New SW-1200 model - a GNRHS exclusive

GNRHS is pleased to announce a special offer to GNRHS members on Rapido Trains’ new SW-1200 switch engine painted and lettered as Great Northern #30. Click here to order! 20% of your purchase price will go towards GNRHS and its historical preservation mission. You can help GNRHS *and* get a great looking model!

Electro-Motive Division of General Motors built a total of 737 SW 1200 units for American railroads between January of 1954 and May of 1966.

This model represents one of five SW 1200 units that Great Northern purchased new and delivered in April of 1957 as numbers 29-33. All went to the BN in the 1970 merger, and three, #29, #30 and #31 went to the BNSF in 1985. They were on the BNSF roster until at least 2001.

Rapido is offering just 60 units with this GNRHS-exclusive number, each sound equipped with an ESU LokSound V5 decoder. Price is $335 in US, their MSRP. 


Great Northern pioneered diesel switch engines with an Alco/General Electric box cab unit, No. 5100, acquired in 1926 for use in the flour milling district of Minneapolis to reduce the risk of fire and explosion of flour and grain dust in the area.

In 1938 GN bought two 900 HP EMD switchers, followed by 51 EMD NW-2 models purchased in small groups from 1939 to 1949. Rated at 1000 HP, they were the single largest group of GN diesel switch engines by model number. Probably due to Federal restrictions on EMD switcher production during WW II, GN bought 10 Baldwin VO-1000 units during 1941, ’43, and 1944.

During 1950 and 1951 GN bought 32 new EMD switchers, 21 of 1200 HP, with the balance being 600 or 800 HP for lighter service. The company bought 10 Alco S-2 1000 HP units in 1950 and went back to Baldwin for five S-12 units of 1200 HP in 1953. At this point, diesel switchers had taken over yard chores, but all of the C-1 0-8-0 steam switchers were still on the roster.

The five SW 1200 engines of 1957 appear to be the switcher purchase that enabled the retirement of the C-1s in 1957 and 1958.

The last switch engine purchase the GN made was 10 SW 1500 units in 1967 to replace the 10 Alco S-2 engines retired from Hillyard that year. The 10 Baldwin VO-1000 units had been retired in 1963, and the five S-12 engines were retired in 1967.

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