The New Haven RR in 1959                 
                                                   ...gone but not forgotten

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Diesel Electric Yard (DEY) Switchers

Class DEY-1 The New Haven began dieselization very early.  In 1931 the demo unit for a new, 600hp diesel-electric, Alco product was made available for testing and quietly began moving cars among the various steam-powered New Haven switchers.  The New Haven purchased the demonstrator, assigned it road number 0900 (the leading "0", already applied to electrics on the New Haven, indicated "other than steam") and later assigned this unit Class DEY-1.  For decades thereafter, with few exceptions, the New Haven was a bastion for Alco diesel power.  This was reflected in the New Haven's ownership of switchers as well.

Class DEY-1b American Locomotive Company (Alco) HH660 locomotive.  After unit 0900 the New Haven explored the developing diesel-electric market as did other railroads.  In 1936 the NH purchased ten switchers from General Electric.  These units, numbered 0901-0910, were later assigned Classes DEY-2 and DEY-2a respectively.  In 1938 the New Haven went back to Alco and began purchasing more "High Hood" (HH) switchers of designs that were improved from the original 0900.  These Alcos were the DEY-1a and DEY-1b classes.  In addition to other design changes, the DEY-1b class had improved engines with 660hp output, known later as the HH660 locomotive.

Unit 0929 represents one of the group (0921-0930) purchased in January 1940.  This is an Atlas model and requires installation of the tanks, truck chains and the addition of an electric whistle to be correctly detailed for the NH.  The Atlas unit is the first non-brass HO scale model that has the correct scale length. 

Class DEY-2(a) Not in service in 1959 In 1936 the New Haven purchased ten 98-ton Model Y switchers numbered 0901-0910 from General Electric; Units 0901-0905 were equipped with 660hp Cooper Bessemer engines and units 0906-0910 with 600hp Ingersoll Rand engines. These units were later assigned Classes DEY-2 and DEY-2a respectively. 

Unit 0903 is pictured in front of the Danbury Freight House in the 1950’s. This awesome model was scratch-built by friend and fellow modeler Joe Smith who graciously provided the photo staged on his layout. You can read more on building this model in his blog. There is a link on the “LINKS” page of this site.

Class DEY-3 The largest groups of switchers purchased by the New Haven totaled 65 units built by American Locomotive Works between 1941 and 1949. Deliveries continued after the S-2 (DEY5) units were delivered in 1944. These were 660hp non-turbo-charged units and served throughout the New Haven system.

Unit 0937 represents one of the group (0931-0940) purchased in 1941 and is wearing one of the McGinnis schemes applied to New Haven switchers.  This is an Altas model and requires little more than the addition of an electric whistle to be correctly detailed for the NH.  Life Like Proto 2000 (LLP2K) also makes a New Haven S-1 decorated in an earlier warm orange and green scheme.  These units requires the addition of an electric whistle for detail.  in 2018, cabs with the correct roof design (lower than the standard Alco cab) have become available and I will modify my units to improve accuracy.

Class DEY-4 General Electric produced a 44-ton switcher that was powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines. The 44-ton switcher was purpose-built in that union regulations at the time allowed for a locomotive up to and including this size to be operated by an engineer with no fireman aboard so in theory the railroads would realize labor savings. The New Haven purchased their first 44-tonner, #0800, in 1940 and followed with another six units in 1941. In 1945 the New Haven bought an additional ten units (#807-0816) that had the radiator louvers moved from the front and rear sides to the ends. In 1947 the New Haven acquired its last two 44-tonners (#0817-0818) and from 1953 on, sold off some units until by 1961 only units 0812 and 0817 were left. The two remained on the roster until the end of the New Haven in 1968.

Bachmann has produced a GE 44-tonner in their Spectrum line decorated in the McGinnis scheme with several road numbers and many years ago Keystone Locomotive Works produced an undecorated brass kit with cast metal detail parts. The Keystone kit could be built as the early (side-positioned radiators) or late (end positioned) radiators and came with two options (vented or closed) for the tops of the hoods. The Keystone model had drive train slippage problems and the company issued replacement parts for the modeler to insert between the motor and gear towers on the powered trucks. Unit 0818 is a Bachmann Spectrum model which represents the late design. As is the case with many Bachmann Spectrum New Haven models, while the model itself is a decent representation, the paint and lettering have some flaws that can be corrected. On this model I replaced the road number with Accu-cal numbers from a New Haven decal set. Once I did that it made the numbers on the hood ends look wrong as well, so eventually I will change those as well. Modelers have noted the early units produced by Bachmann had drive problems and Bachmann responded by improving the powertrain.

Class DEY-5 Alco S-2 locomotive.  (no photo)

The New Haven purchased units 0600-0621 from December 1943 to November 1944. These were 1000hp switchers that closely resembled the S-1, however the hood doors were slightly different as was the turbocharger. In addition, the first nine (0600-0608) NH units featured horizontal radiator shutters rather than the vertical shutters found on the S-1.


Alco produced this model in brass a very long time ago and Atlas released a New Haven S-2 in plastic. but to my knowledge, both are correct for units 0609-0621

Class DEY-6 By 1950 the steam locomotive builder Lima had entered the diesel market with acquisition of the rights to the Hamilton diesel engine as Lima-Hamilton. The company began manufacturing 1000hp switchers in 1949 and the 1200hp model (LS1200) which the New Haven bought, in 1950. The ten units, #630-639, dieselized switching in Maybrook Yard. The Lima switchers spent most of their operational lives in Maybrook and primarily because they were a non-standard type on the New Haven compared to Alco, all ten were condemned and sold for scrap in 1960.

Aside from a brass Lima switcher offered decades ago, JJL Models is the only other producer of this model of which I am aware. In addition to the Lima switcher this company also offers an HH660 switcher. The Lima switcher consists of a resin body with separate detail parts and comes with a Stewart drive. The model represents a 1000hp version but can be made into a decent New Haven 1200hp unit with some additional work. If you are modeling Maybrook Yard between 1950-1960 you should have one or mode of these on your layout. Stay tuned as I plan to actually build my kits sometime in the next year or so…

Class DEY-7 Electro Motive Division (EMD) SW-1200 locomotive.  As described on the Road Switcher page, in 1956 the New Haven began applying a motive power strategy with advice from EMD.  Part of this involved the purchase of twenty 1200hp units assigned road numbers 640-659.  These were numbered above other New Haven switchers with more power than 660hp such as the 1000hp Alco S-2's (0600-0621) and 1200hp Lima-Hamilton units (630-639) purchased in 1943-4 and 1950 respectively.

Unit 654 is an old Athearn model reworked to NH standards - almost!  The Hancock air whistles are installed as are the Pyle dual headlights.  Still to be installed are the Flexicoil truck sideframes...I suppose I should do something about the handrails as well.