The Wilmington & Western Railroad had an out-of-service EMD 600hp SW-1 locomotive that required a major frame-up restoration. McHugh Locomotive & Equipment returned the historic 1940 Baltimore & Ohio #8408 back to its glory days of railroading.
Delaware’s Wilmington & Western Railroad owns 1940 EMD SW-1 #8408, it is very special to non-profit railroad volunteers as it was one of the locomotive that saw regular freight service on the railroad under the ownership of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The Wilmington & Western Railroad purchased the locomotive with the railroad in 1982. After many years of service the locomotive was out of service and simply worn out.
The Wilmington & Western Railroad turned to McHugh Locomotive & Equipment for help. The original scope of work was to replace the obsolete “U” style engine block because it was problematic due to cooling water leaking into the crankcase and lube oil system. The Wilmington & Wilmington Railroad also desired to have the following other components rebuilt: air compressor, main generator, radiators, and to replace the old electrical system with a modern upgrade. The Wilmington & Western Railroad desired to have a “B” style engine block rebuilt and placed into the 8408. However, McHugh Locomotive & Equipment recommended and supplied a remanufactured 6 cylinder 567-C, because the “B” style engine block over time can have the same defective issues occur as on the old “U” or “A” type engine blocks.
After the #8408 arrived at the McHugh facility the Wilmington & Western Railroad decided to have a complete overhaul preformed to the locomotive. The result it that the #8408 would now receive a “total frame up restoration” to provide the corrective measures required to repair all of the remaining defects and the #8408 would now be fully restored back to safe and reliable operating condition. This work now included major structural and mechanical repairs, along with rebuilding both of the worn out truck assemblies. The 6-1/2″ x 12″ roller bearing axle wheel sets where reconditioned and the four traction motors were repaired as necessary.
When #8408’s cab interior walls were removed, it revealed that the cab’s steel structural frame was compromised and not safe for operation. The Wilmington & Western Railroad did not have enough funds available to make a complete major repair of the cabs steel structure. So the #8408 project was put on hold until JC McHugh made an offer to the Wilmington & Western Railroad that it could not pass up and changed the way #8408 looks today.
McHugh Locomotive & Equipment stepped in an offered to donated a large portion of the cab restoration work under the condition that the historic SW-1 locomotive would be painted and lettered back into its heritage paint scheme of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. This gave both McHugh Locomotive & Equipment and Wilmington & Western Railroad national recognition for the project.
The #8408 restoration was performed over a multi-year period enabling the Wilmington & Western Railroad the extended time that was required for the non-profit corporation to raise approximately 85% of the funds necessary for payment of the entire project. It took a bit longer to raise the required funds that were need for the project. However, McHugh Locomotive & Equipment worked with the non-profit railroad so they got a museum quality restoration that will last for decades.
McHugh Locomotive & Equipment generously agreed to assist the Wilmington & Western Railroad with approximately 15% of the total overall cost of the project by donating numerous components and a portion of the labor on the #8408 restoration. The historic SW-1 was officially dedicated back to service on May 26, 2016 and today provides motive power for most of the Wilmington & Western Railroad’s tourist trains over the former B&O Landenberg branch in Delaware. Many in the heritage railroad industry agree that the restoration of #8408 is one of the best and most complete historic diesel locomotive restorations ever.
Give us a call to see what we can do for you. If you have a vision for a historic locomotive we can help you achieve it.