Ronald Sims 172 pages softcover
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 -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. 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. This book 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.