Product Details

General Electric 70-Ton Diesel Locomotives
Ronald D. Sims
Shade Tree Press
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2013-10-17 09:57:56
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Untitled Document

General Electric 70-Ton Diesel Locomotives

By Ronald D. Sims.

Color laminated softcover, 8.5x11", 172 pages, 270+ photos. Oct 2013.

"Never a major component of any Class I railroad roster, the General Electric 70-ton diesel “road switcher” could be found almost everywhere in American railroading, serving lines that weren’t built to accommodate larger locomotives. It was conceived as a ¾-scale model of the EMD SW1 switcher, to be sold with easy financing to shortlines and industries with line-haul operations.      

"Before and during World War II, General Electric did not offer a single “railroad” locomotive in its catalog (though it sold many to the military). As the war wound down, however, the military’s need for small diesel locomotives was certain to dry up. GE needed to find a new market and utilize advanced (for the times) technology to serve it. Undercapitalized steam-powered shortlines and industrial railroads required replacement locomotives that weighed seventy tons or less (both to meet engineer pay requirements and to safely operate on light rail), but with relatively high gearing to allow decent road speeds.      

"Given this opportunity, GE took advantage of advances in diesel engine performance and its already cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to develop a single-engine diesel locomotive with 600 horsepower that weighed thirty tons less than an Alco or Baldwin or EMD switcher rated at the same power. A truly bare-bones machine, the proposed new GE switcher could be sold at a significantly lower base price and be at home on rail too light to support a “standard” 99-ton switcher.

"Author Ron Sims, the nation’s leading authority on the GE 70-ton diesel locomotive, has been publishing on this subject since the early 1970s. The culmination of his research is this handsome, 172-page softcover volume that details the 200 domestic and another 200 exported variations of the familiar 70-tonner theme. Over 270 photos, tables and diagrams illustrate examples operating from Canada’s Hudson Bay to Chile’s Atacama Desert—and across the Pacific to Australia and the Philippines. The basic design was adapted to industrial use, as well, with lower gear ratios and build-to-order weights from 65 to 95 tons. Special narrow-gauge units (domestic and export) receive ample photographic attention. A complete production list rounds out the coverage.

Tables include:
            Available factory customizing options
            Largest common carrier rosters
            Dealers who resold them
            Re-engined units
            Preserved or on permanent display

Rosters and production tables:
            Total production, 1946-1959
            Export and Licensee Sales
            Exports to Cuba, Central Romana (Dominican Republic)
            95-ton Industrial units