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GGMX 95 Baldwin VO1000

  • Romet
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    95 ggmx
Baldwin diesels are very rare, as the company went bankrupt in 1956, more then half a century ago. In fact there are no Baldwin diesels at all in Canada, plenty of steamers though. Wont be surprised if the last one were CPs DS4-4-1000s retired and presumably scrapped in 1979 (one was preserved).

The secret to this locomotives success is a new heart the engine was re-powered by EMD in 1957, making him a SW900 internally. Originally a Frisco unit (BN predecessor), he was sold to NWS Concord (US Navy Base) in 1984, before ending up with the Golden Gate Railroad Museum.

Now what is this Baldwin doing in a place so dirty it was actually featured on an episode of Dirty Jobs (Discovery Channel)? Lets dig deeper.

The San Francisco Belt Railroad, nee State Belt Railroad, was a classic terminal operation, connecting the warehouses/piers/factories of San Francisco with the three major Railroads: ATSF, NWP & WP via ferry across the bay (eventually a land connection was established) utilizing 67 miles of track. In the beginning, when different Railways used different rail gauges, most tracks had three railheads to accommodate the different cars. With the advent of containerization, the port of San Francisco lacked the capacity to expand, hence started loosing traffic to Oakland across the bay. By 1993 the Railroad was down to Pier 96, a recycling facility run by West Coast Recycling. The terminal railroad has since been renamed LB Railco, although they continue to utilize the same old S-2 ALCOs of 1944/1945 heritage (part of the original fleet of six). Aside from lines of garbage trucks, not much happens at the pier, hence LB Railco agreed to lent the two units to the museum. Consequently a very neat operation was created, whereby two, at least cosmetically restored ALCOs, are still working for their original owner well into their 60s, while being cared for by a museum!

Not a word about this Baldwin anywhere - judging by its paint and the fact that hes been at the Golden Gate Railroad Museum since at least 2003, indicates a non-priority. So why not sent him to the junkyard? (no pun intended, this is a recycling facility) My understanding is that hes been sold by the museum to LB Railco or is on loan, possibly a trade in for the much better looking S-2s. Much rarer then an S-2 though - why not restores a Baldwin instead of two IDENTICAL ALCOs

He appears to be a good worker though, being the only engine coupled to a cut of cars - green IMS wells loaded with garbage containers! Plenty of scrap gondolas on sight as well, many with pro-Obama graffiti them tagger kids are quick! LB Railco also has a TRACKMOBILE, leaving these old boys to do lots of rusting.

Note that the unit has no headlights, ditch lights or number boards, however he is equipped with a beacon!
Those three old switchers probably do more running than you think. At least one of the locomotives is fired up a couple of times each week. Their operation usually coincides with the arrival of the South City Switcher. I've caught the ALCOs out running on several occasions. I've never seen this unit running, but I'm pretty sure it's operational, as it's almost always in a different place in the yard when I pass by. I've actually never seen them use the Trackmobile. They seem to prefer the old switchers.
 
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Good to hear from you Superchief, thank you for clarifying. I'm glad you told me about this place, I'll post rosters of the S-2's eventually. Getting back to BART, I rode the bus with dockworkers coming off the graveyard shift - very educational cultural exchange. Learned more about San Fransisco from them, then most tourists going down to Fisherman's Wharf. Never even made it down there, too much action @ Oakland and Richmond.
 

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