Trips Into History visits one of the most successful steam locomotive manufacturing companies in American history. No doubt you’ve seen some of the steam locomotives produced by the Baldwin Locomotive Works from Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
These vintage steam trains are on display at museums and historical sites all over America. During it’s heyday, Baldwin Locomotive, founded in 1831, turned out some of the most historic steam engine trains in American history. An interesting side note about Baldwin was that their locomotive business actually predated the era of commercial photography and the designs first showed to prospective customers were hand drawn illustrations.
During the first days of steam locomotives on the American scene, Baldwin was the leading builder. Baldwin was known to build the established type locomotives as well as engines that were essentially designed by it’s customers. It was the foremost name in American steam engine trains. Baldwin Locomotive Works was also known as an innovator of electric locomotives at the start of the 20th century. Most historians put 1905 as the peak year for steam locomotive demand. The company also had a hand in the development of the diesels however it never was able to make a success of it’s production. Baldwin actually developed a line of diesels in the 1940’s but could never attain a survivable share of the market. Nevertheless, when a railroad buff talks about the great steam locomotives, the old Baldwin Locomotive always enters the conversation.
Baldwin Locomotive Works also built steam tramway motors for lines in both this country and overseas. Interestingly enough, the company was founded by a silversmith and jeweler named Mathias W. Baldwin. Baldwin along with a machinist partner began building small steam motors.
The Baldwin 2-8-0
The steam train locomotive shown at left is a 1911 Baldwin 2-8-0. This particular steam locomotive was built for the Moscow, Camden and St. Augustine Railroad which operated in east Texas. The railroad still operates today as a short line carrier and is a subsidiary of Georgia Pacific. Today the railroad operates 6.9 miles of track from Camden Texas to a connection with the Union Pacific Railroad in Moscow Texas. The steam engine was a coal burner that was modified in 1929 to burn oil. The locomotive’s dry weight is 110,000 pounds. The driving wheels are 44 inches in diameter and the front guiding wheels are 24 inches.
The engine’s boiler is 54 inches in diameter. The locomotive is capable of 20,000 pounds of tractive effort. In terms of railroad locomotives, tractive effort is the power needed to accelerate the train from start to a certain speed. This is the power needed to overcome the drag created by the rail cars to be pulled. The heavier the drag the more tractive effort or force that is required.
The 2-8-0 configuration of this locomotive means that the locomotive has two leading wheels on one axle, eight powered driving wheels on four axles and and no trailing wheels.
This 1911 Baldwin locomotive has a tender that holds 3,000 gallons of water and 1,200 gallons of fuel oil. The steam locomotive shown here was retired from service in 1956. The Texas Transportation Museum where it is now on display acquired the locomotive in 1970. This 1911 Baldwin went on display in 1984.
Two additional Trips Into History photo articles you’ll find interesting are the famous Rocket Trains and Amtrak’s Southwest Chief which took over much of the old route of the historic AT & SF Super Chief.
The Santa Fe 5000 Locomotive
When it comes to a steam train ,the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe 5000 locomotive shown here is a geat example and it’s on display at Santa Fe Park near downtown Amarillo Texas.
The Santa Fe 5000 represents one of the most advanced designs that ever came out of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. This engine was built in 1930 expressly for the AT & SF Railroad. This steam locomotive was built for maximum traction and was a maximum freight engine. The configuration is a 2-10-4. The 2-10-4 type locomotive represented the most powerful steam locomotive on the Santa Fe Railway System.
While the locomotive was built by Baldwin, the design of this engine was largely conceived by outside developers working for the AT & SF. Reportedly, the railroad and the designers had to sign off on any changes suggested by the factory.
Specs on this engine included a 104 inch diameter boiler, driver wheels of 69 inches and a driver wheelbase of 24 feet, 6 inches. This locomotive is massive in size and is one of the first impressions you get when seeing it up close.
During the Santa Fe 5000’s service life the locomotive traveled some 1,750,000 miles. The engine, which had been given the name “Madame Queen“, was retired from the Santa Fe system in 1957. The powerful steam locomotive lasted until the modern diesels came on the scene. Fortunately, the Santa Fe 5000 was saved from the scrappers. Most of the 5000 series locomotives did get scrapped but there are thought to be nine survivors presently spread around the U.S.
The city of Amarillo received the locomotive directly from the AT & SF. After sitting idly for many years, restoration efforts began in 2005 and lasted three years. The locomotive was restored by the Railroad Artifact Preservation Society with financial help given by the city of Amarillo and various business interests.
The Santa Fe 5000 locomotive is registered with the Texas State Historical Commission and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Both of these fascinating Baldwin steam locomotives are on display in Texas. The 1911 Baldwin is at the Texas Transportation Museum in San Antonio and the Santa Fe 5000 is on display near downtown Amarillo.
One of the very best railroad museums which also features Baldwin Locomotive engines is in Sacramento California. The California State Railroad Museum in Old Town Sacramento might very well be the best railroad museum in the world. The museum exhibits everything from the Governor Stanford steam train to the modern day diesels. If your western road trip includes Sacramento you’ll want to add this one to your trip planner.
(Photos from author’s private collection)