Union Pacific Baldwins

Hardcoaler Apr 30, 2021

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I'm reading Diesels From Eddystone: The Story of Baldwin Diesel Locomotives by Gary and Stephen Dolzall (c. 1984) and found that the Union Pacific ordered a pair of DR-12-8-3000s (aka Centipedes) to be numbered 998 and 999 in 1947, but they cancelled the order during construction. With no further orders booked for the model, Baldwin painted them in demonstrator colors and sent them out to work on the B&O, B&LE and C&NW without success. The unloved units returned to Eddystone and were scrapped in 1952.

    You UP guys probably know of these events, but I didn't and thought it was interesting. To think of a pair in Armour Yellow is pretty cool. UP always did things in a big way.


    PS: The book is excellent, with great photos and a really good balance of engineering and development detail. Highly recommended!
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    They would have been quite interesting to see as UP units. Thinking about their "Big Blow" turbines and Centennials, these would have fit right in!
  3. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    UP bought several one-off units in the early diesel era and later in the double-diesel era; it wouldn't surprise me in the least they ordered Centipedes. Now I want to see them in Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Grey!
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  4. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    I am surprised that they did not take delivery of them as they were always looking for a high horsepower solution
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  5. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

    I always thought they would have been a maintenance nightmare. However I guess they kept them running south of the boarder for a while on the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (NdeM).
  6. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    Did they fail because of the truck-mounted front coupler inspired by early N scale? :D

    I kid. I wonder why they DID fail.

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  7. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

    I am curious as to what kind of HP and TE these monsters had. Very impressive looking locos.
    Doug Gosha likes this.
  8. digimar52

    digimar52 TrainBoard Member

    The Diesel Spotter's Guide is listing them having 3000 HP generated out of two 8 cylinder motors per unit. It is also listing an experimental unit of the same year, that was planned to generate 6000 HP out of eight coupled 8 cylinder motors.

    It seems Baldwin at that time wasn't able to generate 1500 HP out of a single motor. The 3000 HP rating would therefore apply to a consist of two Centipedes having a total of four motors.
  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I was researching Baldwin and the below advertisement immediately surfaced. So there you go folks, whatever Baldwin locomotive catches your fancy in 1:1 scale can be had for 75% off. I just placed an order for two Sharks in EJ&E paint. Haven't heard back yet ......

    Last edited: May 1, 2021
  10. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I'm not sure, but Baldwin never seemed to be able to engineer a prime mover that was as reliable as offered by other manufacturers like EMD. They developed the 400-Series, then the 606 and 608, normally aspirated and supercharged. Baldwins also featured air-operated throttles, which prevented them from being mu'd with other makes. (Many roads later converted them to electric throttles). On the plus side, Baldwin's partner for the electrical equipment was Westinghouse and their systems were superbly engineered. This resulted in excellent lugging capability with lessened overload worries.

    An old-head friend once told me that "Baldwins could have moved the earth if only a chain could have been gotten around it". :)
  11. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Actually, they were able to do that.

    At first, Baldwin was working on introducing a V-8 compact enough to sit crosswise in a locomotive carbody. Four of these were installed in the earliest Centipede demonstrator but they impressed no one. Baldwin gave up on the little V-8 and went back to the VO.

    The deLavergne VO marine diesel was another engine. There was no V-8, there was a straight eight and a straight six. They got a reputation for being unreliable. I've seen a good case made that no early railroad diesel was significantly more reliable, but other manufacturers did a better job of maintaining a parts supply and not only making refinements, but helping railroads make those improvements to existing units. In other words, Baldwin's support was no good.

    In any case, by the mid 1950s, EMD had ditched the 201-A, at ALCO both the 539 and 244 engines had been superceded, and the Baldwin prime mover looked like an antique.

    606 NA (normally aspirated): 600/660 HP
    606 SC (early turbo): 1000 HP
    606A (late turbo): 1200 HP
    608 NA: 1000 HP
    608 SC: 1500 HP (two of these in each Centipede unit)
    608A: 1600 HP

    The 606 SC was rare. Most of their 1000 horse switchers, and 2000 horse passenger streamliners and center cab road switchers, used the 608 NA, saving the railroads turbocharger maintenance. Later they switched to the 606A, producing 1200 hp in switchers and 2400 in the others.

    It was on the internet so it must be true.

    I was once told I could buy the H.M.S. Tiger on feePay. I found that interesting since she weighed some 27,000 tons and was scrapped in the early 'thirties. Never did find her, though.
    Last edited: May 1, 2021
  12. digimar52

    digimar52 TrainBoard Member

    You'r right. I got too much distracted by the experimental engine on the opposit page (the one with the crosswise mounted motors) that I overlooked the mentioning of 608 SC engines in the Centipede. So it's really 3000 HP per unit.
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  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    One of Baldwin's worst errors in judgement came in the summer of 1948 just after Westinghouse had purchased the company. Westinghouse placed its officers at the helm and soon, experienced Baldwin engineers (many were DeLavergne men with many years of valuable experience) were pushed aside.

    With Westinghouse's influence at high tide, the PRR was meanwhile enamored with the horsepower and smooth running qualities of F-M's opposed piston engines asked Baldwin to develop their own OP line. It was a terrible mistake. The PRR had only 16 F-Ms at the time and wasn't yet aware of the higher maintenance expenses inherent in OP engines. Westinghouse, equally ignorant, jumped to meet the PRR's request.

    After three years of expensive OP engine development at Baldwin without success, they threw in the towel at the end of 1951 and returned to focusing on their old 600-Series while thinking out their options, including a 2000-series engine, German designs from MAN and others from Hamilton. Baldwin had lost valuable time and cash on the OP venture and afterward, never seemed to be able to catch its footing with a modern, competitive engine design.
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
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  14. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

  15. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    I could see this crawling over Sherman Hill with a huge freight!!(y)
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  16. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

    One thing that hurt Baldwin was they were using a "steam engine" mentality for diesels where they would allow all sorts of customization of engines, so engines had all sorts of variations on plumbing and electrical (my father in law worked on some of the MP Baldwin roadswitchers assigned to Houston, TX). All that variation meant that they were difficult to maintain. Couple that with a less reliable engine (not helped because it was a minority builder) and the incompatible control systems and Baldwin's share of the market went down and out.

    An idling Baldwin sounded like somebody with a rubber mallet banging on an empty 55 gal drum. At idle their rpm was so slow that on the ones with 4 stacks you could tell which pair of cylinders were firing by watching the puff of exhaust come out of the stack.

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