D&H RF-16 #1205, Whitehall, NY, June 20, 1977, Chuck Zeiler collection
Delaware & Hudson RF-16 #1205, Whitehall, NY, June 20, 1977, photographer unknown, Chuck Zeiler collection
Built as New York Central #3805 (c/n 75361) December 1951, it was one of 18 cab and 8 booster RF-16's built for the NYC, nicknamed Sharks, for the Sharknose design of the cab. The cabs were numbered 3804-3821 and boosters 3702-3709. By September 1966, the NYC RF-16's (the cabs had been re-numbered into the 1204-1221 series) were retired, traded to General Electric, and this might have been the end of the Sharks. But in the winter of 1967, the Monongahela Railway purchased seven cab and two booster RF-16’s for $6,000.00 each, including the 1205. In 1972, only the 1205 and 1216 remained in service, and in 1974, the Monongahela RF-16’s were sold to a scrap dealer. In mid-1974, the D&H obtained the two serviceable RF-16’s in trade for derelict freight cars of equal value. The Sharks were run through the Colonie Shops (Watervliet, NY) and painted in a blue “warbonnet” paint scheme. At the end of 1977, following a management shakeup, the Sharks were again up for sale, this time purchased by Castolite Corp. for $35,000.00 each. They were leased to the Michigan Northern (MIGN) which operated them until December 1978.
The 1205 suffered a crankshaft failure while on the MIGN, and was moved to Diesel Electric Services (DES) in Minneapolis, MN. However, DES folded up before completing repairs, and both the 1205 and 1216 moved to the Escanaba & Lake Superior. I’m still searching for the final disposition.
The RF-16 was the successor to the DR-4-4-1500, Baldwin’s challenge to the Alco FA-1/FA-2, EMD’s F-3/F-7, and F-M’s CFA-16-4. It produced 1600 hp (actually 1750 hp, but listed in the sales literature as 1600) from a Model 608A 8-cylinder inline prime mover, Westinghouse 471 main generator and 370 series traction motors, and an infinite-position air throttle. The electrical wiring was run in conduit pipes on the opposite side of the carbody as the cooling pipes, to solve the problems experienced with wet electrical equipment in the DR-4-4-1500. It was dubbed “the Hauling Fool” in Baldwin sales literature. The final count was 160 units produced.