Baldwin DR-12-8-1500/2

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Baldwin DR-12-8-1500/2
PRR BH50 x2.jpg
"Centipedes" of the Pennsylvania Railroad are seen here returning around Horseshoe Curve to the bottom to await another assignment in July 1953. All PRR units were semi-permanently coupled back-to-back, in pairs.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Baldwin Locomotive Works
Model DR-12-8-1500/2
Build date December 1945 – July 1948
Total produced 55
Specifications
Configuration:
 • AAR 2-D+D-2
 • UIC (2′Do)+(Do'2)
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 91 ft 6 in (27.89 m)
Loco weight 595,000 lb (269,900 kilograms)
Fuel capacity 3,500 US gal (13,000 l; 2,900 imp gal)
Prime mover Two 608SC
Engine type Four-stroke diesel
Aspiration Turbocharger
Displacement 15,832 cu in (259.44 L) (× 2)
Generator DC generator,
Traction motors DC traction motors
Cylinders 8 (× 2)
Transmission Electric
Loco brake Straight air
Train brakes Air
Performance figures
Maximum speed 93 mph (150 km/h)
Power output 3,000 hp (2.24 MW)
Tractive effort 102,500 lbf (455.94 kN)
Career
Locale North America
Disposition All scrapped

The Baldwin DR-12-8-1500/2 (known informally as the Centipede) was the Baldwin Locomotive Works' first serious attempt at a production road diesel locomotive. The Baldwin type designation was 'DR-12-8-1500/2,' meaning Diesel Road locomotive, with 12 axles (8 of which were driven), and two engines of 1,500 horsepower each. The trucks were configured in a 2-D+D-2 wheel arrangement. The nickname came from the numerous axles set in a nearly unbroken line, much like the legs of a centipede.

History[edit]

Built between December 1945 and July 1948, the "Babyface" design reflected Baldwin steam and electric locomotive practice. The carbody rode on two massive articulated cast steel half-frames cast by General Steel Castings, linked at the middle with a hinged joint. Unpowered four-wheel trucks at each end guided the locomotive through curves for stability at speed. Internal wiring was passed through metal conduits exactly like those used on a steam locomotive, which proved troublesome in practice.

The prototype 2-unit set was built in 1945 and toured American railroads. Orders followed from the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, and the National Railways of Mexico (NdeM). The two demonstrators (originally ordered by Union Pacific Railroad as #998 and #999) were never sold and were eventually scrapped. The "Centipedes" were essentially obsolete during production, unable to compete with the more advanced locomotive design and technology offered by EMD. Reliability was an ongoing problem, and as they were built one at a time (like steam engines) each one was a bit different in the placement of wiring and equipment, which complicated even routine maintenance. The PRR units were eventually derated and relegated to helper service. All units were eventually scrapped and none of them are known to exist today.

Original buyers[edit]

Railroad Quantity Road numbers Notes
Union Pacific Railroad
2
998-999
Never sold
Baldwin Locomotive Works (demonstrators)
2
6000 A–B
Not sold (Original UP 998-999)
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México
14
6400–6413
Pennsylvania Railroad
24
5823A1,2–5834A1,2 Renumbered 5811–5834 (not in order)
Seaboard Air Line
14
4500-4513

Footnote[edit]

In 1943 Baldwin built an experimental 6,000 horsepower (4,500 kW) "Centipede" as a demonstrator unit, which was assigned road #6000. The uniquely styled unit, with its upright, aggressive prow, also utilized the 2-D+D-2 wheel arrangement, but was to be powered with eight V8 diesel engines, though only four were actually installed. The lone unit was scrapped soon after production, and its running gear was used for the Baldwin "Centipede" demonstrator also numbered 6000.

References[edit]

  • Pinkepank, Jerry A. (1973). The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide. Kalmbach Publishing Co., Milwaukee, WI. ISBN 0-89024-026-4. 

External links[edit]