The Baldwin AS416 began production in the December of 1950, around the same
as the AS16 and AS616. Compared to the company's early road switcher models
the locomotive featured a much simpler classification system similar to
what the American Locomotive Company (Alco) and the Electro-Motive
Division (EMD) had been using since they first entered the diesel market.
At around the same time Baldwin became known as the
Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation (BLH), a merger that included the Lima-Hamilton Corporation by parent Westinghouse Electric. The two, by then, were dead last in the market and Westinghouse hoped new company would improve their performance in the market. While easier to understand there was a more practical reason
for BLH to update its classification; in 1949 it had completely shutdown
its steam locomotive line and began focusing solely on the development
As such, the old Whyte-like notation that had carried over into Balwin's early diesels was no longer needed. The new numbering system for the Standard line was as follows: in the case of the the AS416, the letters referred to All Service road switcher that offered 4 powered axles and 1,600 horsepower. Overall the AS416 featured an A1A-A1A truck setup (meaning the two outside axles on each truck were powered while the center axle was unpowered). Additionally, using Baldwin's latest 608SC model prime mover. For its time the AS416 offered some of the highest tractive effort of any road switcher on the market; 88,500 pounds starting and 52,500 pounds continuous. Interestingly, Baldwin was one of the first builders to develop the true road switcher, cataloging its first models just after Alco in the mid-1950s and ahead of EMD. However, its unwillingness to embrace the diesel ultimately cost it its place within the market.
In the end, only three railroads purchased 25 units (including four purchased by an Algerian railway) of the Baldwin
AS416, Columbus & Greenville, loyalist Norfolk Southern (original)
who owned about every model type
Baldwin built (NS also rostered the most AS416s, 17), and Savannah
& Atlanta. Had it not been for Norfolk Southern's order Baldwin would have sold hardly any of the diesels. While railroads, at the time, still did not see a need
for six-axle diesels (similar models offered by EMD and Alco also sold
poorly) Baldwin's lack of dynamic braking and MUing as standard features certainly hurt its sales potential as well. Both EMD and Alco had offered both early on and even in first-generation diesels railroads could
clearly see the advantages of these features in freight service, particularly
in mountainous territory. For more information regarding the AS416 line please click here.
Baldwin AS-416 Production Roster (U.S. Only)
|Columbus & Greenville Railway||606||1||1951|
|Norfolk Southern (Original)||1601-1617||17||1951-1954|
|Savannah & Atlanta Railway||108-110||3||1951-1954|
In any event, it is interesting to speculate how successful
Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton may have become as the 1950s gave way to the 1960s
had Westinghouse allowed the builder to remain in the market. The company's management
in the early 1950s wanted to become a more serious and competitive
diesel locomotive manufacturer but its parent believed it could not do
so. As a result, one of the icons of locomotive manufacturing dating to the 19th century exited the business quietly by the mid-1950s. Lastly, for more information about the AS416s please refer to the chart above for a complete production roster of the model.
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