The story of CN’s gnarly looking 1200/1300 series SW1200RS locomotive is well known. Between 1955 and 1960 GMD London would deliver some one hundred and ninety-two of the diminutive road switchers which were deployed system wide. They could be found in all manner of service from singular industrial switching to MU’d mainline manifest freights. The Hamilton based gaggle would initially serve in their intended over the road role; mainline transfers, out of yard deliveries and the well-known daily way freight along the former H&NW line south to Port Dover. For decades the compliment of purpose built MLW S-4’s performed most of the switching duties associated with the steel city’s vast lake front industrial base. In time, as the MLW’s were retired, the SW1200RS’s would increasingly assume the switching activities in and around the Stuart Street yard. Unlike their similarly shaped MLW S-4 counterparts who were not as fortunate, the 1200/1300’s were subject to life extending rebuilds and upgrades, making them commonplace for some forty plus years. While their existence on Canadian National has all but evaporated, a couple soldier on. Incredibly, No. 7304 (built in August of 1960 as No. 1390) continues to toil away at the nearby Parkdale steel distribution center. While not as popular on the aftermarket scene as their larger cousin GP9RM’s, there are numerous SW1200RS’s in the employ of short lines, industrial operations and contract leasing and contract switching companies. Considerable time will pass before they become nothing but museum pieces.
No. 1364 was delivered from GMD in April of 1960. Counting from the original olive green/yellow delivery dress, No. 1364 is dressed in the fourth version scheme whereas Note the shorter height of the smoke arrester stacks.