The Baldwin RF16, epitomized the builder's "Sharknose" design as it was featured exclusively on the model during its four year production run (the company had done away with the very unpopular "Baby Face" carbody by the late 1940s). It was meant to be used in freight service and compete with the likes of EMD's F series and Alco's FA model, also used in freight operations. It was the best selling cab unit Baldwin built and more than 150 were outshopped before production ended. The RF16 was also the only cab design the Baldwin Locomotive Works constructed as part of its new Standard line released in 1950, which featured an upgraded prime mover and new classification system. The company also built a variant, the RF16E, which was purchased by the Argentine State Railway. While the locomotive was far more reliable than the earlier DR-4-4-1500 that it replaced, Baldwin still neglected to offer some features that likely would have resulted in more sales. Today, two RF16s are known to be in existence, in Michigan.
The Baldwin RF16 began production in November, 1950 featuring the company's latest 608A SC prime mover that could produce 1,600 horsepower. By then the model was technically a result of the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation, which had been formed shortly before by parent Westinghouse Electric through its ownership of the Baldwin and Lima-Hamilton. With a tractive effort rating of 59,000 pounds starting and 48,600 pounds continuous the RF16 offered more than either the Electro-Motive Division's F7 and American Locomotive Company's FA-2 models being cataloged at the same time. The model also was one of the builder's only designs to feature dynamic braking, as it oddly neglected to offer this feature on its road switcher designs (unless custom ordered). All of the RF16's internal components were outsourced to Westinghouse Electric, which provided equipment for nearly all of Baldwin's diesels. For these reasons the RF16 became well liked for its ability to pull heavy loads at slow speeds despite still being somewhat troublesome to operate.
Unfortunately, Baldwin again left out an important option in the RF16, MU (Multiple Unit) capability. Instead, the locomotive used an air-powered throttle and as such could be operated in tandem with EMD and Alco units both of which offered MUing in most of their first generation models. The only railroads would equip RF16s with the feature was to customize the locomotive or have it returned to Baldwin for upgrading. Needless to say it was a major disadvantage that certainly cost the company from selling more. In any event, the classification system for the RF16 was very straightforward, particularly compared to the earlier system; "RF" referred to Road Freight and "16" designated the horsepower rating of 1,600 mentioned above.
Overall the Baldwin RF16 sold fairly well although only three Class I railroads ultimately purchased the model; the Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central, and Baldwin's ever loyal customer Pennsylvania Railroad (which purchased the most). Among them they purchased 109 A units and 51 B units by the time production ended in 1954. Additionally, as mentioned above the Argentine State Railway purchased 51 units of a C-C design known as the RF-615E. The model was virtually identical to the RF16 save for its six axles. While the RF16 was a rugged locomotive that could pull heavy tonnage its lack of MUing and still somewhat trouble-prone resulted in three lines that purchased it to sell theirs by the 1960s, beginning with the B&O in 1962.
In 1966, just a few years prior to the Penn Central merger, the PRR sold or scrapped all of its RF16s and a year later the remaining units on the NYC roster were sold to the Monongahela Railway for use in coal drag service. In 1974 the Delaware & Hudson picked up the two remaining RF16s from a scrap dealer and used them in freight service until 1978. By the early 1980s they came under ownership of the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad of Michigan and for many years now have been locked away in a storage shed away from public view. They are reportedly operational but, of course, this is pure conjecture. Lastly, for more information about the RF16s and all Baldwin cab unit models please refer to the chart below.
Baldwin Cab Units/Passenger Locomotives
|Model Type||Units Built||Date Built||Horsepower|
|DR-4-4-1500 (Baby Face)||22 A Units/11 B Units||1947-1948||1,500||DR-4-4-1500 (Sharknose)||36 A Units/36 B Units||1948-1950||1,500|
|DR-6-4-1000 (Baby Face)||1||1948||1,000|
|DR-6-4-1500 (Baby Face)||7 A Units/3 B Units||1947-1948||1,500|
|DR-6-4-2000 (All Types)||62||1944-1953||2,000||RF-16 (Sharknose)||160 A Units/51 B Units||1950-1954||1,600||DR-12-8-1500/2 or DR12-8-3000 (Centipede)||54||1945-1948||3,000|
For more information on the Baldwin RF16 cab units 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.