California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific
'Shop Switchers'

~20 units built

built by various
1(1) 1(2) 3(1) 3(2) 4 5 6 7 8 9
208 209 211 212 214 216 217 218 219 220(1)
220(2) 221 261 564 565 566 567(1) 567(2) 568(1) 568(2)
569(1) 569(2) 570 571 572 577 578 619 620 966
1201 208

see text below see text below
In this shot #217 was captured working in its assigned facilities in Oakland, California. This picture was taken during the late 1940's. - photo from the collection of Gene Deimling This shot taken in 1948 by Jeff Winslow at the Bayshore Engine House. It must have been subbing for engine #966. - photo from the collection of Gene Deimling

The SP had a number of specialized steam switchers for moving locos around engine terminals and backshops. They were the 'shop switchers'; they were usually retired locomotives whose original usefulness had come to an end.

They were rebuilt/converted by each shop as required, and so show marked differences. Each one would have been unique in one respect or another. Originally carried on the main roster, they were later listed under the Maintenance of Way Roster, so explaining the MW prefix. Some numbers were used on more than one shop switcher and all were renumbered from their original numbers and most renumbered as shop switchers several times.

Circa 1908, SP renumbered all shop switchers to 4 digit MW numbers. Circa 1915 they went back to 3 digit numbers, as the 4 digit numbers conflicted with existing road engines.

#217 was assigned to the Oakland Engine Terminal for many years. The railroad rebuilt S-8 #1295 into the saddle-tanked beast. Built by Brooks in 1908 and converted to a shop switcher in 1940.

#208 is pictured above at SP's Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon Roundhouse sometime in the 1940s. Built by Baldwin in 1901, its original number was #1079, converted to shop switcher in 1903.

#209 Baldwin 1902 #20901 Ex 1097 S-5 picture about 1938 as the West Oakland Shop Switcher.

#564 was originally built by Schenectady in 1888 as Class S-1 #1027. It was converted to a shop switcher in 1917, scrapped in 1954. #564 is shown here as the Sparks, Nevada and Tucson, Arizona shop's goat, both in the 1950's.

#565 Shown here as the Los Angeles General Shops shop switcher in the 1950's. It was built in 1903 numbered #1109, rebuilt to shop switcher in 1939 for LAGS, Vacated 4/1956 and scrapped 6/1956

#568(2) was originally built by Baldwin in 1903 as Class S-6 #1110. It was converted to a shop switcher in 1946. #568 is shown as the Sparks, Nevada shop goat in the 1950's.

Model References:

  • Western Prototype Modeler March/April 1976 - S-8 Class 0-6-0 from a Roundhouse kit by S.A.Harris.


  • A Century of SP Steam Locomotives - by Guy L. Dunscomb
  • SP Co. Steam Locomotive Compendium by Diebert & Strapac
  • Steam Switchers of the Southern Pacific Lines by Gene Deimling

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