Although many people think of the GE 44-ton as an industrial engine, it was actually designed for common-carrier service. The 1937 diesel agreement ruled that any engine weighing over 90,000 lbs required a fireman. The 44-tonner weighed in at 88,000 lbs, just under the limit. Industrial roads had no such restrictions and could run as big a locomotive as they wished without a fireman.
385 of these locomotives were built starting in 1940, with 9 going to Canada and 5 to Mexico. Of interest are 7 units that went to Uruguay, 3 wide gauge units that went to India for a dam project, 2 units that went to Trinidad, 9 that went to various sugar plantations in Cuba and 5 that went to the Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia. 239 of these locomotives went to Class I railroads.
They were built in 11 phases with slight changes being made with each phase. A little over 90% of these engines were built with two Model D17000 Caterpillar V8 power plants. Other prime movers included the Hercules DFXD 6 cylinder; the Buda 6DH1742 and the Caterpillar 342 6-cylinder. The first GE 44-tonner was delivered on 4 September 1940, carried s/n #12908, and went to the CB&Q as their 9103. The last was delivered to the Dansville & Mt. Morris in Dansville, NY as their 1 on 19 October 1956 and carried s/n #32664.