GE 44-ton switcher

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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
Model 44-ton switcher
Build date 1940–1956
Total produced 386
Specifications
AAR wheel arr. B-B
UIC classification Bo′Bo′
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Locomotive weight 44 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.
Engine RPM range D17000: 1,000 (max)
6DH1742: 1,050 (max)
DFXD: 1,600 (max)
D342: 1,200 (max)
Engine type D17000: V8 diesel
All others: 6-cyl diesel
Aspiration Normally aspirated
Traction motors Four
Cylinders D17000: 8
All others: 6
Cylinder size D17000: 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 output 360 to 400 hp (270 to 300 kW)
Career
Locale North America, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South America, 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 labour 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, 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[edit]

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[edit]

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 Government. 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.

Australia[edit]

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[edit]

United States[edit]

Canada[edit]

Sweden[edit]

Australia[edit]

Commonwealth Locomotive DE91 after restoration at the National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide, South Australia

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Company. p. 158. ISBN 0-89024-026-4. 
  2. ^ Southern Prairie Railway
  3. ^ Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum

External links[edit]