Ex-Southern Pacific No. 5100 at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, in Portland, Oregon, in 2013.

(Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The GE 70-ton switcher is a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Electric between about 1942 and 1955. It is classified as a B-B type locomotive. The first series of "70 tonners" were a group of seven center-cab locomotives built for the New York Central Railroad in November 1942. These units differ from the later end-cab versions. Locomotives exported to Brazil were known as GE 64T (70 tons or 63 long tons or 64 metric tons) and nicknamed "scooters".


Southern Pacific GE 70 Ton 5115, date, location and photographer unknown. This was probably taken at Tombstone, Arizona. 

Southern Pacific had a number of light-rail branch lines in Arizona and Oregon that were home to these little 70 ton locomotives, previously powered by 2-6-0, 4-6-0, and 4-8-0's.

For a number years, the same crew would take this unit on mixed trains from Benson, 45 miles east of Tucson, on runs to Tombstone, Patagonia, and Fort Huachuca.

Tombstone was named by a prospector that left Tucson to explore the Apache homeland to east.

He was told all he would find there was his tombstone. What he discovered was the second richest silver deposits in the United States. - Craig Garver

(Craig Garver, Public domain, https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalrailartist/50437432087/in/album-72157716309846116/)



Two of the end-cab versions exist on display at the Whippany Railway Museum, Whippany, New Jersey, United States, originally purchased by the Rahway Valley Railroad, headquartered in Kenilworth New Jersey, as RV16 and RV17. They were placed into service in 1951 and 1954, respectively, and operated through the closing of the shortline rail business in 1990. Both are owned by the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey. Restoration was done on site in Whippany.



Frisco (St. Louis – San Francisco Railway) 70-ton No. 111 B&Y scheme at Heart of the Heartlands.

Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad No. 50 resides at the B&O Railroad Museum.

Southern Pacific 5119 resides at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association in Campo, California. It is maintained in operational condition and is regularly used in excursion service over a section of the San Diego & Arizona Railway.

High Point, Thomasville & Denton Engine No. 202, a 1948 General Electric 70-ton, has been restored by a private owner and is currently used as one of two locomotives for a recreational railroad at Denton FarmPark in Denton, North Carolina.

A GE 70-ton in metric gauge and C-C trucks is in operation at the railway museum line of Brazilian Railway Preservation Association (ABPF) in Campinas - SP. It is painted in Mogiana Livery and carries ABPF Nº 03

Only one of the center-cab locomotives exists, former Ellwood Engineered Castings 6114B preserved by the Tod Engine Foundation  in Youngstown, Ohio.


GE 70-ton Locomotive of Mobil Grain Ltd. (Last Mountain Railway) at Aylesbury, Saskatchewan, Canada. Unit 604, acquired from Modesto and Empire Traction in 2011.

(Canadian2006, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: GE Transportation Systems
Model: 70-ton switcher
Build date: January 1947–December 1955
Total produced 238
​• AAR B-B
• UIC Bo′Bo′
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge, (1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) and 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) Brazil)
Trucks: 4 wheel
Length: 37 ft (11,278 mm)
Width: 10 ft (3,048 mm)
Height: 13 ft (3,962 mm)
Locomotive weight: 130,000 lb (59,000 kg)
Prime mover: Cooper-Bessemer FWL-6T
RPM range: 450-1000
Cylinders: 6
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 60 mph (97 km/h)
Power output: 500–660 hp (373–492 kW)
Locale: North America and Brazil