What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.

Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby thaitransit » Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:34 am

Is this the kind of thing you mean?

What we call a "track worker trolley" OR "rail maintenance car"

Image

Or do you mean a more traditional DMU /DRC such as this.

Image
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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:35 pm

thaitransit wrote:Is this the kind of thing you mean?

What we call a "track worker trolley" OR "rail maintenance car"

Image


We'd call this a motorcar, track car or speeder.

thaitransit wrote:Or do you mean a more traditional DMU /DRC such as this.

Image


DMUs and EMUs (like the Budd RDC and Metroliner respectively) are what the forum was created to represent, but they've since adopted speeders and other self-propelled work equipment as well.
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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby ex Budd man » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:28 pm

There is a great book about the RDC titled 'Budd Car the RDC Story'. It is a soft cover book detailing the history of RDC cars, their predessesors,and competitors (GE actually considered building a REC, using traction motors rather than a hydro mechanical drive). The book is written by Chuck Crouse and coyprighted 1990. Library of Congress #89-051972. Any one who enjoys RDCs should have this book in their collection. :-D
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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby Gadfly » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:19 pm

Fairmont, Motor Car, Model M-19. I've always been slightly amused when (mostly railfans) use the term "track speeder". :-D No harm meant, but if you came onto NS during the days of "motor cars" and called one a "track speeder", you'd get a funny look or a "Whu----------?" Its just the difference in locale and slightly different terminology amongst the railroads. We never heard that term.

In the last days of the "motor car" on NS, I must have loaded a couple hundred of them onto trailers, flatbeds----even loaded several into a horse trailer. Some of them went to other railroads, a bunch to private individuals. I asked one fellow what would he DO with an old motor car, he told me he wanted to put it out on the track and run up and down. He left me the inpression that he just might put his on the main line and get KILLED! :( I had the shop superintendent make SURE he understood that you could NOT put them out on a mainline RR and "play" with them!

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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby Patrick Boylan » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:36 am

My definition of doodlebug says the vehicle has to be small, probably single truck, with a motor, and most importantly MUST have have a cartoon insect painted on it. The word doodlebug in quotes around the cartoon is optional.
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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby Gadfly » Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:09 pm

On NS, they were always called "motor cars". If you heard the term "speeder", the railroad people on that road would look at you with a blank stare. It just wasn't part of their vocabulary.

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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:30 pm

If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby scottychaos » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:03 pm

The lines are blurry..
but generally a "doodlebug" is an early gas powered machine..
early 20th century to 1940's or so..Doodlebugs would sometimes haul one or two regular coaches behind them:
http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/images/NYC_M-405.jpg

RDC is "Rail Diesel Car"..a more modern creation..
in use starting in the 1940's and 50's, some still operating today:
http://www.trainweb.org/railpix/miscpix/DCP_3507-RDC3-9166-6-1-02.jpg

"Speeders" are generally small 4-wheel inspection vehicles, usually with a gas engine..there are "speeder clubs" today where owners restore and operate these vehicles, and many shortline railroads let them have "speeder excursions" over their lines:
http://www.danbury.org/drm/images/speeder-1.jpg

"Railcar"..various autos and trucks that can run on regular roads and on rails:
http://www.lobstershack.com/railroad/twofoot/images/railcar2b.jpg
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r293/VIEWLINER/PTA/39Buick.jpg

Then of course you have the huge family of "trolleys" and "streetcars"..usually electric, and run from overhead wires:
http://sanatoga.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/20090413-collegevilletrolley.jpg

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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby Sir Ray » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:59 pm

ex Budd man wrote:There is a great book about the RDC titled 'Budd Car the RDC Story'. It is a soft cover book detailing the history of RDC cars, their predessesors,and competitors (GE actually considered building a REC, using traction motors rather than a hydro mechanical drive). The book is written by Chuck Crouse and coyprighted 1990. Library of Congress #89-051972. Any one who enjoys RDCs should have this book in their collection. :-D


I see this mentions RDC predessors - is there a good chunk of info about Doodlebugs, or just a few quick pages?
Actually, Is there any comprehensive site, or book, on 'Doodlebugs' or the equivalent prior to the RDC - I know there's a lot on the RDC (and it's 'successor' the SPV), but North American Doodlebug information (from say 1900 to 1960s, if any traditional Doodlebugs were still running in active service by then) seems rather scattered and sparse - any recommendations? (There's books on everything in railroad history, there's gotta be something, but I haven't found it yet).
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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:09 pm

Sir Ray wrote:I see this mentions RDC predessors - is there a good chunk of info about Doodlebugs, or just a few quick pages?
Actually, Is there any comprehensive site, or book, on 'Doodlebugs' or the equivalent prior to the RDC - I know there's a lot on the RDC (and it's 'successor' the SPV), but North American Doodlebug information (from say 1900 to 1960s, if any traditional Doodlebugs were still running in active service by then) seems rather scattered and sparse - any recommendations? (There's books on everything in railroad history, there's gotta be something, but I haven't found it yet).

There aren't many comprehensive sites on doodlebugs, as far as I know. One of the most is the NE Rails Doodlebug site, and especially its attendant photo page. Make sure to click the links in the toolbar under "Other Motorcars" to see representatives from GE, EMC, St. Louis Car, Pullman-Standard, and others. Some of them are gas-mechanical (the McKeens in particular), but all of the EMC and GE products are electric-drive.
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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby railfilm » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:10 pm

Hi

I would like to get some information about the single ended Doodlebugs. Could they run on full speed in both direction or they were just a single direction railcars, with a limited reverse speed (on triangles or similar tracks).
I rode a Ferrostal cars in Chile. They were also single ended and with very limited reverse speed....
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Re: What is an RDC or "Doodlebug?"

Postby GSC » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:48 pm

It depends upon the application, and what the railroad ordered.

East Broad Top's M-1 gas-electric is single-ended, but can run equally well in either direction. (See www.febt.org for some great info)

The Pemberton & Hightstown RR (in New Jersey) once had a Mack railbus, sort of a small rail passenger car but large bus. It was designed to run in one direction, like its road cousins.
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Re:

Postby walt » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:06 pm

Urban D Kaye wrote:Correct me here, but the term "doodlebug" dates to the old gas-electric cars of the 20s, wheras I've only seen the term "RDC" applied specifically to Budd self-propelled diesel cars.

* * *

Also, I'll attach a few links...

Classic gas-electric doodlebug

Budd RDC


I think it would be accurate to say that the "Doodlebugs" were ancestors of the Budd RDC's. The Doodlebugs were gasoline-electric powered cars, built during the time when the gasoline engine was being experimented with for railroad applications. In the Late 1920's and particularly into the 1930's, the diesel engine replaced the gasoline engine in these experiments, so that by the time the RDC's were introduced, the internal combustion engine of choice was the diesel.
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