The second problem concerns the length of the plunger that fits into the coil. Early versions of the switch tower have a plunger that is about 13/16" long and would not go into the coil far enough. If used continuously this would cause the coil to overheat causing damage to the roof as is illustrated below to the right. These early plungers were nickel plated and should be replaced by later issues that are close to 3/32" longer and are brass in color.
The switch tower was available from 1952 until 1957, although production didn't start until 1953. The 1952 catalog shows a prototype example that differed from the actual production.
There was only one instruction sheet, No. 445-55 that was issued and it is dated 1-53. It was printed with BLACK ink on WHITE paper. This sheet shows the normal way of activation was with a No. 145C Track Contactor, but it also shows how to connect the tower to O22 Switches. The pages of this instruction sheet are shown below: Front and Back. Parts envelope No. 445-56 included the No. 145C Contactor, connecting wires, and the instruction sheet. A picture of this envelope is shown above.
An identical Switch Tower was produced in 1984-87 by MPC (No. 2324), so collectors should check the bottom of this tower to see if it has the following inscription: "PART No. 445-8 / NO. 445 SWITCH TOWER / MADE IN U.S.A. OF AMERICA / THE LIONEL CORPORATION / NEW YORK, N.Y."
There are no variations.
Dimensions: 6-1/4 inches long, 5-1/2 inches wide, by 7 inches high