EMD SW1500 – A great Switcher Locomotive

The EMD SW1500 is the most powerful locomotive in the SW series from General Motors. It is not a locomotive for intercity travels. Rather it is seen in stations and terminals doing carriage switching jobs.

The history of the EMD Sw1500

The EMD SW1500 is manufactured by General Motors. General Motors had started its manufacturing in 1966 and stopped production in 1974. It’s the last model of the SW series.

The SW series locomotives are mainly known for their performance and flexibility in switching jobs. The previous SW models, the EMD SW1000, and the EMD SW1200 had enjoyed massive support and acceptance from the railway corporations.

With some suggestions and requests from buyers, General Motors made the EMD SW1500. There are a total of 808 EMD SW1500 in the world and they are all working on different terminals and stations.

What is in the EMD Sw1500?

In the EMD SW1500, we have a massive 645E diesel engine. It has twelve cylinders. This engine can generate 1500 horsepower, and that’s where this locomotive got its name.

Even though it has a high horsepower output, it can only reach a top speed of 65 mph. But nobody complained because that’s not what this locomotive was intended for.

This locomotive was made for switching works in the terminal, which does not require speed, but power and flexibility.

The EMD SW1500 can provide you with both power and flexibility. It is also very fuel-efficient. The wheelbase is configured in a Bo-Bo configuration, which is suitable for switching and yard duties.

What is the current status of EMD Sw1500?

Currently, General Motors do not produce the EMD SW1500. Production of this locomotive was closed back in 1974. It’s not that the locomotives were a failure. No, production stopped because General Motors decided to.

General Motors have sold over 800 locomotives. All the locomotives are active and running under different ownership in different railway terminals.

No reports of any EMD SW1500 being scrapped are found. We don’t think they will be scrapped that soon because right now they are one of the best locomotives for switching jobs.

What Engine is in an EMD Sw1500?

The EMD SW1500 has a 645E 12-cylinder diesel engine. This engine can produce up to 800 RPM (minimum RPM = 225) and can reach a top speed of 65 mph.

How long is an EMD Sw1500?

The EMD SW1500 is 44 feet long. (13.41 meters)

How many EMD Sw1500 are there?

There is a total of 808 EMD SW1500s out there. They are all active under different owners and working in different terminals for switching works.

How much Horsepower does an EMD Sw1500 have?

The engine inside an EMD SW1500 can provide an output of 1500 horsepower.

What does an EMD Sw1500 weigh?

The weight of the EMD SW1500 is 124 tons. It is beefier than its previous versions.

How much does EMD Sw1500 cost?

The EMD SW1500 will cost around $2 million. But as it is under different ownership, you may negotiate a different price.

Are there other versions of EMD Sw1500?

Yes, there are more versions of the EMD SW1500. FOr example, The EMD SW1200 and the EMD SW1000. These two are less powerful versions of the EMD SW1500.


The EMD SW1500 is undoubtedly one of the greatest switcher and yard duty locomotives. Production of this locomotive was halted over 50 years ago, but all 800+ units are active and on duty.
Every railway corporation has a soft spot for this locomotive from General Motors. We don’t think they will be decommissioned any time soon.

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