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EMD: SW-1001

Written by Conductor

Reading SW-1001 #2606 at work in Rutherford Yard.  Photo courtesy Kim Piersol.

The Reading's fleet of 25 EMD SW-1001 switching locomotives arrived on the property in late 1973.  These 1000hp units were all delivered in the "Reading Green" paint scheme, and were numbered #2601-2625.  At the time, EMD also offered a 1000hp SW-1000 locomotive which was very similar in appearance to the SW-1500s already owned by the Reading; however, the higher cab roof of the SW-1000 caused clearance problems in close quarters, thus, the SW-1001 was created, which used the rounded cab roof found on the older models of EMD switchers.  All the Reading's SW-1001s rode on AAR-B trucks.

Reading SW-1001 #2607 shown paired with #2605.In addition to the rounded cab roof, there were several other external features unique to these locomotives. First, there were two sand boxes at the front of the hood.  In addition, rather than having illuminated number boards installed, the road number was simply painted on either side of the headlight.  On the top of the hood, the radiator opening was shorter than on the SW-1500s, as can be seen in the above photo.  As can be seen in the photo at left, some extra grab irons were installed on the front of the cab.  Finally, the angle where the hood meets the cab was much sharper and shorter in length than on the SW-1500s and the Reading's other switchers.

Reading SW-1001 #2603 at Rutherford, PA.

Detail view of Reading SW1001 #2607 showing numbers painted on the cab roof.  Photo courtesy Kim Piersol.

Like most other locomotives delivered in the "Reading Green" scheme in the 1970s, the SW-1001s had their road numbers painted on the cab roof for easier identification by tower operators (see above right photo).  Upon arrival on the Reading, these units were put into service on yard and local jobs.  In practice, the lower-numbered units were assigned to Rutherford and the western part of the system, while the higher-numbered locomotives operated primarily in the Philadelphia and suburban areas.  The SW-1001s did not appear to venture into coal country as did the MP-15s.  Due to a difference in their internal electrical equipment, the SW-1001s did not MU with other types of locomotives on the Reading, when running in multiple, they were only operated with other SW-1001s.  All 25 of the Reading's SW-1001s survived into the Conrail era, and several have even lasted into the Post-Conrail NS era!

MODELING NOTES:  As with all other Reading locomotives, including the SW-1001s on your roster will depend on the era and locale being modeled.  As noted in the text, locomotives operated in distinct territories, and didn't "wander" all over the system.  From a technical standpoint, modeling an SW-1001 is possible, but will take some doing.  Although an SW-1000 could be used as a starting point, the big issues will be substituting the low-profile cab, and also modifying the angle of the body where it meets the cab.  The May, 1996 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman included an article on kitbashing a LIRR SW-1001, this could be used as a guide for building a Reading model.

View of Reading #2612 in the Philadelphia area. 

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Did You Know?

June 20-23, 1972
The Reading is devastated by Hurricane Agnes; washouts and damage across the system require significant effort to repair, and also hasten the abandonment of marginal branches.


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