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MoPac Diesel Power
Switchers & Slugs

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Switchers & SlugsMoPac Diesel Power

MP 1542 at Lincoln, Nebraska - © Glen Beans, used with permission.

The often overlooked, but all-important switch engines itself has a rich history on the MoPac. In 1931, the very first diesel on the system would be a Plymouth yard engine for MoPac subsidiary NO&LC. Next, the 44-Tonners would arrive before the dawn of World War II. These modest engines paved the way for the entire dieselization of the system.

The EMD-built SWs would be the next big step for the MoPac. The company would continue to dabble with the offerings of other builders, but in the end the company continued to add and add to it's fleet of EMD-built switch engines until concluding with the MP15 DC in the 1970s.

Here's a summary of some of the history of the MoPac switcher.

MP 1229 and sister SW1200 #1236 - are just part of the downtown Dallas landscape. June 1980 - © Gary Morris Photo


Switchers & Yard Engines

click on the thumbnails for a larger image

  the Plymouths

MoPac subsidiary road NO&LC owned six Plymouths, the first four paved the way for dieselization on the Missouri Pacific system. These were:

  • NO&LC #2917 - (former FRGC #2917, ORI #2917), DLC Type 6, Gas-Electric, blt 10/26
  • NO&LC #3000 - (to MP #3000, to MP #24000), Plymouth ML6-2 Type 6, Gas-Electric, blt 6/31
  • NO&LC #3001 - WLD-2 Type 6, Gas-Electric, blt 7/32
  • NO&LC #3002 - Plymouth JLA Type 2, Gas-Electric, blt 5/35
  • NO&LC #3003 - (to NO&LC #1650), Plymouth JDT, Diesel-Electric, blt 8/57
  • NO&LC #3004 - (to MP #2401), Plymouth JDT, Diesel-Electric, blt 4/61

There is one known survivor of these six , NO&LC #3001, a Plymouth WLD-2, Type 2 Engine, built 7/32, and retired 10/61. It never wore an MP designation to the best of my knowledge. lThe ittle switcher was recently donated & restored by the Heart of the Heartlands and resides in static display beside the restored Missouri Pacific Depot (1996) at Carona, Kansas. The little Gas-electric switcher is re-painted into a modified blue Mopac scheme.

More on # 3001 (Heart of the Heartlands site)

MP/NO&LC 1650
- This 4-wheel critter is a Plymoth JDT. Built in 1957 as 3003, it was retired on 5/74 going to Bartlett Grain in Kansas City, Kansas as it's shown here. Dated 9/1978 - Bill Folsom Photo/T. Greuter Collection

  the 44-Tonners
MP 807 - a 350 Hp Whitcomb-built 44DE-22 at Springfield, Missouri on September 4, 1955. The switcher would retire in 4/58, going to Pan Am Engineering - Arthur B. Johnson Photo, T. Greuter Collection

With the delivery of the first Plymouth switcher in 1931 to its subsidiary NO&LC, MoPac got its first taste of what diesel-power could do, and it would take a bite of everything that the manufacturers had to offer.

By July 1937 MoPac itself bought its first six switchers from EMC. The dawn of diesel switchers on the system included models of:

  • the Plymouth DLC, ML6-2, WLD-2 and JLA
  • the EMC NC2, SC, SW, NW4 and SW1
  • the Alco HH1000 and S-1
  • the Baldwin VO660
  • and 44-tonners by GE, Porter, Davenport-Bessler, and Whitcomb

MP 811 - a GE 44-tonner built 1/42, with a Whitcomb 44DE-6 #804 built in 1941, and another unidentified switcher in the background, seen at Springfield, Missouri on August 3, 1958. the #811 would go on to me renumbered as MP 3502 and finally scrapped to Precision on 4/65 - Arthur B. Johnson Photo, T. Greuter Collection

StLB&M 813 - at Rhan, Texas on August 22, 1952. An odd (for MP) color scheme seen on a 44-Ton Switcher in the early days of diesel. It wears the typical black body, only with orange safety, or "tiger" stripes. Another 44-Tonner in Weslaco, Texas (Rio Grande Valley) also was reported to be in tiger stripes. - Arthur B. Johnson Photo, T. Greuter Collection

  the SW

SW Number 5 - Sub-lettered for the Union Terminal Railway but numbered here for the St. Joseph Belt, was one of only two of this model on the System. Built in May of 1938 with 600hp, the 5 was renumbered to 6005 and served the MP until August 1965. In diesels early years, pure black was the preferred color of most MoPac switch engines. Number 5 is caught parked near the joint MoPac/C&NW station in downtown Lincoln; Lincoln, NE, 6/6/61. - Photographer unknown.


  the NW2, VO 1000 and S-2

1939 - the EMC/EMD NW2 made it's first appearance.

1940 - the Baldwin VO1000 and Alco S-2 joined the system.



  The DS-4-4-1000 and DRS-4-4-1500

February 1948 - the Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 and DRS-4-4-1500 were built for MP.

MP 9162 (sublettered for StLB&M) - a Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 and #9156 (sublettered for I-GN) an ALCo S-2, both wearing orange safety, or "tiger" stripes and at work at Houston, Texas on September 9, 1950. Built in 3/49, #9162 would later be renumbered as MP 1092, it was the first unit of the first order of this 1000 hp model to go to the StLB&M. Built in 9/45, I-GN 9156 would later be renumbered as #1051. - Arthur B. Johnson Photo, T. Greuter Collection

In April of 1948 the system recieved the Alco-GE RS-2 road switcher (along with RS-3's these were later rebuilt by MP into RS-12's).

Tiger Stripes
Unlike switchers throughout the rest of the MoPac system during the 1940's, a few of the Texas lines switchers had diagonal "zebra striping" along the frame and front of the hood. The standard scheme for switch engines at this time was an overall black (though there is a photo or two of a switcher in Eagle blue and gray colors, normally reserved for road units).

Though most photos are black/white, the darker shading suggests these stripes were not white. At least one color photo has surfaced (on Ebay) that showed one of these black switchers with orange tiger stripes. The striping appears on the nose of the hood, the cab end, and along the entire length of the frame sill.

Known Units with "Texas Tiger Stripes":

  • StLB&M #813 (GE-44 tonner)
  • I-GN #9156, #9158 (Alco S-2, built 1945)
  • StLB&M #9162 (Baldwin DS-4-4-1000, built 1950)
  • I-GN #9200, #9203, #9204 (EMC SW-1, built 1939)

Some I-GN switchers built by Baldwin also reportedly carried the zebra striping.





  the S-12

1950 - MoPac purchases a Baldwin S-12.



  the SW7, 8 and 9

From 1950 on to 1966 orders were made for the EMD SW7, SW8, SW9, SW1200 as well as a few unmanned "slugs."

MP 8000 - an SW8 one of only eight of this model bought by MoPac back in January 1952, dramatically seems to be racing against the fast-moving storm clouds. Houston, TX, 8/77 - © Brian Paul Ehni photo, used with permission.

MP 8003 - an SW8, sends up a plume while pulling out with a train of autoracks Houston, TX, 8/17/75 - © Brian Paul Ehni photo, used with permission.



  the SW1200

Diesel Details
All the switch engines in Freeport at this time had essentially the same features, such as high capacity fuel tanks, the usual Mopac spark arresters, the marker lights mounted on square brackets and the full length hand rails on the running boards.

When I started in 1976, and as shown on the #1190, all switch engines still had footboards. It was not till near the end of their use that "air hose pilots" were installed. These were not really pilots but simply a replacement for the footboards with stowage pockets for the mu hoses to keep them from dragging on the roadbed. They were installed on both ends of the engine. I never saw an SW1200 with a different pilot, such as a plow or any other type. (Nathan Griffin)

An unidentified SW12 after retirement and in transit. Villa Grove, IL April 1985 - "Tuch" Santucci Photo


MP SW1200 #1154 - in Angleton, Texas in December 1974 on the house track behind the depot. - © Nathan Griffin Photo

MP SW1200 #1164 - at Freeport, Texas, also in December 1974, near the entrance to Dow Chemical. According to Nathan "... a plant guard approached me, asking what I was doing. He thought I was taking pictures of the plant facilities, but I was able to convince him that I was capturing the 1164. Needless to say, I no longer took photos near Dow property." - © Nathan Griffin Photo
MP 1190 - in Freeport, Texas, on the roundhouse lead, behind the depot in 1976 or 1977. - © Nathan Griffin Photo


MP 1190 - grill detail - © Nathan Griffin Photo


MP 1190 - cab detail. - © Nathan Griffin Photo

MP 1191 - The 1191 (with the brakeman on the step) was taken in 1974, a year before photographer Nathan Griffin hired out on the UP, at Hoskins Junction, which is near Clute, Texas. The engine is facing south and this picture of the yard was taken about a year or so before the yard tracks were extended. - © Nathan Griffin Photo
MP SW1200 #1195 - The 1195 was taken at Angleton, also December 1974, next to the depot. Notice the rotating beacon light on the cab roof of these units. - © Nathan Griffin Photo

Edward Bridges worked on three of newly retired SW1200s in 1986 while employed by the Crab Orchard & Egyptian. "I spent a considerable amount of time removing 7 coats of MP Jenks blue from the #1136 while employed by the CO&E before it was sent back to PNC for repainting."

MP 1251 - great shot of a MoPac SW1200, a Santa Fe and Southern Pacific units coupled together. Houston, TX, 6/76 - © Brian Paul Ehni photo, used with permission.

MP 1280 - an SW1200 built on 2/66, along with #1253, in this unique shot offering some insight as to how the MoP handled the chillier days down south in Arkansas, including 'gloves' on the spark arrestors. Houston, TX, 10/23/83 - © Brian Paul Ehni photo, used with permission.


  the Slugs

Slug 1413 with MP15DC 1534 - at Yard Center Diesel. For whatever reason (possibly oversight), this slug had no chevrons on either end. - "Tuch" Santucci Photo

Yanosey photo MP 1416 - In 1978 the MoPac began a program to convert its aging SW's into cabless yard slugs like this one. The slugs were designed to enhance the tractive effort of a switcher to that of two units while consuming the fuel of one. Units built in the early 1950's gained another 25-30 years of life. Seen at North Little Rock, Ark. 12/23/85 - © John C. Benson photo ·

MP 1420 & 1521 - A slug and switcher combo. MP #1521 is a SW1500, and pictures of these units are hard to find. MoPac only had four through the CEI. - Photographer and location unknown/Jay Glenewinkel Collection.

If you know who the photographer is, please tell Jay



  the MP15 DC and SW1500

SW1500 EMD 12/72 12/72 4 units
MP15DC EMD 3/74 11/82 65 units

The Missouri Pacific would only purchase four SW1500's (more were found on MP controlled Alton & Southern - see below). Perhaps this was due to timing for the apparent lack of interest, for as soon as the MP15 DC hit the market the MoPac found a need to replace an aging switcher fleet. The found something to be liked in the latest offering as the line purchased 66 of these units which would be distributed across the system.

MP15DC 1366 - in 1985 @ Yard Center in Dolton, IL - "Tuch" Santucci Photo

Another view of 1366 at Yard Center 1985. - "Tuch" Santucci Photo

MP MP15DC #1376 - was built in 1982. It later became Union Pacific #1367, where it remains in service today. The 1367 is seen at Settegast Yard in Houston, Texas in 1986. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

MP MP15DC 1375 - works at Settegast Yard in 1987. - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

MP15DC 1381 - at Yard Center Diesel 1983. - "Tuch" Santucci Photo

Mo-Pac MP15 #1381 - works switching duties in Dolton, Illinois in April 1986 - Karl Henkels Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

MP 1389 - at Settegast Yard in Houston, Texas in 1986 - Jay Glenewinkel Photo

MP 1534 - the duo of MP15 DC's are pulling through the yards and team tracks of Lincoln Station in Lincoln, Nebraska. The footings of the Ninth Street overpass seen in the background now occupy the former site of a large and elaborate MoPac depot built in the 1800's. On this day of September, 1974, the railroad operates locally from a joint freight facility with the C&NW - © Glen Beans Photo

MP15DC 1539 - at Yard Center 1983. This unit was part of the second order and the first group to be delivered in the Screaming Eagle scheme. To the left of the unit is an L&N caboose in Family Lines paint. - "Tuch" Santucci Photo

MP 1542 - another MP15 DC, this time switching cars at the joint MP/C&NW yard near Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Though it's November 1974, from the looks of the engineer's cap, it's easy to imagine things haven't changed too much since the days of steam power. Also compare the newer modification of an extended 'box' on the hood just before the cab to that of #1534's delivered appearance. - © Glen Beans Photo




  the SW1500 - Alton & Southern

A&S 1504 & 1513 - A pair of SW1500's lead cars at Dupo, Illinois in October 1980. The Alton & Southern was and still is a switching railroad in the St. Louis area. It was owned and operated by MoPac and CN&W. After purchasing the road on May 9, 1968, the two roads painted the engines with yellow hoods (after CN&W), blue cabs and frames (after MoPac), and a hybrid herald for the A&S on the cab. The A&S is still alive and well today, under the Union Pacific - photographer unknown/T. Greuter Collection

Featured Photographers:
Nathan Griffin, Glen Beans, JD Santucci, Arthur B. Johnson, Gary Morris, Karl C. Henkles, John C. Benson, Jay Glenewinkel, and Lee Berglund,

Missouri Pacific Diesel Power by Kevin EuDaly

Every effort has been made to get the correct information on these pages, but mistakes do happen. Reporting of any inaccuracies would be appreciated.

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 l Last Update to this page: 7 May, 2008
          All images & text © 2000-2008 T. Greuter / Screaming Eagles, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.