Last revised: December 28, 2022
By: Adam Burns
The S-8 was Baldwin's first diesel switcher as part of its latest Standard Line. It specifically replaced the earlier "DS" line and the DS-4-4-750. The latest model offered a slight increase in horsepower (50 hp).
The switcher itself was not considerably different from its earlier counterpart although it did feature an upgraded prime mover of the same version used in the DS-4-4-750. Baldwin simply dropped the "Normally Aspirated" (NA) title.
Perhaps the most noticeable change was merely the S-8's designation, as the Baldwin looked to simplify its earlier classification system of complicated numbers, dashes, and letters. Overall, the S-8 was not particularly successful although its successor, the S-12, did see decent sales.
One railroad which never wavered on Baldwin was the Pennsylvania; the PRR was a loyal buyer of steam locomotives practically from its inception and continued supporting the company until the end. It acquired a small roster of six S-8's.
The S-8 switcher line debuted in 1951 featuring Baldwin's updated 606 prime mover. The locomotive could produce 800 horsepower using a B-B truck arrangement (two axles per truck).
Overall Baldwin designed the S-8 as a standard yard switcher although sales never truly materialized. Railroads still preferred more powerful models and the company had a difficult time finding orders for any of its lightly powered designs like the VO660, DS-4-4-750, and the S-8.
Of course, this was not unique to Baldwin. The American Locomotive Company, for instance, also saw only lukewarm sales for its small switchers such as the S-1, S-3, and S-6.
At 48 feet in length the S-8 was nearly identical to the DS-4-4-750 using the same basic frame and design (end cab and long trailing hood).
The one operational standout, aside from its extra 50 horsepower was the additional tractive effort; 59,550 pounds starting and 34,000 pounds continuous.
This gave the locomotive the ability to pull a string of loaded cars with relative ease while being agile and light enough (just 100 tons) to be used almost anywhere. Because of this, several industries found the S-8 to their liking.
By the time production had ended Baldwin was able to sell 65 total units (56 A units and 9 B units/calves) to a wide range of buyers.
While Class I railroads purchased the S-8, such as the Pennsylvania and Rock Island, many buyers turned out to be industrial operations like mining and steel companies.
Interestingly, before the Cuban trade embargo was implemented Baldwin also sold two S-8s to United Railways of Havana.
As John Kirkland notes in his book, "The Diesel Builder: Volume Two," the S-8 was essentially the DS-4-4-750 with an additional 50 horsepower and dropping the prime mover's designation from 606NA to simply 606.
|Entered Production||3/22/1951 (Pennsylvania #8994)|
|Engine||606, 6-Cylinder In-Line|
|Engine Builder||De La Vergne|
|Length (Between Coupler Pulling Faces)||48'|
|Height (Top Of Rail To Top Of Cab)||14'|
|Truck Type||GSC Rigid Bolster, Drop-Side Equalizer|
|Traction Motors||362D (4), Westinghouse|
|Traction Generator||480F, Westinghouse|
|Auxiliary Generator||YG42A, Westinghouse|
|Tractive Effort Rating||33,600 Lbs at 8.3 MPH.|
|Top Speed||45 MPH|
|Owner||Road Number||Baldwin Serial Number||Construction Number||Completion Date|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1200A||7||75243||7/29/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1201A||8||75244||7/31/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1202A||9||75245||8/27/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1203A||10||75246||8/27/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1200B||11||74247||7/29/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1201B||12||74248||7/31/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1202B||13||74249||8/27/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1203||14||74250||8/27/1951|
|Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines||6006||15||75253||5/16/1951|
|New Orleans Public Belt||50||16||75251||5/10/1951|
|New Orleans Public Belt||51||17||75252||5/16/1951|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||3||20||75421||3/10/1952|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||4||21||75422||7/31/1952|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||5||22||75423||8/2/1952|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||6||23||75424||8/21/1952|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||7||24||75425||2/13/1953|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||8||25||75426||2/16/1952|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||9||26||75427||8/28/1953|
|Sharon Steel Corporation||10||27||75428||8/28/1953|
|LaSalle & Bureau County||8||28||75429||10/23/1951|
|Youngstown Sheet & Tube||703||29||75430||11/30/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1204A||31||75488||10/31/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1205A||32||75489||11/29/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1206A||33||75490||11/29/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1204B||34||75491||10/31/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1205B||35||75492||11/29/1951|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1206B||36||75493||11/29/1951|
|Youngstown Sheet & Tube||800||37||75494||3/17/1952|
|Youngstown Sheet & Tube||801||38||75495||3/15/1952|
|Youngstown Sheet & Tube||802||39||75496||3/18/1952|
|Youngstown Sheet & Tube||803||40||75497||3/20/1952|
|American Rolling Mill Company||1151||45||75527||12/12/1951|
|Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific||802||46||75683||9/9/1952|
|Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific||803||47||75684||9/9/1952|
|Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific||804||48||75685||9/10/1952|
|Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific||805||49||75686||9/10/1952|
|Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific||806||50||75687||9/12/1952|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1214A||51||75692||6/5/1952|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1215A||52||75693||6/6/1952|
|American Rolling Mill Company||1152||53||74988||10/30/1952|
|Youngstown Sheet & Tube||804||54||75163||2/10/1953|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1214B||55||75696||6/5/1952|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1215B||56||75697||6/16/1952|
|Youngstown Sheet & Tube||805||57||75332||2/10/1953|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1216A||58||75834||7/1952|
|Escanaba & Lake Superior||102||59||75700||8/21/1952|
|United Railways Of Havana||8001||60||75719||6/19/1952|
|United Railways Of Havana||8002||61||75720||6/19/1952|
|Oliver Iron Mining Company||1216B||63||75836||7/1952|
One particular note of interest about the S-8s were the nine cow-calf sets purchased by Oliver Mining. Oliver was the only buyer to request such a setup (it also ordered other cow-calf sets from Baldwin).
The units were numbered 1200A-1206A, 1214A-1215A/1200B-1206B, 1214B-1215B and the mining company had on order a tenth set but later canceled this after it was already completed. Baldwin then retrofitted the B unit with a cab and resold it as a standard S-8.
Today, at least two S-8s are preserved: