Budd Rail Diesel Car

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For other meanings of RDC, see RDC (disambiguation).
Rail Diesel Car (RDC)
Budd RDC-2 B&O 2.jpg
Budd RDC-1 interior 1949.JPG
Interior of the RDC-1 demonstrator in 1949
In service 1949–
Manufacturer Budd Company
Constructed 1949–1962
Number built 398
Capacity
  • RDC-1: 90 passengers
  • RDC-2: 70 passengers, baggage section
  • RDC-3: 48 passengers, RPO, baggage section
  • RDC-4: RPO, baggage section
  • RDC-9: 94 passengers
Specifications
Car body construction Stainless Steel
Car length
  • RDC-1/2/3/9: 85 ft (25.91 m)
  • RDC-4: 73 ft 10 in (22.50 m)
Width 10 ft 0 38 in (3.06 m)
Height 14 ft 7 in (4.45 m)
Wheel diameter 33 in (838 mm)
Wheelbase
  • RDC-1/2/3/9: 68 ft (20.73 m)
  • RDC-4: 56 ft 10 in (17.32 m)
Maximum speed 85 mph (137 km/h)
Weight 113,120 lb (51,310 kg)
Prime mover(s)
Power output
  • RDC-1/2/3/4: 550 hp (410 kW)
  • RDC-9: 300 hp (220 kW)
Transmission Hydraulic torque converter
UIC classification
  • RDC-1/2/3/4: (1A)(A1)
  • RDC-9: (1A)2′
AAR wheel arrangement
  • RDC-1/2/3/4: 1A-A1
  • RDC-9: 1A-2
Braking system(s) Air
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Budd Rail Diesel Car, RDC or Buddliner is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit railcar. Between 1949 and 1962, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The cars were primarily adopted for passenger service in rural areas with low traffic density or in short-haul commuter service, and were less expensive to operate in this context than a traditional diesel locomotive-drawn train with coaches. The cars could be used singly or several coupled together in train sets and controlled from the cab of the front unit. The RDC was one of the few DMU (diesel multiple unit) trains to achieve commercial success in North America. RDC trains were an early example of self-contained diesel multiple unit trains, an arrangement now in common use by railways all over the world.

Background[edit]

Brill gasoline-electric railcars in 1962.
Budd's Prospector in 1941.

The self-propelled railcar was not a new concept in North American railroading. Beginning in the 1880s railroads experimented with steam-powered railcars on branch lines, where the costs of operating a conventional steam locomotive-hauled set of cars was prohibitive.[1] These cars failed for several reasons: the boiler and engine were too heavy, water and fuel took up too much space, and high maintenance costs eliminated whatever advantage was gained from reducing labor costs.[2] In the 1900s steam railcars gave way to gasoline, led by the McKeen Motor Car Company, which produced 152 between 1905–1917.[3] J. G. Brill sold over 300 "railbuses" in the 1920s. Newcomer Electro-Motive Corporation, working with the Winton Motor Carriage Company, dominated the market at the end of the 1920s but had exited it completely by 1932 as the Great Depression gutted rail traffic.[4]

The Budd Company entered the market in 1932, just as EMC exited. Heretofore Budd was primarily an automotive parts subcontractor but had pioneered working with stainless steel, including the technique of shot welding to join pieces of stainless steel. This permitted the construction of cars which were both lighter and stronger.[5] Budd partnered with the Michelin to construct several rubber-tyred stainless steel rail cars powered by diesel engines.[6] These saw service with the Reading Company, Pennsylvania Railroad, and Texas and Pacific Railway. The tires proved prone to blowouts and the cars were unsuccessful.[7]

Nevertheless Budd thought the railcar concept had promise, albeit with more conventional steel wheels. In 1941 Budd built the Prospector for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. This was a two-car diesel multiple unit.[8] Each car had a pair of 192 horsepower (143 kW) diesel engines and was capable of independent operation. The cars were constructed of stainless steel and included a mix of coach and sleeping accommodations. The design was popular with the public but undone by the difficult operating conditions on the D&RGW. It was withdrawn in July 1942, apparently another failure.[9] However, several technical advances during the Second World War would encourage Budd to try again.

Design[edit]

The proliferation of large powered vehicles such as tanks and landing craft led to the development of larger diesel engines and, just as importantly, the hydraulic torque converter. Budd, which by then had produced more than 2,500 streamlined cars for various railroads, took a coach design and added a pair of 275 hp (205 kW) 6-cylinder Detroit Diesel Series 110 engines.[10] Each drove an axle through a hydraulic torque converter derived from the M46 Patton tank. Budd broke with the "railbus" designs of the 1920s–1930s and used a standard 85-foot (26 m) passenger car shell.[11] The result was the RDC-1, which made its public debut at Chicago's Union Station on September 19, 1949.[10]

Variants[edit]

An ex-Canadian Pacific Railway RDC-4 in 2007

Budd manufactured five basic variants of the RDC:[12]

  • The RDC-1: an 85 ft (25.91 m) all-passenger coach seating 90 passengers. It weighed 118,300 pounds (53,700 kg) empty.
  • The RDC-2: an 85 ft (25.91 m) baggage and passenger coach configuration (combine) seating 70 passengers. The baggage area was 17 ft (5.18 m) long. It weighed 114,200 pounds (51,800 kg) empty.
  • The RDC-3: an 85 ft (25.91 m) variant with a Railway Post Office, a baggage compartment and 48 passenger seats. It weighed 117,900 pounds (53,500 kg) empty.
  • The RDC-4: a 73 ft 10 in (22.50 m) variant with only the Railway Post Office and baggage area. It weighed 109,200 pounds (49,500 kg) empty.
  • The RDC-9: an 85 ft (25.91 m) passenger trailer seating 94, a single 300 horsepower (220 kW) engine and no control cab.

Several railroads used the designation "RDC-5": the Canadian Pacific Railway for RDC-2s converted to full-coach configuration and the Canadian National Railway for RDC-9s it purchased from the Boston and Maine Railroad.[13]

In 1956, Budd introduced an new version of the RDC, with several improvements. The new cars had more powerful versions of the Detroit Diesel 6-110 engines, each of which produced 300 horsepower (220 kW) instead of 275 horsepower (205 kW). They also featured higher capacity air conditioning and more comfortable seating. The appearance changed slightly as well: the side fluting continued around to the front of the car and the front-facing windows were smaller.[14]

Jet engines[edit]

Main article: M-497 Black Beetle

In what was billed as an experiment toward high-speed rail, the New York Central (NYC) fitted a pair of jet engines from a Convair B-36, complete in their twinned nacelle from the bomber's engine installation, atop one of their RDCs and added a shovel nose front (much like a later automotive air dam) to its cab, but extended upwards, covering the entire front end. This RDC, which NYC had numbered M497, set the United States speed record in 1966 when it traveled at just short of 184 mph (296 km/h) between Butler, Indiana, and Stryker, Ohio. It was never intended that jet engines propel regular trains. With the news about high-speed trains overseas, particularly the Japanese Shinkansen bullet trains, American railroads were under pressure to catch up. By strapping a pair of military surplus jet engines onto a Budd car, NYC found an inexpensive way to conduct research into how conventional rail technology behaves at very high speeds. Still, while some useful data were obtained from the tests, they are now generally considered to have been more of a publicity stunt.[15]

Derivatives[edit]

The Roger Williams at the Danbury Railway Museum in 2006

In 1956, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad ordered a custom-built, six-car train set based on the RDC design named the Roger Williams. It consisted of two single-ended cab units and four intermediate cars to make a complete train. The units were fitted with third-rail shoes, electric traction motors, and associated gear for operation into Grand Central Terminal, though this was short-lived. In the New Haven's later years, the set was broken up, and used with regular New Haven RDCs, and by Amtrak into the 1980s.[citation needed]

In 1961, five cars were built under license in Australia by Commonwealth Engineering for the New South Wales Government Railways.[16] They were smaller than the standard RDC in all dimensions due to a narrower loading gauge. One car was built with a buffet/snack bar accommodation in one end and was unique in being non-powered. They operated the South Coast Daylight Express between Sydney and Bomaderry. They were converted to locomotive hauled carriages in 1982 and withdrawn in 1993.[17][18][page needed]

In the late 1970s Budd sought to replace the aging RDCs with a new design, the SPV-2000. The body shell was based on an Amfleet coach, not the RDC. Like the RDC it was 85 feet (26 m) long, stainless steel, and powered by twin diesel engines. The design was beset by mechanical problems and Budd sold only 30 cars.[19]

History[edit]

United States[edit]

Ex-B&M RDC-1 No. 6211 at the Bedford Depot in 2010

The Boston and Maine Railroad owned by far the largest number of these units, but they were also very popular for commuter and short distance service with the passenger heavy railroads such as the New Haven Railroad, New York Central, Northern Pacific, Reading Railroad, Pennsylvania - Reading Seashore Lines, Baltimore and Ohio, Susquehanna and Jersey Central.[citation needed]

The Alaska Railroad acquired five RDCs, three from SEPTA and two from Amtrak between 1984–1986.[20] These were all sold or out of service by 2009.[21] Portland, Oregon's TriMet acquired two of these for use on its Westside Express Service.[22] Trinity Railway Express acquired thirteen RDCs from Via Rail in 1993 for use on commuter service between Dallas and Forth Worth, Texas.[23] The Denton County Transportation Authority leased several for A-train service pending the arrival of new Stadler GTW 2/6s diesel multiple units.[24]

Canada[edit]

Via Rail RDC-1 on Vancouver Island

Both the Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) purchased RDCs. The Canadian National purchased 25 cars outright, and acquired many more second-hand from the Boston and Maine Railroad. These cars, which the CN called Railiners, were used primarily on secondary passenger routes. The CP purchased 53 cars. The first one ran on November 9, 1954, between Detroit, Michigan and Toronto. It was the first stainless steel passenger train to operate in Canada. CP used the RDCs, which it called Dayliners, throughout its system. CP also made extensive use of them on commuter trains around Montreal and Toronto. Via Rail inherited many of these cars when it took over CN and CP passenger services in 1978.[25] Via continues to use RDCs on the Sudbury–White River train in Ontario.[26]

Another Canadian purchaser of RDCs was the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, which operated passenger service between North Vancouver and Prince George.[27] RDCs continued to operate on this route until all passenger service ended under BC Rail, PGE's successor, in 2002.[28]

Australia[edit]

Three RDC-1s were exported to Australia in 1951 to operate for the Commonwealth Railways. These cars were transported to Australia by Budd engineer Joseph F. Grosser. They ran between Port Pirie, Woomera Tarcoola, Marree and Whyalla before being transferred to Australian National in July 1975 and withdrawn. In 1986 they were reinstated on services from Adelaide to Whyalla and Broken Hill before being withdrawn in December 1990.[29]

Brazil[edit]

One of the Pioneer III-derived metre gauge RDCs in excursion service at Morretes in 2014

RFFSA (Brazilian Federal Railways) purchased four RDC-1s and two RDC-2s in 1958. These were 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) but otherwise standard configuration. RFFSA ordered 23 more cars in 1962–1963. Four of these were 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) RDC-1s. The other 19 were 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) and varied considerably from the standard RDC-1 design. The car body was based on the Pioneer III coach. Internal seating was 48 with a small buffet area or 56 in an all-coach configuration.[30] Several RDCs remain active on the Serra Verde Express tourist train.

Cuba[edit]

In the 1950s both major railway companies in Cuba purchased RDCs. Consolidated Railways of Cuba (Ferrocarriles Consolidados de Cuba) ordered 11 RDC-1s and 5 RDC-2s in 1950. These operated either singly or in multiple units of up to three cars. The Western Railways of Cuba (Ferrocarriles Occidentales de Cuba) ordered four RDC-1s and six RDC-3s in 1956–57. The cars remained in use after the Cuban Revolution with the Ferrocarriles de Cuba and operated into the 1980s.[31]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

The Arabian American Oil Company had constructed a standard gauge railway in cooperation with the Saudi government. The company ordered three RDC-2s in 1951; this would be supplemented by a fourth in 1958. The cars operated on various routes originating in Dammam. All were converted to unpowered trailers by 1965.[32]

Original owners[edit]

Budd constructed 398 RDCs between 1949–1962. The table below does not include the six cars which comprised the Roger Williams, nor derivative designs built under license.[33]

Railroad Model Quantity Road Numbers Notes
Arabian American Oil Company RDC-2 4 8000–8003
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway RDC-1 2 DC-191, DC-192
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad RDC-1 12 1908–1911, 6510–6517
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad RDC-2 4 1960–1961, 6550–6551
Boston and Maine Railroad RDC-1 57 6100–6156
Boston and Maine Railroad RDC-2 15 6200–6214
Boston and Maine Railroad RDC-3 7 6300–6306
Boston and Maine Railroad RDC-9 30 6900–6929
Budd (prototype/demonstrator) RDC-1 1 2960
Canadian National Railways RDC-1 9 D-200–D-201, D-102–D-108
Canadian National Railways RDC-2 5 D-201–D-203, D-205, D-250
Canadian National Railways RDC-3 5 D-100–D-101, D-302, D-351–D-352
Canadian National Railways RDC-4 6 D-150–D-151, D-401–D-402, D-451–D-452
Canadian Pacific Railway RDC-1 23 9050–9072
Canadian Pacific Railway RDC-2 22 9100–9115, 9194–9199
Canadian Pacific Railway RDC-3 5 9020–9024
Canadian Pacific Railway RDC-4 3 9200, 9250–9251
Central Railroad of New Jersey RDC-1 7 551–557
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad RDC-1 1 RDC1
Chicago and North Western Railway RDC-1 2 9933–9934
Chicago and North Western Railway RDC-2 1 9935
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad RDC-3 5 9002–9004, 9015–9016
Commonwealth Railways (Australia) RDC-1 3 CB1–CB3
Consolidated Railways of Cuba RDC-1 11
Consolidated Railways of Cuba RDC-2 5
Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway RDC-3 1 1
Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway RDC-1 1 500
Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway RDC-3 1 D301
Grand Trunk Western Railroad RDC-2 1 D204
Grand Trunk Western Railroad RDC-3 1 D303
Great Northern Railway RDC-3 1 2350
Lehigh Valley Railroad RDC-1 1 40
Lehigh Valley Railroad RDC-2 1 41
Long Island Rail Road RDC-1 1 3101
Long Island Rail Road RDC-2 1 3121
Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway RDC-4 2 32–33
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad RDC-3 1 20
New York Central Railroad RDC-1 16 M-451–M-465
New York Central Railroad RDC-2 1 M-480
New York Central Railroad RDC-3 3 M-497–M-499
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad RDC-1 29 20–48
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad RDC-2 2 120–121
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad RDC-3 6 125–130
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad RDC-4 3 135–137
New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway RDC-1 4 M-1–M-4
Northern Pacific Railway RDC-2 1 B30
Northern Pacific Railway RDC-3 2 B40–B41
Pacific Great Eastern Railway RDC-1 3 BC10–BC12
Pacific Great Eastern Railway RDC-3 4 BC30–BC33
Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines RDC-1 12 M-402–M-413
Reading Company RDC-1 12 9151–9162
RFFSA (Brazil) RDC-1 8 ED11–ED14, M504–M505, M552–M553 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge
RFFSA (Brazil) RDC-1 19 M600–M610, M700–M707 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) gauge
RFFSA (Brazil) RDC-2 2 ED51–ED52 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge
Southern Pacific Railroad RDC-1 1 10
Western Pacific Railroad RDC-2 2 375–376
Western Railroad of Cuba RDC-1 4 901–904
Western Railroad of Cuba RDC-3 6 951–956

Preservation[edit]

Numerous RDCs have been preserved on tourist lines and in museums. Holders include:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 12
  2. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 19
  3. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 24–25
  4. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 32–33
  5. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 36
  6. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 37
  7. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 39–41
  8. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 44
  9. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 46–47
  10. ^ a b Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 50
  11. ^ Crouse 1990, p. 19
  12. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 86–97
  13. ^ Crouse 1990, p. 186
  14. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 89
  15. ^ Staufer 1981, p. 494
  16. ^ "The Budd Rail Cars of the New South Wales Railways" Neve, Peter Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, September 1990 pp. 207–221
  17. ^ "Railcar Recollections" MacFarlane, Ian Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, September 1998 pp. 323–340
  18. ^ Cooke 1984
  19. ^ Duke Keilty, pp. 107–111
  20. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 116
  21. ^ "Appendix 10: Locomotive Emission Reduction". Alaska Railroad. 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Rose, Joseph (29 October 2009). "TriMet's new (used) WES trains inside and out". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "Train Facts". Trinity Railway Express. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  24. ^ Sampson, Rich. "Take the A-Train". Community Transportation Association. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  25. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 139–151
  26. ^ Passenger cars - Rail Diesel Car-2 | Via Rail. Viarail.ca. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  27. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 135–138
  28. ^ Angus, Fred F. (November–December 2002). "Fifty Years of the Rail Diesel Car in Canada". Canadian Rail (491): 205. 
  29. ^ CB class Budd Railcars Chris' Commonwealth Railways Pages
  30. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 244–246
  31. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 240–243
  32. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, p. 247
  33. ^ Duke & Keilty 1990, pp. 251–270
  34. ^ "NH RDC 32 at Danbury Railway Museum". Danbury Railway Museum. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  35. ^ Anderson, Chuck (July 28, 2011). "Free of debt and stored rail cars, railroad sees clear tracks ahead". The Observer (La Grande, Oregon). Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  36. ^ Orford Express. Retrieved 2012-12-04.

References[edit]

  • Cooke, David (1984). Railmotors and XPTs. Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division. ISBN 0-909650-23-3. 
  • Crouse, Chuck (1990). Budd Car, the RDC Story. Mineola, NY: Weekend Chief Publishing. ISBN 0-9612814-2-1. 
  • Duke, Donald; Keilty, Edmund (1990). RDC: The Budd Rail Diesel Car. San Marino, CA: Golden West Books. ISBN 0-87095-103-3. OCLC 22108517. 
  • Staufer, Alvin (1981). New York Central's Later Power, 1910-1968. Medina, OH: A. F. Staufer. OCLC 8493163. 

External links[edit]