GE 45-ton switcher

GE 45-Ton Switcher

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GE 45-ton switcher

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The GE 45-ton switcher is a 4-axle diesel locomotive built by GE between 1940 and 1956.


The locomotive was equipped with two Cummins diesel engines, each driving a generator which, in turn, drove one of the two traction motors, one per truck. In early models, the second axle on each truck was driven with side rods. Later models had chain drives inside the trucks that served the same purpose.

A traditional train air brake was optional, but all came with two compressors (one per engine) and a straight-air independent (locomotive) brake. The cabs were spacious for the size of the locomotive, and both the engineer's seat and the fireman's seat were raised two feet on platforms (under which was the brake equipment, if applicable), so as to afford better views during switching.


The GE 45-ton was extremely versatile and many variants existed. It has a high weight to power ratio, and has excellent traction, rated to be able to pull 20 loaded freight cars on level track. They were built with a short wheelbase for use in industrial plants, yards, and other places where clearances were tight. Although intended as switcher, they sometimes served mainline duties, although nearly all had an imposed speed limit of due to the double reduction gearing of their traction motors.

Current owners and operators

The Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railway operates two of these locomotives on a regular revenue basis. The Lake Superior And Mississippi railroad of Duluth,......
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