Portland Traction Company - PTC 100
"The most famous diesel engine in the Northwest"
The PTC 100 is the most famous diesel locomotive in the Northwest.   For almost its entire non-stop 60+ year career, it has
served the same short line railroad and been a mainstay of the Portland railroad community.

The 100 was purchased new by the Portland Traction Company, along with her sister, the No. 200, to replace the electric
motor locomotives that switched the PTC lines for the half century prior.    The two diesels were the only the locomotives used
by PTC for many decades and operated on the inner East Portland trackage, as well as Milwualkie and on the two branch
lines that extended as far south as Oregon City and as far east as Boring.

The 100 was purchased in Feburary 1952 as builder number 16899 and is a EMD SW1, making 600 h.p.   The No. 200 was
purchased a year later.   The Portland Traction company was almost entirely made up of 50 ton electric motors that were
operated in pairs, giving approximately 100 tons of locomotive effort.

The decision to switch to diesel engines was prompted by a decision by PGE to remove a AC to DC converter from its main
Oregon City substation.  The railroad ran off of DC power and needed the converter.   PGE offered to give the PTC the
converter machinery, but they would have to build a new building and maintain it.   Without the converter, the electric motor
locomotives could not operate on the Oregon City line, although trolleys still could operate with power supplied from longer
distance substations due to the lesser current requirements of the light trolley cars.   The PTC anticipated that PGE would
eventually transfer all DC converter substations to the railroad, thus raising their operating costs.   In light of this, it was
decided to purchase diesel locomotives.

Because of the Clackamas River bridge and other bridges, which only had to withstand the weight of 50 ton electric motors,
the PTC underwent extensive studies to determine what size locomotive to purchase.   They originally considered GE 70
tonner locomotives in a pair, however, the 100 ton EMD SW1s were cheaper per locomotive and a single SW1 could directly
replace a pair of 50 ton electric motors, requiring only the purchase of a single locomotive.

Eventually it was decided to purchase a single SW1, the No. 100 and use it on certain parts of the railroad in conjunction with
the electric motors.

With the construction of the new Milwaukie Industrial Park in the early 1950s and it not being electrified, the PTC decided to
purchase a 2nd SW1 and the No. 200 was purchased a year later.  The electric motors were retired, although its assumed
some were retained in back up service until the electric wires came down in 1958.

At some point in the late 1980s, during the final years of the PTC, both the 100 and 200 were sold off and replaced by
Southern Pacific SW1500s.   The 100 went to a paper mill in in Wallua, Washington that was being switched by WATCO.   
The 200 went to Wisconsin, where it still operates today with the Harvest States Co-op.

Shortly after it purchased the 100, WATCO desperately wanted to sell the No. 100 because it was too light an engine for their
needs.  Mr. Samuels was able to purchased it in approximately 1987.    Because the 100 had friction bearing trucks, the
Union Pacific required that Mr. Samuels repack each journal and ride in the cab of the 100 while it was being transferred from
Hinkle back to Portland.

Mr. Samuels set about restoring the 100 and repainted it in exactly the same colors and markings as when it served the
Portland Traction Company.

The No. 100 was the locomotive that placed the SP 4449 and SP&S 700 steam engines into Oaks Park for display in the mid
1950s.   It would be the very same engine that would remove each steam locomotive decades later for their restorations.  The
SP 4449 was removed by the No. 100 in the early 1970s and the SP&S 700 was removed in the late 1980s.   The PTC was
still operating when the SP&S 700 needed to be removed, but was using the heavy SW1500 engines, which were too large to
operate on the temporary track laid to remove the 700.  Mr. Samuels had just purchased the PTC 100 in preparation to scrap
the Boring branch and his lighter engine was called upon to move the SP&S 700.

The PTC 100 is the very first full size locomotive that Mr. Samuels would use when he established the East Portland Traction
Company in 1987 to scrap the Boring line and the very first locomotive that would be used when the East Portland Traction
Company took over the East Portland Branch in 1991.   It would also be the first Samuels owned locomotive to operate on the
Molalla Branch in 1993.

The PTC 100 has been regularly used on the East Portland branch.  The 100 hasn't been repainted in a while and is
scheduled for a fresh repaint in the future.  However, the engine has recently undergone a full rebuilt and is ready for many
more years of service.

Of all the locomotives owned by the Samuels family, there are others that are newer, more modern, perhaps even in better
condition, but the history of 100 makes it irreplaceable and it will no doubt remain on the OPR forever.

Mr. Samuels admiration for this engine goes back to at least 1960, decades before he would later own and operate it.   It was
then that he built an operating 1-1/2 inch scale version.  Check out
this page for more info and photos.

Craig Bass photo show the PTC 100 in operation with the PTC in 1981.   Check out Craig's PTC history page.
These photos of the 100 were taken at the Milwaulkie Shops in Jan, 2005.  These are my first photos of the PTC 100
Photo: B McCamish 1/2005
In Dec 2005, the PTC 100 was the lead locomotive along with the OPR 802 used to rerail the SP 4449 and SP&S 700 during the Holiday Express
2005.Photos on the left are from the derail...photos on the right are from the following weekend's Holiday Express after the repairs were made to
the track.  Photo: B McCamish 12/2005
In Dec, 2006, the PTC 100 was used for the 2nd Holiday Express, 2006, to shuttle cars around for the SP&S 700.  Seen on the left parked at East
Portland just prior and just after being fired up by Mr. Samuels.  On the right, a few minutes later a rare night shot of the PTC 100, blue strobe
blazing, at it shuttles cars around in preparation of the
Holiday Express 2006, the following day.
Photo: B McCamish 12/2005
These photos of the 100 were taken by Greg Brown in the early to mid 1990s on the East Portland Line.  The far left photo is of particular interest,
because it shows one of the two bridges of the Boring branch in this very interesting staged shot of the EPTC 100, a boxcar and the EPTC
caboose No. 11 with the SP 4449 passing underniegth.   Not long after this photo was taken, the Boring branch was scrapped out and this
bridge removed.  In addition, the EPTC No. 11 was taken out of service and used as the office of the EPTC and remained in a fixed position at the
Milwualkie Shops until Dec, 2006, when it was used for the first time in 16 years behind SP&S 700 for a winter steam event on the OPR.    The
next photo shows the 100 southbound on the East Portland line near Holegate Ave.  The next photo shows the 100 southbound from the East
Portland yard, near 4th Ave.  Photo: Courtesy of Greg Brown (dates noted on photos)
These photos of the PTC 100 were taken by Greg Brown on the Molalla Division when it was first taken over my Mr. Samuels in 1993 and initially
named the Molalla Western Railroad.   The PTC 100 was used as the primary engine on the Molalla Branch for a few months, but was replaced
with the 801 and brought back to Milwualkie.  Photo: Courtesy of Greg Brown (dates noted on photos)
Last Update:  November 5, 2013
The PTC 100 at Railfair 1988 at Union Station in Portland.  This is shortly after Mr. Samuels acquired the 100 and gave it a fresh repaint in
original PTC colors and markings.
Mr. Samuels PTC 100 pulling the SP&S 700 out of Oaks Park in preparation for its full restoration.
Various photos of the PTC 100 taken in 2006 and 2007.
Mr. Samuels at the controls of the PTC 100 in the summer of 2007.
Cab of the PTC 100.
Mr. Samuels 1-1/2 scale version of the PTC 100 that he built himself in 1960.  Includes a gas engine, generator and four traction motors, plus
operating air brakes.  Check out
this page for more info and pictures.
More pictures of the PTC 100 can be seen here.
Copyright © 2004-2014 All Rights Reserved
Brian McCamish
webmaster Email
Additional photos of the 100, air tank, undercarriage and horn, Dec 2007
History of the EMD SW1

The original EMD SW1 dates back to 1939 and is one of the first diesel switcher engines to enter service, eventually
replacing steam engines.   The SW1 was technically the 2nd model diesel, with the SW being the very first EMD diesel
switcher to enter service.  The locomotive was originally powered by an EMD 6-567 V-6 diesel making 600 h.p.   Production
stopped in 1942 during World War Two and was resumed in 1945, using an updated 6-567-A diesel engine making the same
power.  A total of 661 units were produced through 1953.

The No. 100, being a 1952 model was the 2nd to last one built, with the PTC 200 being the last one built.  Both engines were
built using largely SW8 parts, which is why they share some characteristics of SW8 engines such as cab, headlights,
generator, but retained the earlier shorter body.

EMD continued to produce a similiar power locomotive called the SW600, which was essentially a SW8 frame and body with a
600 h.p. engine.  Only 15 were produced.

The No. 100 is largely original, retaining most of the original cab controls, brake systems and even the original wood floor.   
While many other OPR 1950s switchers have been upgraded with modern equipment, the number 100 is a rolling piece of
preserved history and is operated almost exactly as it did when built more than 55 years ago.

EMD SW1 Operator's Manual
The 100 pulling a chartered train in November, 2008
The 100 operating at East Portland in early December, 2008 on the first snow day of the year.
The No. 100 arrives at the East Portland Yard, with Mr. Samuels at the controls on a record snow day, Dec. 2008,  Interstate 5 in the background.   
Last photo on the far right was taken with the No. 100 at the Milwaukie shops with Mr. Samuels on the rear deck of the engine.
Cab photos of the controls of the No. 100
Other photos of the No. 100 taken in 2008
Portland Traction Company No. 100
Photos of the 100 taken in October, 2009
Photos of the 100 taken in June, 2009
On left, earliest known photo of the PTC 100, taken just a few months after it first arrived on the PTC in 1952.
Photo is courtesy of the Don Ross collection,  
Don Ross Depot website.   On right, original builder's plate for the 100 that was on the fireman's
side under the cab window on the frame.
Documents related to the original purchase of the PTC No. 100
EMD SW1 Spec Manual dated 1951 that was given to Portland Traction Co. Officials when examining which type of locomotive to purchase.
Letter from PTC Offical to PTC President out lining official recommendation about locomotive purchase including very interesting reasons why
they made their decision
Other letters regarding diesel locomotive purchases.   Letters are present from earliest date to latest date, left to right.