GE 44-ton switcher
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|GE 44-ton switcher|
|Type and origin|
|Builder||GE Transportation Systems|
|AAR wheel arr.||B-B|
|Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 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
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)
|Power output||360 to 400 hp (270 to 300 kW)|
|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" : 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
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).
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. 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 21⁄32 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.
- Arcade and Attica Railroad in Arcade, NY shifted all operations to diesel in 1941 with the purchase of 44ton No110. Six years later a wreck forced them to send the engine back to Erie for repairs. At that time they purchased a second engine (ARA No 111) and scrapped their last remaining backup steam engine. ARA110 today is a static display while ARA111 remains operational for freight duties, playing second string to 65-ton ARA 112.
- The Media:The Railway Museum of San Angelo in San Angelo, TX displays the GE 44 ton repainted and lettered in Santa Fe Tiger Strips as number 461 was formerly the U.S. Air Force Number 31879 out of Carswell Air Force Base. Build date February 1953
- The Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California is the home of Quincy Railroad 3 . No. 3 was leased by the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in Virginia City, Nevada in 2002 when its two steam locomotives went down for restoration. It was sent back when the railroad got another GE switcher. This 44 ton engine replaced steam power on this shortline railroad. The WPRM is also home to Quincy 4, an Alco S1 switcher that replaced QRR 3. The WPRM recently received a donation of 44 tonner Tidewater Southern 735.
- The Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad in Duluth, MN uses a loco formally used at the Lac de Flambeau paper mill.
- The Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum in Parrish, Florida owns and operates former US Navy 65-00345, originally assigned to NAS Jacksonville.
- The Pacific Locomotive Association in Sunol, CA owns ATSF 462 which is out of service awaiting restoration. It is stored at PLA's Brightside Yard in Niles Canyon, CA.
- The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento runs the Sacramento Southern Railroad Number 1240, formerly the U.S. Air Force Number 1240 out of McClellan Air Force Base.
- The Southeastern Railway Museum at Duluth, Georgia has the former New York, Ontario and Western Railway #104(pictured), and Hartwell Railway #2
- The Western Railway Museum near Suisun, CA. is the home of Sacramento Northern 146, Visalia Electric 502 and Salt Lake, Garfield and Western (Saltair) DS-2. The 502 is operational. The 146 is now undergoing restoration, Saltair DS-2 is on display and may be restored later.
- The Danbury Railway Museum in Danbury, CT has two of these locos one under restoration (ex New Haven Railroad) and one currently operational (ex Union Pacific)
- The Delaware & Ulster Railroad currently has former Western Maryland 76 in storage at their yard in Arkville, New York.
- The Heber Valley Railroad in Heber City, UT has one of these in operation giving daily tourist trips down Provo Canyon in Utah
- The Burlington Junction Railroad of Burlington, IA owns an ex-Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad 44 tonner that operates about once a month in West Burlington, IA
- The Southern Michigan Railroad Society in Clinton, MI operates former Western Maryland Railway unit #75 on tourist trips between Clinton, Tecumseh, and Raisin Center along the former Jacksonburgh and Palmyra Railroad.
- The Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville, IN owns former Nickel Plate Road 44T #91
- The Charlotte Southern in Charlotte, MI. operates the last 44 ton GE ever built. Ex-Danville & Mount Morris #1. List in the Diesel Spotters Guide (Kalmbach Publishing).
- The Toledo, Lake Erie, and Western owns one 44-tonner, #1, Ex-Dundee Cement 951901, and née-Ann Arbor Railroad #1. Currently, it is sitting in its yard in Grand Rapids, Ohio, along with a Baldwin 0-6-0 steam locomotive. Both are currently being restored.
- The Yuma Valley Railway (located in Yuma, AZ, currently not operating) owns two 44-ton locomotives, respectively built in 1943 for the United States Marine Corps and in 1953. One locomotive, No. 3, was sold to the Virginia & Truckee Railroad in Virginia City, Nevada along with three passenger cars.
- The Roundhouse Railroad Museum in Savannah, Georgia acquired the ex-B&M No. 119 and ex-US Army 7069 from the Claremont Concord Railroad in 2010.
- The Southern Railroad of New Jersey currently rosters two 44-tonners. One, the former New York Ontario & Western Railway 105 has been restored to its original paint scheme.
- The Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania, an excursion line with historic equipment, acquired former Pennsylvania Railroad 44-tonner 9331 in 1966 after leasing it from the PRR since 1961. It remains on the railroad but is currently considered retired after being replaced by an SW8 acquired in 2009. In 2013, 9331 was donated to the Walkersville Southern Railroad.
- The Timber Heritage Association in Samoa, California owns the Arcata and Mad River #101, a 44 tonner which used to haul lumber loads from Korbel to Arcata, California on the Arcata and Mad River Railroad. This unit is operational, and is part of the planned Humboldt Bay Scenic Railroad for tourists using the non-operational Northwestern Pacific Railroad around Humboldt Bay.
- The Walkersville Southern Railroad in Maryland has a privately owned ex-Pennsylvania Railroad 44-tonner, 9339, acquired from the South Carolina Railroad Museum in 2011 and owns an ex-PRR 44-Tonner 9331, acquired form Strasburg Railroad in 2013.
- Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, Saskatchewan, Canada has purchased former Maine Central Railroad #15 from Conway Scenic Railway in New Hampshire and intends to use the 1945 44-tonner to offer tourist trips down the Red Coat Line in Southern Saskatchewan.
- The Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia features a former Canadian National Railways 44-ton unit.
- The two 44-tonners from the ironworks in Hofors and Domnarvet is preserved by a railway society in Falun, Dalarna.
- 7921 which was sold to Commonwealth Railways as DE90 is preserved by the NSWRTM at Thrilmere and renumbered as 7921.
- DE91 which was 7922 with the NSWGR which was sold to Commonwealth Railways is preserved at the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide, South Australia. It was cosmetically restored in 2014 to the Commonwealth Railways Blue Black livery.
- Extra 2200 South Issues 51 March April 1975 and 52 May June 1975
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