SW7 Locomotive 8905
Restored in conjunction with the B&O Railroad Museum in October 2019
Model: SW7 locomotive
Built: November 19, 1950
Builder: Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors (GM)
Engine: EMD 567A V12 diesel with roots-blown turbocharger
Past Owners: Peoria & Eastern, Penn Central, Conrail, Blue Mountain & Reading, Reading & Northern
Current Owner: Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
Current Location: B&O Railroad Museum, Baltimore, MD
BOMX #1200 is an SW7 switcher locomotive, built by the Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors (GM) in Cleveland, OH on November 19, 1950 (serial #13013, frame #6174-2). It was originally owned by the Peoria & Eastern Railway (P&E) as their #8905, and operated for this New York Central Railroad (NYC) subsidiary company in Illinois. End-cab diesel-electric switchers were ubiquitous on railroads throughout the United States, and P&E #8905 was the second of seven identical switchers ordered by the P&E under EMD order #6174. These locomotives were originally P&E/NYC class DES-14g, but were reclassed ES-12 in 1966 in preparation for the Penn Central merger.
When the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad merged on February 1, 1968, the P&E #8905 became Penn Central Transportation Company (PC) #8905. The Penn Central’s bankruptcy in 1970 led to the creation of the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail, or CR) by an act of Congress on April 1, 1976. Six bankrupt railroads (including the PC) were merged to form Conrail, preserving and consolidating rail service in the Northeast. With the merger, PC #8905 became Conrail #8905. The new railroad inherited over 500 of these switcher locomotives from its defunct predecessors. Locomotives of this type saw service across the Conrail system, and several were regularly assigned to Conrail’s operations around Baltimore.
On March 3, 1989, Conrail sold the locomotive to the Blue Mountain & Reading Railroad (BM&R), which operated several former Conrail coal branches near Port Clinton, PA. The locomotive became BM&R #1200, a reference to its 1,200 horsepower. At the end of 1995, the BM&R and the #1200 were folded into the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern (RBMN). The #1200 operated on the RBMN until 2002, when it was retired from the active roster.
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum (BOMX) purchased the locomotive in 2004 as a general use engine for the museum’s rail operations. It was painted later that year into a unique museum paint scheme, emerging as BOMX #1200. It has been the museum’s regular excursion power ever since, carrying thousands of young rail enthusiasts along the oldest rail line in America during the museum’s annual holiday and special event celebrations.
In late 2017, the B&O Railroad Museum approached The Conrail Historical Society to inquire about the availability of diagrams and other paint information, as they explored returning the locomotive to its authentic Conrail colors. This inquiry evolved into a full-fledged joint fundraising effort to make the #8905 into the first restored and operational Conrail locomotive in the world. The two organizations raised over $6,000 through a joint fundraising campaign, which covers the extensive surface preparation and all of the paint materials for the new paint job to be completed in October 2019.