The Baldwin RT624 followed an earlier transfer model the builder produced, the DT-6-6-2000. The new model
was part of Baldwin's new Standard line that was introduced in 1950.
The then Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation's (BLH) last transfer
switcher proved to be mostly a failure as railroads simply were not
interested in such a specialized type of locomotive. BLH was formed in
1951 through Baldwin Locomotive Works'
takeover of the Lima-Hamilton Corporation. Both companies were under
the control of Westinghouse who, unfortunately, had little interest in
remaining in the locomotive market. As such, despite the fact that
Baldwin's top management had a
serious interest in revamping the company into a major player in the
market, Westinghouse had no such desire to continue building locomotives
and BLH would close down its diesel line by 1956.
The Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern was one of just two lines to purchase the RT624 (the other being the Pennsy); its only example, #25, had already been put out to pasture when this photo was taken on June 21, 1964 at the shops in Glenwood Junction. The following year the unit was scrapped after just 12 years of service.
The Baldwin RT624 entered production in June, 1951 replacing the earlier transfer model,
the DT-6-6-2000. The new numbering system included the number of
powered axles and horsepower, so for instance the Baldwin RT624 meant Road Transfer
that included six powered axles and 2,400 horsepower. The 2,400
horsepower for the RT624 was a slight increase over the 2,000 horsepower
DT-6-6-2000. Part of Baldwin's reasoning for dropping the previous
designation was that after 1949 the builder no longer manufactured any
steam locomotives, thus the DS for Diesel Switcher, DR for Diesel Road,
and DRS for Diesel Road Switcher became redundant. In their place
Baldwin used AS for All Service, RS for Road Switcher, RF for Road Freight, and RT for Road Transfer.
A roster photo of Pennsylvania RT624 #8726 at Zoo Junction, Pennsylvania in 1962.
The RT624 looked very similar to the DT-6-6-2000, featuring a center-cab
and C-C truck design using two 606 SC model prime movers, although it
was a bit longer at 74 feet. With the transfer market sparse at best,
since road switcher models could perform the same tasks and also be
utilized in any type of service needed, Baldwin
sold few RT624s. Apparently, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway
who purchased many DT-6-6-2000s either did not need or did not like the
and passed on the RT624. Only the Pennsylvania Railroad and
Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern Railway bought the RT624, with
the PRR purchasing 23 of the 24 total sold by the time production had
ended in December, 1952.
MN&S DT-6-6-2000 #24 awaits disposition at the shops in Glenwood Junction on June 21, 1964.
Once again, one of the model's most marketable features was its
incredible tractive effort, which was even higher than the earlier
DT-6-6-2000; 106,200 pounds starting and 72,900 continuous. BLH truly
meant for the locomotive to be used in heavy drag service and it had the
beef and muscle to do so. One other notable aspect of the RT624 was its turbocharged prime movers, a feature not included on the earlier design. However, both designs did lack dynamic braking, something most Baldwins models lacked which was certainly a drawback to the builder
considering that the American Locomotive Company (Alco) and the
Electro-Motive Division offered this cost saving feature in many of its
early diesel models. Today, the Baldwin RT624 is one of just a few models it
produced that is not preserved (although one DT-6-6-2000 does remain at
the Illinois Railway Museum). Lastly, for more information about the RT624s and all Baldwin transfer switcher models please refer to the chart below.
MN&S DT-6-6-2000 #20 performs switching work at Marshall Street in Minneapolis on June 8, 1964.
For more information on Baldwin locomotives the book by the same name, a Brian Solomon title, provides an in-depth history of the company from its earliest days beginning in the 1930s to its final years constructing diesels during the mid-20th century. It 160 pages in length and, as with every Solomon book, offers a rich collection of large, sharp photos to enjoy. Another title of interest is Vintage Diesel Locomotives by noted author and historian Mike Schafer. This one has been out for several years now and is a paperback title but highlights several classic models from the major builders of the era such as Electro-Motive, Baldwin, and the American Locomotive Company.