Rock Island EMC SW 510

Rock Island EMC SW 510 at Peoria, Illinois, May, 1950. Photographer unknown.
RI 510 at Peoria, Illinois, May, 1950. Photographer unknown.

RI SW 510

  • Group: Rock Island 510
  • Builder number: EMC 691
  • Builder date: August, 1937
  • Horsepower: 600
  • Prime mover: Non-turbocharge 8-cylinder inline Winton 201A 
  • Main generator:
  • Traction motors:
  • Production: 76 units between December, 1936 and January, 1939

Rock Island 510

Built as Rock Island 510 in August, 1937, part of the second order for a single unit. It was traded in in September, 1959, for credit for Rock Island SW900 910.The EMC SW’s were the first true diesel electric locomotives on the Rock Island, predating the EMC TA and preceded only by gas electric motor cars and the unique dual-power switcher number 10000.

Four orders were placed in quick succession in 1937 and 1938 for 29 units:

  1. Rock Island 500-509, delivered May-June, 1937, order E168
  2. Rock Island 510, delivered August, 1937, order E176
  3. Rock Island 511-518 delivered March, 1938, order E194
  4. Rock Island 519-528 delivered July, 1938, order E205

Rock Island owned by far the largest fleet of SW’s, buying 38% of the entire production, and 47% of all the units that went to Class I and Class II railroads. Rock Island owned more of them than the next four railroads combined. All of Rock Island’s SW’s had long and successful careers, and all lasted into 1957-1959 when they were turned back in to EMD for new SW900’s.

EMC SW Production:

Class I and Class II operators (62 units, 82% of total)

  1. Rock Island 500-528 (29 units)
  2. Elgin Joliet & Eastern 200-208 (9 units)
  3. Chicago Burlington & Quincy 9130-9135 (6 units)
  4. Lehigh Valley 106-111 (6 units)
  5. Reading 10-15 (5 units)
  6. Chicago & Eastern Illinois 100-101 (2 units)
  7. Baltimore & Ohio 2
  8. Chicago & North Western 1201
  9. Minneapolis & St Louis D-838
  10. Pennsylvania Railroad 3908

Shortline and Industrial operators: (14 units, 18% of total)

  1. Inland Steel 43, 45, 46 (3 units)
  2. Buffalo Creek 40-41 (2 units)
  3. Great Lakes Steel 6-7 (2 units)
  4. Patapsco & Back Rivers 61-62 (2 units)
  5. Union Terminal of St Joseph 5, 10 (2 units)
  6. Philadelphia Bethlehem & New England 206
  7. Reading Terminal 51
  8. Steelton & Highspire 32