Baldwin Puzzle

CNE1899 Apr 2, 2022

  1. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

    I am posting this in the hopes that someone out there can help me solve this puzzle.
    The Baldwin Locomotive Works (Version 1), located in Philly, had an transverse erecting shop with
    nineteen tracks. They usually built four locomotives on each track. The BLW was able to have seventy-six
    locomotives being built at once. They had twenty track foremen, each with a specialty.

    In one of the pictures I have, a crew of men are working on a Mikado. Above them and to the left, you can see numbers on the wall. It seems that the numbers correspond to the tracks. But I am uncertain of the numbering sequence, due to the fact that what appears to be a number five, is followed by what appears to be a number eight.

    I am showing two other photos that locate the number five, on the seventh track from the back wall.
    The plan view shows the tracks in the erecting shop along with other shops and the office.

    If anyone has any thoughts, knowledge, or ideas, please share.

    Mike VE2TRV, Kurt Moose and Hytec like this.
  2. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Wondering if the tracks are numbered independently-#5 and #8, then across the floor were #6 and #7?

    Numbered like stalls instead of tracks?
    CNE1899 and Mike VE2TRV like this.
  3. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    I don't know. But I do know that's not a 2-8-2. It's a 2-10-2. Look closer.

    The Santa Fe had Baldwin build them the largest locomotive in the world more than once. There was a 2-8-0T, a 2-10-0, and a couple of 2-8-8-2 types. This is a 2-10-2, probably number 915. Never did the Santa Fe own a 2-8-2 which wore that crown. All five drivers are visible, some only barely. The one behind the ladder is the hardest to see, but it's there.

    I suggest double checking all the assumptions you can against every clue you can find. That wall with the arches must run down the middle of the erecting floor, if they built four locomotives per track. Are both those photos of the same side of that wall? Were both photos printed the right way round, or inverted--is that 8 an S which is only backwards in the print? Are those track numbers for certain?

    If both those photos are the same side of that wall with the arches, and neither is printed backwards, you have your 5 and 8 inverted in your floor plan. Look at the pic of the ten wheeler and the Atlantic. On the left is a wall, not the doors to Buttonwood Yard. So clearly you're standing on the left end of the floor plan, in the top left corner, looking to the right. That pic was taken from the opposite end of the room as compared to the top pic, so in the bottom pic (looking from the left end of floor plan toward the right) "track 8" comes before "track 5". There's one devil in these details.

    Something tells me I'm not helping. :whistle:
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2022
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  4. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

    That is what I was thinking, but then the first several tracks have no number.

    Kurt Moose likes this.
  5. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member


    I think you are correct, that is a 2-10-2.

    The wall you are seeing with the numbers on it is an outer wall for the erecting shop, on the other side of this wall were the offices, drafting rooms,
    and other shops.
    There were ironwork columns down the middle of the erecting shop that divided it, you can see them on the left in the second picture. On the other side of the ironwork columns is the other outer wall, which you can also see, with all the windows facing Buttonwood St.

    I am using the arrows to indicate the same location in different images.

    I am currently building a model of the facility, and have done quite a bit of research. The numbering of the tracks is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle I'd like to recreate.

    Hytec likes this.
  6. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    The only time I've seen such numbers in manufacturing facilities it was to identify departments.
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  7. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    The math and numbering systems were different in the late 1800's and early 1900's than they are now.



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