The NW2 switcher is a 1,000 hp locomotive manufactured by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD). The first NW2 rolled off the assembly line in February 1939 and production continued until December 1949. During the 11 year production run, approximately 1,150 NW2 switchers were produced.
At the time of the switcher's production, EMD was quickly becoming the industry leader in diesel locomotives. The success, power and popularity of this locomotive, almost by itself, spelled the end of the steam locomotive. Even today, many of the resilient NW2 diesel switchers carry on and can be seen in industrial settings, small short lines and even tourist lines.
Lionel's early NW2 switchers (produced from 1949 through 1954) were extremely durable, dependable and had plenty of detail including die cast frames and truck sides. They were smooth runners, reliable locomotives and preferred by operators. When Lionel revamped the NW2 for the 1955 product line, a lower quality motor was introduced and a significant amount of detail was eliminated from the exterior.