EMD Cleveland Plant No. 3
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This page was last updated on April 7, 2023.
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For an excellent telling of the Cleveland Plant No. 3 story, see the ten-page article in Kalmbach's Classic Trains Special Edition, "Diesel Victory" (late 2005). The article says that the Cleveland plant built 3600 units in six years. The last units through the gate were SP 4624 and 4625. The plant officially closed on October 1, 1954.
Eric Hirsimaki's article in Diesel Victory (text only) (With permission)
The following comes from Our GM Scrapbook (Kalmbach, 1971):
The flood tide of dieselization occurred after World War II when War Production Board controls were lifted and the rails found themselves in a do-or-die fight against the ravages of inflation. During 1950-1952 Class 1 roads installed more than 3000 new diesel units a year. Electro-Motive was so busy that production of switchers and even of many Geeps was assigned to a new plant in Cleveland. Most SW7's and SW9's were built at Cleveland. (page 39)
The quick and enduring sales success of the GP7 is witnessed by the fact that 74 roads purchased 2660 units between October 1949 and 1954. Production was so great, in fact, that many GP7's were built in Electro-Motive's Plant No. 3 in Cleveland. (page 58)
...Korean War prosperity at the crest of dieselization, when Chicago Plants 1 and 2, plus Plant 3 in Cleveland, turned out up to 10 units per day. (page 125)
Don Dover wrote in 1973:
As post war production grew, it became obvious another plant would be needed to keep up with demand in addition to LaGrange and South Chicago #2 plant. So by 12/23/48, the first non-La Grange unit (RI 766, NW2 IV) rolled out at #3 plant in Cleveland. During the transition to Cleveland, NW2 production slowed and no SW1's were produced for seven months, 9/48 through 3/49. Cleveland SW1's were different, starting the III phase in 4/49, they lost the flat place on the hood top right in front of the windshield, the four frame "falsies" and got a more sophisticated hood-door handle, just enough change to spot from any angle. These changes also affected the NW2. It is assumed most all switcher production 1949 through 1953 was at Cleveland plus some GP7's. The record is not clear. Whatever slight production differences there were between plants affecting appearance of the respective units are undetectable. (Don Dover, All About SWs, Extra 2200 South, Issue 41, July-August 1973)
The following comes from Railway Age, June 26, 1948:
Electro-Motive to Open Diesel Switcher Plant Near Cleveland
The Electro-Motive Division of General Motors Corporation plans to open a third plant near Cleveland, Ohio, next January, to be devoted exclusively to the manufacture of switching locomotives, according to C. R. Osborn, general manager of Electro-Motive. The plant was acquired recently by General Motors from the Navy, for which the facility was built in 1942. It will afford Electro-Motive 460,000 sq. ft. of additional floor space.
The company expects to begin moving machinery into the newly acquired plant in July. The space made available at the firm's plants No. 1 and No. 2, at La Grange, Ill., and Chicago, respectively, as a result of the move will be devoted to increased production of Diesel-electric road locomotives.
The plant is located on a 44-1/2-acre site in Brooklyn, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, and consists of a 765-ft. by 500-ft. main building, a two-story office building and a receiving warehouse area. A portion of the facility will be occupied by G.M.'s Cleveland Diesel Engine Division, which occupied the plant during the war as a builder of Diesel engines for the Navy.
The following comes from Railway Age, February 12, 1949:
Production Of Diesel Switchers Begun At Electro-Motive's Newest Plant. -- Diesel switchers of 600 and 1,000 hp. are now being built at the rate of one each working day at the new Cleveland (Ohio) plant of the Electro-Motive Division, General Motors Corporation. The new facility, as noted in Railway Age of June 26, 1948, is devoted exclusively to manufacture of switching locomotives; 31 had been completed as of February 2, and production is expected to be increased by mid-year to two switchers every working day. Some 600 persons are employed at the plant, which operates two 8-hr. shifts five days a week. Purchased last year from the government, the layout affords 265,000 sq. ft. for switcher production and 174,000 sq. ft. for G. M.'s Cleveland Diesel Engine Division. Approximately three miles of railroad track are located on the plant property. Other plants are maintained by Electro-Motive at La Grange, III., and Chicago.
EMD Cleveland Production List
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 In Cleveland
In addition to building locomotives in Cleveland from 1948 to 1954, General Motors also had its Cleveland Diesel Engine Division, which was originally the Winton company's facility.
General Motors locations in Cleveland:
- 2020 Keith Building, 1621 Euclid Avenue, downtown Cleveland (original Electro-Motive Company offices)
- 2130 West 110th Street (Original Winton Engine Division; later Cleveland Diesel Engine Division)
- 2160 West 105th Street (Original Winton Engine Division; later Cleveland Diesel Engine Division; east side of the above block)
- 8200 West Clinton Road, Brooklyn, Ohio (Cleveland Diesel Engine Division; used by EMD in 1948-1954 to build locomotives)
(Read the Wikipedia article about the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division)
The following comes from VintageDieselDesign.com:
Realizing that they would not be able to keep up with demand for the upcoming Navy contracts, CDED started to expand. The former Winton plants #1 and #2 on 106th and 110th Street in Cleveland were added onto with the addition of several new assembly bays, machine shops, powerhouse, stock rooms, offices, and pattern shops. After the events at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, Cleveland Diesel needed more room – and fast. In January of 1942, CDED met with the Bureau of Ships in Washington and they outlined the need for a new plant. Ground was broken in February on a new 343,445 square foot factory, located on 76 acres just 1.6 miles southeast of the Winton plants. The new plant would be owned by the Navy and operated by CDED. Plant #3 opened in November of 1942, and was mostly used as the final assembly, testing and shipping facility, with Plants 1 and 2 feeding it parts and supplies.
(Read more about Cleveland Diesel Engine Division at VintageDieselDesign.com)
The following comes from the online "Encyclopedia of Cleveland History":
The Cleveland Diesel Engine Division Of General Motors Corp., a leading research facility in the development of diesel engines, began operation in November 1912 as the Winton Gas Engine & Manufacturing Co. at 2116 W. 106th St. Founded by Cleveland automobile manufacturer Alexander Winton, the plant first produced the marine gasoline engine Winton designed, but later Winton adopted a diesel engine developed in Europe as an alternative and built the first one in 1913. When the firm was renamed the Winton Engine Works in 1916, it manufactured diesel engines for a variety of marine craft and government vessels. Later the firm produced engines for locomotives. In 1928 George W. Codrington replaced Winton as president of the company, which then became the Winton Engine Corp. in 1930, when it was bought by GM. Its name officially changed to the Cleveland Diesel Engine Div. of General Motors Corp. in 1938.
During the 1930s, a new, lighter-weight diesel engine with more speed and flexibility had been developed. By 1939 98 percent of the company's business was work performed for the government. In 1941 Cleveland Diesel expanded its plant, employed 5,000 people, and produced the new diesel engines for an estimated 70 percent of the Navy's submarines during World War II. Employment dropped to 1,000 in 1947, but expansion began again in the 1950s with the acquisition of plants at 2160 W. 106th St. and 8200 Clinton Rd. However, in the next decade, the Navy needed fewer diesel engines with the development of atomic-powered submarines, and GM closed the Cleveland plant in 1962, combining its operations with facilities in LaGrange, Illinois.
Eric Hirsimaki's article in Diesel Victory (PDF; 14 pages; 14.4MB)