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EMD: SW-1200m

Written by Conductor

Reading EMD SW-1200m #2701.  This unit began as a Baldwin, and was later rebuilt with an EMD prime mover.

Reading SW-1200m #2713.The Reading's 14 "SW-1200m" locomotives were unique among the road's motive power fleet.  Classed SWE-4 and numbered 2701 through 2714, these units began their careers as Baldwin 1000 horsepower VO-1000 switchers from class OE-10.  However, in 1959, the Baldwins were sent to EMD to be rebuilt with EMD prime movers.  When they returned from LaGrange, they had a significantly different appearance.  While retaining the Baldwin trucks, frame and cab, most of the hood was replaced with a restyled body similar to other EMD first-generation switchers, resulting in a 'hybrid' appearance as seen above. 

Reading SW1200m #2711 after repainting into the Reading Green scheme.These units were used primarily in switching and local service, though they were road-capable with a top speed of 60mph.  They could be seen across the Reading system, though they seemed to be concentrated in the Philadelphia area, operating in transfer runs to Pavonia Yard in Camden in sets of two or three.  Later photos have shown them in Rutherford and the Lebanon Valley branch, as well as farther north into the coal regions.  Though none were repainted into the 1960s yellow-and-green scheme, three units, #2711, 2712 and 2714, were repainted into the "Reading Green" scheme, with #2714 receiving a yellow frame stripe.

Reading SW-1200m #2714 received a yellow frame stripe after repainting. Like other units repainted into the "Reading Green" scheme, Reading #2714 had its road number painted on the cab roof.

MODELING NOTES:  Constructing a model of a Reading SW-1200m will involve a fair amount of work, but is definitely doable.  Starting with a Baldwin switcher and an EMD switcher shell, you can fabricate the body.  In examining the photo below, you will note that the "EMD portion" of the hood is a bit wider than the original Baldwin body, so as it approaches the cab, the sides of the hood are sloped inward to meet flush with the "Baldwin portion" of the body - it will take some carving, filling and smoothing to arrive at a clean final contour.  In addition, note the twin sealed-beam headlights on the front and rear of the locomotive, along with other detail parts such as the lift rings, drop steps, MU receptacles, and so on.  When painting and lettering these units, it is best to work from a photograph, as some of these locomotives had the "We Couple Carefully..." slogan applied.  If you look at the photos of #2714 in the Photo Album, you will see that the slogan was applied at different heights on each side of the locomotive!  Operationally, these locomotives were used in switching service at various locations around the system from 1959 on, so their inclusion on the roster for almost any modeled location would be reasonable.  If you're willing to invest the effort in the kitbashing required, a Reading SW-1200m would certainly be a unique eye-catcher on your layout!

A pair of Reading SW-1200m locomotives on a transfer run in Camden, NJ.

Today's Image

Did You Know?

December, 1947
Construction begins at the Reading Locomotive Shops on ten new G-3 Pacific passenger steam locomotives. These locomotives will be the last Pacific-type engines built in the United States.


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