Quick Facts

NameDiesel Switcher
Manufacture Date1942
Railroad Of RecordPere Marquette Railway, Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O), Chessie System, CSX
ManufacturerGeneral Motors, Electro-Motive Division


General Motors, a company typically known for its automobiles, is also a big name in locomotive manufacturing. They began mass-producing diesel switchers in 1935. Switchers are designed for traversing rail yards, industrial parks, and other short distances. Often, they are used to assemble and disassemble trains. These lightweight locomotives offer crews better visibility, reversibility, and maneuverability compared to heavier engines designed for long hauls.

In 1925, CNJ No. 1000 – another locomotive in the B&O Railroad Museum collection – became the world’s first commercially available diesel electric switcher. Seeking a diesel locomotive of its own, the Pere Marquette Railway purchased its first “Phase I” model SW1 switcher in 1939. Pleased by the performance of the reversable engine, Pere Marquette added a more advanced “Phase II” model – this No. 11 – to its fleet in 1942.

The Pere Marquette Railway was formed in 1900, when three small railroad companies merged into one. Though the Detroit-based railroad was initially intended to service the Michigan timber trade, it later expanded into Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, New York, and Ontario. Amidst a financial crisis in the 1920s, the company experienced multiple changes in ownership. Pere Marquette was sold to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railway in 1929, and it was fully merged with the company in 1947.

Another major merger would occur in 1973 when the C&O, B&O, and Western Maryland Railway were all combined to form the Chessie System. Just a few years later, in 1982, the Seaboard Railroad merged with Chessie to form CSX Transportation – with the “C” representing Chessie and the “S” representing Seaboard. Today, CSX is the second largest railroad in the country.


Monthly Tours

Go inside the No. 908

April 10, 13 & 14

Climb aboard the PEPCO No. 43

May 8, 11 & 12

Climb aboard the No. 1961!

June 12, 15 & 16

Go inside the B&O C-1775 Wooden Bobber Caboose

July 10, 13 & 14

Purchase a B&O Membership

for the ultimate ticket to explore every hidden gem in the series!

Did You Know?

Railroads made possible the standardization of time in the United States.

Patrese T.
June 2021

I love that the museum is what remains of the old train yard and the number and variety of train cars is remarkable.

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