When did railroads switch over from steam power to diesel power?

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New Member
I was wondering if someone could tell me when railroads in the U.S. (particularly in the midwest, but especially Burlington Route, Rock Island and Missouri Pacific) began switching over from steam powered locomotives to diesel powered locomotives?
Thank you

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
It varied from road to road, but the transition started in the late 30's-early 40's. It was delayed somewhat by WWII as the government imposed wartime restrictions on the development and production of the new diesel technology. Transition resumed full speed after the war with most class 1 railroads completely dieselized by the mid-late 1950's. The year 1960 is usually a safe cut-off date, although some railroads kept a few steam engines for railfan trips and other PR events.

Regarding a specific railroad, I suggest you research that yourself, starting at your public library. Many good books have been published about trains in general and specific railroads. Check second hand and discount book stores as well.
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