Saturday, February 18, 2012


A Very Old and Very Rare Baldwin VO-660 - Still in Service
Went to check on my sailboat today - spending the winter in the water down on the Chesapeake Bay.  It was nice to get away for the day, even with wires hanging off my chest connected to a heart monitor -  only one more week of this.   Stopped at Woodcraft  in Delaware and bought a very expensive European circular saw that I'd wanted for some time and then a nice lunch at the Bohemia Cafe in Chesapeake City.

On the return trip I persuaded my wife to take me railfanning.  I got this photo of a rare Baldwin VO-660 in the Pureland Industrial Park in South Jersey.  It still carries the paint scheme of it's former owner, Standard Steel.  Standard Steel is located in central PA and manufactures railroad wheels and axles - electric furnaces, forging, and machining operations.  I had a tour of the place back in the 1990's that the Society for Industrial Archeology had arranged.  Interesting operations in a mill that has been the site of continuous iron and steel making since the 1790's.   Watching modern CNC milling machines and forges inside stone buildings that dated to the 1800's was a strange combination.   SMS Rail Services acquired this locomotive around 2004-5 I believe.  I think there are less than a half dozen examples of this model still in existence and three of them are owned by this shortline, along with many other Baldwins - VO1000's S-12s AS16s,.....etc.   No doubt many of them originally used in steel mills.   I've read that Baldwins and Fairbanks Morse locomotives were preferred over the lighter EMD units in mills as there were usually steep grades, like for instance in the approaches to open hearth plants, that these heavy units could handle better.

We also did a drive by of the refinery in Paulboro, hoping to catch another Baldwin switching tank cars, but it must have been deep in the plant.  I'm fortunate to have a wife that besides putting up with all my bad habits for the past 24 years is always willing to take the wheel on a railfan trip.  The trick was I think to wear her down early in our relationship......
1986 - Port Reading, NJ - Bet she was thinking then that this was just a  phase I was going through that I would outgrow - WRONG

No comments: