This SW9 is a switcher locomotive, one of a long line of similarly designed locomotives produced by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors (EMD) from the 1930’s through the 1960’s. Thousands of EMD end-cab switcher locomotives were rostered by nearly every railroad in the United States, with hundreds still in service today. These small 1,200 horsepower engines were well-suited to the branch lines and industrial parks of New Jersey, and every railroad in the state rostered a sizable fleet of these locomotives to effectively serve freight customers shipping an endless list of commodities by rail.
This particular unit, built for the Erie Railroad, was often used for local freight service on the railroad’s branches in northern New Jersey. Patterson, Hackensack, Suffern, and Jersey City were just some of the major service areas that Erie 436 called home through the 1950’s. On October 17, 1960, the Erie Railroad merged to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, and this locomotive became Erie Lackawanna 436.
Under the Erie Lackawanna, this locomotive was assigned to work the passenger coach yards in Hoboken, moving around cars to arrange trains before the passenger locomotives were attached. When the Erie Lackawanna was included in Conrail on April 1, 1976, 436 became Conrail 9012, where it remained in service in Hoboken, Elizabethport, and Kearny as a passenger car switcher. When NJ Transit was organized in 1983, ownership of the 9012 was transferred, and it was renumbered back to 436.
436 continued to serve NJ Transit into the early 1990’s, when it was donated to the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey (URHS). It was restored to its original 1952 Erie colors in 1998 and now resides in the URHS’s Boonton, NJ yard.