EMD Cleveland Plant No. 3

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2023.

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The EMD plant at Cleveland was originally built by the Winton Engine Co., and later became known as the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division, or CDED.

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)

Additional Background

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 (CDED), which was originally the Winton company's facility.

General Motors locations in Cleveland:

(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.

Euclid and Terex

Cleveland Plant No. 3, after EMD

Cleveland Plant No. 3 was used from the mid 1950s by other divisions of General Motors, including Euclid, which later became Terex. These GM divisions used the plant (or portions of the plant) for a wide variety of manufacturing and warehousing purposes. Several aerial photos of the plant in later years show that "Terex" was painted on the plant roof.

General Motors acquired Euclid on September 30, 1953 and made it a division of GMC on January 1, 1954. In the mid-1950s, GMC built a new factory for Euclid at Hudson, Ohio, 30 miles southeast of Cleveland. (The former EMD Cleveland plant was in Brooklyn, Ohio, 10 miles southwest of downtown Cleveland.)

The U. S. Department of Justice filed an anti-trust action against GMC on October 15, 1959 on the allegation that GMC threatened to control the off-road truck market. The suit lasted many years as it worked its way through the various courts. As part of the final settlement in 1967, GMC negotiated with White Motor Corporation for the sale of Euclid mechanical-drive off-road trucks.

Paying $24 million cash, on February 15, 1968 White Motor Corporation purchased the line of Euclid mechanical-drive off-road trucks, with an effective control date of July 1, 1968. White Motor acquired the Euclid name, the old Euclid plant in Cleveland, and the rights to sell the products through the fifty dealers in North America. White Motor Corporation operated Euclid as a subsidiary under the name of Euclid, Inc. White Motor Corporation sold Euclid, Inc., to Daimler-Benz AG as a subsidiary in August 1977.

After the sale of Euclid off-road truck designs to White Motor in 1968, GMC retained the right to build and sell mechanical-drive off-road trucks built in its Canadian plants and in Scotland, but was barred from re-entering the US market until July 1, 1972. The former Euclid earthmover (tractor, scraper and loader) lines were also retained by GM and were produced by its Earthmoving Equipment Division, which became Terex.

U.S. Justice Department ruling was the impetus behind the birth of Terex in 1968. General Motors had to discontinue the manufacture and sale of mechanical-drive off-road trucks in the United States for a period of four years, and divest itself of the Euclid name. After the divestiture, Terex was the name assigned to all GM off-road products, which included mechanical-drive off-road trucks and other earthmoving equipment made in its plants in London, Ontario, and in Scotland. In December 1968 the location in Scotland, known as Euclid (Great Britain), Ltd., was changed to General Motors Scotland, Ltd., and General Motors in the U. S. lost its ability for international manufacturing and marketing.

In 1972, GM's Terex reentered the off-road truck market with a new line of electric-drive trucks. The first was the 33-15, a 150-ton rear-dump truck. The 33-series trucks were introduced from 1971 to 1974, filling out a seven-model lineup from the 22-tons to the giant diesel-electric 33-19, known as the "Titan," the world's largest truck, at 350 tons in capacity. The 350-ton Terex Titan and the 150-ton 33-15 were both electric-drive trucks, and were built by the GM Diesel Division in London, Ontario.

In 1981 GM sold the Terex mechanical off-road truck designs to the German conglomerate IBH, retaining the Terex electric-drive truck designs. When IBH failed in 1983, GM purchased the mechanical-drive designs back, then sold the entire Terex line (mechanical and electric) to Northwest Engineering Company in 1986.

In 1988 the Northwest Engineering Company changed its name to match that of its largest subsidiary, Terex Corporation, with Northwest becoming a division of Terex. The company went public in 1988, with sales of $343 million. In 1988, Terex purchased truck builder Unit Rig of Tulsa, Oklahoma, giving the company a broader range that included the highly successful Unit Rig electric-drive trucks.

(Read more about the history of Euclid and its large off-road mining trucks, included as part of the history of mining in Utah's Bingham Canyon.)

More Information

Eric Hirsimaki's article in Diesel Victory (PDF; 14 pages; 14.4MB)