Baldwin Steam Locos Around The World

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Regular Steam in 6 Continents

In my travels, I discovered quite a few locos made by Baldwin, probably the largest producer of steam locos in the USA.

I just love these engines, with exposed pipes, sandboxes, etc.

Manufacturing over 70,000 steam locomotives, commencing in 1831, including the giant “Yellowstone” 2-8-8-4, the company final went bankrupt when orders for steam ceased. The Baldwin company was situated in Pennsylvania, and originally started near Philadelphia.

Let’s take a look at some photos I took of Baldwins operating around the globe. Although I photographed many more, here are examples of these might locomotives on 6 continents.

I have also included a video clip of  a Baldwin Pacific at the end.

USA

Perhaps the most famous Baldwins still operating are those of the Durango to Silverton Railway.

I took this one on a weekend trip in 1981. Loved the Animas Gorge.

This line is still operating in Colorado, and one of the many narrow gauge lines in the USA. The trip took quite a while and ended up in the mining town of Silverton, where this shot was taken on July 4. It is perhaps the best known of America’s preserved lines.

Back then, I had heard of this railway, but had no idea where it was. I was sent to California on a work trip and arrived on the July 4th weekend. With nothing to do, I decided to fly somewhere for a few days R&R before getting down to work.

I looked at the departure board at LA airport and a flight to Durango caught my eye. I purchased a ticket and was on my way. I was so excited to discover I had actually found what I was looking for and had read about for all those years.

Australia

In Australia, where I live, one of the last orders paced in the early 1950s was for the 59 class, one of which is still operational.

These engines were used mainly on freights, and travelled extensively during their short time in regular service. Originally oil burners, most were converted to coal due to the low cost and high quality of coal available.

Early one morning double headed 59 class are on a wheel coal train between Gosford and Broadmeadow. Taken in 1972.

South America

Being close to the US, and under the influence of that country in a big way, we would not be surprised to see Baldwins operating in that part of the world.

Far in the South West corner of Argentina, we found a gem of a line, the 405 km 2’6″ gage line to Esquel. There is a tourist train still operating at times for a short section even today, such was the popularity of this place amongst rail enthusiasts. It si set against the background of the Andes.

When I was there, the sight of outside frame double Baldwin’s was something special.

Double Baldwins at El Maiten in July 1976

Africa

I really only saw steam in Southern Africa. Africa was a pretty difficult place to get around, not to mention dangerous. I think in many parts, it still is!

South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) were amazing places with so much steam action ti took weeks to get around to even get a half decent coverage. The 16Da Baldwins had gone by then in South Africa, but in my trip to Mozambique, the subject of my book, I did find a wood burning Baldwin 2-8-2 in remote Quelimane.

I photographed Baldwins in remote Quelimane in Mozambique. These were woodb urners on an isolated line, quite remote from anything.

Wood burning Baldwin 2-8-2 in northern Mozambique at Quelimane. I believe it is the only Baldwin I photographed on the African continent.

ASIA

While this continent is on my doorstep, and there were many Baldwins operating, especially in Thailand, I didn’t spend much time there in steam days. I gave it all up after I returned from my world tour in 1977, preferring to build a career. Of course it didn’t last, and I made two long vacations to cover steam that was till around in quantities. Both of these places were in ASIA.

In Turkey, sister locos to the NSW 59 class operated trains in the far west. I visited in 1983, and managed to photograph one on this passenger. You can see the distinctive Baldwin look.

Baldwin 2-8-2 on a passenger in Eastern Turkey passes Lake Van.

The other big trip we made was to China in 1984/5. Over 7 weeks I travelled more than 10,000 kms by rail, much of it with steam motive power.

While it was prohibited and near impossible to get lineside in this country, I did manage a shot or two of Baldwin KD7s in action.

KD7s were operating in the south of the country on freights. They were centered around Shanghai and Hangzhou, popular tourist spot. This was handy as it gave me some freedom to roam a little.

Kd7 on a freight near Hangzhou January 1985.

Europe

I had to really search deep to find a Baldwin in use in Europe. Let’s face it, with some magnificent machines in this part of the world, no one was includined add American locos to their fleets. The answer was in Poland, where I shot this TY246 number 74 in late 1974. It was indeed manufactured by Baldwin, purchased just after the second world war as the west tried to help Poland rebuild.

These locos ended their official main line duties in 1975, and most were scrapped by 1979. With a minimal understanding of Polish steam, I was quite shocked to see one of these giants stroll pass while I was there.

TY246 number 74 on a cement train near Osiek on the Torun to Pila line in Poland

As you can see, Baldwin’s ended up in all continents of the world, except Antartica! In Australia, we had some in the early days, and but for the 59s, I wouldn’t have witnessed their distinctive style in my country.

For the most part, countries tend to create their own individual style of steam. Back then, there was great pride in using local designs, unlike the cookie cutter multi-national world of today.

I enjoyed researching all of this, and discovering how many continents I had found locomotives from this great company. I trust you enjoy the photos.

I might just take a look at some other manufacturers and their influence, although I suspect I will have difficulty finding examples in North America!
For those Interested, here is a great video of an all American Baldwin Pacific.

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