The Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500 was the final such road switcher model using the builder's odd and complicated designation system as in 1950 it released its Standard line. It was a six-axle locomotive, essentially a C-C version of the DRS-6-4-1500 (which was equipped with an A1A-A1A truck setup), built during the late 1940s that was well suited for branch line operations but unfortunately found few buyers as less than 100 were sold. Still, despite the model's limited sales numbers it proved to be Baldwin's most successful in its original road switcher series, which is fascinating considering that railroads at the time still saw four axle designs as being more practical to their needs. Today, there are at least two DRS-6-6-1500s known to be preserved; McCloud River #29 (preserved as Magma Arizona #10) at the Arizona Railway Museum and Southern Pacific #5208 preserved in its original colors and road number at the California Stat Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
The Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500 began production in 1948 offering maximum tractive effort with its C-C, six axle setup (meaning that all axles were powered with traction motors. As such, it provided the greatest tractive effort of any road switcher Baldwin offered up to that time; 80,700 pounds starting and 78,750 pounds continuous. At the time, the only manufacturer offering a C-C road switcher was Alco's RSD1 but it was more of a specialized model built only for the U.S. Army during World War II (the company's RSC2 and RSC3 designs featured A1A-A1A trucks). The DRS-6-6-1500 could produce 1,500 horsepower using Baldwin's turbocharged 608 SC model prime mover, the same as the earlier DRS-6-4-1500 and DRS-4-4-1500.
While the Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500 did not sell particularly well several Class I railroads around the country purchased at least a few units such as Bessemer & Lake Erie, Duluth South Shore & Atlantic, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Erie, Chicago & North Western, McCloud River Railroad, Northern Pacific, Union Railroad, Minneapolis Northfield & Southern, Tennessee Coal & Iron, and Chesapeake & Ohio. Additionally, Kaiser Steel purchased two units, 1010A, 1010B. By the time production had ended in 1950 just 83 units had been sold, which included one B-unit that the Southern Pacific had requested, #5227. The railroads which purchased the model, despite its troublesome nature, did find them well suited to pull heavy loads although their lack of dynamic braking was certainly a negative drawback for use in heavy drag service (such as hauling large cuts of coal through the Appalachians).
The DRS-6-6-1500 saw only a two year run as Baldwin wrapped up production on the unit in September, 1950. It was soon after replaced by the AS616, which featured an upgraded prime mover and used the company's more straightforward classification system. To decipher the meaning of the DRS-6-6-1500's letters and numbers the DRS referred to Diesel Road Switcher unit; the first number, 6, designated its six powered axles; the second 6 meant that it featured six traction motors; and 1500 stood for the horsepower rating. Once the system is presented, it is fairly easy to understand but anyone looking at it for the first time would likely be quite confused at what everything stood for.
It should be noted that the Baldwin models illustrated on this page are, indeed, DRS-6-6-1500s owned by the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern. The company did not purchase any units directly from Baldwin but from the B&LE secondhand, #401 and #402 (renumbered by the EJE as #501 and #502). The B&LE still owned five more units, however, #403-#407. For more information on these preserved units please click here. Also, for a total production roster of Baldwin DRS-6-4-1500s please click here. Also, for technical data on the unit please click here. Lastly, for more information about the DRS-6-6-1500s 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 DRS-6-6-1500 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.