The Baldwin S-12 was an upgraded version of its predecessor, the S-8 although both models were cataloged at the same time. Similar in size and mechanics, save for increased horsepower, this final switcher model manufactured during the 1950s sold relatively well for the company as numerous railroads and private industries purchased the model. While the locomotive did have some complaints regarding reliability it was revered for its ability to out-pull nearly anything in its class (a Baldwin trademark). The S-12 also saw the builder do away with the earlier complicated classification system and introducing one much simpler. Today, the S-12 remains one of Baldwin's best preserved diesels with at least fifteen still known to exist; seven at museums or tourist lines and eight more owned by short line SMS Lines.
The Baldwin S-12 switcher began production in 1951 and by that time was technically a product of the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation (BLH). BLH was formed through the merger of the Baldwin Locomotive Works and Lima-Hamilton in 1951 after the former came under the control of Westinghouse Electric Company, a long time supplier of internal components for Baldwin's diesels (the two companies had also collaborated on several electric locomotives dating back to the 19th century). Thanks to the S-12's increased horsepower it sold much better than its less powerful counterpart.
At 1,200 horsepower using Baldwin's latest prime mover, the 606A SC railroads found the locomotive quite versatile in several applications from yard and industrial work to revenue service on secondary and branch lines. The locomotive came equipped with standard four axle (B-B) trucks and could produce a hefty 72,000 pounds of starting tractive effort (34,000 pounds continuous). When production had ended in August, 1956 the model had been sold to several railroads like the Chicago & North Western, Jersey Central, Southern Pacific, New York Central, Southern, and the ever-loyal Pennsylvania. Additionally the military and industries purchased the locomotive including the Army, U.S. Steel, Armco Steel, American Smeting and Refining Company, Erie Mining, and others. In total, Baldwin sold 451 examples of the S-12.
The S-12 was certainly Baldwin's most popular switcher in terms of its horsepower rating and general reliability. This is a significant reason why the model continues to find use in short line service today, notably on shortline SMS Lines which owns eight; their heritage includes Michigan Limestone #116, Tennessee Valley Authority #200, U.S. Navy #65-00372, demonstrator #1200, SP #1547, Erie Mining #7241, Monongahela Railway #425, and Great Northern #27. While four of these locomotives are operational, four are also used as a parts source. Additionally, seven others can be found at museums; Patapsco & Back Rivers #345-#346, Erie Mining #403, NYC #9313, SP #1550, Texas & New Orleans (SP) #121, and Oliver Iron Mining #933. Finally, for more information about the S-12s and all Baldwin switcher models please refer to the chart below.
Baldwin S-12 Production Roster
|Owner||Road Number(s)||Quantity||Date Built|
|Akron & Barberton Belt Railroad||27-28||2||1951-1952|
|American Smelting & Refining Company||1954-1955||2||1952|
|Armco Steel Corporation||706||1||1955|
|Atlanta & West Point||678||1||1951|
|Baldwin (Demo)||1200-1201, 463-467||7||1953|
|Calumet & Hecla Railroad||203||1||1951|
|Central of Georgia||311-314||4||1953|
|Central Railroad Of New Jersey (CNJ)||1053-1059||7||1951|
|Chicago & North Western||1073-1076, 1106-1109, 1117-1121, 1126-1128||15||1951- 1954|
|Columbia-Geneva Steel Division (U.S. Steel)||33-35||3||1956|
|Fairless Works (U.S. Steel)||GE-1 - GE-8, GE-17, GE-18||10||1951-1952|
|International-Great Northern Railroad (MP)||9230-9232||3||1952|
|Kansas City Southern||1160-1163||4||1951|
|McCloud River Railroad||30-31||2||1953|
|Michicgan Limestone & Chemical Company||116-117||2||1953|
|Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy)||1201-1215||15||1951-1952|
|New Orleans Public Belt||61-62||2||1955|
|New York Central||9308-9328||21||1951-1952|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||933||1||1951|
|Patapsco & Back Rivers Railroad||335, 345-347||4||1951-1953|
|Pennsylvania||8100-8104, 8732-8796, 8976-8993||88||1951-1954|
|Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (PRSL)||6017-6021, 6028-6033||11||1953- 1956|
|St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railroad (MP)||9227-9229||3||1952|
|Seaboard Air Line||1462-1465, 1476-1481||10||1952-1953|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||1, 10||2||1951|
|Sierra Railroad||40, 42||2||1955|
|Southern Pacific||1442-1463, 1492-1513, 1539-1550||56||1951-1953|
|Tennessee Coal & Iron Railroad||1200-1207||8||1950-1951|
|Tennessee Valley Authority||1-3, 200||4||1952-1954|
|Terminal Railroad Association Of St. Louis (TRRA)||1250-1253||4||1952|
|Texas & New Olreans (SP)||105-107||3||1952|
|Union Terminal Railway Of Memphis (MP)||9233-9239||7||1953|
|U.S. Air Force||1841-1842||2||1952|
|U.S. Navy||65-00292, 65-00293, 65-00315, 65-00365 - 650074, 65-00391||14||1951- 1953|
For more information on the Baldwin S-12 switcher locomotive 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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