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GM Diesel Division plant switcher "1" was an EMD SW1001 acquired from EMD LaGrange in 1994. At the time  of this picture, the EMD paint scheme is only slightly modified with a small Canadian flag sticker on the cab side. Sources indicate it was EMD-built in Dec 1979, and retained its EMD unit number 117 until 1996.  
The location could be the west side of the wye to the GM test track (and CP connection) that runs alongside CP's Galt Sub. 
Around 2000 this locomotive received a 50th anniversary paint scheme with a map of the world and arcs from London to overseas customer nations. At some point after my picture a big black can-like object got installed on the hood-top; I suspect it's an exhaust filter that makes operating the loco inside the plant more acceptable.
Copyright Notice: This image ©John Parnell photo, J.Pittman collection all rights reserved.



Caption: GM Diesel Division plant switcher "1" was an EMD SW1001 acquired from EMD LaGrange in 1994. At the time of this picture, the EMD paint scheme is only slightly modified with a small Canadian flag sticker on the cab side. Sources indicate it was EMD-built in Dec 1979, and retained its EMD unit number 117 until 1996.

The location could be the west side of the wye to the GM test track (and CP connection) that runs alongside CP's Galt Sub.

Around 2000 this locomotive received a 50th anniversary paint scheme with a map of the world and arcs from London to overseas customer nations. At some point after my picture a big black can-like object got installed on the hood-top; I suspect it's an exhaust filter that makes operating the loco inside the plant more acceptable.

Photographer:
John Parnell photo, J.Pittman collection [227] (more) (contact)
Date: circa 1995 (search)
Railway: Industrial (search)
Reporting Marks: GMDD 1 (search)
Train Symbol: Not Provided
Subdivision/SNS: GM DD test track wye (search)
City/Town: London (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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11 Comments
  1. Darn, how could I forget CP 9100′s (4300HP) and the small batch of 9300′s (6000 HP). Seems like nobody was happy for very long with either EMD or GE 6000 HP locomotives. I believe that EMD LaGrange / McCook designed, built and tested the diesel engines, among other major components, and assume they were responsible for much of the engineering. When they get that wrong, and/or don’t test and improve enough, it did serious damage to EMD’s reputation.

  2. Someone in the documentary said you’d get written up if all you did was stand around and they installed cameras all over the place. Hide and seek is what is really is. I’d milk it too.

    Management not as well trained as the “Union Staff” you know that’s a problem. I would want my supervisor or supervisors to have as much experience as me, or more.

    As for meeting in the middle, with Jerry Dias (or whoever was running it) running Unifor, that would never be possible. No rational human being in my view would accept a pay cut like that. I know I would not. Caterpillar being anti-union probably knew that the culture in Canada is far different than what it is in the States and trying to beat Unifor was going to be impossible so they decided to screw EMD London and the people that work there. I’m fairly sure this is mentioned in the documentary, albeit not directly.

    But, buying time to get Muncie up to speed is very plausible. Indiana is also a “Right-To-Work” state, so they had this advantage.

    The last CP locos were the SD90MAC convertibles, not the Red Barns (which crews hated so I heard), and then the love affair began with GE’s AC4400CW and ES44AC’s until the GP20C-ECO’s. CN were probably buying at least 90% of their locomotives from GE, and 10% from EMD.

    EMD was late to the game with the T4. Giving GE dominance for what 18 months, sure didn’t help the bottom line. Would London have closed regardless? More than likely.

  3. Gang, I knew people fairly close and fairly high up in the EMD London organization. I’m by means no expert as a result, but I did have a couple tours and knew people on both sides (union, non union).

    The place was not run well. Once management took over after the lockout ended, they were completing locomotives with half the employees at twice the speed and they were management who were supposedly not ‘as well trained’ as the union staff. There were a lot of employees milking it at EMD London. Stories of ‘hide and seek for 38/hour’.

    Secondly, the union *never* presented an offer to the union members. From what I recall the offers were in the low 20′s while union members were making about $38/hour give/take.

    The feeling was they could have met in the middle and it may have worked, but it never went that far. Unifor was not interested in giving in, perhaps union politics considering the negotiations at other auto facilities like Chrysler/GM/Ford at the time?

    I can’t help but decry the actions of Caterpillar though, heavy handed union busting is what they wanted and I agree they were going to move it to Muncie anyway – they were just buying time to help Muncie get up to speed…

    it’s kind of deplorable on all sides really but the truth is it may never have had a chance and perhaps management and the union all knew this. We’ll never know really because this chapter is already closed.

    *ED: If you consider how many locomotives EMD is producing now would it have even helped? Seems their volumes are way down…. it’s my feeling London would have closed not long after anyway since EMD/CAT Dropped the ball with Tier 4… to date.

  4. That’s interesting Driver8666. I think we all agree that the closure of EMD Canada was extremely deplorable. To me it looked like Caterpillar/Progress Rail had already decided they would move to Indiana or whatever other place gave them the most attractive incentives and lower labour costs – it was pretty obvious what reaction their cut-your-wages-in-half offer would get. As the US-Canada exchange rates change, the economics of manufacturing in Canada also change a lot.
    Consider also that CP had not bought GM locos since the red barns in 1988, and CN was also buying most of their locos from GE. What could any government could do, apart from heavy subsidies at taxpayer expense? – which would no doubt be protested under NAFTA.

  5. I have a cousin that lives in London, so running past here was a bit on the mandatory side. Alot of the pictures you have posted were either:

    A: Taken across the street
    B: Taken on the lawn out front
    C: Taken in the backyard
    D: Taken somewhere else

    The closure of the plant is referred to now as “industrial rape”. Not to get political, but I’m sure it’s one of the reasons the Tories got kicked out of office. If you search on the Internet, there is a picture of then former PM Stephen Harper in the cab of a brand new BNSF ACe announcing tax breaks for purchasers of locomotives. I’m sure that picture came back to haunt him.

    Occupy London did a documentary on the strike. Highly worth watching. But then again would you take a pay cut? I wouldn’t. Neither would anyone else here.

    And of course the plant closure made national headlines. As it should.

  6. Looks to be a small blue flag in the top corner of the cab, the spot where an extra flag could go.

  7. No problem, you know a lot more about London than me – lot of my caption info is based on that web page + Canadian Trackside Guide.
    There was a round half-cylinder thing with an actuator rod over the exhausts of the plant switchers (before that big can was put on). My first guess was it kept rain out when parked outside – but now I’m thinking it’s more to stop the exhaust going upward when running inside the plant! (Years ago for my job I visited a warehouse that had a truck dock inside – Very BAD air in that place.)

  8. Yep. You are right, I was wrong. I thought it was the one, not both.

  9. I am confident that my caption is generally correct.
    Anybody interested in more info and pictures of the GM DD plant switcher “1″ should take a look at: http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/industrial/ont/general_motors.htm
    In shows that both units “0069″ and “1″ received the 50th anniversary paint job. Their “0069″ picture is from 2000 while “1″ is shown some years later. There is also mention of an SW1500 that was sold/traded with ETR, but this is not it – SW1500 has 2 exhaust stacks, this has 1. It says that trade happened in 1977, while my London train negatives date from 1990-1996.

  10. It wasn’t this one. It was the other one. The SW900 (#0069). Apparently from what I heard, if this is an SW1500, it could not handle the tight trackage at the plant, so they got rid of it.

  11. This paint scheme is godly. I welcome more photos of this if anyone has!

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