The Baldwin S-12

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. 

For more information about the S-12 model please click here.  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
Apache Railway 600 1 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
Erie Railroad 617-628 12 1951-1952
Erie Mining 400-403 4 1955-1956
Fairless Works (U.S. Steel) GE-1 - GE-8, GE-17, GE-18 10 1951-1952
Great Northern 24-28 5 1953
International-Great Northern Railroad (MP) 9230-9232 3 1952
Kansas City Southern 1160-1163 4 1951
Lehigh Valley 230-243 14 1950
McCloud River Railroad 30-31 2 1953
Michicgan Limestone & Chemical Company 116-117 2 1953
Milwaukee Road 1905-1925 21 1950-1954
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy) 1201-1215 15 1951-1952
Missouri Pacific 9200-9226 27 1951-1952
Monongahela Railway 400-426 27 1953-1954
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
Rayonier, Inc. 201-202 2 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
Soo Line 313-314 2 1952
Southern Pacific 1442-1463, 1492-1513, 1539-1550 56 1951-1953
Southern Railway 2290-2299 10 1952
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
Wabash Railroad 305-309 10 1952-1953

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 is Vintage Diesel Locomotives by noted author and historian Mike Schafer.  This one has been out for several years now and is a paperback title but highlights several classic models from the major builders of the era such as Electro-Motive, Baldwin, and the American Locomotive Company.

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