Baldwin DR-12-8-1500/2

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 (1,100 kW) 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.

Baldwin DR-12-8-1500/2
"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 typeDiesel-electric
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Build dateDecember 1945 – July 1948
Total produced54
 • Whyte4-8-8-4
 • AAR2-D+D-2
 • UIC(2′Do)+(Do2′)
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length91 ft 6 in (27.89 m)
Loco weight595,000 lb (269,900 kilograms)
Fuel capacity3,500 US gal (2,900 imp gal; 13,000 L)
Prime moverTwo 608SC
Engine typeFour-stroke diesel
Displacement15,832 cu in (259.44 L) (× 2)
GeneratorWestinghouse 471A
Traction motorsWestinghouse 370F (8)
Cylinders8 (× 2)
Loco brakeStraight air
Train brakesAir
Performance figures
Maximum speed93 mph (150 km/h)
Power output3,000 hp (2.24 MW)
Tractive effort102,500 lbf (455.94 kN)
OperatorsPennsylvania Railroad, Seaboard Air Line, National Railways of Mexico
ClassPRR- BP60 NdeM- DE-12
LocaleNorth America
DispositionAll scrapped

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 locomotives) 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. Most PRR and SAL units were scrapped by the early 1960s, while NdeM units lasted slightly longer and were in service until the late 1960s. No Centipedes have been preserved.

The models manufactured for Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (NdeM) were sent back to Baldwin shops to receive the MU receptacles in order to work in a trailing position with other locomotives. Those Mexican Centipedes end their days as Helper Service in División San Luis, for the "Carneros" hill.

Original buyers edit

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

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 8LV diesel engines, though only four were actually installed. The lone unit was classified by Baldwin as the

4-8-8-4-750/8DE1 and scrapped soon after production, and its running gear was used for the Seaboard Air Line’s first centipede #4500.

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