The Baldwin RT624

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 model 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.

Baldwin RT624 Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern2511953
Pennsylvania8113, 8724-8731, 8952-8965231951-1952


MN&S DT-6-6-2000 #20 performs switching work at Marshall Street in Minneapolis on June 8, 1964.

For more information on the Baldwin RT624 transfer 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.

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