The Baldwin AS16 began a new series and designation system for the builder's diesel locomotives, one which was much simpler and easier to grasp than the complicated hyphens and numbers of before. Interestingly, this new line also found Baldwin becoming a bit more successful as a locomotive manufacturer, although it remained even well behind the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in the market. Interestingly, this improvement was likely not coincidence. With the unveiling of its Standard line in 1950, of which the AS16 was a part, the company released an updated prime mover and the goal of becoming a more dominant player in the locomotive manufacturing market once more. While the Baldwin Locomotive Works' latest designs were still not of the high quality models being released by the Electro-Motive Division they were a step in the right direction and 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.
The Baldwin AS16 began production in 1950 and it introduced the manufacturer's new Standard line of diesel locomotives. Standard is an understatement as the new designations were much more clear and concise than the previous descriptions for its models. Similar to 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 due to the fact that after 1949 it had completely abandoned the manufacturing of steam locomotives, realizing that the motive power could not compete with diesels. 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 numbering system included the number of powered axles and horsepower, although the AS16 was the only Standard line road switcher model not to include the former in its designation. For instance, the AS416 meant All Service road switcher that included four powered axles and 1,600 horsepower. Utilizing Baldwin's updated 608A SC model prime mover, the AS16 sold relatively well, at least when considering the builder's diesel locomotive line as a whole. In terms of its road switchers the AS16 was the second highest seller for Baldwin, as 127 were sold to several Class I railroads including the B&O, Erie, Katy, St. Louis Brownsville & Mexico (Missouri Pacific), Nickel Plate, PRSL, Soo, Reading, and Western Maryland (the Reading purchased the most, 43). The AS16 was produced between 1950 and 1955, when then Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation (a formation of the Baldwin Locomotive Works and Lima-Hamilton Corporation) called it quits manufacturing diesel locomotives on orders from parent Westinghouse.
(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 is 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 the feature. Ultimately, none of BLH's road switcher models, even the new Standard line, included dynamic braking, 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 AS16 that railroads certainly liked was its impressing lugging ability, a Baldwin trademark that also helped Alco's marketing as well. Unfortunately, today, none of the AS16s built are known to be preserved or in operation. For a total production roster of Baldwin AS16s please click here. Also, for technical data please click here. Lastly, for more information about the AS16s and all Baldwin road switcher models please refer to the chart below.
Baldwin Road Switchers
|Model Type||Units Built||Date Built||Horsepower|
For more information on the Baldwin AS16 road switchers consider Mike Schafer’s Vintage Diesel Locomotives which looks at virtually all of the classic builders and models from Alco PAs to early EMD Geeps. If you’re interested in classic Baldwins, or diesels in general, this book gives an excellent general history of both. You may also want to consider the book Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive by author J. Parker Lamb. As the title implies the book looks at the history and development of the diesel locomotives, covering 200 pages, from its earliest beginnings to the newest designs and models operated today. If you're interested in perhaps purchasing either (or both) of these books please visit the links below which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com, the trusted online shopping network.