• Baldwins on the Catskill Mountain Branch

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by werick
 
Hi all:

I read somewhere that the Catskill Mountain Branch (Ex U&D) was a testing ground for some of NYC's engines. Beause of the severe grades on that branch. The Baldwin RF-16 (Sharknose) was a wonderful lugger. I know the NYC had some. I'm wondering if any were ever tested on that branch. If so, that must have been quite a sight. The baldwin 608 engine had a great sound under load.

Thanks
  by lvrr325
 
IIRC the Baldwins were first used in Dewitt before moving west. The Catskill, while a tough route, by the diesel era I don't think had the traffic to really test road units, as opposed to putting them on some of the coal lines in PA where something like a Baldwin could lug stuff.
  by Allen Hazen
 
When the New York Central wanted to test a new diesel...
(1) from an article (cover story) in "Trains" a long time ago (1980s?), when the New York Central borrowed a couple of the D&RGW's Krauss-Maffei diesel-hydraulics, they did indeed test them on a couple of freights on the B&A. The NYC only had the units long enough for a couple of test runs.
(2) for really thorough testing (calculating tonnage ratings with multiple runs with successively heavier loads: the sort of thing that would tie up a main line unacceptably), one of the options was to use a branch somewhere in the Adirondacks whose grades approximated those on the worst part of the B&A: this was discussed recently on the "Alco" forum, with reference to a Steve McMillan article on the Aco C-430 in "Diesel Era" some years back.
  by Noel Weaver
 
For the past three or more months I have been re-reading my old Trains Magazines which although not every issue are pretty complete from 1941. I am up to 1986 and so far there has been no mention nor photos of any Baldwin diesels on the CMB. I also have two excellent books on this interesting line and neither of them documents any Baldwin diesels ever running on this line. It could have been considered a testing place for Baldwins but the B & A was probably a much better place to test Baldwins where help and relief power if needed could be easily obtained.
Noel Weaver
  by Backshophoss
 
The "Put" was one of the places where Baldwins roamed,the early roadswitcher types used on freight and commuter services.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Backshophoss wrote:The "Put" was one of the places where Baldwins roamed,the early roadswitcher types used on freight and commuter services.
I think you are refering to the Lima Hamilton road switchers that ran on both the Put and the Harlem during the early 50's. I don't think Baldwins ran on these lines either.
Noel Weaver
  by R Paul Carey
 
The Put was initially dieselized in 1951 with the Lima-Hamilton 1200 hp road switchers, which were replaced with BLH RS-12s in a matter of months as the new Baldwin units were received. The BLH units were numbered in the 5820 series, then quickly renumbered in the 6220 series. The L-H units were sent to the B&A, where they did not last long in passenger service, handling local freight assignments until they were reassigned c.1956-57 to the NYC Southern Region, where NYC's Baldwins and Limas (with few exceptions) were maintained at Beech Grove (with much TLC according to an informed source) and principally operated at and around Cincinnati.

This is a topic "close to the heart", as my first cab ride was on the Put, in 1955, from Bryn Mawr Park to Yorktown Heights on #6227. The Baldwins were well liked by their crews on the Put.

Noel, the NYC Baldwins were quite possibly the only road switchers on NYC that had Nathan M-3 air horns, which struck a very harmonious chord. Their RS-3 replacements (with their "Wabco Moose horns") were noted by at least one young enthusiast as an unfortunate "downgrade"!

Does this help refresh your memory?
  by Jack Shufelt
 
Paul,

I rode them on the upper Harlem in the summer from time to time but not too often as they only had two seats in the cab as I recall. They usually ventured to Chatham in the summer when No. 57, summer and Friday only, ran which increased the Harlem power requirements.

They were usually assigned to No. 15 to Chatham, No. 57 got the Alco's, and went back on No. 40 on Sunday which is what I often rode. I think Harold VanBuren the engineer liked them as he was the regular engineer on No. 15 Friday and No. 40 on Sunday and could have insisted on the Alco's on No. 15 and No. 40.

Jack