Baldwin RF-16

The Baldwin RF-16 was a 1,600-horsepower (1,200 kW) cab unit-type diesel locomotive built for freight service by the Baldwin Locomotive Works between 1950 and 1953. All RF-16s were configured with a B-B wheel arrangement and ran on two AAR Type B two-axle road trucks, with all axles powered. A total of 109 cab-equipped A units were built, along with 51 cabless booster B units, for a total of 160 locomotives built. As was the case with most passenger locomotives of its day, the RF-16s came equipped with a retractable, nose-mounted drop coupler pilot. Unlike competing units from EMD and Alco, the RF-16 used an air-powered throttle, meaning that it could not be run in MU operation with EMD or Alco diesels without special MU equipment.

Baldwin RF-16
New York Central 3807 with "B" unit 3703 and "A" unit 3806 at back, 1958
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
Build dateNovember 1950 – May 1953
Total produced160
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Trucks4 wheel
Wheel diameter42"
Minimum curve30 Degrees
Length54 ft 4 in (16.56 m)
Loco weight266,000 lb (120,656 kilograms)
Sandbox cap.20 cu. ft.
Prime mover608A
RPM range625 maximum
Engine typeFour-stroke diesel
Displacement15,832 cu in (259.44 L)
GeneratorDC generator
Traction motorsDC traction motors
CylindersInline 8
Cylinder size12 34 in × 15 12 in (324 mm × 394 mm)
Loco brakeStraight air
Train brakesAir
Performance figures
Maximum speed65 MPH
Power output1,600 hp (1,193.12 kW)
Tractive effort48,600
OperatorsBaltimore & Ohio Railroad,
New York Central Railroad,
Pennsylvania Railroad, Delaware and Hudson Railway, Monongahela Railway
LocaleNorth America
Disposition2 preserved, remainder scrapped.


In 1948, Baldwin began to apply a new "Sharknose" body style to its cab unit diesel locomotives. The goal of the new style was partly to differentiate Baldwin locomotives from competitors, and partly to distance the new locomotives from early Baldwin diesels that were plagued with mechanical problems. The style was inspired by the Pennsylvania Railroad's T1 class duplex steam locomotive, some of which were built by Baldwin. The first locomotives to receive the new styling were the Baldwin DR-6-4-20. When the RF-16 (essentially a "debugged" Baldwin DR-4-4-15 freight locomotive with a new prime mover) was introduced in 1950, it was given the new "Sharknose" styling.

The RF-16 quickly gained a reputation as a reliable and rugged locomotive with tough "lugging power." Many of the units saw service hauling coal drags, where these characteristics were put to best use. A handful of RF-16s were repowered with ALCO prime movers over the years, with mixed results. The Baltimore and Ohio retired its Sharknoses as a class in 1962. In 1966, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the largest single owner of RF-16s, ceased use of the distinctive locomotives. In 1967, the Monongahela Railway purchased seven A-units and two cabless B-units, the last remaining units from the New York Central Sharknose fleet. By 1971, all but two of the units, 1205 and 1216, had been sold for scrap. The final pair were to be scrapped in 1974, but were saved when the Delaware and Hudson Railroad purchased both units from the scrap dealer in exchange for an equal value of scrap steel. They were used in freight service and in passenger excursion service on the D&H until late 1978, when they were purchased by Illinois-based Castolite Corporation. The pair was leased for use on the Michigan Northern Railway in 1979. Both units suffered mechanical damage and have reportedly been stored since 1981 on the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad, inside a warehouse that is inaccessible to the public. The units have been photographed outside of the building as late as 2012.

Original buyers

A units
B units
Road numbers A unitsRoad numbers B unitsNotes
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
851,A–865,A (odd), 867–871 (odd)
851X–861X, 865X, 867X,AX–871X,AX (all odd)
Renumbered 4202–4220 (A); 5202–5214 (B) not in order
New York Central Railroad
Renumbered 1204–1221 (A)
Pennsylvania Railroad
2000A–2027A, 9594A–9599A, 9708A–9745A
2000B–2026B, 9594B–9598B, 9708B–9598B, 9708B–9714B (all even)


  • Marre, Louis A. (1995). Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years. Kalmbach Publishing Co., Waukesha, WI. ISBN 978-0-89024-258-2.
  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-89024-026-7.
  • ""Baldwin Sharknose: A History" by Jay Winn & John Shaw". The Bridgeline Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2006-01-11. Retrieved January 22, 2006.
  • "Baldwin 608A Diesel Engine". Pacific Southwest Railway Museum. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2006.
  • ""E-R N scale Baldwin RF-16 sharknosed diesel locomotives:Product Review" by Paul Schmidt". Model Railroader Magazine, April 2002 Edition. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.