Baldwin "RF16" Locomotives

The RF16 epitomized Baldwin's "Sharknose" design.  It was featured exclusively on the model during its four year production run before the builder ended domestic production of diesel locomotives. 

Meant for use in freight service, and in competition against Electro-Motive's F series and the American Locomotive Company's (Alco) FA, it was the best selling cab unit Baldwin built with more than 150 units outshopped.

The RF16 was also the only cab design cataloged as part of Baldwin's new Standard Line released in 1950.

The only difference between the earlier DR-4-4-1500, and latest RF16, was the latter's use of an Elliott model H704 turbocharger, which added an extra 100 horsepower.

This subsequently reclassified the prime mover as 608A.  Baldwin also cataloged one variant, the RF-615E, purchased by the Argentine State Railway.  

Delaware & Hudson's pair of RF16's carry out switching chores in Salem, New York on May 11, 1977. Warren Calloway collection.


Baldwin is often criticized as a failed builder that was unable to keep pace with either Electro-Motive or American Locomotive. 

In truth, parent Westinghouse pulled the plug on the industry's most recognized manufacturer just as it began selling more diesel locomotives during the 1950's.

Historical texts often never mention that between the spring of 1945 and the end of production (1956), Baldwin sold more than 4,000 locomotives.  These included late era steam, numerous electrics, and of course its early diesel line.

As John Kirkland points out in his book, "The Diesel Builders: Volume Three (Baldwin Locomotive Works," orders had ramped up to such an extent that by the late 1940's Baldwin had reached production capacity.

Today, two RF16s survive, stored away at short line Escanaba & Lake Superior in Michigan.  The railroad's owner states they will eventually be donated to a museum.


RF16 History And Background

The RF16 began production in November of 1950 featuring the company's latest 608A prime mover capable of producing 1,600 horsepower. 

Its introduction followed that of the late-era DR-4-4-1500 model sporting the famed "Shark Nose" carbody. 

With calls to replace the original and unpopular "Baby Face" carbody, Baldwin contracted with Hadley, Ryder & Pedersen for a complete redesign. The company came up with the classic "Shark Nose" concept, which gave Baldwin's late-era cab models an entirely unique look.  

Hadley, Ryder & Pedersen was also tasked with arranging the interior equipment, stress analysis of the carbody, and working with Baldwin in the final overall design.

Contrary to popular railfan belief, the "Shark Nose" was not a Raymond Loewy design.  As John Kirkland points out this idea likely derived from the carbody's similarity to Pennsylvania Railroad's streamlined 4-4-4-4 "Duplex Drive" T-1's.

The angular nose of these famous steam locomotives, which was a Lowey inspiration, bore a striking resemblance to the "Shark Nose."

With a continuous tractive effort rating ranging from 42,200 - 52,500 pounds (depending upon the gearing chosen), the RF16 provided more than either EMD's F7 or Alco's FA-2 models.

For these reasons, the model became well-liked for its ability to pull heavy loads at slow speeds, a trademark of Westinghouse traction motors.  

Running the Erie Lackawanna, Delaware & Hudson's pair of RF16s, #1205 and #1216, have the "Sayre Turn" bound for Sayre, Pennsylvania during August of 1975. Jerry Custer photo.

The model's internal components were outsourced to Westinghouse, which provided equipment for all of Baldwin's diesels.  

The classification system for the RF16 was very straightforward, particularly compared to the earlier system:

  • "RF" referred to Road Freight

  • "16" designated the horsepower rating of 1,600
Pennsylvania RF16 #2012 was photographed here by Fred Byerly in Toledo, Ohio. Date not listed. Author's collection.

Overall the RF16 sold fairly well although only three Class I railroads ultimately purchased it:

  • Baltimore & Ohio

  • New York Central

  • Pennsylvania Railroad (Baldwin's ever-loyal customer)

Among the group they bought 109 'A' units and 51 'B' units by the time production had ended in 1954. Additionally, the aforementioned Argentine State Railway purchased 51 units of a C-C design known as the RF-615E.


Baldwin RF16 Data Sheet

Entered Production11/7/1950 (Baltimore & Ohio #851 and #851A)
Years Produced11/7/1950 - 5/21/1953
Baldwin ClassDR-4-4-1600/1 SC
Engine608A
TurbochargerH704 (Elliott)
Engine BuilderDe La Vergne
Horsepower1600
RPM625
Carbody StylingBaldwin
Length (Between Coupler Pulling Faces)54' 8" (A units), 53' 22" (B units)
Weight250,000 Lbs
TrucksB-B
Truck TypeGSC Swing Bolster, Drop-Side Equalizers
Truck Wheelbase9' 10"
Wheel Size42"
Traction Motors370G (4), Westinghouse
Traction Generator471A, Westinghouse
Auxiliary GeneratorYG42A, Westinghouse
Gear Ratio15:68, 15:63, 17:62
Tractive Effort Rating52,500 Lbs at 9.2 MPH (15:68), 48,600 Lbs at 9.9 MPH (15:63), or 42,200 Lbs at 11.4 MPH (17:62)*
Top Speed65 MPH (15:68), 70 MPH (15:63), 80 MPH (17:62)

* No orders were received with 17:62 gearing.

During the course of production, Baldwin made the following equipment updates:

  • 471A main generator was first replaced with the model 471B, and then later the 471BZ.

  • YG42A auxiliary upgraded to model YG42B.

  • 370G traction motors upgraded first to model 370DL, then 370DE, and finally 370DEZ.


Baldwin RF16 Production Roster

Owner Road Number Baldwin Serial Number (A Unit) Baldwin Serial Number (B Unit) Construction Number Completion Date
Baltimore & Ohio8511
-
7480111/7/1950
Baltimore & Ohio851A2
-
7480211/7/1950
Baltimore & Ohio8533
-
7480311/10/1950
Baltimore & Ohio853A4
-
7480411/10/1950
Baltimore & Ohio8555
-
7480511/15/1950
Baltimore & Ohio855A6
-
7480611/15/1950
Baltimore & Ohio8577
-
7480711/17/1950
Baltimore & Ohio857A8
-
7480811/17/1950
Baltimore & Ohio8599
-
7480911/28/1950
Baltimore & Ohio859A10
-
7481011/28/1950
Baltimore & Ohio86111
-
7481111/30/1950
Baltimore & Ohio861A12
-
7481611/30/1950
Baltimore & Ohio86313
-
7481712/6/1950
Baltimore & Ohio863A14
-
7481812/6/1950
Pennsylvania970815
-
7481912/21/1950
Pennsylvania9708B
-
17483112/21/1950
Pennsylvania970916
-
7482012/21/1950
Pennsylvania971017
-
748211/10/1951
Pennsylvania9710B
-
2748321/10/1950
Pennsylvania971118
-
748221/10/1951
Pennsylvania971219
-
748231/17/1951
Pennsylvania9712B
-
3748331/17/1950
Pennsylvania971320
-
748241/17/1951
Pennsylvania971421
-
748251/29/1951
Pennsylvania9714B
-
4748341/20/1951
Pennsylvania971522
-
748261/29/1951
Pennsylvania974023
-
748272/6/1951
Pennsylvania9740B
-
5748352/6/1951
Pennsylvania974124
-
748382/6/1951
Pennsylvania974225
-
748292/13/1951
Pennsylvania9742B
-
6748362/13/1951
Pennsylvania974326
-
748302/13/1951
Pennsylvania974427
-
748892/15/1951
Pennsylvania9744B
-
7748372/15/1951
Pennsylvania974528
-
748902/15/1951
Pennsylvania972829
-
748912/21/1951
Pennsylvania9728B
-
8748382/21/1951
Pennsylvania972930
-
749922/21/1951
Pennsylvania973031
-
749932/27/1951
Pennsylvania9730B
-
9748392/27/1951
Pennsylvania973132
-
749942/27/1951
Pennsylvania971633
-
749953/6/1951
Pennsylvania971734
-
749963/6/1951
Pennsylvania971835
-
749973/12/1951
Pennsylvania971936
-
749983/12/1951
Pennsylvania972037
-
749993/14/1951
Pennsylvania972138
-
750003/14/1951
Pennsylvania972239
-
750013/21/1951
Pennsylvania972340
-
750023/21/1951
Pennsylvania972441
-
750033/27/1951
Pennsylvania972542
-
750043/27/1951
Pennsylvania972643
-
750053/29/1951
Pennsylvania972744
-
750063/29/1951
Pennsylvania973245
-
748474/4/1951
Pennsylvania9732B
-
10748404/4/1951
Pennsylvania973346
-
748484/4/1951
Pennsylvania979447
-
748494/13/1951
Pennsylvania9594B
-
11748414/13/1951
Pennsylvania959548
-
748504/13/1951
Pennsylvania959649
-
748514/20/1951
Pennsylvania9596B
-
12748424/20/1951
Pennsylvania959750
-
748524/20/1951
Pennsylvania959851
-
748534/30/1951
Pennsylvania9598B
-
13748434/30/1951
Pennsylvania959952
-
748544/30/1951
Pennsylvania973453
-
748555/4/1951
Pennsylvania9734B
-
14748445/9/1951
Pennsylvania973554
-
748565/4/1951
Pennsylvania973655
-
751125/15/1951
Pennsylvania9736B
-
15748455/15/1951
Pennsylvania973756
-
751135/15/1951
Pennsylvania973857
-
751145/31/1951
Pennsylvania9738B
-
16748465/31/1951
Pennsylvania973958
-
751155/31/1951
Pennsylvania200061
-
751976/27/1951
Pennsylvania2000B
-
18752156/27/1951
Pennsylvania200162
-
751986/27/1951
Pennsylvania200263
-
751996/28/1951
Pennsylvania2002B
-
19752166/28/1951
Pennsylvania200364
-
752006/28/1951
Pennsylvania200465
-
752017/28/1951
Pennsylvania2004B
-
20752177/28/1951
Pennsylvania200566
-
752027/28/1951
Pennsylvania200667
-
752039/21/1951
Pennsylvania2006B
-
21752189/21/1951
Pennsylvania200768
-
752049/21/1951
Pennsylvania200869
-
7520510/5/1951
Pennsylvania2008B
-
227521910/5/1951
Pennsylvania200970
-
7520610/5/1951
Pennsylvania201071
-
752072/21/1952
Pennsylvania2010B
-
23752202/2/1952
Pennsylvania201172
-
752082/21/1952
Pennsylvania201273
-
752092/26/1952
Pennsylvania2012B
-
24752212/26/1952
Pennsylvania201374
-
752102/26/1952
Pennsylvania201475
-
752112/29/1952
Pennsylvania2014B
-
25752222/29/1952
Pennsylvania201576
-
752122/29/1952
Pennsylvania201677
-
752133/12/1952
Pennsylvania2016B
-
26752233/12/1952
Pennsylvania201778
-
752143/12/1952
Pennsylvania201879
-
753583/24/1952
Pennsylvania2018B
-
27754003/24/1952
Pennsylvania201980
-
753593/24/1952
New York Central380481
-
7536012/7/1951
New York Central3702
-
287540112/7/1951
New York Central380582
-
7536112/7/1951
New York Central380683
-
7536212/17/1951
New York Central3703
-
297540212/17/1951
New York Central380784
-
7536312/17/1951
New York Central380885
-
7536412/27/1951
New York Central3704
-
307540312/27/1951
New York Central380986
-
7536512/27/1951
New York Central381087
-
7536612/29/1951
New York Central3705
-
317540412/29/1951
New York Central381188
-
7536712/29/1951
New York Central381289
-
753681/11/1952
New York Central3706
-
32754051/11/1952
New York Central381390
-
753691/11/1952
New York Central381491
-
753701/17/1952
New York Central3707
-
33754061/17/1952
New York Central381592
-
753711/17/1952
New York Central381693
-
753721/25/1952
New York Central3708
-
34754071/24/1952
New York Central381794
-
753731/24/1952
New York Central381895
-
753741/31/1952
New York Central3709
-
35754081/31/1952
New York Central381996
-
753751/31/1952
New York Central382097
-
753762/8/1952
New York Central382198
-
753772/8/1952
Pennsylvania202099
-
753783/28/1952
Pennsylvania2020B
-
36754093/28/1952
Pennsylvania2021100
-
753793/28/1952
Pennsylvania2022101
-
753804/3/1952
Pennsylvania2022B
-
37754104/3/1952
Pennsylvania2023102
-
753814/3/1952
Pennsylvania2024103
-
753824/21/1952
Pennsylvania2024B
-
38754114/21/1952
Pennsylvania2025104
-
753834/21/1952
Pennsylvania2026105
-
753844/30/1952
Pennsylvania2026B
-
39754124/30/1952
Pennsylvania2027106
-
753854/30/1952
Baltimore & Ohio865107
-
753865/24/1952
Baltimore & Ohio865X
-
40754135/15/1952
Baltimore & Ohio865A108
-
753875/28/1952
Baltimore & Ohio867109
-
753883/27/1953
Baltimore & Ohio851X
-
41754145/15/1952
Baltimore & Ohio869110
-
753894/30/1953
Baltimore & Ohio871111
-
753905/21/1953
Baltimore & Ohio853X
-
42754155/24/1952
Baltimore & Ohio855X
-
43754165/24/1952
Baltimore & Ohio857X
-
44754175/28/1952
Baltimore & Ohio859X
-
45754185/28/1952
Baltimore & Ohio861X
-
46754195/29/1952
Baltimore & Ohio867X
-
47758083/27/1953
Baltimore & Ohio867AX
-
48758093/27/1953
Baltimore & Ohio869X
-
49758104/30/1953
Baltimore & Ohio869AX
-
50758114/30/1953
Baltimore & Ohio871X
-
51758125/21/1953
Baltimore & Ohio871AX
-
52758135/21/1953

Serial numbers 59-60 for 'A' units and 17 for 'B' units remained vacant.

Sources:

  • 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.


New York Central RF16's #1212 and #1211 are eastbound along the Ohio River to the west of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio with a mixed freight train on December 8, 1966. The U.S. Route 50/River Road viaduct can be seen adjacent to the train. It has since been replaced.

In 1962, the B&O began striking their RF16's from the roster; likely in response to Baldwin exited the locomotive market.

In 1966, just a few years prior to the Penn Central merger the PRR sold or scrapped all of its RF16s while a year later the remaining units still serviceable on the NYC were sold to the Monongahela Railway for use in coal drag service.

In 1974 the Delaware & Hudson picked up Monongahela's two remaining RF16s from a scrap dealer and used them in freight service until 1978.

By the early 1980s they came under the ownership of the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad of Michigan and for many years now have been locked in a storage, away from public view.  The owner states they will be donated to a preservation group at some point in the future.

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SteamLocomotive.com

Wes Barris's SteamLocomotive.com 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!