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FM "H16-44" Locomotives

Last revised: February 7, 2024

By: Adam Burns

The H16-44 would prove the builder's most successful road-switcher of the five it ultimately cataloged.  

Not only did this particularly locomotive see strong sales but the company also found a variety of buyers including foreign lines in Mexico as well as orders through its subsidiary, the Canadian Locomotive Company.

The H16-44 was virtually identical to its sister model, the H15-44, save for a slight increase in horsepower, which came to be a strong selling point for the model.

Fairbanks-Morse's four axle road-switchers were actually quite similar to its standard switcher line except for the location of the cab; switcher cabs were always located at end of the carbody while road switchers' were off-set allowing for a short, high hood. 

The success of this model is somewhat surprising given FM's struggles in the road-switcher market. 

It attempted to offer the very powerful H24-66 "Train Master" but the model failed to gain much interest, along with the builder's other road-switchers. 

Baldwin and American Locomotive saw similar struggles attempting to break Electro-Motive's monopoly of that era.  Despite the many H16-44s built and sold just three remain preserved today; none of which are extant in the United States.


349620935923876726983490379038.jpgPennsylvania H16-44 #5158 is seen here in Chicago between assignments during the summer of 1966. Fred Byerly photo. American-Rails.com collection.


The H16-44 began production in the spring of 1950, following the earlier H15-44 model. It utilized Fairbanks Morse standard 2-cycle 38D8 1/8 opposed piston prime mover which could produce a slight increase of 1,600 horsepower.

It used swing bolster, drop-side equalizer trucks, commonly found on all of its four-axle road switchers. 

The exterior of the H16-44 was the work of industrial designer Raymond Loewy who gave the road-switcher soft, beveled touches and clean lines.

It actually looked quite nice and overall was similar to the enhancements Loewy applied to Baldwin-built road switchers, such as its Standard line of the early 1950s.

New Haven H16-44 #594 (built as #564) lays over at the Charles Street Roundhouse in Providence, Rhode Island in 1955. American-Rails.com collection.

During production, FM was forced to find a new supplier for electrical equipment (such as traction motors, generators, auxiliary generators, etc.) as Westinghouse ended manufacturing these components.

The move was somewhat surprising considering the company's traction motors were rugged and of very high quality.  They have even been argued as superior to Electro-Motive's products at the time.

This discontinuance also hurt Baldwin, then a Westinghouse subsidiary, which relied on its equipment.  As a result of the decision, FM began outsourcing to General Electric in 1954.

285864093747396806893897489.jpgMilwaukee Road H16-44's #405, #410, and #435 at Portage, Wisconsin in September of 1964. Fred Byerly photo. American-Rails.com collection.

Data Sheet and Specifications

(Westinghouse Equipment)

Entered Production4/1950 (Missouri-Kansas-Texas #1591)
Years Produced4/1950 - 9/1954*
Fairbanks-Morse ClassH16-44
Engine38D8 1/8, 8-cylinder Opposed-Piston
Engine BuilderFairbanks-Morse
Carbody StylingRaymond Loewy
Length (Inside Couplers)54'
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)14' 6"
Width10' 4"
Weight240,000 Lbs
Truck TypeGSC Swing Bolster, Drop-Side Equalizer
Truck Wheelbase9' 4"
Wheel Size42"
Traction Motors362F (4), Westinghouse
Traction Generator472A, Westinghouse
Auxiliary GeneratorYG45D, Westinghouse
MU (Multiple-Unit)Yes
Gear Ratio63:15, 62:17, 60:19
Tractive Effort48,600 Lbs at 9.9 mph (63:15); 42,200 Lbs at 11.4 mph (62:17); 32,000 Lbs at 14.0 mph (60:19)
Top Speed70 mph (63:15), 80 mph (62:17), 85 mph (60:19)

* The final locomotive to be out-shopped with Westinghouse equipment was Milwaukee Road #2462.

(General Electric Equipment)

Entered Production6/1954 (Virginian Railway #10)
Years Produced6/1954 - 2/1959*
Fairbanks-Morse ClassH16-44
Engine38D8 1/8, 8-cylinder Opposed-Piston
Engine BuilderFairbanks-Morse
Carbody StylingRaymond Loewy
Length (Inside Couplers)55'**
Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)14' 6"
Width10' 4"
Weight240,000 Lbs
Truck TypeGSC Swing Bolster, Drop-Side Equalizer
Truck Wheelbase9' 4"
Wheel Size40" (42" Optional)
Traction MotorsGE752E1 (4), GE
Traction GeneratorGT567C1, GE
Auxiliary GeneratorGY43A, GE
MU (Multiple-Unit)Yes
Gear RatioSee Table Below
Tractive EffortSee Table Below
Top SpeedSee Table Below

* Production of the H16-44 officially ended in February, 1959 when FM discontinued locomotive production following the completion of Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico #509-513.

However, the company returned to FM and asked for an additional eighteen H16-44's (along with one H12-44), which were completed between December, 1960 and March, 1963.

** Beginning with Virginian Railway #10, the H16-44 featured the same carbody as the big H24-66 "Train Masters."  Forty-four H16-44's were built before the carbody was increased to 55' 4" (Virginian #16).

Of note, Milwaukee Road #2458-2462 were equipped with Westinghouse electrical gearing.

9012872357273426u1j17010677.jpgNorfolk & Western H16-44's (ex-Virginian) switch hoppers at Lamberts Point in Norfolk, Virginia, circa 1968. American-Rails.com collection.


GE Equipment

Gear Ratio Wheel Diameter Maximum Speed Continuous Tractive Effort (Lbs) Continuous TE Rating Speed (MPH)

Production Rosters


Total Built = 241

Owner Road Number Construction Number Contract Number Completion Date Quantity
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy)159116L369LD894/19501
New Haven560-56316L279-16L282LD9911/19504
New Haven56416L283LD9911/19501
Central Railroad Of New Jersey1514-151716L304-16L307LD917/19504
New Haven56516L308LD9911/19501
Southern Railway2146-215016L310-16L314LD12012/19515
New Haven56616L315LD9911/19501
New Haven567-56916L316-16L318LD9912/19503
Southern Railway6545-655016L319-16L324LD10012/19506
Union PacificDS1340-DS134216L370-16L372LD1108/19503
Long Island Rail Road150116L373LD11510/19511
Long Island Rail Road1502, 1504-150916L407-16L413LD11510/19517
New York Central7000-700816L414-16L422LD1187/19519
New York Central7009-701216L423-16L426LD11810/19514
Santa Fe2800-280516L501-16L506LD1073/19516
Santa Fe280616L507LD1074/19511
Santa Fe280716L508LD1075/19511
Santa Fe280816L509LD1076/19511
Santa Fe280916L510LD10712/19511
Southern Railway2151-215516L511-16L515LD12012/19515
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy)173116L516LD1199/19511
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy)1732-173416L516LD11910/19513
Akron, Canton & Youngstown201-20316L530-16L532LD1225/19513
Santa Fe2810-281516L589-16L594LD1306/19526
Santa Fe2816-281916L595-16L598LD1307/19524
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western930-93516L687-16L592LD14512/19526
Baltimore & Ohio906-90716L697-16L598LD14412/19522
Akron, Canton & Youngstown204-20516L783-16L784LD1684/19542
Milwaukee Road2450-245716L815-16L822LD1601/19548
Akron, Canton & Youngstown20616L831LD1633/19541
Virginian Railway10-1516L866-16L871LD167-26/19546
Milwaukee Road2463-246716L908-16L912LD172-28/19544
Milwaukee Road2468-246916L913-16L914LD172-29/19542
Milwaukee Road2458-246216L915-16L919LD172-19/19545
Virginian Railway3016L920LD177-11/19551
Virginian Railway1716L921LD177-12/19551
Virginian Railway1816L922LD177-11/19551
Virginian Railway19-2316L923-16L927LD177-12/19555
Virginian Railway24-2516L928-16L929LD177-11/19552
Virginian Railway26-2716L930-16L931LD177-112/19542
Virginian Railway1616L932LD177-23/19552
Virginian Railway3116L933LD177-12/19551
Milwaukee Road2500-250816L934-16L942LD17412/19549
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico501-50216L943-16L944LD1818/19552
Bosques de ChihuahuaSW50116L947LD1805/19551
Virginian Railway32-3316L948, 16L960LD177-12/19552
Baltimore & Ohio925-92616L961-16L962LD1784/19552
Virginian Railway28-2916L963-16L964LD177-112/19542
Baltimore & Ohio92716L969LD1784/19551
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico505-50616L970-16L971LD1817/19552
Virginian Railway3416L975LD18310/19551
Virginian Railway35-3916L988-16L992LD18310/19555
Akron, Canton & Youngstown20716L993LD18912/19551
Milwaukee Road2509-251316L994-16L998LD1901/19565
Milwaukee Road2514-251616L999-16L1001LD1902/19563
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico50716L1002LD1922/19561
New Haven1600-160216L1032-16L1034LD1986/19563
New Haven160316L1042LD1986/19561
New Haven1604-160816L1043-16L1047LD1987/19563
New Haven1609-161216L1126-16L1129LD1987/19564
New Haven1613-161416L1130-16L1131LD1988/19562
Virginian Railway40-4216L1132-16L1134LD19911/19563
Virginian Railway43-4716L1135-16L1139LD19912/19565
Pittsburgh & West Virginia90-9116L1140-16L1141LD20212/19562
Pittsburgh & West Virginia92-9316L1142-16L1143LD2021/19572
Baltimore & Ohio6705-670916L1144-16L1148LD2113/19575
Akron, Canton & Youngstown20816L1156LD2123/19571
Virginian Railway48-4916L1177-16L1178LS62560, LS6256210/19572
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico509-51316L1181-16L1185LD2172/19595
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico600-60216L1186-16L1188LD218-112/19603
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico514-51916L1189-16L1194LD218-23/19616
Bosques de Chihuahua100016L1195LD21912/19611
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico520-52516L1196-16L1201LD220-12/19636
Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico603-60416L1202-16L1203LD220-23/19632

Canadian Locomotive Company

Total Built = 58

Owner Road Number Construction Number Completion Date Quantity
Canadian National1841-18582862-28793/1955-5/195518
Canadian Pacific8547-85562890-28996/1955-7/195510
Canadian Pacific8601-86102942-495111/1956-12/195610
Canadian Pacific8709-87282958-29773/1957-6/195720

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western H16-44 #934 is seen here on the Bangor & Portland Branch. Given the locomotive's fresh paint and like-new appearance, the photo probably dates to the summer of 1953, about 6 months after she was delivered to dieselize this segment of the railroad. American-Rails.com collection.

When production began on the H16-44 it quickly found a following; by 1950, some lines like the Akron, Canton & Youngstown and Pittsburgh & West Virginia had become loyal FM customers.

In total, nearly two dozen lines purchased the H16-44 including the AC&Y, P&WV, Santa Fe, Baltimore & Ohio, Jersey Central, Milwaukee Road, Lackawanna, Katy, New York Central, New Haven, Pennsylvania, Southern, Union Pacific, and Virginian.

Additionally, Mexican lines Bosque de Chihuahua and Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico purchased 32 total examples.

Finally, the Canadian Locomotive Works built 58 units for the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, the former of which apparently really liked the model buying 40 examples. 

Interestingly, while there were many FM H16-44s built few remain preserved, one of which is a former CP unit (#8554 in Calgary, Alberta at the Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society of Western Canada and two former Chihuahua Pacifico units in Mexico, #524 and #525.


  • Kirkland, John F. Diesel Builders, The:  Fairbanks-Morse And Lima-Hamilton. Glendale: Interurban Press, 1985.
  • Marre, Louis A. Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, A Guide To Diesels Built Before 1972.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. Diesel Spotter's Guide.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967.
  • Schafer, Mike. Vintage Diesel Locomotives. Osceola: MBI Publishing, 1998.

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