CRIP No. 907, an EMD SW900 at Seneca, IL on January 28, 1967.

(Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

GM-EMD logo


The EMD SW900 is a diesel switcher locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division and General Motors Diesel (GMD) between December 1953 and March 1969. Power was provided by an EMD 567C 8-cylinder engine that generated 900 horsepower (670 kW). Built concurrently with the SW1200, the eight-cylinder units had a single exhaust stack. The last two SW900s built by GMD for British Columbia Hydro were built with 8 cylinder 645E engines rated at 1,000 horsepower (750 kW).

260 examples of this locomotive model were built for American railroads and 97 were built for Canadian railroads. Canadian production of the SW900 lasted three and a half years past EMD production. Seven units were exported to Orinoco Mining Co (Venezuela); two units were exported to Southern Peru Copper Co; and five units were exported to the Liberian American-Swedish Minerals Company. Total production is 371 units.

Some SW900s were built with the generators from traded in EMC Winton-engine switchers and were classified as SW900M by EMD. Units rebuilt from SW or SC model locomotives developed 600 or 660 horsepower with the older generators instead of the full 900 horsepower of the SW900.

In the early 1960s, the Reading Company sent 14 of their Baldwin VO 1000 model switchers to EMD to have them rebuilt to SW900 specifications. The Reading units retained the Baldwin switcher carbody and were rated at 1000 horsepower by EMD.

A Cow-calf variation, the TR9, was cataloged, but none were built.



In 1974, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company had decided to rebuild all ten of their EMD SW900 diesel locomotives at their own Houston Shops.

The rebuilds included the installation of a 12-cylinder EMD 645E engine, which increased the horsepower from 900 hp (670 kW) to 1,200 hp (890 kW).

The rebuilds had also included the installation of a new electrical system, which included a newer generator, newer traction motors, and a newer control system. The rebuilds were done specifically to extend the life of the locomotives and to increase their power and reliability.


Original buyers

Built by Electro-Motive Division, USA

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Electro-Motive Division demonstrator 1 6534 to River Terminal 99
Electro-Motive Division demonstrator 1 6535 to Waterloo Railway 4
Alabama By-Products Corporation 1 900
American Steel and Wire 4 3–6
Armco Steel Corporation 13 B80, 1203–1214
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 4 650–653
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 29 625–653
Birmingham Southern Railroad 5 91–95
General Motors-Buick Motor Division 2 792, 818
Canton Railroad 5 44–48
Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway 1 94
Champion Papers Inc 1 3
Chicago and North Western Railway 2 144–145
Chicago Great Western Railway 1 5
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 29 550–563, 900–914 550-563 are 600 h.p. SW900M
Colorado and Wyoming Railway 1 214
Texas Construction Material Company (Colorado River and Western Railroad) 1 201
Corinth and Counce Railroad 2 901–902
Cuyahoga Valley Railway 2 960–961
DeQueen and Eastern Railroad 1 D-4
Detroit Edison Company 1 214
Hammond Lumber Company (Feather River Railway) 1 102
Fernwood, Columbia and Gulf Railroad 1 900
Grand Trunk Railroad (of Maine) 2 7225-7226
Grand Trunk Western Railroad 13 7227–7232, 7262–7268
Granite City Steel Company 2 900–901
Great Lakes Steel Corporation 2 6-7
Hanna Furnace Company 1 17
Hercules Powder Company 1 61
Inland Lime and Stone Company 1 10
Jacksonville Terminal Company 3 37–39
Lancaster and Chester Railway 2 90–91 L&C 91 was the last EMD built SW900 in 11/65
Lehigh Valley Railroad 12 106-107, 110, 120–127, 130 107,110 are 600 h.p. SW900M, 106 is 660 h.p. SW900M
Liberian American-Swedish Minerals Company 5 201-205 Liberia, Africa
McLouth Steel Corporation 2 6–7
Missouri Portland Cement Company 1 1
Monessen Southwestern Railway 3 28–30
New York Central Railroad 16 9631–9646
New York Central System (Cleveland Union Terminal Company) 3 9628–9630
Northern Pacific Railway 1 100 NW 100 was rebuilt as an SW900m
Orinoco Mining Company 7 1090–1096 Venezuela, South America
Philadelphia Bethlehem and New England Railroad 2 51-52
Pickering Lumber Company 4 101–104
Raritan River Railroad 6 1–6
Reading Company 21 10-15, 1501–1515 10-15 are 660 h.p. SW900M
Republic Steel Corporation 12 345, 347–349, 354–359, 373–374
River Terminal Railway 10 90–98, 100 99 was EMD demo
Sand Springs Railway 3 100–102
Simpson Logging Company 1 900 Built with dynamic brakes.
South Peru Copper Company 2 9-10 Peru, South America
Southern Pacific Transportation Company 10 4624–4633
Steelton and Highspire Railroad 2 21, 27
U.S. Steel Corporation 1 157
U.S. Sugar Corporation 3 154–156
Valdosta Southern Railroad 1 955
Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company 1 1
Waterloo Railroad 3 1–3 Waterloo 4 was EMD demo 6535
Woodward Iron Company 1 62
Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company 5 900–904
Total 274

Built by General Motors Diesel, Canada

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Algoma Steel 1 51
Aluminum Company of Canada ("Alcan") 1 1003
British Columbia Electric Railway / BC Hydro 12 900–911 to Southern Railway of British Columbia BC Hydro 911 was the last SW900 built in 3/69, all twelve built with road trucks and M.U. and sometimes referred to as SW900RS
Canadian National Railways 54 7233–7261, 8535–8559 CN group 8535-8542 production started 12/53 first built
Canadian Pacific Railway 11 6710–6720
McKinnon Industries 1 47074
Midland Railway Company of Manitoba 1 1
Steel Company of Canada ("Stelco") 16 78–93
Total 97

Southern Pacific EMD SW900 4631, date, location and photographer unknown.

Scanned from an 8x10 photographic print by M D McCarter owned by Digital Rail Artist.

(Craig Garver, Public domain,


Southern Pacific

Southern Pacific bought ten EMD SW900's built in July, 1954. They were assigned equipped with signal lights and M.U. for use in Southern California, including the Pacific Electric and San Diego & Arizona Eastern

The above unit is in the Halloween scheme, black and orange, which was applied to only a few units in early 1958 before gray and scarlet was adopted later that year.

SP 4631 was renumbered SP 1177 in the 1965 general renumbering, and was rebuilt on August 28, 1974, as SP SW900E 1191. It was retired on December 17, 1986, and sold for scrap to Levin Metals in Richmond, California, on October 15, 1987.

- via Craig Garver


Joseph A. Strapac, Southern Pacific Diesel Locomotive Compendium, Volume 1: Pre-1948 SP Numbers, T&NO and Cotton Belt Subsidiary Roads, Shade Tree Books, 2004, pg 48

Joseph A. Strapac, Southern Pacific Diesel Locomotive Compendium, Volume 2: Post-1965 SP and Cotton Belt Numbers, Union Pacific Transition, Shade Tree Books, 2007, pg 31



Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builders: General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division (EMD) and General Motors Diesel (GMD), Canada
Model: SW900
Build date: December 1953 – March 1969
Total produced: EMD: 274; GMD: 97
Prime mover: EMD 8-567C
Engine type: V8 Two-stroke diesel
Aspiration: Roots-type supercharger
Cylinders: 8
Performance figures
Power output: 900 hp (670 kW)
Locale: North America, South America, Africa