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The SW1 is my favorite switcher.


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My S Helper Service SW1 & Oriental SW1

Ironically they are 5944 and 5945

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PRR SW1 5945


It is not completely done at this point but it is running.

Added 7-4-16


I bought this brass Oriental SW1 sometime in the mid 1990s. Oriental made a brief attempt at S Scale brass making some EMD switchers. Their drive was rather unconventional but runs VERY well, amazingly well. This model could be my personal record of starting to finish it, and putting it back in the box for MANY years. I have NO photos of it at all which predates me going to a digital camera in 2002. I don’t remember when I painted it. Part of the extreme procrastination was because S Helper Service came out with a SW1 ready to run.


Some modifications I made to it back then include changing the headlight from a twin beam to single light, and making a draft gear. Both required some extensive hand filing especially making a small body gap filler piece for the top of the front headlight.


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I picked SW1 5945 because I had a EMD Builders photo of it, and it is ALMOST 5495 for my K4 5495


These photos were taken 9-19-15 when I started the project again, and added all wheel pick up.

Some missing driveshafts delayed getting it running for 9 more months.


The pickups are only roughed in at this point showing the wheel grooves I cut.


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These photos were taken 7-4-16 when I finally got it running. Some original Oriental SW1 driveshafts were given to me by my friend Bill Winans making this all much easier.


Every DCC installation is different and a challenge. I had to figure out where the Tsunami decoder, Soundtraxx Current Keeper, and the RailMaster DS1240-Box speaker were all going to fit. I decided a shelf bracket was in order here. Everything has plugs and the bracket can be removed.


The LEDs are not shown here.


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I have to find the headlight numberboards I made, or make new ones. They went missing. The frame will have to be stripped and repainted. There is a handrail that needs fixing. Add glass and a crew. It will be done!

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My SW1 Collection

Besides the brass 5945 the rest are S Helper Service, now owned by Mikes Train House.


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Added 9-7-16

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Reading SW1 #20

Added 8-2-16

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This is a lightly modified S Helper Service SW1 painted as Reading #20. It is not meant to be the most exact model I have ever made – just a fun build in a reasonable amount of time. I had to change the headlights from twin to single beam with a SHS kit. It is item 01039, and is currently very tough to find. These photos were taken on 8-1-16 after the TCS WOW decoder and LED headlights were installed. The headlight is very bright!


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This is showing the rain deflector and changed headlights.

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This is showing the approximate layout of the WOW decoder and very small RailMaster Speaker. Also, I took the end Delrin handrails off temporarily and gave them a quick blast in the blast booth. That takes the sheen off the plastic and will hopefully give the paint a better bite.

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Completed 9-6-16

There has been a great variance in the color of Scalecoat Pullman Green over the years. I really like this color. It is possibly a bit lighter here than what I see when I see with the loco on my layout. But still it is what I think Pullman Green should be. My friend John Frantz made the custom decals for me. The most difficult aspect of the painting is the yellow handrails and accents. It is very time consuming and at least 2 coats of brushing.


Since I used real glass for windows in the Reading Train Master, which is my normal practice, I wanted to try the SW-1 too. This meant cutting a curved shape for the front windshield.  I never did this before. Most of the time I call my cutting glass uncontrolled breaking. It is at least 3 pieces cut to every one piece that gets used. The windshield was about 20 pieces cut. It had to be a very exact size. I used a Scotch tape dispenser for the cutting template as it was the perfect radius! It all eventually worked out very well.


I am VERY happy with the results.


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Posed with Reading Train Master 861


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Seaboard 1200

Added 1-14-19

Since I got the Seaboard S Helper Service caboose I decided I needed a Seaboard locomotive. S Helper Service made a Seaboard SW1 – good enough. Seaboard had elaborate paint schemes I would never paint so I am glad a loco was made.  Finding 1 on eBay took about 3 months. I wanted to correct it to the single beam headlight and add DCC. The headlight conversion was a significant job. There is not a sound unit for now but that could be easily changed.


It sure is pretty!


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PRR 5944


I upgraded my first S Helper Service SW1, PRR 5944 changing from an original Tsunami to a TSC WOW4 with Keep Alive. I also changed to the single beam headlight with a 3MM LED. All the original SHS wiring was gutted. I was so surprised I could fit my favorite speaker, the RailMaster DLG8 in with everything else. The small weight under the cab had to be removed. If I had the KA4 Keep Alive cube I could have put it in the center of the cab roof and saved the weight. It is a big speaker in a little locomotive!



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SW1 Collection 2019

I “think” I am done with buying more SW1. I would buy the original blue and yellow B&O scheme in a second but that would have to be a custom paint job. S Helper Service did not get to make that scheme.


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Updated 1-14-19

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