locked Re: Early Diesel switcher assignments

George Eichelberger


Yes, there are diesel assignments into the ’60 in the archives. The practice of assigning locos to specific locations/routes and trains became less of an issue in the early 70s. As roundhouses and shops were shut, diesel inspections became more centralized. That led to different power at yards and towns.

That is why the Southern decided to pay more for Flexicoil trucks under the first SW-1500s. They were an extra cost option from EMD, friction bearing Type B switcher trucks were standard. The problem was type B trucks were limited to 35mph when they were being towed to Chattanooga, Atlanta, etc. for inspection. Rather than slow the trains to 35, units with Flexicoil trucks did not have such a low limit. By the time the Southern ordered more SW-1500s it, and other railroads demanded roller bearings on the Bype B trucks. As with many other diesel “extras” over the years, Southern led and EMD followed.

By 1970, the prices of diesels had increased to the point the Southern did not want to buy yard switchers. That, plus the fact that the GP-7s and 9s were getting too old to operate as road power led to older road switchers being sent to the yards.

ALL of this is well documented in the SRHA archives. I will “fit” as much as possible in the SRHA diesel book as I can. (The FT introduction section was in TIES some time ago.) Work in the archives and Covid has slowed all projects down for the past year at least.


On Sep 21, 2021, at 7:30 AM, Rob Wingo <robertawingo@...> wrote:

Good study.  I assume the $35k operating savings is the steam maintenance costs vs diesel maintenance.  That’s alot of steam
maintenance!  But all of our steam was at least 20 years old by that time so no wonder.

I grew up in Alexandria, Va and I don’t remember seeing any true yard switcher after about 1970.  Is there a system level record of switcher assignments for that time period?


Join main@SouthernRailway.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.