Budd SPV-2000

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A silver railroad coach on a siding
SPV-2000 No. 293, formerly of Metro-North Railroad, preserved at the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum
ManufacturerBudd Company
Number built31 (plus 14 unassembled shells)
Operator(s)Federal Railroad Administration
Caltrain (used as inspection cars)
Car length85 feet 4 inches (26.01 m)
Width10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m)
Height14 feet 6 inches (4.42 m)
Maximum speed80 to 120 miles per hour (130 to 190 km/h)
Weight127,000 pounds (58,000 kg)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The Budd SPV-2000 is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit railcar built by the Budd Company between 1978 and 1981 for use on North American commuter railroads. The design was a successor to Budd's popular Rail Diesel Car (RDC) but based on the body of the Amfleet passenger car. It did not prove a success: Budd built 31 cars and they proved mechanically unreliable.


An SPV-2000 demonstrator being tested on the MBTA in 1978

Budd announced the design in 1976. At the time it contemplated multiple unit operation of up to six cars with a top speed of 120 miles per hour (190 km/h). Power would be provided by 360 horsepower (270 kW) General Motors diesel engines. Popular Science depicted a tapered cab similar to the power car of the Advanced Passenger Train; the SPV-2000 would enter service with a more traditional blunt-end operator's cab.[2] Budd said that SPV stood for "Special Purpose Vehicle" (Self-Propelled Vehicle became common), and emphasized the design's suitability for both intercity and commuter rail service.[3]

The body shell of the SPV-2000 was very similar to the Amfleet passenger coach, which in turn was based on the Metroliner electric multiple unit. The SPV-2000 featured operator cabs at both ends and (in the standard configuration) 86 seats in 22 rows. There was an accessible toilet at one end and a small space to store luggage at the other.[1] Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) cars could seat 109.[4]


Incomplete SPV-2000 shells stored in Wilmington, Delaware

Budd unveiled the first SPV-2000 in Philadelphia on February 9, 1978, and then sent it on a demonstration tour around the United States.[5] Budd eventually sold SPV-2000s to four customers: the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), ONCF (Morocco state railways), the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).[1] In 1978 Los Angeles County Supervisor Baxter Ward proposed using SPV-2000s on the former Pacific Electric line to Long Beach, California, but nothing came of this proposal.[6] The SPV-2000s were considered for a resumption of Cape Cod rail service via Braintree, Massachusetts and an SPV-2000 made a demonstration run in August 1979, but nothing came of this either.[7] Beyond the 30 cars it sold, Budd constructed the demonstrator and 14 incomplete shells.[8] In the early 1990s the North American Carriages Company proposed to complete some of these shells as standard passenger cars for use in a new service between San Antonio, Texas and Monterrey, Nuevo León, to be called the Royal Eagle, but nothing came of the proposal.[9]


The Federal Railroad Administration purchased a single SPV-2000 in 1981 and converted it into a track geometry car which it designated T-10. The T-10 remained in service with the FRA until 2000 when it was replaced by newer equipment.[10] It was then sold to Caltrain.[11]


Budd sold six SPV-2000s to ONCF (the Moroccan state railways) for use on King Hassan II's royal train.[1][3] Under King Mohammed VI, Hassan II's successor, the train has fallen into disuse.[12]


Waterbury Branch train with Constitution Liner coaches in 2006

The Connecticut Department of Transportation purchased 13 SPV-2000s at roughly $1 million apiece in 1980; 12 for use on the New Haven–Springfield Line and one for commuter service on the Danbury Branch.[13] The New Haven–Springfield Line cars were leased to Amtrak (numbered 988–999) and painted in Amtrak's Phase III livery. The cars were designed to be interoperable with Amfleet cars; for a brief period, Springfield shuttles were coupled to the rear of Boston trains at New Haven to provide through service to Washington, D.C.[14]

The cars proved mechanically unreliable and were often pulled by locomotives, leading to the derisive sobriquet "Seldom Powered Vehicles". Amtrak withdrew them on January 12, 1986 and placed conventional locomotive-hauled Amfleet trains on the route. The cars saw some use on the Metro-North Railroad; most were stored in New Haven. In 1994, the remaining 11 were de-powered and converted to coaches for use on Shore Line East commuter service.[8][15] Dubbed "Constitution Liners", they were the primary coaches for Shore Line East until replaced by Mafersa coaches in 2004.[16] In 2018, seven of the former ConnDOT cars were sold to the Foxville and Northern Railroad.[17]


The MTA purchased ten SPV-2000s for use on its Hudson Line between Croton–Harmon and Poughkeepsie. The order cost $12 million. The SPV-2000s made their first runs on October 17, 1981. This run was coordinated with the re-opening of the New Hamburg station.[4] Problems with the SPV-2000s developed quickly, and a 1982 New York magazine article characterized the cars as "defective".[18] The MTA SPV-2000s are all out of service; one is preserved at the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum in Willimantic, Connecticut.[19]


Along with Metro North 293, ConnDOT 1001 is being restored at the Danbury Railway Museum, in Danbury, CT.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d TransitAmerica (1985). "Brochure". p. 20. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  2. ^ "What's New". Popular Science: 96. November 1976.
  3. ^ a b "Budd Company Survives Slumping Railroad Passenger Car Industry". Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. December 11, 1977.
  4. ^ a b "William E. Sauro New Cars for Hudson Line Commuters". The New York Times. October 18, 1981.
  5. ^ Crouse 1990, p. 141
  6. ^ "Another Area Transit Proposal for California". Pacific News. Vol. 18 no. 6. June 1978. p. 4.
  7. ^ Eldredge 2003, p. 109
  8. ^ a b Crouse 1990, p. 146
  9. ^ TxDOT 1992, p. 11
  10. ^ Solomon 2001, pp. 35–36
  11. ^ Solomon 2012, p. 283
  12. ^ Boudarham, Mohammed (April 10, 2009). "Nostalgie. La fabuleuse histoire du train royal". TelQuel (in French). Archived from the original on July 23, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  13. ^ Madden, Richard L. (20 October 1982). "SENATOR BAKER APPEARS IN HARTFORD FOR WEICKER AND STATE REPUBLICANS". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, Minnesota: MBI. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7603-1765-5.
  15. ^ Simon & Warner 2011, p. 89
  16. ^ "Shore Line East". Trains. July 5, 2006. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  17. ^ "Passenger Equipment". Foxville and Northern Railroad.
  18. ^ Klein, Joe (March 8, 1982). "The Woman Who Would Be Mayor". New York: 29.
  19. ^ Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum. "SPV 2000". Retrieved May 26, 2014.


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