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Your photo above was the before, and here is the after...

Norfolk Southern Center Cab switcher

I made a new frame out of styrene braced with basswood to lower the overall height of the engine. I removed all the molded outward door lines (which was a lot of work!) and made some facia suggested side doors out of styrene. Decaling was much easier minus those molded door lines on the loco shell as was. I also removed the grill detail on each end of the loco for the NS nose herald. I filled in the holes where those flimsy plastic warped handrails go, and put window screen on the deck to suggest treadplate. And I enlarged the headlight holes in each end of the cab to accept an actual light bulb, so the headlights show up very nicely.

Runs just fine too. Though I've never referred to these as 44 ton switchers (as really they aren't ) but instead I call mine "center cab" switchers.

I have another one done in Conrail with a slightly different approach that I need to get up into my thread linked below.


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  • Norfolk Southern Center Cab switcher
Last edited by brianel_k-lineguy

Hi Brianel,

Thanks for your reply!  You really put a lot of work into that engine and it shows.

I was concerned with how the engine operated...can motors or other?

It definitely needs the hand rails removed and body lowered. I'm a Rock Island modeler so the paint and logo might get by...I'd have to see the physical engine.  

It has transverse-mounted can motors in the trucks, same as other modern era Lionel O-27 diesels. Can't remember if it is one motor or two (mine is packed away at the moment).

This model is the same size as Lionel's postwar 44-tonner, which many jokingly call an "88-tonner" because it is grossly oversized. (GE did make a center-cab 90 ton locomotive, and this is about an inch too long even for that).

According to, the Rock Island never owned a GE 44-ton switcher, but it did have a handful of similar-looking switchers built by Whitcomb, numbered 367-371. (It's little touches like that -- wrong everything, but went through the trouble to look up a prototypical cab number -- that I find so endearing in this era of Lionel production.)

Last edited by nickaix

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