Brand "X" 40 to 50-Ton Locomotives

Rock Island #364 Davenport 44-Tonner (Built: May 1940) -- Owen Leander photo (R. Craig collection)

General Electric was by far the most prolific builder of small and industrial locomotives in North America. When it came to 40/50-ton critters, GE clearly dominated the market. However, there were other competing companies; the U.S. Government made sure of that by periodically awarding contracts to other locomotive builders. The exact number of 40/50-ton units built under those contracts has not been determined; but it was substantial enough to keep the doors of some manufacturers open for several years. The list of builders included such familiar names as Atlas, Davenport, Porter, Plymouth and Whitcomb, along with a couple not so familiar names -- Euclid and Midwest.

There should be no surprise that the various design put forth by many of the manufacturers took on a similar appearance, given they were often bidding based on the same plans and specifications. It is this similarity among manufactured models that makes critter identification a challenge.

Once again, the intent here is to make that challenge a easier -- Enjoy.

Spotting Features of Center Cabs from Different Builders
Atlas Car & Manufacturing 50-Ton
Warwick Railway #104
George W. Turnbull photo
  1. Downward sloping hood
  2. Very boxy appearance, with square windows
  3. Headlight on top of hood
  4. Radiator screen at front and rear hoods
  5. Six louvered engine access doors on hood
  6. Radial coupler
  7. Large side-rod trucks
  8. Built: 1934-1944?
Canadian Locomotive Co. 44-Ton D-TC
Coleman Colliers #DL10
Doug Cummings photo 
  1. Resembles a GE 44-Tonner at first glance
  2. Twin-beam headlight above radiator shutters
  3. Cab-roof overhang
  4. Single window on cab sides
  5. small "front porch"
  6. Side-rod Trucks
  7. Built: Mid-1950s
Davenport - 44/45-Ton
Nicholson Metals 
Ray Sabo photo 
  1. Closely resembles Whitcomb 44-Tonner
  2. 44-Tonner & 45-Tonner share common carbody design and frame
  3. Two-piece radiator grille w/ith "Davenport" stamped on spline sometimes.
  4. Handrail above engine access doors
  5. Horizontal row of ventilation openings above handrails (and sometimes below)
  6. Small "front porch"
  7. Outside drop-equalizer trucks (44-Tonner); side-rod trucks (45-tonner)
  8. Built: 1939-1942
Davenport - DE44
AG Partners no# 
William Ford photo
  1. Very boxy appearance
  2. Raised cab (3-steps) with flat-roof cab & overhangs
  3. Twin-beam headlight above radiator
  4. A pair of radiator (?) screens along hood roof.
  5. Two short air cleaners on hood roof
  6. End platform with staircase steps
  7. Outside drop-equalizer trucks
  8. 20 Built for military during Korean War
Electro-Motive Division - Model 40
Walkersville #Southern 101  
Photo courtesy of Walkersville Southern
  1. Only 11 Built
  2. Four-wheel rigid-frame switcher
  3. Standard EMD switcher cab
  4. Stubby looking hoods
  5. Single pair of engine access doors
  6. Thin or skirted frame
  7. Built: 1940-1943
Electro-Motive Division - GMDH-1
General Motors Diesel Division #5921
Joe Brockmeyer photo
  1. Only five built (40-Tons)
  2. Two standard four-wheel trucks
  3. Twin headlight and number-board cluster in flared nose-pod
  4. Wide frame skirt with fuel filler cap centered below cab
  5. Hydraulic transmission
  6. Built: 1956-1960
Euclid Road Machinery 40/55-Ton
Vulcan Material
Harry L. Juday photo  
  1. 55-Tonner and 40-Tonner share a common carbody style
  2. Four-wheel rigid-frame switcher
  3. Twin 150-hp engines (single engine in 40-Tonner)
  4. Thinner frame on 40-Tonner
  5. Split-cab window
  6. No "front porch"
  7. Engine access doors heavily louvered
  8. Built: 1935-1949?
Plymouth 50-Ton
Marrble Cliff Quarries #25
Ray Sabo photo
  1. Very thick frame
  2. Large shroud around engine exhaust
  3. Large headlight on top of hood
  4. Vertical radiator shutters
  5. Large "front porch"
  6. Chain driven with round traction motor housing on one truck
  7. Built; 1942-1953
Porter 45-Ton
Delaware VM #2
Alan Miller photo 
  1. Round headlight above radiator shutter
  2. Large side window area
  3. Hood doors wih louvers
  4. Small "front porch"
  5. Side-rod trucks
  6. Small clesstory added to hood after 1945
  7. Built: 1941-1950
Vulcan Iron Works 50-Ton
Indiana grain no# 
Chuck Zeiler photo
  1. Round headlight in front of exhaust stack
  2. Radiator shutters slope down & forward
  3. Hood with four engine-access doors & louvers
  4. Thick frame with tiny end platforms
  5. Ladder steps at end of platform
  6. Side-rod trucks
  7. Built: 1944
Whitcomb 44-Tonner
Massachusetts Central #401
George W. Turnbull photo 
  1. Closely resembles Davenport 44-Tonner
  2. Outside drop-equalizer trucks (44-Tonner)
  3. Two-piece radiator grille w/ith "Whitcomb" stamped on spline.
  4. Handrail above engine access doors
  5. Horizontal row of ventilation openings above handrails (and sometimes below)
  6. Small "front porch"
  7. Built: 1939-1942
Whitcomb 45-Ton
Cargill #4
Krambles/Peterson Archives 
  1. "Whitcomb" stamped on center spline of radiator grille
  2. Large headlight on top of hood
  3. Double row of louvers on engine access doors
  4. Vertical row of openings above access doors
  5. small "front porch"
  6. Side-rod trucks
  7. Some built by Canadian Locomotive Co.
  8. Built: 1941-1945 (based on military Specs)
Whitcomb 50-Tonner
Claredon Pittsford #11
George W. Turnbull photo 
  1. Squarish looking cab
  2. Some models with drop cabs and no windows above hood
  3. Headlight and grab iron above split-radiator shutter
  4. Small end platform
  5. Six engine access doors with louvers on hoods
  6. Outside drop-equalizer trucks (44-Tonner)
Notes and Reference sources:
  1. Critters, Dinkys & Centercabs by Jay Reed
  3. The Second Diesel Spotters Guide by Jerry A. Pinkepank
  4. Locomotive Encyclopedia (1956) by Simons-Boardman
Formatted by: R.Craig

Expanded: 28 August 2023 / New: 1 December 2019

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