Well I'm glad to see that we've got some interesting responces here.
I am a very mechanical person and somewhat a conisour of technological design and achievement. The designs I like the best are ones that are the most durable, reliable, efficent, and powerfull. The most important of those traits are efficiency and reliability. Sure, it's easy to make a super powerfull engine, like a drag racer's, but what's really important is how long will it continue to produce that power. The other big point is how well does it develop that power. Can it harness the power of the fuel provided clean and effectivly, without alot of waste or scattered forces? Other factors include how simple and 'elegant' the design is. When I say elegance, I don't mean fancy schmancy French artwork, I mean how simple can you make the parts for the different functions, and how neatly can they be interwoven into a system?
Baldwin has outdone all others on all of these accounts, at least in my book. If one were to take the time and effort to go into the depth of the details of Baldwin's engeneering, I feel that they would be thoroughly impressed. Baldwin and Westinghouse had designers who were gifted with a special mechanical inginueity which gave them the ability to work all the pieces of the locomotive together as a complete singular whole, not just as individual components that were simply slapped together like an erector set. The parts were all very simple in form and design, but they all complemented each other, balancing everything out perfectly. They were built also with a larger margine for error and wear. They were tough and very rugged, able to endure long periods of continuous hard effort. Baldwin infact underated their engines to extend their lifespan even further, setting the declared maximum power ratings at only 90% of the engines actual all out limit. Westinghouse was also brilliant in their design and application of the electrical equipment for the locomotives. Even from the beginning, Westinghouse transmissions were smooth and steady, with instant loading and immense power. Westinghouse craftily used a single line of wire to make two field coils that linked the exciter and main generator in perfect harmony, and fixed the voltage output at 600V over the entire engine RPM range. This intern forced the generator to shunt higher amerages, which is what gives the actual torque to a motor. This single load control shunt made of a single strand of wire, did the same function 50 years ago that many complicated monitors, regulating computers, and control systems do today, and they still haven't got every bug out of those computers!
Baldwins are super efficient, providing comparable horsepower to an EMD or Alco while burning less than half the fuel of their contemporaries. The electrical system also helps to boost this rating. When comparing the net engine horsepower put into the generator one a DRS 6-6-1500, which is a total of 1500 hp, the power rating delivered to the wheels is 1489.93hp, for an efficientcy rating of 99.3% Now the engine actually produces a total of 1625 hp at max rpm, with about 125 hp being spent on the auxiliary equipment of the engine, like the motor blowers, auxiliary generator, aircompresser, etc. When considering the absolute locomotive efficiency, factoring in all of these loads together, you get an efficientcy rating of 91.69% overall. Even the current GEVO C44-9ACE made today only achieves about a 94% rating, and that's with the "super efficient" AC traction equipment. The EMD's and Alcos of Baldwins time were only getting about 80 - 84% of the power to the rails. All of this is not to mention the fact that by overloading the electrical system at the maximum limit for 5 minutes, you get 2193hp, or a short time efficiency rating of 142.82%, on paper at least. (The that power rating would require more fuel obviosly, but the percentage would still probably be somewhere around 100-110%).
Other factors for Baldwin's superiority is that the engines can burn any fuel that will flow through the fuel pipes. Anything from propane and kerosene to bunker C oil, which is just shy of engine sludge, can be burned easily and without any modification to the engine itself, although fuel delivery modifications might be necissary.
There are still many more charactoristics I'd like to list, but I'm afraid I'm out of time for today, so I'll have to double the hill and come back for the rest of this train later.
BALDWINS ARE BETTER!!!
mechanical vollenteer, Arizona Railway Museum