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

Postby b&m 1566 » Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:37 am

The only railroad to purchase the RDC-9 was the Boston and Maine Railroad correct? How many were built?
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Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:18 pm

Can't answer the question, but I want to throw in my two cents about Budds. They were reliable, alright, but I didn't like them. I grew up on steam and diesel conventional trains, and when the Budds came along, everything got kinda "generic" on the B&M, at least on the east end. They could move right along, though. I was in the cab of a Dover train [got on in Lawrence], and between Lowell Jct. and Reading Highlands, we hit 82 MPH.

The B&M also ran them as single unitson at least one train. There was a 4:50 PM [I think it was] departure from Boston, and the first stop was Exeter. Got the Granite Staters home fast from work, I guess!
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Postby modorney » Sat Nov 18, 2006 11:25 pm


Says 30 RDC-9's

B+M was the only road that bought them (from Budd).
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Re: RDC9????

Postby eddiebehr » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:13 pm

The RDC-9 came about on the B & M because the B & M had 55 RDC-1, 2 and 3 units and was engaged in replacing lengthy suburban consists with the Budds. B & M was Budd's biggest RDC buyer so Budd complied. There was no need for control stands on middle cars in suburban trains so Budd developed the RDC-9. The RDC-9s were generally in the best shape of the B & M cars because most only saw rush hour use and were never the lead car on any trains so they never suffered any head on collisions with either autos or other trains.
One interesting experiment done by the B & M was to use the RDC-9s as trailer cars on two car consists. My Summer 1957 equipment assignment chart has two schedules with RDC-9s as trailers. The afternoon departure for Bellows Falls from Boston was a single Boston-Fitchburg unit. An hour later there was a Troy departure with an RDC-9 trailer. The 9 was dropped at Fitchburg and coupled onto the BF job. There was no great pressing need for all the passenger capacity. So an RDC-1 and 9 went to BF and returned the following morning as the Cheshire through to Boston; the extra passenger capacity was utilized from Fitchburg to Boston anyway. A Portland job also had an RDC-9 trailer in both directions. After the B & M and MBTA got involved permanently starting in 1965, a 3 car job set out of Boston at the tail end of the a. m. rush. With a 1-9-1 consist it ran out the Eastern Route (with 2 crews). The 9 and trailing 1 were dropped at Hamilton-Wenham and returned to North Station. The lead 1 continued to Ipswich and returned later to Boston.
An RDC-1-9 combination did not require a fireman. Firemen were required on motive power units weighing 45 tons on the drivers or heavier. That's how a 44-ton GE diesel got into the railroad industry. This standard was in effect for many years. RDCs were engines on the B & M. The RDC-1, 2 and 3 have two powered axles out of 4. The RDC-9 has one powered axle out of 4. The calculations were accepted by the firemens' union and the B & M could operate two car RDC trains with an RDC-9 trailing without a fireman. However, when a train with a blind end RDC-9 at the rear arrived at a terminal
the control unit had to be repositioned at the the other end to make its return. This might not be too complicated at some outlying points, but if it were North Station, this would be a problem during peak hours and it certainly would wipe out any efficiencies that RDC operation allowed.
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Re: RDC9????

Postby fl9m2026 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:44 pm

Interesting side note to the RDC-9. One actually ended up with a "normal" end w/cab windows. I've got to dig up my info on the exact road # (I'm sure someone here knows it off the cuff), but this particular RDC-9 was one of the cars damaged when a mental outpatient commandeered a Budd consist at the BET and ran it to North Station. Knowing how to run the car but not how to stop it, he threw it into reverse as it approached the bumper at the terminal and hopped off. The train then went back the way it came and ran into the turntable pit at the BET. One RDC-1 in the consist was damaged beyond repair (as was the turntable). The RDC-9 had one end demolished. It was stored after the accident and eventually received a new end, including cab, from a wrecked NH RDC. Must've been confusing for someone to see a Phase 2 body-style RDC with one blind end and the other end being a standard Phase 1B! The cab windows were blanked over with sheetmetal.
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Re: RDC9????

Postby keyboardkat » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:59 pm

You'll find some of the ex-B&M RDC-1s and RDC-9s hauled as locomotive-hauled cars on such tourist lines as New Hampshire's Hobo Railroad. I don't know if propulsion equipment has all been removed, or if at least one engine remains in each car to drive the lighting and air conditioning.
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Re: RDC9????

Postby keyboardkat » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:57 pm

I understand that the RDCs rebuilt for Trinity Rail service in Texas have separate small engines underneath for HEP power, since they have (and need) such powerful air conditioning. But where the dickens do they fit the HEP engine? The undercarriage of a two-engine RDC seems cluttered and compact enough.
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Re: RDC9????

Postby keyboardkat » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:02 pm

Also, the New Haven's ill-fated Roger Williams train, which consisted of six RDCs modified to be able to run on third-rail electric power in and near New York's Grand Central Terminal, had, I think, three or four cars in mid-consist that had blind ends, and were like RDC-9s, except they had two engines and full 300hp. The cab ends of the end cars were modified to look like regular cab unit type diesels (?), which of course resulted in loss of seating capacity in the car near the cab end.

After this train was taken out of service, the third-rail electrical propulsion equipment was amputated, and the cars entered Boston commuter service.
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