Baldwin DR-4-4-1500

Header Photo: Drew Jacksich

The Baldwin DR-4-4-1500 was one of the first cab units that the builder produced to compete with the Electro-Motive Division's extremely successful E and F series cab units of the time. While Baldwin's numbering system for its locomotive models is difficult enough to decipher, its cab units are even more complicated. For the most part the Baldwin Locomotive Works used two styles for its cab units, an original "Baby Face" design (never a very attractive design, which hurt its sales), and later the much more striking "Sharknose" design. However, at least one version of these two designs could be found on several models including the DR-4-4-1500, DR-6-4-1500, DR-6-4-2000, and finally the RF-16 (the last model only featured the "Sharknose" carbody), which was part of its new Standard line. Particularly with its early models, Baldwin faced reliability issues and coupled with an unattractive design the company was able to sell very few DR-4-4-1500s just a little over 100 total A and B units. Today, all of these unique beasts have long since been scrapped.

The Baldwin DR-4-4-1500 began production in November, 1947 using a carbody design that can only be described as unique. Similar to EMD's cab units that featured a streamlined design with a sloped front nose ahead of the crew cab, the DR-4-4-1500 was much lower with large windows, giving it the appearance of an infant's face thus it was dubbed the "Baby Face." The DR-4-4-1500 was meant to be used in passenger service but its design was never popular with railroads and few found their way in regular use on passenger trains. Instead, the railroads that did buy them often employed them in freight service, even though this was not Baldwin's original intention.

The Baldwin DR-4-4-1500 (also known as a DR-4-4-15) utilized the builder's original 608 SC prime mover, which was based from its subsidiary I.P. Morris & De La Vergne. During BLW's very early days of diesel designs, such as the VO1000 and VO660, it still used original De La Vergne engines but by the late 1940s was finally producing its own prime movers. The DR-4-4-1500 could producing 1,5000 horsepower and featured a B-B truck setup (meaning there were two axles per truck). Since Baldwin was still building a few steam locomotives when it released the DR-4-4-1500 in 1947 the company used a classification system based from the steam "Whyte Notation". For example, the model's numbers and letters referred to the following: Diesel Road unit; the first 4 referred to four overall axles; the second 4 regarded four powered traction motors; and 1,500, of course, was the horsepower rating.

The "Baby Face" design did not last long. Realizing it was unpopular Baldwin's hired famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy to give the carbody a complete makeover, who based the unit after the Pennsylvania Railroad's streamlined T-1 steam locomotive (Loewy was always well known for several designs among many different railroads, particularly during the streamliner revolution). While somewhat overall similar in carbody design to that of EMD’s E and F series, and Alco’s PA, whereby the cab was situated to one end and behind the nose, the "Sharknose" design was very unique in its styling.

Internally, the DR-4-4-15 featured components from Westinghouse Electric, which supplied Baldwin with virtually all of its internal equipment for its diesel models (the two companies had been working in conjunction since the 19th century). As for tractive effort, the original Baby Face variant offered 55,700 pounds starting and 43,000 continuous. However, the updated Sharknose was slightly improved at 59,000 pounds starting and 42,800 continuous. This was actually slightly more than EMD's six-axle E7 model being cataloged at the same time. 

Baldwin DR-4-4-1500 "Babyface" Carbody

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Central Railroad Of New Jersey (CNJ)70-79 (As)101947-1948
Central Railroad Of New Jersey (CNJ)K, L, M, R, S (Bs)51947-1948
Missouri Pacific201A-208A (As)81948
Missouri Pacific201B-204B (Bs)41948
New York Central3400-3403 (As)41948
New York Central3700-3701 (Bs)21948

Baldwin DR-4-4-1500 "Sharknose" Carbody

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Baldwin (Demo)6001A, 6001D (As)21949
Baldwin (Demo)6001B, 6001C (Bs)21949
Pennsylvania9568A-9593A, 9700A-9707A (As)341949-1950
Pennsylvania9568B-9593B, 9700B-9707B (Bs)341949-1950

By early 1948 Baldwin had entirely scrapped the "Baby Face" carbody design, save for any orders that were already in production. With the DR-4-4-1500 still in production during the Loewy makeover, more than half of the units built were in the "Sharknose" design, which included 38 A and 34 B units. In total, Baldwin built 105 units of the DR-4-4-1500 for four different Class Is; Pennsylvania (which purchased all of the "Sharknose" models), Jersey Central, New York Central, and Missouri Pacific.  For more information about the DR-4-4-1500s please refer to the chart above.

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