General Electric's SL Series

Chicago & North Western #1198 SL144 (on loan) at Proviso, Illinois on 15 June 1979. (Bill Johnson)


General Electric introduced the "SL" locomotive series in 1974. Intended primarily as a line of industrial locomotives, they were configured into four different models. The largest of which was the SL144 which could be ballasted up to 144 tons. The other three models, which were built on slightly shorter platforms, were designated as SL110, SL85 and SL65; the model number reflected each locomotives maximum ballasting.

Production of the SL Series locomotives ran from 1974 until 1989. The first of the approximately 120 SL locomotives built to leave the Erie, PA plant was a SL110 with serial number 39001; it visited several industries and short line railroads as GE Demonstrator #1. The above production total included sixteen export units of varying size: 78, 82, 87, 88, 99 and 100-ton capacity.


Spotting Features of SL Series Center Cabs

ATI #21

Brackenridge, Pennsylvania on 24 August 2019 (Bill Kalkman photo)

"SL65 Series" (Produced 1974 to 1976)
  1. Slightly angular cab with large front and read window areas
  2. Tall narrow hoods with dual headlights
  3. Recessed radiator shutter
  4. Skirted frame (optional)
  5. Engine exhaust pipe in front of cab
  6. Two-axle trucks (no coiled springs visible)

SL85

Erie, Pennsylvania on 24 August 2019 (Daren Genau photo)

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"SL85 Series" (Introduced in 1974)
  1. Slightly angular cab with large front and read window areas
  2. Tall narrow hoods with dual headlights
  3. Recessed radiator shutter
  4. Skirted frame (optional)
  5. Leading edge of hood extended beyond stepwell
  6. Engine exhaust pipe in front of cab
  7. Two-axle trucks (no coiled springs visible)

Note: This model was ballasted at 72, 75, 78 or 82 tons for export

Wyandotte Southern D101

Wyandotte Southern D101 in December 1976 (Dick Vartabedian photo, R. Craig collection)

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SL110 (Produced 1974 to 1985)
  1. Slightly angular cab with large front and read window areas
  2. Tall narrow hoods with dual headlights
  3. Recessed radiator shutter
  4. Skirted frame (optional)
  5. Leading edge of hood ends before stepwell
  6. Engine exhaust pipe in front of cab
  7. Two-axle trucks (no coiled springs visible)

Note: This model was also ballasted at 87, 88 or 99 tons

American Energy Power #1101

SL144 (136-tons) on 23 May 2008 (Craig Walker photo)

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" SL144 Series"(Produced from 1974 to 1989)
  1. Slightly angular cab with large front and read window areas
  2. Tall narrow hoods with dual headlights
  3. Recessed radiator shutter
  4. Skirted frame (optional)
  5. Large end platforms
  6. Engine exhaust pipe in front of cab
  7. Two-axle trucks (no coiled springs visible), damper shocks on each axle end

Note: This model was ballasted also at 115, 120, 125, 132 or 136 tons


Notes and Reference sources:
  • Critters, Dinkys & Center Cabs by Jay Reed
  • The Second Diesel Spotters Guide by Jerry A. Pinkepank
  • Locomotive Encyclopedia (1956) by Simons-Boardman

** R. Craig photo collection

Formatted by: R.Craig

New: 2 January 2020 / revised: 14 March 2020


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