Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Morphing an SW 1200

CNR 1275 + 1277, Smithers Division, Skeena Subdivision, Mile Post 119, Prince Rupert, August 26, 1958. There has been a lot of activity this summer, with a major re-ballasting project over the entire Skeena Subdivision. And with school out for the summer, my part time box boy job at Three Boys Market leaves me plenty of time for photography!


SW1200’s – modified for road service - SW1200RS’s, were fitted with branch line Flexicoil trucks, oversized number boards fore and aft, and full m.u. wiring.

They were originally assigned to passenger service, displacing steam in the closing days of 1957. But the wild ride on a short wheelbase – a mere 22’ between boggie centers - got them new assignments as fancy yard engines and other assorted duties.

I rode on this class engine several times on First Class 196 and 195 up to Terrace. They ran long nose forward, cab to cab. Riding in the second cab was like being on a Disneyland thrill ride, watching the lead cab rocking and rolling, with full pitch, yaw, and lurching! I regret not having a movie camera.

The Prince Rupert Extension was treated as a branch line, hence the installation of reduced capacity fuel tanks, and EMD Flexicoil Trucks. Flexicoil Trucks were considerably lighter than Blombergs, and lacked the lateral stability of the Bloms. With the reduced track speeds weight saving Flexicoils were considered a good trade off to save locomotive weight. As time went by, the Flexicoils were done away with.

CNR 1275 and 1277, just barely 2 years old, are set up for push-pull operations working with a re-ballasting crew. Running nose-to-nose like this, the engineer has excellent visibility, very desirable when working with ballasting crew on the ground.

The dynamic duo is returning from duty shuttling Western Air Dump cars out at MP 112 to MP 119. They will be serviced and tied up for the night. You will note that 1275 has straight stacks, whilst 1227 has “Spark Sentry” barrel spark arresters.

Well, Canadian National converted many SW1200RS’s to SW1200RM’s that resulted in a Geep that ran through the hot air cycle in a clothes dryer, collided with a switcher in the process! Many units were equipped with BeltPak remote control capability.

Railroad stuff: Canadian National Railways 1275, built as an SW1200RS by General Motors Division, London Ontario, road class GR-12k, 1,200 hp, September 1957, serial number A-1171. Rebuilt in 1987 as an
SW1200RM by CN shops, incorporating the hood, main generator, cooling fans and traction motor blowers from a GP-9 and re-engined with a 12V-645C.

Canadian National Railways 1277, built as an SW1200RS by General Motors Division, London Ontario, road class GR-12k, 1,200 hp, September 1957, serial number A-1173. Retired 1983.

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