2 Surviving Sharknoses to be Donated to Museum

The owner of a Michigan short line railroad plans to donate the only two surviving Baldwin RF-16 Sharknose diesel locomotives to a railroad museum.

John Larkin, owner of the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad, told Trains magazine he would donate the vintage locomotives to an unspecified museum after his death.

Larkin, 73, said during the interview he has not decided which museum would get the units, but he serves on the board of directors of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and has assisted it with several restoration projects.

The two Sharknose locomotives are A units, Nos. Nos. 1205 and 1216, and have not operated in several years.

Both were bought in 1974 by the Delaware & Hudson and used in freight and passenger excursion service until late 1978.

The locomotives were later purchased by Illinois-based Castolite Corporation, which leased them to the Michigan Northern.

After the latter railroad ended operations Nos. 1205 and 1216 were moved to E&LS.

EL&S used No. 1216 for a short time in summer 1979.

It pulled a few trips in fall 1982 in Michigan between Wells and Channing but was sidelined when its crankshaft broke.

No. 1205 never operated on the EL&S due to mechanical issues.

Both sharknoses have been stored indoors and away from view of railfans.

Larkin told Trains that he also acquired Baldwin prime movers and other parts in the event the locomotives  were ever restored.

But that never happened because it would cost too much. “But they are protected and out of the weather. They are inside so they are not further deteriorating,” he said.

Baldwin built 109 A units and 51 B-units between 1950 and 1953 for Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1967 the Monongahela Railway purchased seven As and two Bs from NYC, and operated them into the 1970s.

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