What are Plymouth Switchers?

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This is probably a dumb question as I know what a switcher does essentially but while doing some random searches on ebay I found these K-Line Plymouth Switchers that I thought looked pretty cool and have somewhat unique look. None of the descriptions went beyond the item description and I was hoping to find out what makes a switcher...a "Plymouth Switcher". I have never seen one in a yard or in service and hope to find out more on these.

Switching gears a bit to K-Line, they seem pretty priced fairly and it looks like they sell pretty good. Anyone own one of these?

Thanks in advance!


these are usually small industrial switchers built by plymouth, never any heavy mainline engines. A few varieties for standard and narrow gauge.


Plymouth was a company that made industrial switchers, it's a brand name.

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BN Modeller
I had two Plymouths but parted one out and scrapped the carcass.
I still have the little red one and hope to restore it one of these days.
Both have gas engines and geared transmissions.



Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I know what a switcher does ... I have never seen one in a yard or in service
I would guess that one of these has never worked a yard. They are way too small and too light for that. These would have been used mainly like the trackmobiles of today would be. To move a few cars through a un/loading shoot at an industry, or maybe move a car from one loading place to another or a marshaling area. I think there was a larger unit that was actually used by some steel mills, but Plymouth was never a major player. The only one I've ever seen is on display inside of the Caboose Hobbies store. That is how small most were.


Beach Bum
RedRyder 77 writes: "Switching gears a bit to K-Line, they seem pretty priced fairly and it looks like they sell pretty good. Anyone own one of these?"

I have one K-Line steamer, basically from a starter set I bought to go around the Christmas tree. It runs OK, but I would prefer Williams (Bachmann). My experience, is limited though. Another random thought is that the K-Line stuff somewhat resembles the Marx stuff I had in the '60s, before I migrated to HO.


BN Modeller
The yellow one in the photo came from a sand pit operation and the wee red beastie worked a cement plant.
They were pretty much used like a trackmobile as IH mentioned.
There's a website all about critters and such but can't remember the name of it.


I have a web page on very short railroads at http://www.trainweb.org/lfnwfan/html/veryshortlines.htm Some very small Plymouths were used on some of these, including the Cotton Plant-Fargo, Stewartstown, Strasburg (in its earlier life), Pioneer & Fayette, Parr Terminal, Virginia Central and Muncie & Western. Broadway Limited is coming out with a larger 6-wheel version that is similar to a loco used by the Pacific Electric.


Back 100 years ago those Plymouth's were sold is being able to handle small trains. Of course many cars were 20-30-40 tons at the time. As cars got heavier they were less able to handle trains and relegated to short cuts of cars. The main advantage was being able to save fuel when not in use. Steam locomotive's can't really be shut off. So if your industry needs sporadic service you must constantly feed a steam locomotive. Strasburg still has one. But it can't really handle modern 125 ton cars that they are using now.

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