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The Great RDC Race

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The Great RDC Race
Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Friday, August 14, 2009 4:16 PM

One of the great delights of the Wisconsin State Historical Society are the back issues of Trains.

For anyone with access to the back issues, I recommend "The Great RDC Race" by E. J Long, Trains, October 1955, pp 16-24.

Someone organized a railfan excursion, collected fares from about 200 railfan passengers, got the B&O to supply a 3-unit trainset of Budd RDC's, and set a DC-Chicago speed record of 12 Hr 30 min.

Another interesting thing is that the article gives fuel consumption numbers, 2.9 MPG (Diesel fuel) per RDC unit on the speed record run, 3.5 MPG per RDC unit on the return trip that took an hour longer.

The other interesting thing is on "thinking outside the box" on railroad equipment and on service and amenities.  They had over 200 people packed into what is essentially a 3-unit commuter/corridor train set -- no lounge car, no sleepers, no diner, no crew dorm -- for a long-distance day trip.  Dinner was served, according to a footnote, on a 1-hour stop (was it on the slower non-record return trip?).  What the train lacked in amenities that many around here consider an LD-train entitlement, it made up for it in creative use of the baggage section in one RDC as an impromptu food service section.  Each of the three RDC's had functioning cabs at each end with working speedometers, although the throttle and brake handles were only accessible to the train driver in the head unit.  These cabs were immensely popular with the railfan riders monitoring how they were doing on speed and setting the record.

I suppose over 200 people packed into 3 commuter seating-density RDC's without lounge or dining car was a pleasant rail travel experience given the sense of excitement of setting a record and that one was travelling with like-minded people sharing a similar interest in trains.  And the RDC cabs providing "mini-lounges" for train geeks to congregate is also kind of unusual.  But there is nothing to say that one could not provide amenities such as video screens giving speed, charting progress along the line, and estimating times of arrival.  Or provide on-board power outlets and perhaps even WiFi internet (see suggestions for Amtrak current issue of Trains) -- these thing involve some cost, but they don't take up space away from revenue seating.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by passengerfan on Friday, August 14, 2009 4:55 PM

Paul,

I gave up my one chance to ride the Vista Dome California Zephyr from Oakland to Chicago just to ride from Oakland to Salt Lake City on one of WPs RDC's and would do it again in a heartbeat if it still ran. The RDC 2 had the baggage section followed by a first class seating section actually special coach seats then the remainder of the car had the flip over type RDC seating. The crew at boarding looked at me like I was nuts as I was the first through passenger to Salt Lake City they had ever seen ride the RDC that they could remember. I soon found out that the (first Class) seating was for paying passengers and the other seating was for pass riding passengers. The train stopped for every meal except one that was a box lunch they dropped off the orders for at one station and the lunches were ready at the next station. As soon as the crews realized I was not someone from headquarters sent to spy on them I pretty much could do just about what i wanted. I rode up front with the engineers for long stretches and only returned to my seat when appoaching division points etc.

My first trip on the PG&E RDC's was also a great adventure and needless to say I returned when it was BCR and traveled the entire distance from North Vancouver to Prince George. This was probably the most scenic RDC trip in North America. I also rode the RDCs on Vancouver Island.

I even rode the GN's lone RDC in Montana and that consumed almost 24 hours as well round trip.

I rode numerous RDC trips on the CN out of Toronto to Niagara Falls and on another occasion to Kingston.

I guess you might say that I liked RDCs and only regret that they are no longer around on routes or in numbers as they once were.

Al - in - Stockton     

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, August 14, 2009 5:46 PM

passengerfan
I guess you might say that I liked RDCs and only regret that they are no longer around on routes or in numbers as they once were.

I agree with Al. My only experiences riding RDC's have been B&O between Baltimore and Washington, and VIA Montreal-Ottawa and back and on Vancouver Island.

My first trip was in a single car from Baltimore, in the spring of 1968, and our speed was limited because only one car was being operated. My second trip was to Baltimore, on the connection from the Capitol Limitedi in June the same year. With two cars in the train, we had more braking power, and thus were allowed to run faster.

In 1984, I made a round trip from Montreal to Ottawa and back, and there was food service in one of the cars.

In 2003, we rode Victoria-Courtenay-Victoria, and enjoyed the trip greatly. I took several pictures along the way, and when I showed them to a friend, he was surprised that we took the trip simply because it was there; he could not comprehend going without some other purpose.

As Al said, being able to ride in the vestibule and see the speedometer is a plus for RDC travel. I regret that I was unable to ride any other routes, especially the special trip over the B&O (college students seldom had funds and time for such). The article, A Streetcar Named Zephyrette, in Trains, more that fifty-five years ago, piqued my interest in the cars. Of course, the many other articles that were printed, especially in the early years of RDC's, provided much information and inducement to ride them, if possible.

Al, was your appetite whetted by the aromas of the express messenger's cooking when you rode the Zephyrette? Or, was there still such (who could not leave the car while working)?

Johnny

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Posted by ZephyrOverland on Friday, August 14, 2009 6:13 PM

My only experience with an RDC was riding the Wall Street/Crusader between Reading Terminal, Philadelphia and Newark, in 1980.  It was basically a commuter run and the refreshment section in one of the units was not operational.

In 2000, on a trip to San Jose, I encountered a number of de-motorized RDC units in CalTrans markings in a siding near the San Jose station.  I think at the time they were not being used in regular service. 

 

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Posted by passengerfan on Saturday, August 15, 2009 8:31 AM

Johnny

When I rode the car the express messenger had virtually nothing to do. Since the trip consumed such a long period of time they changed messengers along the route as well and do not recall any cooking going on. I think they had about five or six packages for delivery over the entire route and the rest was company mail that was kept in a lock box they opened at the stations.

The BCR RDC's served airline style meals and they were quite good. I may be wrong but I don't think anything but the salads were prepared on board and served at your seat.

The RDC's on the CN between Toronto and Kingston had snack service, as did the ones on Vancouver Island. On the Great Northern all meals were box lunches along the route.

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Posted by henry6 on Saturday, August 15, 2009 8:55 AM

My encounters with RDC's were few: the last run of the Springfield-Greenfield B&M run in Feb. 1968 and a couple of (then) Brewster North to Dover Plaines (end of service) on MNRR in the '80's.  While supposedly commuter, the were a cut above the rattan liners the often found in commuter service.  As for the B&O Chicago-DC trip, remember B&O offered Pittsburgh to Baltimore/Washington service with RDC's and therefore their cars were probably the long distance versions with better and fewer seats allowing for more comfort but not as much as say a long distance coach on the Capitol.

It is a real shame that the railroad industry in the long run turned its back on Budd's magnificant machine.  Railroads really wanted out of the passenger business at the time so even the offerings of the RDC were rejected: it was easier to abandon lightly used lines than run a single car.  Full crew laws in some states made the cost of running the cars more prohibitive than in other states; and I don't believe the unions were in any frame of mind to negotiate at the time either.

I, and others, have often wondered what if the DL&W had purchased RDC's for instance.  Would the Sussex and Washington services been enhanced enough to attract riders and overcome the loss of milk and mail?  Could Binghamton to Utica and Binghamton to Syracuse been lines able to hold on a bit longer, even be attactive to riders despite the interstate highway system?  Or how about Scranton to Sunbury?  Could that have been a good run with an RDC instead of an engine, two cars with an engine crew and 3 trainmen?  The Erie had a handful of branchlines in NJ that probably also have benefited from RDC's had management elected. 

And don't get RDC's confused with earlier gas motor cars nor with the later SPV's.  The RDC was the prime extension of what was offered by everyone from EMC, EMD, St. Louis Car, Brill, to McKeen, et.al,  And the SPV was so charged with aeronautical technololgy and gimmicks that didn't work on the ground that it was unfortunately not only a failure in itself but also doomed further developent and use of a single unit, self propelled vehicle for American railroads.  It is one reason why the Colorado DMU has had so much resistance.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, August 15, 2009 10:36 AM

passengerfan

The RDC's on the CN between Toronto and Kingston had snack service, as did the ones on Vancouver Island. On the Great Northern all meals were box lunches along the route.

Al - in - Stockton 

The first time we rode the Victoria-Courtenay train, in 1997 (we rode just to Nanaimo, since we were going back to Seattle that evening on the Victoria Clipper), there was no meal service on board, but a catering truck met the train in Nainamo. Six years later, when we traveled the entire line and back, the truck still met the train. Two years ago, when we rode from Nanaimo to Courtenay and then to Victoria, there was no truck, and we had to depend on whatever I could find in the station in Courtenay, which wasn't much.

As to the messenger on the Zephyrette, apparently there was quite a bit of express business in the early fifties. The author of the article spoke of the possibility that the messenger received a commission from the suppliers of food to the passengers for causing them to drool. 

I wish we had been able to ride the BCR trains--but such a trip did not work out.

Johnny

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Posted by passengerfan on Saturday, August 15, 2009 5:54 PM

Johnny

I believe you are right about the Victoria - Courtenay RDC service I think it was a catering truck at Nanaimo.

If you want to ride the BCR I believe there will be train service during the Winter Games over part of the route and the BC train tour operator (name escapes me)  is planning or maybe has already intoduced service from Vancouver to Prince George and on to Edmonton.

Another RDC trip I was fortunate to ride was the CPR Dominion Atlantic from Digby NS to Halifax consisted of a pair of RDCs a -2 and -1 from the ferry from St. John where I had traveled aboard the Atlantic Limited from Montreal consisting of one of CPs E8As a baggage car, coach, Skyline Dome, and Manor Sleeper. Traveling in the sleeper I did not even get awakened by customs as we crossed Maine. It was not a bad way to travel as CP still owned the ferry that crossed between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia so all connections were made. I returned from Halifax that trip on the CN Ocean.  CN at that time was famous for there Prime Rib Dinner and a very hardy helping was served up.

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, August 17, 2009 9:57 AM
Paul Milenkovic

Someone organized a railfan excursion, collected fares from about 200 railfan passengers, got the B&O to supply a 3-unit trainset of Budd RDC's, and set a DC-Chicago speed record of 12 Hr 30 min.

Another interesting thing is that the article gives fuel consumption numbers, 2.9 MPG (Diesel fuel) per RDC unit on the speed record run, 3.5 MPG per RDC unit on the return trip that took an hour longer.

So, ~200 passenger miles per gallon, if I'm reading it right? Not too shabby!

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by AgentKid on Monday, August 17, 2009 6:04 PM

One of my favourite RR memories of all time was watching CN RDC's on their Calgary-Edmonton run leave Irricana northbound. It was usually a two unit set.

The engineer would snap the throttle open and there would be two clouds of jet black smoke that would form mushroom clouds like someone had detonated nuclear weapons, and in an incredibly short distance in only a few seconds that smoke would be laying flat back no more that six feet above the car roofs.

Those things had unbelievable acceleration, and the sounds of those GM diesels spooling up was the most beautiful thing you ever heard.

AgentKid

 

So shovel the coal, let this rattler roll.

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Posted by jumper on Monday, August 17, 2009 8:41 PM
Back in the '60's  we used to regularly take an RDC2 from Southampton Ontario to Guelph Ontario and then a bus to Hamilton or we would go from Southampton to Toronto Ontario. It was convenient especially to Toronto because we came right into Union Station in the downtown. We would leave at 7am and get back home at 11pm. A long day and one I wish I could repeat given all the auto traffic today. On long weekends CN would add a second all coach RDC and if there were enough tickets sold they would replace that with a switch engine pulling a couple of coaches or more. Last year we rode an RDC converted to a caoch/diner on the HOBO railroad in New Hampshire where the Flying Yankee is being restored. It was fun, but lacked a bit of cache that a motorized one had. John
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Posted by Phelps on Monday, August 17, 2009 9:18 PM

In June, 1961, with Lehigh Valley passenger service now only a memory, I had found the Jersey Central service through Bethlehem, PA (Jersey City to Allentown, with "Queen of the Valley" still going to Harrisburg) a workable substitute for getting home to Long Island via Manhattan.  Much less convenient (ferry and subway up to Penn Station for the LIRR versus right there on the LV), but workable for a die-hard railfan.

 The Jersey Central had had an early-morning RDC train into Jersey City from somewhere east of Phillipsburg for a while, and at the urging of politicians in the Lehigh Valley, they agreed to extend the run to Allentown.  So, it was a nice early morning ride from Bethlehem, and I used it to get home at the end of the school year in June of 1961.

 The highlight of that run was the fact that it ran nonstop from Sommerville to Elizabethport, a timetable distance of 21 miles.  I'm reasonably sure the official speed limit was probably 79 mph, but the track was good and the engineers routinely just put the throttle all the way up and ran up against the engine governor, which was set for 85 mph.  The timetable showed an allowed time of 19 minutes, pretty good all by itself.  Naturally, I clocked the run; start to stop, 17 1/2 minutes, average speed 72 mph for 21 miles.  Impressive!

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Posted by BNSFwatcher on Monday, August 17, 2009 10:22 PM

How 'bout the New York Central "Beeliner" #M-497?  They put two jet engines on the roof and did 180+ mph, methinks!  I'll have to look it up!  Wish I'd been on board!

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 7:28 AM
Phelps
I'm reasonably sure the official speed limit was probably 79 mph, but the track was good and the engineers routinely just put the throttle all the way up and ran up against the engine governor, which was set for 85 mph. 
The PRSL Budd cars I rode from Ocean City to Lindenwold in 1976 seemed to operate the same way. Track speed, I'm pretty sure, was 70 mph. But they ran full throttle all the way from Tuckahoe to Winslow Jct and how ever fast they could go on that mostly straight and nearly dead level route was how fast we went. (once they put the fire out in the engine compartment in the Cape May car, that is.)

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Posted by henry6 on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8:36 AM

Yes....that's right, out in Indiana someplace.  The LIRR did the same thing with one of theirs!

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8:50 AM
henry6
And the SPV was so charged with aeronautical technololgy and gimmicks that didn't work on the ground
Like what? The problems I heard about where the hardware was packaged badly, making maintenance difficult. Also, the SPV had a more powerful engines and a two speed transmission behind the torque converter coupled with having all axles powered in order to provide improved acceleration and higher top speed. (RDC's were very poky from a stop) This created issues with crews being paid by "weight on drivers" and with having to make sure wheelsets had matched diameters on each truck such that the Conn DOT cars had their drive shafts between axles pulled out.

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Posted by henry6 on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 9:34 AM

Too much of the automatic stuff didn't work...doors were a major problem, for instance.  Other things were not standard railroad fare and employees had a hard time understanding.  Also, like the Metroliner, it was more like a plane's fusalage rather than a real or standard railroad coach.  It was not a better, newer, improved RDC but rather a totally new concept.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 12:17 PM

 Gee, 2.9 MPG (miles per gallon) per RDC is an order of magnitude better than Colorado Rail Car's 2 GPM (gallons per mile) rating.

 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 3:09 PM

BNSFwatcher

How 'bout the New York Central "Beeliner" #M-497?  They put two jet engines on the roof and did 180+ mph, methinks!  I'll have to look it up!  Wish I'd been on board!

Bill Hays

Bill;

http://www.northeast.railfan.net/train_notes.html to  M-497 of NYC RR

 New York Central RDC3 #M497

The NYC was actively seeking to find a way to draw ridership back to rails back in the 1960s.
They invested heavily in three experiments:
1. The GM Aerotrain
2. The Xplorer
3. Testing whether the (then) present-day tracks could handle high-speed passenger traffic.

This is where the M497 comes into play. The B-36-H jet pod was installed to provide sufficient thrust to get a rail car moving at or above 180 mph for purposes of the test. This was the least expensive way to accomplish the goal. Wind tunnel tests were conducted at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and the pair of jet engines were purchased on the surplus market from the good old USAF.
After the test, the engines were used for snow blower research, so the investment was well made. This was an engineering effort all the way. Some have erroneously labeled it as a PR stunt. The most important thing learned was that the tracks COULD accommodate high-speed travel without special preparation. So, the test proved just what was hoped.
After its moment of glory the M497 went back to Cleveland, where it was dismantled. The torque converters were reconnected and the seats restored. It returned to its Quotidian life as an NYC commuter car. After the tests, M497 spent it's last years as a pedestrian RDC3 running on the Hudson Line between Poughkeepsie and Harmon for Metro North.
As of a result of the Penn Central Merger (1968) M497 was renumbered No. 97, and renumbered again in 1969 as No. 98. It was maintained in Croton Harmon N.Y. and usually used on upper Harlem and Poughkeepsie runs. It was sold to Conrail in May 1976.
The ex-M497, ex No. 97 actually was signed over to MTA as No. 98 but never ran for MTA. The car was shopped and cannibalized and retired in Dec. 1977. After sitting ignominiously in the deadline surrounded by the weeds of Croton East yard for seven years, it was finally scrapped by Metro-North in 1984. - per Hank Morris

The New York Central's jet RDC RDC3 #M497, set the US speed record at 183.681 mph in 1966, in an experimental run between Butler, IN and Stryker, OH. The September issue of Smithsonian's Invention and Technology mag (right in the back) has more about the jet tests. The only practical result of this car was the jet snowblower now used in Buffalo.

So, here's the US rail speed records, as best as I can tell:

Link to photo:  http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/AddPost.aspx?ReplyToPostID=1750056&Quote=False

From: www.trainweborg/passengercars/

 

 


 

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Posted by passengerfan on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 3:19 PM

aegrotatio

 Gee, 2.9 MPG (miles per gallon) per RDC is an order of magnitude better than Colorado Rail Car's 2 GPM (gallons per mile) rating.

 

aegrotatio

 Gee, 2.9 MPG (miles per gallon) per RDC is an order of magnitude better than Colorado Rail Car's 2 GPM (gallons per mile) rating.

 

Having owned a truck with a similar Detroit diesel and only one not two it sounds very possible as I consistently got about six miles per gallon or a little better depending on the terrain I encountered. The Detroit powerplant that was found under the RDCs were originally built for the oilfields to power the pumps that bring the oil up from beneath the ground. In fact there are probably hundreds of them performing that duty to this day, although many have been replaced by electric motors where power is readily available. They were quite reliable and often ran for three or four days before being shut down to check the oil and coolant then restarted.

In later years when the RDCs needed major work some of the operators turned to Cummins as the old Detroits had been all snapped up by the oil companies. The Cummins engines just never sounded the same but as long as they were under an RDC it did not matter to me, I was willing to go wherever the RDC took me. It would be interesting to see how the performance of these two engines compared when both were new.

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 3:57 PM
henry6
Too much of the automatic stuff didn't work...doors were a major problem
The doors were Amfleet doors, no? The SPVs were made after the 492 car Amfleet order. What other automatic stuff?

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Posted by henry6 on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 4:28 PM

All I know from some who were involved in using them was that the technical stuff didn't work or was otherwise cumbersome for railroad application.

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Posted by BNSFwatcher on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:06 PM

Thanks for the info and the picture!  Cool!!!  The GM (Now "Gummint Motors") "Aerotrain" flopped because of the flimsy bus bodies it was cobbled together with, along with scant seating capacity.  The B+1 drive wasn't up to the job, either.  The B-L-H "X-plorer" might have made it, with a better prime mover.  The New Haven's RDC-based rigs ("Roger Williams", etc.) were very inflexible, consist-wise.  The Boeing and Grumman and Rohr attempts were doomed.  They didn't consult knowledgable railroaders before plungin into an unknown field.

The NYC RDC "jets" live on, methinks.  I saw one of the jet snowblowers in the Albany-Rensselaer (NY) Amtrak station yard a few years ago.  I never saw one in action.  I would surmise that they were awesome! 

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Posted by BNSFwatcher on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:36 PM

I went to St. Lawrence U., in Canton, NY '56-'59.  We had a "real" train serving Canton on the New York Central's St. Lawrence Division, with baggage car, coaches, a parlor-buffet, and a sleeping car!  It may have gone all the way to Montreal!  Dunno.  I donated all my memorabilia to the New York State Library a while back, including a few St. Lawrence Division timetables.  The train was affectionately known, in Canton, as the "Canton Creeper".  It was supplemented by a RDC train, during the day.  I took both of the trains between Harmon, NY and Canton.  Sometimes the Canton connection was at Utica, sometimes at Syracuse, mostly via Watertown.

The RDC train was usually two units.  Things could get tough, with winter snow in the North Country.  Once, we were stranded in Syracuse.  Solution:  Party!!!  Sixteen, to one motel room (co-ed), was really fun!

I hate to admit it, but on one trip we discovered that, by jumping up-and-down in the rear vestibule (6- or 8-guys), in syncronization, we could get the front trucks of the RDC to lift off the rails!  The engineer would panic (I don't blame him) and stop the unit.  Peer pressure (mostly female) made us cease-and-desist and we made it back to college in one piece.  Stupid?  Yar!!!

My brother was a St. Lawrence alumnus.  He got to ride the "head end", in an Alco RS-3, by telling NYC that he was going to write a story about the trip.  I never saw the story, but remember meeting him at Harmon on trains pulled by NYC's magnificent 4-8-4 "Niagaras".  That 'made' my Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday!

Bill

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:48 AM

The New Haven's RDC-based Roger Williams did not have an inflexible consist.  Amtrak inhereted the equipment and used it with other RDC's with which its equipment would mu like any other RDC equipment.   It handled the "Bay State" run,  New Haven - Boston via Springfield, and often one regular RDC-1 would be in the consist, replacing one of the intermeidate cars or replacing one of the end sloped-front cars.   The train could be lengthened or shortened like any other RDC consist.   It lasted about fifteen years after the other New Haven McGinnis experimentals had been scrapped.   For all I know it might be around today on some tourist line.

 The very first RDC operation was on the New York Central's Boston and Albany in Springfield-Boston service.  In the Autumn of 1949, I was having breakfast at MIT's Walker Memorial and saw the headline in the Boston (Globe?) "A New Interurban Car"   A photo and description.  That Thanksgiving or Christman break, I traveled to and from Detroit to visit relatives overnight coach), and the Wolverine Boston section was late.  At Springfield I spied the RDC loading passengers and asked the conductor to return my ticket and mark it so I could ride to Boston on the RDC.   He wrote something on my seat check and said there would not be a problem.   That was my first of many RDC rides.   The meals on the BCR were quite decent as I remember.   International RDC operation occured when RDC's took over the Boston - Montreal Allouette, with usually one CP and one B&M RDC mu'ed.   The last train service between Boston and Montreal after that train was discontinued was the B&M's remaining RDC service to Portland, ME, a taxi across town, and the Grand Trunk Friday and Sunday service to Montreal, with a parlor with meal service on the end.    Trinity Express still runs self-powered RDC's between Dallas and Fort Worth, so the RDC has had a long and useful life.  May it long continue.

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Posted by henry6 on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:29 AM

The B&M did run a remnant of the Montrealer into the winter of 67-68...weekend connections between Springfield and Greenfield, MA to accomodate college and private school students from NY attending Amherst, Smith, Holyoke and several other colleges plus a handful of private schools all the way into VT and NH.  I rode the last round trip run in Feb. of '68; the B&M saw fit to get kids back to school following the Winter Semester break.  It was a Sunday night and among the things I remember most were the fact that it ran north full, that a gull flew up from the warmth of a spring switch's heater into our headlight, and most of all the first few miles on the return trip from Greenfiled.  The car was empty, I was able to get into the cab for the trip back (I was a radio news reporter covering the last run).  The engineer got up to speed quickly then hung his body over the speedometer for a few moments blocking it so I could not see the dial.  He asked me how fast I thought we were traveling and guessed about 70. He sat back revealing the needle at 74.  He whipped the throttle down took a sigh and said, "that's the fastest I'll ever go again in my career!"

Another RDC ride was memorable...this was in the late 80's on the PC's Harlem Division from then Brewster North to Dover Plains and return.  It was a snowey day after Chirstmas and I found I wasn't the only railfan out for a maybe one last RDC ride...the car was full of passengers and railfans.  So full in fact railfans had to find  someplace other than the seats to ride.  There were probably almost 10 fans in each of the vestibules in both directions...I mean, if the public wants a seat with each ticket, who is a railfan to prevent them from getting thier full purchase?  And what railfan wouldn't find a great "fan" spot to place himself, either? 

RIDEWITHMEHENRY is the name for our almost monthly day of riding trains and transit in either the NYCity or Philadelphia areas including all commuter lines, Amtrak, subways, light rail and trolleys, bus and ferries when warranted. No fees, just let us know you want to join the ride and pay your fares. Ask to be on our email list or find us on FB as RIDEWITHMEHENRY (all caps) to get descriptions of each outing.

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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:50 AM
daveklepper
The New Haven's RDC-based Roger Williams did not have an inflexible consist.  Amtrak inhereted the equipment and used it with other RDC's with which its equipment would mu like any other RDC equipment.   It handled the "Bay State" run,  New Haven - Boston via Springfield, and often one regular RDC-1 would be in the consist, replacing one of the intermeidate cars or replacing one of the end sloped-front cars.   The train could be lengthened or shortened like any other RDC consist.   It lasted about fifteen years after the other New Haven McGinnis experimentals had been scrapped.   For all I know it might be around today on some tourist line.
Yup. Danbury. http://www.budd-rdc.org/sets/photos/drm8.png I saw the RW pair in Boston in 1978 operating in Amtrak colors, so they were around at least that long

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:11 PM

henry6
The engineer got up to speed quickly then hung his body over the speedometer for a few moments blocking it so I could not see the dial.  He asked me how fast I thought we were traveling and guessed about 70. He sat back revealing the needle at 74.  He whipped the throttle down took a sigh and said, "that's the fastest I'll ever go again in my career!"

I rather doubt that we went anywhere near that fast on my only RDC trip on the B&M (which I had forgtten about when writing my previous post); I went from Boston to Rockport and back in the early spring of 1984. Other than adding both new mileage and RDC travel, I do not remember anything remarkable.

Johnny

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, August 21, 2009 3:55 PM

Deggesty

My first trip was in a single car from Baltimore, in the spring of 1968, and our speed was limited because only one car was being operated. My second trip was to Baltimore, on the connection from the Capitol Limited in June the same year. With two cars in the train, we had more braking power, and thus were allowed to run faster.

...

Johnny

The speed limit on the single RDC was not because of braking power.  It was because of signal reliability.  B&O discovered, (I expect the hard way) that at speed RDC's would not reliably activate the track occupancy circuits....thus a Clear signal could be diplayed behind a track circuit that contained a RDC.  Additionally, single RDC's were prevented by Special Instruction from using sand during braking.

CSX has carried this restriction through in it's Rule Book and restricts single unit locomotives to 30 MPH system wide.  Multiple unit engine only consists can move at track speed.

The RDC excursion trip lead to the B&O using RDC equipment on it's Philadelphia to Pittsburgh run....the 3 car RDC's sets were called 'The Daylight Speedliner' and replaced a conventional equipment train on the run. 

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by henry6 on Friday, August 21, 2009 4:03 PM

The inability of early RDC's to give a good shunt is notorious...ask the NYC.  They had a bad rear ender in Palmer, MA when an eastbound was stopped at the station and got smacked with much loss of life.  After that RDC's were required to make two stops at stations to assure shunting.  All RDC cars got a special shunt circuit built in to assure safety after that. 

RIDEWITHMEHENRY is the name for our almost monthly day of riding trains and transit in either the NYCity or Philadelphia areas including all commuter lines, Amtrak, subways, light rail and trolleys, bus and ferries when warranted. No fees, just let us know you want to join the ride and pay your fares. Ask to be on our email list or find us on FB as RIDEWITHMEHENRY (all caps) to get descriptions of each outing.

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