Center Cab (44 Ton)
The Center Cab switcher -- sometimes referred to by collectors as a 44-Ton diesel -- was a diesel-electric built by General Electric between 1940 and 1956. It was designed for industrial and light switching duties and was created to directly address a 1937 "90,000 Pound Ruling” law requiring locomotives weighing over 90,000 pounds to have a fireman on board in addition to an engineer. The GE 44-ton locomotive was born to skirt this requirement (since it only weighed 88,000 pounds) and save the salary of an additional fireman on the locomotive. In total, approximately 275 of these locomotives were built.
Lionel’s model is a fairly good representation of its real life counterpart – except for its length. For this locomotive to be closer to scale, it should be about half or two-thirds the length of the current version. The 44-ton locomotive only lasted for two years in the Lionel catalogue; 1956 & 1957.