The Lionel O Scale GE 44 Ton Switcher Southern 1955 models the General Electric 44 Ton Switcher. General Electric produced 276 units between 1940 and 1956.These diesel switchers were replacing steam switchers which they could outperform, mainly working in freight yards and on industrial sidings. The 4 axle GE 44 Ton Switcher had a Caterpillar D17000 prime mover with 8 cylinders that generated 180 hp. General Electric Company, the huge manufacturing giant, began building pioneering diesel locomotives as early as 1918. Up until 1956 GE partnered with the American Locomotive Company, which resulted in GE not aggressively seeking the diesel locomotive market. Since GE broke its partnership with Alco in 1956, through improving technology the company is now the leading builder of diesel locomotives in North America.(Note: With rail unions fearing job losses from diesel locomotive conversion, a "90,000" pound rule was implemented in 1937 to require a fireman in locomotives of 45 short tons or greater. GE's answer for the railroads was the 44 Tonner!)
Historical Fact: The 44 Ton Switcher was a war hero. General Electric designed a version of this engine with a lower cab for tighter European clearances that was used by the United States Armed Forces during World War II.
Road Name and History:
Southern Railway: Starting with the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road company in 1827, Southern Railway grew from the consolidation of over 150 railroad companies in the Southeastern US. The Richmond & Danville had expanded its operations in the South, but overexpansion lead to financial issues. J. P. Morgan reorganized the R & D into the Southern Railway System in 1893, which was expanded in 1894 with the addition of other key routes. The Southern was a very progressive railroad, and during the 20th Century it lead the rail industry in dieselization, use of computers, unit trains, the "Big John" hopper car, and many other ideas. In 1982 the very strong Southern Railway and the very strong Norfolk & Western Railway merged to form Norfolk Southern, which became one of the two dominant rail systems in the Eastern US.
Historical Fact: Switchers like the S2 proved the flexibility and superior performance of the diesel engine for yard and switching jobs before the railroads took the leap into diesel for main line freight operations.
Recommended for Ages 14 and Up.
Minumum radius O-31
Length: 11 1/2"
Model Trains since 1900.