Lionel Electric Trains Identification Guide Sub-Title
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This Identification Guide for Lionel Electric Trains covers the "Post-war Era" only from 1945 until 1969.

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Lionel Diesel Engines Identification GuideDIESEL ENGINES

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Lionel Trains Santa Fe F-3 Diesel double A units Variation A

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Lionel produced a wide variety of diesel engines beginning in 1948 with the introduction of their version of the EMD (Electro Motive Division of General Motors) F-3. The "Santa Fe War Bonnet" paint scheme of this diesel No. 2333 proved to be one of the most popular of all of the engines that Lionel made during the Post-war period.

Below we’ve listed distinguishing characteristics from each class of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) diesel that Lionel made in alphabetical order:


ALCO FA
EMD   F-3
EMD GP-7 & GP-9
EMD NW-2
FM TRAINMASTER
GE 44 TON

At the bottom of this page are indexed those diesels that we’ve researched listed in Numerical order. If the diesel has no number refer to our No Number listing below.

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ALCO (American Locomotive Company)

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Lionel Trains Union Pacific FA Diesel double A units No. 2023 Variation B
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Lionel Trains FA AA Unit DieselsThe FA was first made by Lionel on their 50th anniversary in 1950. Smaller than the EMD F-3 this engine was designed to run on O27 Gauge track. The YELLOW version of this Union Pacific engine would become known as the "Fiftieth Anniversary Engine." Lionel had production problems in painting the GREY color on the nose of the diesel so only the first production of this diesel was painted like this and is rare. This is the version shown in the picture to the right. All of these engines came with a single vertical worm drive motor and the earlier versions had electronic coil couplers. They also had four-digit numbers that were shown in the marker lights. Later versions would have no number shown here and a three or four-digit number would be painted somewhere on the side of the diesel for identification.

Union Pacific No. 2023

The coil coupler was also replaced with a magnetic disc coupler. This coupler bar, or strut, produced for these units after 1957, caused Lionel a lot of problems and they offered a replacement part (No. 204-78 Nose Support) to all of their service stations. In the last years of production the front coupler would be completely removed and the coupler pocket filled in.
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Often the size "D" battery that is used to power the horn, on those units equipped with one, was left in the compartment when the engine was not in use. Extended storage like this usually resulted in leakage of the battery and corrosion to the battery housing.
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Collectors should always check to see if there is any battery damage in any of these diesels.
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual diesels in this class.

The Underside of the Lionel 2023 Alco Power UnitClose up of the battery compartment of a Lionel Alco
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EMD (Electro Motive Division of General Motors)

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Lionel Trains Southern F-3 Diesel AB units
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EMD F-3The F-3 was the first diesel engine made by Lionel in the post-war years. The Santa Fe (pictured at the top of this page) and the New York Central were the first road names produced using the number 2333. Lionel would always use four-digit numbers on these diesels for their identification. Sometimes this number is printed on the side of the diesels. When no number is printed on the sides, the number is always indicated on the number boards of these diesels as is illustrated to the right. These engines came with dual horizontally driven worm drive motors. These made a "growling" sound as they were running and this was quite impressive in the days before digital sound systems. This engine was very close to 1/48 scale (actual "O" scale) and was, in many instances, adapted by O Scale modelers for use on two-rail DC track.

The Texas Special No. 2245

These first two models would go through numerous number changes in the years that they were in production, thus No. 2333 begat 2343 begat 2353...you get the idea. Each time this happened Lionel would invariably remove some of the detail that was inherent in the first production, to try and reduce the cost of assembly. By the time the final 2383 version of the Santa Fe was issued, it was a shell of its former self. The horizontal motors were replaced in 1955 with vertical worm drive motors that just didn’t sound the same. Gone also were the electronic coil couplers to be replaced with magnetic discs.

Horizontal Drive Motors

In 1955, Lionel began producing these engines for O27 sets. They changed the number designation to begin with "22" instead of the O Gauge "23." The Santa Fe was again the first into production with the number 2243 followed by the No. 2245 Texas Special. The Texas Special is the only one of these O27 engines to come with portholes. These engines came with one instead of two vertical worm drive motors. Lionel did not change the physical dimensions of these diesels for use on O27 Gauge track, and those that were run extensively over early versions of the No. 1122 O27 Switches will show evidence of scrapes on the center fuel tank, where the diesel scrapped the switch machine housing. Refer to the Track Identification Page for details on locomotive and rolling stock compatibility.

Underside of the F-3 with open battery compartment

Lionel would produce the F-3 in quite a few other road names. Each of these stayed in production only a couple of years during the mid nineteen fifties, with the Canadian Pacific No. 2373 in production only one year being the rarest.
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual diesels in this class.

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Lionel Trains The Milwaukee Road GP-7 No. 2338 Variation D

EMD GP-7The GP-7 began production at Lionel in 1955 with the issuance of The Milwaukee Road No. 2338, The Burlington Route No. 2328, and the "no frills" Pennsylvania No. 2028. There were paint problems in painting the ORANGE stripe across the cab on the Milwaukee Road units. This occurred only during the first year of production. Lionel corrected the problem by painting the cab black in subsequent variations. This made the ORANGE Cab diesels very rare and numerous fraudulent examples have been created.

Issued mainly in O27 Gauge sets, they would also be seen in O Gauge sets. There were never any number designations on the number boards. Instead, there would always be a four-digit number shown somewhere on the side of the diesel. Lionel would continue to issue these diesel workhorses on a regular basis until 1965. See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual diesels in this class.

The interior of a typical GP-7 unit with the horn to the left and vertical worm drive motor to the right

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Lionel Trains The Milwaukee Road GP-9 No. 2346
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EMD GP-9The GP-9 was only differentiated from the GP-7 by the addition of a "dynamic brake" on the top of the diesel. Actually, the railroads could order a GP-7 either way from EMD. The GP-9 from Lionel would follow the same identification scheme as what was used on the GP-7.

These diesels, like the "other" road named F-3’s, were produced only one or two years each in the late-fifties and early sixties and most are hard to come by. The rarest is the Northern Pacific No. 2349 that was available in 1959 and 1960. Lionel would continue to produce this engine until 1966.
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual diesels in this class.

The underside of a Geep Unit
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Lionel Trains Santa Fe NW-2 Diesel Switcher No.622 Variation A

EMD NW-2The NW-2 Switcher began production as a test vehicle for Magnetraction in 1949. First produced with the road name Santa Fe in both an O Gauge version No. 622, and an O27 Gauge version No. 6220. These switchers were great runners, and came with electronic coil couplers, and a bell. This O27 version, and the Seaboard No. 6250, would be the only two switchers that would have four-digit designations for O27 sets. There was no difference between either version other than the number change.

The single vertical drive motor of the No. 6220
Seaboard No. 601

All subsequent NW-2s would have three-digit designations indicated somewhere on the body, and would be issued in O27 sets. The couplers, like other Lionel diesels would, over the years, change from electronic coil, to magnetic disc, to finally plastic dummy. This diesel would be in production up until the end of the post-war period in 1969.
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual diesels in this class.

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Fairbanks-Morse

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Fairbanks-Morse Jersey Central Trainmaster No. 2341 Variation A

Fairbanks-Morse TrainmasterThe Trainmaster was the largest and arguably one of the best running engines that Lionel produced. Equipped with dual vertical worm drive motors it could out haul any other engine that Lionel produced with the possible exception of the GG-1. There are no wheel flanges on the interior axles of both trucks to allow this diesel to negotiate Lionel’s O Gauge track. Refer to the Track Identification Page for details on locomotive and rolling stock compatibility.

Fairbanks-Morse interior showing dual vertical worm drive motors

First produced in 1954, it would see only three road names and two major variations. Lionel would, however, reissue the Virginian version of this diesel in 1965. The Virginian, that usually came in YELLOW and BLUE colors, is the only version that does not have the four digit production number printed on the side of the cab. They are: No. 2331 produced 1955-58, and No. 2322 produced 1965-66. In the first year of production Lionel produced the Virginian in striking YELLOW and BLACK colors and this is one of the major variations of this class of diesel. The other is the MAROON roofed version of the No. 2321 Lackawanna which was the first issue of this diesel in 1954.
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Rarest of these diesels is the No. 2341 Jersey Central which was made only one year in 1956. These units always headed up O Gauge sets and cannot be run on O27 Gauge track. Refer to the Track Identification Page for details on locomotive and rolling stock compatibility. See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual diesels in this class.
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The underside of the Fairbanks-Morse with open battery compartment

The Southern Pacific Trainmaster No. 0000 was made as a possible production number sometime in the mid-nineteen fifties. This is one of many prototypes that Lionel produced but never put into production. These are very rare and are seldom seen. We show this one here for reference, but it is not listed in the Master Index.
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This engine was later produced in 1979 by MPC with slightly different coloring under the No. 8951.
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Southern Pacific Prototype No. 0000
Courtesy of J. Sattler Collectionspacer
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General Electric

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GE 44-TonThe 44-Ton Switcher had the shortest production time of any of the types of diesels produced by Lionel (1956-58), and they were produced for O27 Gauge sets. Yet, they are not particularly prised by collectors today. Of the five production numbers produced only the Lehigh Valley No. 625 had dummy couplers. All of the others were equipped with magnetic disc couplers and have their three-digit production numbers indicated on the side of the cab. The rarest of these units are the No. 626 Baltimore and Ohio (1957), and the No. 629 Burlington (1956).
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See the Numerical Index for additional details about the individual diesels in this class.

GE 44-Ton Burlington No. 629

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Numerical List Title
BB   44 US Army Mobile Missile Launcher
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BB   45 USMC Mobile Missile Launcher
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BB 202 FA Union Pacific A Unit
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BB 204 FA Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 205 FA Missouri Pacific AA Units
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BB 208 FA Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 209 FA New Haven AA Units
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BB 210 FA Texas Special AA Units
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BB 211 FA Texas Special AA Units
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BB 212 FA Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 212 FA U.S. Marine Corps A Unit
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BB 212T FA U.S. Marine Corps A Unit
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BB 213 FA Minneapolis/St. Louis AA Units
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BB 215 FA Santa Fe AA or AB Units
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BB 216 FA Burlington Route A Unit
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BB 216 FA Minneapolis & St. Louis A Unit
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BB 217 FA Boston & Maine AB Units
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BB 218 FA Santa Fe A Unit
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BB 218C FA Santa Fe B Unit
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BB 219 FA Missouri Pacific AA Units
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BB 220 FA Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 221 FA Rio Grande A Unit
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BB 221 FA Santa Fe A Unit
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BB 221 FA U.S. Marine Corps A Unit
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BB 222 FA Rio Grande A Unit
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BB 223 FA Santa Fe AB Units
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BB 224 FA United States Navy AB Units
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BB 225 FA Chesapeake & Ohio A Unit
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BB 226 FA Boston & Maine AB Units
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BB 227 FA Canadian National A Unit
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BB 228 FA Canadian National A Unit
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BB 229 FA Minneapolis/St. Louis AB Units
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BB 230 FA Chesapeake & Ohio A Unit
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BB 231 FA Rock Island A Unit
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BB 232 FA New Haven A Unit
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BB 400 Baltimore & Ohio Budd RDC
BB 404 Baltimore & Ohio Budd RDC
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BB 600 NW-2 MKT Switcher
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BB 601 NW-2 Seaboard Switcher
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BB 602 NW-2 Seaboard Switcher
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BB 610 NW-2 Erie Switcher
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BB 611 NW-2 Jersey Central Switcher
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BB 613 NW-2 Union Pacific Switcher
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BB 614 NW-2 Alaska Railroad Switcher
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BB 616 NW-2 Santa Fe Switcher
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BB 617 NW-2 Santa Fe Switcher
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BB 621 NW-2 Jersey Central Switcher
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BB 622 NW-2 Santa Fe Switcher
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BB 623 NW-2 Santa Fe Switcher
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BB 624 NW-2 Chesapeake & Ohio
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BB 625 44-Ton Lehigh Valley Switcher
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BB 626 44-Ton Baltimore Ohio Switcher
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BB 627 44-Ton Lehigh Valley Switcher
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BB 628 44-Ton Northern Pacific Switcher
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BB 629 44-Ton Burlington Switcher
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BB 633 NW-2 Santa Fe Switcher
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BB 634 NW-2 Santa Fe Switcher
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BB 635 NW-2 Union Pacific Switcher
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BB 1055 FA The Texas Special A Unit
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BB 1065 FA Union Pacific A Unit
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BB 1066 FA Union Pacific A Unit
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BB 2023 FA Union Pacific AA Units
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BB 2024 FA Chesapeake & Ohio A Unit
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BB 2028 GP-7 Pennsylvania
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BB 2031 FA Rock Island AA Units
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BB 2032 FA Erie AA Units
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BB 2033 FA Union Pacific AA Units
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BB 2041 FA Rock Island AA Units
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BB 2240 F-3 Wabash AB Units
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BB 2242 F-3 New Haven AB Units
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BB 2243 F-3 Santa Fe AB Units
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BB 2245 F-3 The Texas Special AB Units
BB 2321 FM Lackawanna
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BB 2322 FM Virginian
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BB 2328 GP-7 Burlington Route
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BB 2331 FM Virginian
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BB 2333 F-3 New York Central AA Units
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BB 2333 F-3 Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 2337 GP-7 Wabash
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BB 2338 GP-7 The Milwaukee Road
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BB 2339 GP-7 Wabash
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BB 2341 FM Jersey Central Lines
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BB 2343 F-3 Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 2343C F-3 Santa Fe B Unit
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BB 2344 F-3 New York Central AA Units
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BB 2344C F-3 New York Central B Unit
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BB 2345 F-3 Western Pacific AA Units
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BB 2346 GP-9 Boston & Maine
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BB 2347 GP-7 Chesapeake & Ohio
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BB 2348 GP-9 Minneapolis & St. Louis
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BB 2349 GP-9 Northern Pacific
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BB 2353 F-3 Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 2354 F-3 New York Central AA Units
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BB 2355 F-3 Western Pacific AA Units
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BB 2356 F-3 Southern AB Units
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BB 2356C F-3 Southern B Unit
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BB 2359 GP-9 Boston & Maine
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BB 2363 F-3 Illinois Central AB Units
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BB 2363C F-3 Illinois Central B Unit
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BB 2365 GP-7 Chesapeake & Ohio
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BB 2367 F-3 Wabash AB Units
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BB 2368 F-3 Baltimore & Ohio AB Units
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BB 2373 F-3 Canadian Pacific AA Units
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BB 2378 F-3 Milwaukee Road AB Units
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BB 2379 F-3 Rio Grande AB Units
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BB 2383 F-3 Santa Fe AA Units
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BB 6220 NW-2 Santa Fe Switcher
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BB 6250 NW-2 Seaboard Switcher

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No Number List Title
We’ve listed these unnumbered diesels in order by their color, and type. The types listed are:
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ALCO FA: defines ALCO Diesel Units.
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NW-2: defines EMD Diesel Switchers.

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BB SILVER ALCO FA B Unit Santa Fe No. 218C or see No. 223
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BB YELLOW NW-2 Union Pacific No. 645

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