The DRS-6-6-1500 was the final road switcher model
to carry Baldwin's early and complicated designation system. In 1950
it released its new Standard line, a fitting name since it did away with the confusing numbers, dashes, and letters. This last design was a six-axle locomotive, C-C version of the DRS-6-4-1500 built during the late 1940s and well
suited for branch line operations (although few ultimately sold). The DRS-6-6-1500 found buyers amongst a scattering of railroads and private companies but in the end could not reach the century mark in sales. Today, there are at least two examples known preserved; McCloud River Railroad #29 (preserved as
Magma Arizona #10) at the Arizona Railway Museum and Southern Pacific
#5208 preserved in its original colors and number at the California
Stat Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern DRS-6-6-1500 #500 runs light through the yard in Joliet during August of 1964. The EJ&E was quite fond of Baldwins, owning many; it purchased this unit second-hand from the Bessemer & Lake Erie in 1956.
The Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500 began production in 1948 offering a high, continuous tractive effort of 78,750 pounds thanks to its six powered axles. This was a considerable selling point as the locomotive not only provided the highest such rating for any road switcher Baldwin offered up to that time but also any model then in production. Nothing then offered by Alco or EMD came close to matching such tractive ability. During the late 1940s the
only manufacturer to have even manufactured a C-C road switcher was Alco's RSD1. However, it
was primarily a specialized model built only for the U.S. Army during World War II and had ended production in 1946. The DRS-6-6-1500 could produce 1,500 horsepower using Baldwin's turbocharged 608 SC prime mover, the same as the earlier DRS-6-4-1500 and DRS-4-4-1500.
While tDRS-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, private companies like Kaiser Steel and Tennessee Coal & Iron Railroad also acquired a few examples. 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. Buyers of the model found the locomotive useful despite its troublesome prime mover. The curious lack of dynamic braking also likely hurt sales, a feature then standard on Electro-Motive and Alco products.
EJ&E #501 was also picked up from the B&LE; it is seen here in Joliet during August of 1964.
The DRS-6-6-1500 saw only a two year run as Baldwin wrapped up
production on the unit in September of 1950. It was soon after replaced
by the AS616, which featured an upgraded prime mover and used the
company's more straightforward classification system. The new series sold much better for the builder seeing several hundred examples outshopped amongst the three primary models (AS16, AS416, and the AS616). 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
Another view of #501 switching Joliet in early September of 1969.
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 were acquired secondhand from the Bessemer & Lake Erie, numbers 401 and 402 (renumbered by the EJ&E
as 501 and 502). For more information about the DRS-6-6-1500s please refer to the chart above which provides a complete production roster.