Baldwin "DR-6-4-1500" Locomotives

Last revised: March 5, 2022

By: Adam Burns

The DR-6-4-1500 was Baldwin's A1A-A1A design intended for passenger service.  It was a direct competitor to Electro-Motive's successful "E" series and Alco's beautiful "PA" line

Unfortunately, Baldwin lagged far behind its rivals in the cab locomotive market.  It struggled immensely to sell full-bodied diesels, either freight or passenger variants.

But, as John Kirkland points out in his book, "The Diesel Builders: Volume Three (Baldwin Locomotive Works," the DR-6-4-1500 was never actually a production-line model.  It was built solely on the request of New York Central and Seaboard Air Line

A pair of the Seaboard Air Line's rare, Baldwin-built DR-6-4-1500's are seen here in Tampa, Florida during September of 1963. Warren Calloway photo.

The DR-6-4-1500, and later DR-6-4-2000, concluded Baldwin's development of passenger locomotives.  Afterwards, the company primarily focused efforts on its cab freight locomotives, notably the RF16.  Today, there are no examples of the DR-6-4-1500 preserved.

DR-6-4-1500 History And Background

The Baldwin DR-6-4-1500 began production in November, 1947 and featured an A1A-A1A truck setup (i.e., the two outside axles were powered while the inside axle was not), perhaps the only difference from the earlier model which included simply a B-B truck setup.

Just like the DR-4-4-1500 model the design was equipped with 1,500 horsepower using Baldwin's new 608 SC prime mover.

Seaboard Air Line DR-6-4-1500 #2702 is stopped in St. Petersburg, Florida with its passenger train during the 1950's. Warren Calloway collection.

It was the first engine built exclusively by the iconic manufacturer as its early VO660 and VO1000 models came equipped with prime movers from subsidiary I.P. Morris & De La Vergne which Baldwin had purchased in 1931.

Seen here are Seaboard DR-6-4-1500's #2702 and #2700 in service at Tampa, Florida in September of 1963. Warren Calloway photo.

The Baldwin DR-6-4-1500 never made it to the redesigned "Shark Nose" carbody (designed by the firm Hadley, Ryder & Pedersen).  The reasoning here, of course, was that no future orders were requested for this particular variant.

Only 10 were built by the time production had ended in the spring of 1948; 4 'A' units and 2 'B' units by New York Central and '3' A units by Seaboard Air Line (there was also one demonstrator built).

Another view of New York Central DR-6-4-1500 #3200, resting between assignments probably during the 1950s.

Baldwin's first classification system for its diesels did have purpose although sometimes it's hard to fathom considering the difficulty in trying to decipher it. When the company switched production to diesel locomotives it was still manufacturing some steam locomotives.

This setup persisted through the late 1940's.  As a means of differentiating the two Baldwin came up with a steam locomotive-like designation system, similar to the Whyte Notation.

For instance, in regards to the DR-6-4-1500:

  • DR referred to Diesel Road unit

  • The first number, 6, designated 6 overall axles

  • The second number, 4, denoted four powered traction motors

  • 1,500 classified the horsepower rating

To simplify many times the model was regarded merely as a DR-6-4-15.  Given the problematic nature of the DR-6-4-15, and all early main line diesels produced by Baldwin, both the NYC and Seaboard did not retain their units long before trade in or outright scrapping them.

Baldwin DR-6-4-1500 Data Sheet

Entered Production11/22/1947 (New York Central #3200-3201 [As] and #3300 [b])
Years Produced11/22/1947 - 11/11/1948
Baldwin ClassDR-6-4-1500/1 SC
Engine BuilderDe La Vergne
Carbody StylingBaldwin
Length (Between Coupler Pulling Faces)61' (A unit), 59' 6" (B unit)
Weight304,000 Lbs
Truck TypeGSC Rigid Bolster-Inside Sideframe Equalizers
Truck Wheelbase13' 3"
Wheel Size42"
Traction Motors370F (4), Westinghouse
Traction Generator471A, Westinghouse
Auxiliary GeneratorYG42A, Westinghouse
Gear Ratio15:63 (SAL) and 22:57 (NYC)
Tractive Effort Rating26,400 Lbs at 23.5 MPH
Top Speed100 MPH

Baldwin DR-6-4-1500 Production Roster

Owner Road Number Baldwin Serial Number (A Unit) Baldwin Serial Number (B Unit) Construction Number Completion Date
New York Central32001
New York Central3300
New York Central32012
New York Central32023
New York Central3301
Seaboard Air Line27004
Seaboard Air Line27015
Seaboard Air Line27026


  • Kirkland, John F. Diesel Builders, The:  Volume Three, Baldwin Locomotive Works. Pasadena: Interurban Press, 1994.

  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. Diesel Spotter's Guide.  Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967.

  • Solomon, Brian.  Baldwin Locomotives.  Minneapolis:  Voyageur Press, 2009.

The same pair of Seaboard Air Line DR-6-4-1500's as seen above resting at Wildwood, Florida on September 14, 1963.

Virtually all were off both companies' roster by the 1960s.  When Baldwin uprated its primary diesel engine and dropped steam production entirely the company overhauled its locomotive line.

It dropped the "Whyte Notation" classification system and adopted a much simpler protocol for naming new models.  The "Standard Line" was much more successful than Baldwin's first generation of diesels.

It is interesting to wonder what may have been had parent Westinghouse continued in the locomotive market.  If Baldwin had remained an independent company at the time it almost  surely would have continued refining its product.

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