EMD Cleveland Production List
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This page was last updated on April 10, 2023.
The EMD Cleveland Production List contains a roster of the GM-EMD locomotives built in Cleveland during the period 1948 to 1954. The original list was compiled by Eric Hirsimaki about 2003, and was used as the basis for an article that he wrote, "These Units Were Not Built at La Grange" for the Classic Trains special edition "Diesel Victory" in 2006. A list of construction numbers and owners was compiled, but not included in the Diesel Victory article. It was possible that a book was going to be produced on this topic in the future.
(No official record of EMD locomotives built at Cleveland is known to exist. Any list is a reconstruction from available records and sources.)
This production list was originially compiled by Eric Hirsimaki and published on a data DVD in 2010. An early version was passed to Joe Strapac, who in-turn passed his early version to Allen Copeland in 2016. Allen was able to add some entries by using additonal EMD Product Reference Guides, including the September 1, 1950, and January 1, 1959 issues, various issues of X2200S, and assistance from Ken Ardinger, Don Dover, Andre Kristopans, Larry Russell and Richard Will. After making his changes, Allen Copeland returned it to Joe Strapac, who made some additional changes in 2022. Joe Strapac shared his most recent version with Don Strack in 2023.
This version combines Eric Hirsimaki's 2010 version, with Joe Strapac's 2022 version, with Don Strack adding a column for quantities, as well as fixing a small number of typographical and grammatical errors, some of which changed the quantities of earlier versions.
EMD Cleveland Production List -- Compiled by Don Strack in 2023; based on previous works by Eric Hirsimaki in 2010; updated by Joe Strapac and Allen Copeland in 2016 and 2022.
EMD Cleveland Production Summary -- A summary table showing EMD Cleveland production by model and year.
The introduction Eric Hirsimaki's original 2010 list reads as follows:
The following pages contain a roster of locomotives built in Cleveland during the period 1948 to 1954. This roster is about 99% accurate due to its being assembled from a variety of sources that sometimes conflict with one another. The total annual production figures are from an internal EMD memorandum dated July 24, 1970 that lists locomotives produced at Plant #3. Max Ephraim, former Chief Engineer at EMD, later provided the number of switchers produced during the years in question. Since most were built in Cleveland, it then became a matter of determining how many GP7s were built each year by subtracting the switchers from the annual totals. However, some prototype switching units were built at La Grange during this time, though efforts have been made to exclude them from this roster. All information regarding each order was obtained from a January 1,1955 EMD Product Reference Guide that lists all units produced to that date. The adjusted number of switchers tallies very closely with that provided by Mr. Ephraim, though the total production of some models, such as the SW9, varies somewhat from those published elsewhere. This is due to subsequent wreck rebuilds which resulted in a unit being upgraded from a SW7 to a SW9, etc.. One complication is the fact some switchers produced at La Grange, in 1949 in particular, were apparently included in Plant #3's output. Perhaps this was an error on the part of the EMD employee compiling the summary.
The production figures list only GP7 orders for which either photographs have been found or other official information is available concerning where they were built. Generally, they tally closely with the annual estimated GP7 production. However, in 1953 there is a sizable variation. For example, photographs have been obtained from each of the orders listed confirming they were built in Cleveland, yet the total is higher than it should be. Perhaps the 43 Pennsylvania GP7s built that year were produced at both La Grange and Cleveland?
Given all this conflicting information, the following roster is at best an approximation of locomotives built at Plant #3 in Cleveland. However, it does reflect the extensive production at the plant during the years it was active.
Allen Copeland wrote on August 28, 2016, concerning the 2016 copy that he and Joe Strapac edited and updated:
Some years ago, Kalmbach published a special magazine called "Diesel Victory", which contained an article by Eric Hirsimaki on the locos built at EMD in Cleveland, Ohio. This was quite good, but using the information in the published article it was not quite possible to determine the locos that were built there. We know about some Cleveland built locos through other sources, for instance on various railroad records. The ICC Form 4's that were issued by the builder for the SP and WP showed the plant that EMD locos were built, and I have heard that PRR records exist in the Pennsylvania State Library at Harrisburg that show the plants were EMD locos were built.
Years ago, I can remember discussing with Don Dover and Dick Will about EMD Cleveland, and was told they had never seen a list of the order numbers or construction numbers built there.
Several months ago, Joe Strapac sent me a list that he had compiled on EMD Cleveland that he had worked up using another list that he had been sent by Louis Marre. The list had been compiled in 2003 by Eric Hirsimaki. I don't know if Joe had seen the "Diesel Victory" article, as there were some issues that I thought were solved, so I asked to borrow the source material, which Joe loaned me. It appears that back in 2003 Mr. Hirsimaki was working on a book project about EMD Cleveland, but was unable to complete the project. Instead, the material he compiled was used for the article in the Kalmbach publication. I revised Joe's compilation and retyped it. There are still problems with the data. It is still impossible to pin down all the locos built at Cleveland, but we have most of them identified. I have been discussing this with Ken Ardinger, Andre Kristopans, Larry Russell and others, and feel we are all in about the same place.