Critter Notebook


One of the biggest challenges facing a railfan photographer is the correct identification of one manufacturer's "critter" locomotive from that of another competing builder. The task is increasingly more difficult given the strong resemblance among models, regardless of manufacturer.

The purpose of the Critter Notebook series is to delineate specific "spotting" features of different critters, thus making the challenge less daunting and more enjoyable. So far, spotting tendencies have been completed for General Electric's 44, 45/50, 65, 70 and 80-ton models, as well as Off-Center Cabs. Other GE and Brand "X" profiles will be completed at the rate of one or two per month. The focus of new spotlights for the foreseeable future will continue to be on medium-size (40 to 75-ton) and large-size (80 to 110 ton) industrial / military switchers.

Generally speaking, no effort has been made here to include smaller diesel locomotives due to their high-degree of customization, especially those built for the mining and steel-making industries. Please note also that several GE and Brand "X" models had many dfferent iterations / phases during their production runs; consequently, the basic model often experienced subtle changes. The description of changes associated with each specific carbody phase is beyond the scope of these photo essays. Jay Reed's guide to Critters, Dinkys and Center Cabs is highly recommended for those interested in that evolution.


General Electric-built "Critters" This section is still being developed.

Early Off-Center Cab

Pete Klapper photo **

44-Tonner

Ed Fulcomer photo

45/50-Tonner

R. Craig photo

65-Tonner

Tom Hirsch photo

70/95-Tonner

Dan Haneckow photo

80-Tonner

Harry Juday photo **

100/110-Tonner

R. Craig photo

125/135-Tonner

Bob Wilt photo **

SL Series

Bill Johnson photo

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Brand "X" Critters: Built by Other Manufacturers

Pre-1940 Locomotives

D.W. Hately photo

40-50-Tonners

Owen Leander photo **

60 to 65-Tonners

R. Craig photo

70 to 85-Tonners

Dave Burnette photo **

90 to 125-Tonners

Marty Bernard photo

End Cabs

Bill Kalkman photo

Your additions and corrections are solicited and helpful in developing a comprehensive and accurate resource.
** Photo from R. Craig collection
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