946-9/194628
Southern Railway2233-22463644-3657E7009/1946-10/194614
Fort Worth & Denver City (Burlington)605-6063923-3924E73610/19462
Fort Worth Belt Railway23962E74110/19461
Texas & Pacific (Missouri Pacific)1000-10013963-3964E74210/19462
Kansas City Southern1200-12034061-4064E75311/19464
Philadelphia, Bethlehem & New England223-2254069-4071E75511/19463
Southern Railway22474158E76812/19461
Wabash Railroad3504159E76912/19461
Maryland & Pennsylvania80-814160-4161E77012/19462
West Virginia Northern50-514229-4230E7738/1946, 6/19472
Kansas City Southern1204-12114264-4271E77911/1946-1/19478
Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (Monon)14-174445-4448E7941/19474
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy)1026-10304583-4587E8131/19475
Texas & Pacific (Missouri Pacific)1002-10084588-4594E8141/1947-2/19477
Union Pacific1051-10754697-4721E8202/1947-6/194725
Southern Railway2249-22624749-4762E8286/1947-7/194714
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern409-4234772-4786E83010/1947-11/194715
Lake Terminal Railroad1001-10024794, 4796E8344/19472
Southern Railway22484797E8321/19471
Lake Terminal Railroad1003-10084798-4803E8344/1947-5/19476
Tucson, Cornelia & Gila Bend Railroad524845E8396/19471
Phelps Dodge Corporation (New Cornelia Branch Mine)34846E8396/19471
Apalachicola Northern701-7024912-4913E8429/19472
Reading100-1044940-4944E8467/19475
Colorado & Southern150-1524945-4947E8479/19473
Pennsylvania5923-59254954-4956E8499/1947-10/19473
New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road)11-164985-4990E85410/19476
Terminal Railroad Association Of St. Louis558-5635026-5031E8607/19476
Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad900-9015032-5033E86110/19472
Detroit Terminal Railroad104-1125034-5042E8626/1947-10/19479
Erie Railroad404-4135129-5138E8681/194810
Apalachicola Northern7035139E8429/19471
Philadelphia, Bethlehem & New England26-275147-5148E87211/19472
Great Trunk Western7966-79735162-5169E87412/1947-1/19488
Jacksonville Terminal30-325202-5204E8827/19473
Milwaukee Road1647-16495238-5240E88511/19473
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (New York Central)8705-87145249-5258E88812/194710
Lake Terminal Railroad1009-10155263-5269E8901/1948-3/19487
Lake Super Terminal & Transfer100-1025286-5288E8922/19483
Apalachicola Northern7045309E8429/19471
Pennsylvania9155-91645360-5369E8972/194810
Chicago & Western Indiana250-2515395-5396E90111/19472
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco)250-2535510-5513E9114/19484
Peoria & Pekin Union400-4015534-5535E91510/19472
Chicago Great Western16-245536-5544E9164/1948-5/19489
Manistee & Northeastern Railroad2-35555-5556E9185/19482
Louisiana & Arkansas (Kansas City Southern)1212-12215557-5566E9195/1948-6/194810
Peoria & Pekin Union402-4035597-5598E9236/19482
Spokane, Portland & Seattle40-425743-5745E9411/19483
Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad9025752E9445/19481
Detroit, Toledo & Ironton910-9165757-5763E9469/19487
Wheeling Steel Corporation12515766E9489/19481
Pennsylvania9165-91765802-5813E89710/1948-11/194812
Southern Railway2263-22845824-5845E9549/1948-11/194822
New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road)17-226088-6093E8542/19486
Rock Island765-7746124-6133E97312/1948-1/194910
Erie Railroad414-4166145-6147E97611/19483
New York, Ontario & Western128-1316160-6163E8247/19484
Georgia Railroad9016194E9834/19481
New York Central8750-87736195-6218E98410/1948-1/194924
Indiana Harbor Belt8719-87286219-6228E9855/1948-6/194810
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco)254-2596247-6252E9885/1948-6/19486
Chicago Great Western25-296253-6257E9896/19485
Chesapeake & Ohio1850-18566268-6274E99311/1948-12/19487
Union Pacific1076-10956336-6355E9983/1948-9/194820
Indiana Harbor Belt8729-87336376-6380E9858/1948-9/19485
Indiana Harbor Belt8734-87396416-6421E9859/1948-10/19486
Indiana Harbor Belt8715-87186422-6425E10111/1948-2/19484
Texas & Pacific (Missouri Pacific)1009-10196581-6591E10119/1948-5/194911
Peoria & Pekin Union404-4056650-6651E10166/19492
Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf Railway (Missouri Pacific)10016672E10205/19491
Baltimore & Ohio550-5596673-6682E10869/1948-11/194810
Baltimore & Ohio560-5896683-6712E10221/1949-5/194930
Pennsylvania9247-92506755-6758E102412/19484
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco)260-2656871-6876E10325/1949-6/19496
Detroit Terminal Railroad114-1156994-6995E10375/19492
New York Central8803-88107177-7184E104211/19498
Indiana Harbor Belt8774-87897185-7200E10437/1949-9/194916
Indiana Harbor Belt8790-88027201-7213E12309/194913
Southern Pacific1403-14057294-7296E10452/19493
Southern Pacific1406-14257297-7316E10454/1949-6/194920
Texas & New Orleans (Southern Pacific)72-797317-7324E10453/19498
Texas & New Orleans (Southern Pacific)80-887325-7333E10456/1949-8/19499
St. Louis Southwestern Railway (Southern Pacific)1050-10517374-7375E10475/19492
Missouri-Illinois Railroad517376E10487/19491
Lake Terminal Railroad1016-10207397-7401E10526/1949-8/19495
Wisconsin Central Railway (Soo Line)21087415E10548/19491
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (New York Central)8740-87497418-7427E10563/194910
Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis20-237429-7432E105710/19494
Erie Railroad417-4217460-7464E106210/19495
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern424-4347487-7497E10681/1949-5/194911
Union Railroad536-5497516-7529E10718/1948-5/194915
Wabash Railroad351-3527531-7532E10756/19492
Terminal Railroad Association Of St. Louis564-5677545-7548E107710/19494
Louisville & Nashville2240-22447549-7553E107810/19495
Grand Trunk Western79747631E10879/19481
Boston & Maine1210-12137734-7737E10921/19494
Boston & Maine1208-12097738-7739E11531/19492
Colorado & Southern (Burlington)1537740E109312/19481
Great Northern151-1627786-7797E10987/1949-11/194912
Lake Superior Terminal & Transfer103-1047807-7808E11058/19492
Phelps Dodge Corporation (Lavender Pit)1-27809-7810E11063/19492
Chicago & Eastern Illinois119-1247830-7835E111211/19496
Indiana Northern Railroad1007898E11145/19481
Chicago Great Western427916E112311/19491
Georgia Railroad902-9058022-8025E11323/1949-9/19494
Bangor & Aroostook800-8038157-8160E11424/1949-5/19494
Philadelphia, Bethlehem & New England288412E116012/19481
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy92488492E117811/19491
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern435-4428519-8526E11815/19498
Union Railroad550-5558534-8539E118610/1949-11/19496
Chicago Great Western30-318603-8604E11923/19492
Jacksonville Terminal33-358703-8705602410/19493
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern4438706E11815/19491
Lehigh Valley182-183, 180-1818708-8711E12106/19494
St. Louis Southwestern Railway (Southern Pacific)1052-10538751-8752E121711/19492
Erie Railroad422-4278911-8916E123311/19496
Phelps Dodge Corporation (New Cornelia Branch Mine)4-58960-8961E123511/19492
Jacksonville Terminal369087602410/19491
Lehigh Valley184-1869142-9144E12529/19493
Kansas City Southern1222-12269154-9158400110/19495
Indiana Harbor Belt8811-88149456-9459E126710/19494
Indiana Harbor Belt8815-88349461-9480E126712/194920
River Terminal Railway609748E12848/19491
Conemaugh & Black Lick Railroad100-1029749-9751E12857/19493
Chesapeake & Ohio5200-521310259-1027260198/1949-11/194914
Chesapeake & Ohio5066-507910367-1038060216/1949-8/194914
Chesapeake & Ohio5060-506510381-1038660239/19496
Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway1010598603610/19491

Export

(Total Built = 24)

These NW2's were built at La Grange for Canadian National and Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo.

Owner Road Number Serial Number Order Number Completion Date Quantity
Canadian National7936-79454107-4116E76111/1946-12/194610
Canadian National7956-79655152-5161E87411/1947-12/194710
Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo51-545703-5706E93811/1947-12/19474

* Became Union Pacific #1000.

Sources:

  • 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.
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. Diesel Spotter's Guide.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967.

  • Solomon, Brian.  EMD Locomotives.  Minneapolis: MBI Publishing Company, 2006.

Baltimore & Ohio NW2's #9544 and #9543 layover in Cincinnati, Ohio; March, 1975. American-Rails.com collection.

However, the TR2 was fairly successful as thirty-six sets were acquired by the Belt Railway of Chicago, Milwaukee Road, Burlington, Chicago & North Western, Chicago Great Western, Illinois Central, and Southern. 

Production on the NW2 began in May, 1939 when Minneapolis & St. Louis D-139 rolled out of LaGrange.  It remained in the catalog until 1949 when Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri concluded the line in October of that year.

Today, the versatility and reliability of these small switchers speaks for itself as many NW2s remain in use in all types of applications.

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