Baldwin "DT-6-6-2000" Locomotives

The Baldwin DT-6-6-2000 was one of the most interesting models released by a major manufacturer. The Baldwin Locomotive Works was the first company to catalog a single-unit, transfer switcher.  This design was a specialized type of locomotive intended for use in heavy drag service over short distances, such as on terminal railroads or moving cuts of cars between local yards. Believing that there was a market for such Baldwin released the DT-6-6-2000 directly after World War II, one of first models to employ the company's own prime mover. For a switcher, it was massive and, ironically longer than virtually every road switcher or cab unit on the market at that time. 

However, it was powerful and offered absolutely phenomenal tractive effort. Unfortunately, the design had mechanical issues and railroads were never really interested in such a specialized locomotive resulting in fewer than 50 constructed when production had ended.  

A Baldwin Locomotive Works builder's photo featuring one of its massive DT-6-6-2000 transfer switchers, demonstrator #2000, circa 1950. Unfortunately, the transfer market never really took off and coupled with Baldwin's chronic reliability issues few of these sold. Despite their problems, Baldwin's diesels could certainly pull thanks to their powerful Westinghouse traction motors. For this reason, short line SMS Rail Lines in New Jersey still employs a rather sizable fleet of Baldwins in freight service.

The Baldwin DT-6-6-2000 was an incredibly large switcher, originally cataloged by the company during May of 1946.  At over 70 feet in length and weighing a hefty 360,000 pounds or 180 tons, the switcher was certainly one of the largest, longest, and heaviest of its kind ever built. It utilized two of Baldwin's 608NA model prime movers, using a C-C truck setup (i.e., three axles per truck) and produced 2,000 horsepower. Perhaps most unique to the model was that despite its incredible length the locomotive featured a centered cab giving it the appearance of a common switcher only on steroids. Unfortunately, its size and locomotive of the cab made visibility rather poor for the crew.  The locomotive was also fairly tall at 14 feet to the top of the cab.

For more information about the DT-6-6-2000 model please click here.  During the 1940s Baldwin still shrugged the notion of diesels being employed in main line freight services. The company also held the philosophy that those models it did produce should be customized to either whatever the railroad requested or for a specific job/task.  This notion harkened back to the days of steam, which were nearly almost manufactured and tailored to a railroad's specific needs.  As a result the DT-6-6-2000 was born. The switcher's classification was similarly based from the steam era and is why it includes many letters, dashes, and numbers. The "DT" referred to Diesel Transfer while the first "6" referred to six overall axles; the second "6" referred to six powered traction motors; and "2000" stood for the horsepower rating.

Elgin, Joliet & Eastern DT-6-6-2000 #920 (rebuilt with Electro-Motive prime movers by this date) is on a caboose hop at Griffith, Indiana in January, 1965. Roger Puta photo.

As it turned out there was not much of a market for the transfer switcher; Baldwin ultimately only sold 46 units by the time production had ended in February of 1950. The Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway purchased the most, 27 (including one of the demonstrators), and actually became quite famous for its fleet of DT-6-6-2000s although they would later be re-powered with Electro-Motive's reliable model 567 prime movers, extending their service lives through the mid-1970s.  In any event, the locomotive could not be questioned for its astronomically high tractive effort, something no other switcher could match; 105,000 pounds starting and 62,250 pounds continuous.

If you were wanting to move long cuts of heavy loaded cars the DT-6-6-2000 was certainly up to the task.  Baldwin also released an updated version of the transfer switcher, the RT624, but it would sell even fewer than its predecessor. Today, one Baldwin DT-6-6-2000 remains preserved; former Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern Railway #21 at the Illinois Railway Museum. For more information about the DT-6-6-2000s and all Baldwin transfer switcher models please refer to the chart below.  

Baldwin DT-6-6-2000 Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Baldwin (Demo)2000-200121950
Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic (Soo)300-30341949-1950
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern100-125261946-1948
Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern20-2451948-1949
Santa Fe2600-200561948-1949
St. Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt/SP)26011948
Trona Railway50-5121949

Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern DT-6-6-2000 #21 is seen here preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois on July 17, 1994. Doug Kroll photo.

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, also written by Mr. Solomon, is Vintage Diesel Power, which generally highlights several classic models from many of the noted builders of first-generation power such as Electro-Motive, Baldwin, and the American Locomotive Company.

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Wes Barris's is simply the best web resource in the study of steam locomotives. 

The amount of information found there is quite staggering; historical backgrounds of wheel arrangements, types used by virtually every railroad, preserved and operational examples, and even those used in other countries (North America and beyond). 

It is difficult to truly articulate just how much material can be found at this website.  It is a must visit!

Researching Rights-Of-Way

A popular pastime for many is studying and/or exploring abandoned rights-of-way. 

Today, there are tens of thousands of miles scattered throughout the country.  Many were pulled up in the 1970's and 1980's although others were removed long before that. 

If you are researching active or abandoned corridors you might want to check out the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Historical Topographic Map Explorer

It is an excellent resource with thousands of historic maps on file throughout the country.  Just type in a town or city and click on the timeline of maps at the bottom of the page!