GE 44-ton switcher Information

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GE 44-ton switcher
General Electric 44-ton switcher.jpg
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder GE Transportation Systems
Model44-ton switcher
Build dateSeptember 1940–October 1956
Total produced386
 •  AARB-B
 •  UICBo′Bo′
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Loco weight44 short tons (39 long tons; 40 t)
Prime mover Caterpillar D17000 (2 off) except:
Hercules DFXD (2 off) 9 locomotives;
Buda 6DH1742 (2 off) 10 locomotives;
Caterpillar D342 (2 off) 4 locomotives.
RPM rangeD17000: 1,000 (max)
6DH1742: 1,050 (max)
DFXD: 1,600 (max)
D342: 1,200 (max)
Engine typeD17000: V8 diesel
All others: 6-cyl diesel
AspirationNaturally aspirated
Traction motorsFour
CylindersD17000: 8
All others: 6
Cylinder sizeD17000: 5.75 in × 8 in (146 mm × 203 mm)
6DH1742: 6.5 in × 8.375 in (165 mm × 213 mm)
DFXD: 5.5 in × 6 in (139.700 mm × 152.400 mm)
D342: 5.75 in × 8 in (146.050 mm × 203.200 mm)
Performance figures
Power output360 to 400 hp (270 to 300 kW)
Locale North America, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South America,costa rica,puerto limon India, France, Sweden .

The GE 44-ton switcher is a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Electric between 1940 and 1956. It was designed for industrial and light switching duties, often replacing steam locomotives that had previously been assigned these chores. This locomotive's specific 44- short ton weight was directly related to one of the efficiencies the new diesel locomotives offered compared to their steam counterparts: reduced labor intensity. In the 1940s, the steam to diesel transition was in its infancy in North America, and railroad unions were trying to protect the locomotive fireman jobs that were redundant with diesel units. One measure taken to this end was the 1937 so-called "90,000 Pound Rule" :[ citation needed] a stipulation that locomotives weighing 90,000 pounds (41,000 kg) – 45 short tons – or more required a fireman in addition to an engineer on common carrier railroads. Industrial and military railroads had no such stipulation. The 44-ton locomotive was born to skirt this requirement. Other manufacturers also built 44-ton switchers of center-cab configuration. 276 examples of this locomotive were built for U. S. railroads and industrial concerns, four were exported to Australia in 1944, 10 were exported to Canada, 10 were exported to Cuba, one was exported to the Dominican Republic, five were exported to France, three were exported to India, six were exported to Mexico, five were exported to Saudi Arabia, one was exported to Sweden, two were exported to Trinidad, 10 were exported to Uruguay, and 57 were built for the U. S. Military. Many remain, in service and in museums.

Prime mover options

The locomotives were available with a choice of prime movers. Most were built with a pair of Caterpillar's D17000 V8 180 horsepower (134 kW) engines, but three other engines types were used. Nine were built with a pair of Hercules DFXD engines, and were sold to Chattanooga Traction (2) and Missouri Pacific Railroad and its subsidiaries (7). Ten were built with a pair of the slightly more powerful Buda 6DH1742, rated at 200 horsepower (150 kW) each. The last four locomotives built had Caterpillar D342 engines, and were sold to Canadian National Railways (3) and the Dansville and Mount Morris Railroad (1).

Military version

During the Second World War GE produced a "Drop Cab" variant of the 44-ton locomotives for the US Armed Forces. These appeared similar to the standard 44-ton but had a lower cab for European clearances, and large boxes next to the cab, on the front right, and back left running boards, housing the air compressors (housed under the cab on standard versions). Most of these military variants were ballasted to an actual weight of 45 tons. [1] A total of 91 Military 45-ton Drop Cabs were built with 31 of those sold to the Indian Railways. Additional narrow gauge drop cabs were built to a 47-ton rating for the military and export.

Twelve Drop Cab 45-ton locomotives were bought by the Portuguese Railway (CP - Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses) in 1949, with the Iberian broad gauge of 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 2132 in). Numbered 1101 to 1112, after some initial use as light road engines, they spent most of their lives as switchers at the southern region main stations. The series is withdrawn but one example is preserved at the National Railroad Museum ( Fundação Museu Nacional Ferroviário Armando Ginestal Machado) at Entroncamento.


Forty-seven locomotives were bought by the US Military, and four of them were exported to Australia. All saw service on the New South Wales Government Railways as the 79 class, before two of them were sold to Commonwealth Railways, becoming the DE class.

Preserved examples

United States





Hunosa Nº2, which used to work at the Sueros Coal Washing Facility in Mieres, Asturias, is in operational condition at the Asturian Railway Museum in Gijón, Asturias.


  1. ^ Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Company. p. 158. ISBN  0-89024-026-4.
  2. ^ (1) Harwood, Herbert H., Jr. (April 2000). Rails to the Blue Ridge: The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, 1847 – 1968 (PDF) (3rd ed.). Fairfax Station, Virginia: Northern Virginia Parks Authority. p. 137. ISBN  0615114539. LCCN  77104382. OCLC  44685168. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2017. 47: GE 44-ton (380 hp); built 12/41; c.n. 15041. W&OD's first diesel. Sold 1950 to Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville (#30); resold to Cargill, Inc., Houston, Texas 1967 In Appendix K of Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority - Pre-filed Direct Testimony of Mr. Hafner, Mr. Mcray and Mr. Simmons, November 30, 2005 (Part 5), Case No. PUE-2005-00018, Virginia State Corporation Commission. Obtained in "Case Docket Search". Virginia State Corporation Commission. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
    (2) "GE 44-Ton Number 30". Number 30. The Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. Photographs of the former W&OD 47 as FJGRR 30, on the Great Western Railway of Colorado and as BJRY 44.
    (3) Zygmunt, Chris (8 June 2012). "BJRY 44". LocoPhotos: Comprehensive Locomotive Archiving. Burlington, Iowa: Jack Hilton. Archived from the original on 18 September 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014. Lineage: ex GWR 44, ex Cargill, ex FJG 30, ex WOD 47
    (4) Zygmunt, Chris (8 June 2012). "Burlington Junction Railway No. 44 (with 2013-02-24 comment by Jack M. Jakeman: "This was the locomotive that the railroad was started with.")". RailPictures.Net. Burlington, Iowa. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
    (5) "Profiles of Railroads Operating in Iowa". Rail System Plan: Appendix A. Ames, Iowa: Iowa Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
    (6) Lewis, Edward A. (1996). Burlington Junction Railway. American Shoreline Railway Guide (5th ed.). Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing Company. p. 53. ISBN  0890242909. LCCN  96215170. OCLC  35286187. Retrieved 23 December 2017 – via Google Books.
    (7) Miller, Gerry; Sink, Tom; Zygmunt, Chris (8 June 2012). "Photographs of BJRY 44". RailPictures.Net. Burlington and West Burlington, Iowa. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
    (8) Rumbut, Kris (11 September 2014). "BJRY 44". Pictures of BJRY 44. Burlington, Iowa: RR Pictures Archive.Net. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
    (9) Mackey, Dan (5 August 2018). "BRJY 44". Burlington, Iowa: Flickr. Archived from the original on 7 June 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  3. ^ Southern Prairie Railway
  4. ^ Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum
  5. ^ PSTR Locomotives

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