FM H-20-44

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FM H-20-44
Union Pacific -1366.jpg
An FM H-20-44 road switcher, retired Union Pacific #1366, now at the Illinois Railway Museum.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Fairbanks-Morse
Model H-20-44
Build date June 1947 — March 1954
Total produced 96
AAR wheel arr. B-B
UIC class B′B′
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Length 51 ft 0 in (15.54 m)
Loco weight 254,000 lb (115.2 tonnes)
Prime mover FM 38D-10
Engine type Two-stroke diesel
Aspiration Roots blower
Displacement 10,369 cu in (169,920 cm3)
Cylinders 10 (Opposed piston)
Cylinder size 8.125 in × 10 in (206 mm × 254 mm)
Transmission DC generator,
DC traction motors
Loco brake Straight air
Train brakes Air
Performance figures
Maximum speed 70 mph (113 km/h)
Power output 2,000 hp (1.49 MW)
Tractive effort 42,125 lbf (187.38 kN)
Locale North America
Disposition Three preserved, remainder scrapped

The FM H-20-44 was a multiple unit-capable end cab road switcher manufactured by Fairbanks-Morse from June 1947 – March 1954, and represented the company's first foray into the road switcher market. The 2,000 hp (1,490 kW), ten-cylinder opposed piston engine locomotive was referred to by F-M's engineering department as the "Heavy Duty" unit. It was configured in a B-B wheel arrangement mounted atop a pair of two-axle AAR Type-B road trucks with all axles powered. H-20-44s shared the same platform and much of the same carbody as the lighter-duty FM H-15-44, which began its production run three months later.

In the same manner as other F-M switcher models, the H-20-44 started out displaying a variety of Raymond Loewy-inspired contours, only to have the majority of these superfluous trim features stripped from the last few units built as a cost-cutting measure. Only 96 units were built for American railroads, as few firms saw sufficient value in moving freight in greater quantities or at a higher speeds than was possible with the typical 1,500- and 1,600 horsepower (1,200 kW) four-axle road switchers of the era. Also limiting the model's utility as a true road unit was its lack of a short hood, which the (ironically) lighter-duty H-15-44 did have. Three intact examples of the H-20-44 are known to survive today; all are the property of railroad museums.

Units produced[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad 6 500–505
Fairbanks-Morse (demonstrator units) 1 2000 (Builder's #L1032; sold to the UP and assigned #DS1366)
New York Central Railroad 19 7100–7118
Pennsylvania Railroad 38 8917–8942, 9300–9311
Pittsburgh and West Virginia 22 50–71
Union Pacific 10 DS1360–DS1365,


Further reading[edit]

  • Sweetland, David R. (1999). Erie-builts and H20-44s: Fairbanks-Morse’s 2,000-Horsepower Pioneers. Withers Publishing, Halifax, PA. ISBN 1-881411-22-2. 

External links[edit]