Monday, May 28, 2012

Great Northern switcher 181 from 1942

This 1000 hp EMD diesel switcher (shunter) model NW3 was one of 7 ordered by the Great Northern Railway, the sole original purchaser, which were built over November 1939 - March 1942.  It consisted of an NW2 hood, a 2-stroke, V12 EMD 567 prime mover and main generator on a long frame with road trucks (bogies). The extra length was used for a large cab and an additional, full-width hood section, which contained a steam generator for passenger service. The boiler's exhaust was in the front center of the cab, between the front windows and exiting at the middle of the roof front.

The locomotives were delivered in GN's black diesel paint scheme of the time, but were later repainted in the bright, orange and green "Empire Builder" scheme. The short exhaust stacks as delivered were at some point replaced by standard conical EMD switcher stacks.

The first four units were traded in by GN to EMD for new locomotives in 1965. The remaining three were sold to other railroads: number 179 was sold to A.E. Staley Co. of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, keeping the same number; number 180 was sold to the Clinchfield Railroad as their 361 - and 181 went to Anaconda Aluminium as their 100.

It is now on display on BNSF's line at Whitefish, Montana, in its GNR "Empire Builder" colours as seen above.  (Geoff Churchman)

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