The Baldwin AS16 began a new series and designation system for the
builder's diesel line, one which was much simpler and easier to
grasp than the complicated hyphens and numbers used before.
Interestingly, this new series also found Baldwin becoming a bit more
successful as a locomotive manufacturer, although it remained well
behind the American Locomotive Company (Alco) and Electro-Motive in the market.
Interestingly, this improvement was likely not a coincidence. With the
unveiling of its Standard Line in 1950
the company released an updated prime mover with the goal of becoming a more dominant player in the locomotive market once more. While the Baldwin's latest designs were still not of the quality cataloged by Electro-Motive they were certainly a step in the
right direction and an improvement over earlier designs. Unfortunately,
with its purchase by the Westinghouse Electric Company, Baldwin's
direction was steered away from locomotive manufacturing thus ending any ideas of remaining a major competitor.
A Baldwin company photo of Missouri Pacific AS16 #4326 taken during 1954. The MoPac owned eight AS16s in all; #4195-4196 and #4326-4331.
The Baldwin AS16 began production in 1950 and it introduced the
manufacturer's new Standard Line of diesels. "Standard" most definitely is an
understatement as the new designations were easier to understand and far simpler
than previous descriptions for its locomotives. Taking direction from Alco and EMD, Baldwin used a plain one or two letter designation for each model followed by two or three numbers. One reason the builder changed its classification system was that after 1949 it had completely abandoned the manufacturing
of steam locomotives, realizing (albeit belatedly) the motive power could no longer compete in the market. For instance, its new designations were as follows: AS
stood for All Service, RS for Road Switcher, RF for Road Freight, and RT for Road Transfer.
The system included the number of powered axles and
horsepower, although the AS16 was the only StandardLine road switcher not to include the former in its designation. For instance, the AS416 meant All Service road switcher that featured 4 powered axles and 1,600 horsepower. Utilizing Baldwin's updated 608A SC prime mover,
the AS16 sold relatively well at least when considering the builder's
diesel line as a whole. In terms of its road switchers the
AS16 was the second highest seller with 127 sold to
several Class I railroads including the B&O, Erie, Katy, St. Louis
Brownsville & Mexico (Missouri Pacific), Nickel Plate, Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (PRSL), Soo,
Reading, and Western Maryland (the Reading purchased the most, 43). The
AS16 was produced between 1950 and 1955, after which time the
Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation (a formation of the Baldwin Locomotive Works and Lima-Hamilton Corporation) called it quits.
(A short clip of EL AS416 in the yard during the 1960s. Please note
that you may wish to mute the poor quality music accompanying the video.)
While the AS16 was not nearly as popular as Alco's RS3 or
EMD's GP7, both four axle road switchers in production at the same time,
it did feature comparable tractive effort ratings; 59,000 pounds
starting and 52,500 pounds continuous. As usual, all internal
components were supplied by Westinghouse and once again, BLH failed to
offer the AS16 with dynamic braking. Why the company elected to
preclude this option has always remained a mystery
considering the benefits it offered, particularly in heavy freight/drag
service on stiff grades, and the fact that both the RS3 and GP7 offered
Another Baldwin photo of Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines AS16 #6007 at the company's plant during March of 1953 soon after she was outshopped. This was the first of PRSL's AS16s, it would roster 21 examples; #6007-6027.
Ultimately, none of Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton's road switcher models included dynamic braking, something which was certainly not
overlooked by railroads and another reason why the AS16 saw fewer sales
compared to the competition. Still, the one selling point for the locomotive that many did like was its impressing lugging ability, a Baldwin trademark
that also helped Alco's marketing
as well. Unfortunately, today, none of the AS16s manufactured are known to be
preserved or in operation. Lastly, for more information about the AS16s and a complete production roster please refer to the chart listed above.