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EMD: SW-1200

Written by Conductor

Reading SW-1200 locomotive #2718.

Reading SW-1200 #2719.  Photo courtesy Kim Piersol.

The Reading took delivery of five EMD SW-1200 switching locomotives in late 1963.  These 1200 horsepower locomotives were numbered 2715 through 2719, to continue the 2700 numbering series of the Reading's "Baldwin/EMD hybrid" locomotives 2701 - 2714.  These units were built by EMD using the trucks and batteries from the following Reading Baldwin switchers:  77, 79, 87, 85 and 72.  These units were the first "second-generation" diesel switchers on the Reading, though their appearance was more along the lines of the earlier locomotives such as the NW-2s and SW-900s.  Although there were only five units of this type rostered, they saw service all over the Reading system.

Reading SW-1200 #2716 after repainting into the "Reading Green" scheme.  Photo courtesy Kim Piersol.The SW-1200s had a top speed of 60mph, and were used in both yard and branchline service.  The only unit to receive the 1970s "Reading Green" paint scheme was #2716, shown at left after being repainted in 1972.  All 5 of the Reading's SW-1200s were conveyed to Conrail, where they continued to see service until 1991.

MODELING NOTES:  The primary difference between SW-1200s and SW-900s is the presence of two stacks rather than one.  In addition, in looking at the photos, it is apparent that some units had spark arrestors, and others did not.  As always, working from a good prototype photo is the best way to arrive at an accurate model.  Also, note the handrails running the entire length of the carbody - this feature may need to be added to most commercial models.  Finally, compare the front and rear handrails to the SW-900s.  The SW-1200s had the "angled" railings, while the SW-900s had the "squared-off" railings.  One of these units would be a nice contrast to SW-900s or older units in Pullman Green, and could be used at any modeled location on the Reading, since they saw service at various points on the system.

Reading SW-1200 #2719.  Photo courtesy Kim Piersol.

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Did You Know?

July, 1956
The connection between the Reading Belt Line and the Lebanon Valley Branch near Reading enters service.


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