Written by: TrainSim-James
Developed by Digital Train Model for TS2015, and released through DTG/Steam, the RF-16 comes with a load of features, some not even seen on previous US engines released for TS. Glistening in the Penny’s 5-strip livery, the RF-16 is one of the best US engines you can buy for TS, and, without a doubt, the Baldwin Shark is one of the finest examples of transition era equipment available today.
Led by an A-B-A set of Baldwin RF-16s, a Pittsburg-bound train has just left Altoona and is now churning uphill towards the famous Horseshoe Curve.
The RF-16 ‘Sharknose’ was designed and built between 1950 – 1953 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ‘Sharknose’ design, inspired by the Pennsylvania Railroad’s T1 Class 4-4-4-4s streamlined appearence, was used to differentiate Baldwin from the other major builders during that time. The RF-16 was available in A- an B-units, with the A-units obviously generating the most orders. The original buyers of the Shark were the Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central, and Pennsylvania. A total of 109 A-units and 51 B-units were built: 19 A-units and 12 B-units for the Baltimore & Ohio, 18 A-units and 8 B-units for the New York Central, and 72 A-units plus 31 B-units for the Pennsy. The Sharks were powered by a four-stroke Baldwin 608A prime mover, which generated 1,600 HP. These engines weighed 266,000 lbs, and were classified as Bo’Bo’ (or B-B) units based on their wheel arrangement. The RF-16 soon gained a good reputation with crews as a reliable and rugged engine, but by the 1960s, the three major operators of Sharknoses were starting to retire and dispose of their RF-16 fleet. The B&O retired their fleet of Sharks in 1962, followed by the Pennsylvania in 1966. However, in an almost heroic effort, the Monongahela Railroad purchased 7 A-units and 2 B-units in 1967 from the New York Central, who had also disposed of their fleet of Sharks. These 9 engines would soon be seen lugging heavy coal trains over the railroad’s 281 mile system for four years afterwards, until all but two A-units, nos. 1205 and 1216, were sold for scrap. These two units would remain on the Monongahela’s fleet until 1974, when they were both sold for scrap. But once again, the pair escaped the cutting torch when the Delaware & Hudson Railroad purchased both RF-16s for use on their New England system. Painted in a Santa Fe ‘Warbonnet’ inspired blue, silver, and yellow, the pair would be seen – once again – on the head end of freight trains up until 1978, when the Castolite Corporation acquired the pair of Sharknoses, and subsequently leased them to the Michigan Northern Railway in 1979. After suffering mechanical damage (one with a grounded traction motor and the other with an engine failure), and having parts stolen off of them such as builder’s plates, numberboards, etc, the pair were soon stored in a warehouse on the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad, where they remain today.
An export variation of the RF-16 was built by Baldwin in 1953 for the General Roca Railway, located in Argentina. One of these exports were saved, no. 5037, and was restored back to operating condition by the Ferroclub Argentino.
Sharknose no. 9744, and two other fellow units, have a heavy train in tow as they battle the grade out of Altoona.
As mentioned, the PRR Baldwin RF-16 was developed by Digital Train Model, one of DTG’s third-party partners. My first thoughts with this engine was that it actually looked sleek and brand new, which I liked. The RF-16 DLC includes three career scenarios for the Horseshoe Curve route, which are titled “Night Switching”, “Preparing a Train in Altoona”, and “Working with Sharks” (more scenarios are on Steam Workshop – Elphaba has already released a scenario featuring these engines titled “Sharks Westbound” which also uses Horseshoe Curve). Sounds on this engine are shared with the Baldwin Centipede, which already uses accurate sounds and shared a variation of the 608 prime mover (the 608SC) with the RF-16. The horn is accurate to the real Sharks the PRR used.
This DLC includes…
… an A-unit and B-unit RF-16, plus an A-unit no-driver version, 40 ft and 50 ft PRR boxcars, 53 ft flatcars – with dynamic loads varying from pipes to lumber, a tank car, and a Pennsy N8 caboose.
As already mentioned, the RF-16 includes a load of new features and details. Some of these features are simulated cab heaters, and a rendered engine room.
One feature that has been previously unseen on US engines is a rendered engine room. Using the free-roam camera, you can go inside the room and take a look at the 608A prime mover. The B-unit also has a rendered engine room, which is a really nice touch.
The cab for DTM’s RF-16 is very accurate and detailed. Inside the cab, you can open the windows and doors. There is also a panel of switches to the left of the controls. The switches can turn on/off the headlights, class lights, numberboard lights, engine room lights, cab heater, and wipers (the latter can also be accessed with the V key). Going along with the new features, if you switch the cab heater on, the bulbs mounted to the cab floor on both sides turn orange, acting as if they were actually heating the cab. Cab lights are also available with this unit, and they can be accessed with either the L key or by flipping the switch on the panel behind the engineer and conductor’s seat.
The spartan controls in the RF-16’s cab, showing the deadman’s pedal on the floor (not operable), reverser, throttle, independent and loco brakes, the sand lever (yellow button), bell lever, and the panel that can access headlights, class lights, etc.
An overall view of the Baldwin RF-16’s cab, taken with the free-roam camera.
Overall, I’m very pleased with this DLC, and the Shark is by far one of my favorite engines I have purchased. With the new features, details, and the excellent preformance with this engine, I have to recommend the Shark to anyone looking at expanding their transition-era fleet or Horseshoe Curve fleet, or even their fleet in general. DTMs RF-16 is by far a really great engine, and the accompanying freight cars and N8 caboose are great additions in the pack. As mentioned above, I was really pleased with my purchase, and I look forward to the other transition-era engines DTM, or even DTG for that matter, has to offer in the future.
An A-B-A set of RF-16s stands guard in PRRs Altoona, PA, yard in 1954.