RDC's cut into regular consists

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

RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby atlpete » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:39 pm

I understand the Budd company frowned on this practice as in "void the warranty" in much the same way they discouraged hauling non-RDC trailers in RDC powered consists (CNJ and NH famously getting in "trouble" for this) I'm looking at a calendar (weekend chief's nyc 2006) photo of a pair of NYC mu's towing an RDC up the Harlem Div, to cover schedule north of N.White Plains; I know the Rock Island did the same between Kansas City and Ft Worth, anyone else know of other road's operations like this? NH maybe?
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Postby wigwagfan » Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:46 pm

Historically? I am not aware.

Presently? The Port of Tillamook Bay has pulled its RDC-1 behind a steam locomotive (with the steam engine doing the work); and at least on one or two occassions, the Lewis & Clark Explorer Train had to be pulled by a GP39-2 (from host railroad Portland & Western RR) due to multiple engine failures underneath the RDCs.
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Postby glennk419 » Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:40 pm

While they are fully capable of moving under their own power, the two operable RDC's on the CMSL, M-407 and M-410, are generally mixed in with a standard coach and/or diner with propulsion being provided by one of the "LV" F7's, PRR GP9 7000 or CNJ GP7 1523. The RDCs run one engine for HVAC, lighting and control power and are MU'd with the diesels to serve as a cab car in a push/pull configuration. Whenever I ride those trains, I always chose the RDC.
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Postby Bill West » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:00 pm

Pacific Great Eastern (later BC Railway) towed an old steam coach behind it's RDC's in the early 60's. It was added after reaching the summit at Alta Lake for additional Sunday night capacity down the hill back to North Vancouver. Possibly it was returned up the 2% grade by the way freight. The car was one of their old assorted coaches and had been revised to run its lights from the RDC's 64 volt trainline. The main strain on the Budd's would be using a bit of air but there is a 20-30 mph 1% upgrade through Horseshoe Bay.

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Postby Bill West » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:07 pm

In Ontario I believe the CPR ran an RDC-4 west of Toronto in a regular train, to be dropped off for a branch route. Even better another route got weekend capacity by substition with a conventional train but the Budd had to go with it to be in postion for the next day's trip. The neat part was that this was just BEFORE the end of steam in '59.

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RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby eddiebehr » Sat Apr 08, 2006 9:30 pm

During the 1957-59 period, the B & M transitioned from a mix of conventional and RDC runs out of Boston to all RDC (State of Maine Route & Connecticut River Line lasted a few years longer with conventional equipment). During this period there were numerous schedule changes. One of the consist sheets I have has the early morning mail and paper train towing an RDC from Boston to Concord, NH. This RDC then made a quick round-trip to Plymouth, NH and back at Concord it was coupled up to an RDC from White River, Jct. for the run back to Boston. I also believe sbout the same time, an RDC was towed from Boston to Greenfield, Mass. and then set free and it ran to Williamstown and then all the way back to Boston.
On the Boston & Albany, I remember seeing mail-express-passenger train #18, later #400, towing up to four RDCs, Springfield to Boston, usually Sundays. This would be 1957-1959.
During 1962-63 I attended Northeastern University in Boston and all the classrooms at the back of the buildings had a great view of the New Haven's Boston-Providence-New York mainline. Mail #182 sometimes had an RDC coupled on as the crew car, probably from New Haven.
The C&EI Meadowlark was an RDC from about 1956 onward and on busy travel days towed a lightweight coach as part of its trains.
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RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby DocJohn » Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:56 pm

In the early and middle 1950's the New YorK Central ran a late afternoon Weehaken to Albany passenger train on the River Division. An RDC in transit would often be the last car on that train.

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Postby ELSDP45 » Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:32 pm

Budd did not have any problem with an RDC being towed as part of regular train. Their only complaint was when they were used to pull unpowered cars. The NYC did tack RDC's onto MU consists on the Hudson line. This resulted in a threat to void the warranty on the MU's (not the RDC's, they were being pulled) if they did not stop this practice.
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Re: RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby CarterB » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:08 pm

eddiebehr wrote:The C&EI Meadowlark was an RDC from about 1956 onward and on busy travel days towed a lightweight coach as part of its trains.


I often rode the Meadowlark RDC (only one the C&EI ever had) version to Chicago from Tuscola, Ill. Quite often in the 1950's it would haul a standard lw coach both ways. Groaned a bit starting up, and noisy as hell enroute, but ran for years that way. Worst thing about the trip was your dinner was a la vending machine!!! and usually stale.
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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Re: RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:23 pm

On the NYC Hudson Division, RDC's would be tacked onto the rear end of electric trains heading to Grand Central, giving those who lived above Harmon a one-seat ride. I dont know if they tried a similar operation on the Harlem Division. This practice seems to have been short-lived, however.

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Re: RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:37 pm

Correct the ICC (now FRA) put a stop to it, to tow RDC'S other than in emergencies, the drive shafts need to be removed.
this to prevent failure of torq converter and subsequent driveshaft failure.
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Re: RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby Stmtrolleyguy » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:25 am

DutchRailnut wrote:Correct the ICC (now FRA) put a stop to it, to tow RDC'S other than in emergencies, the drive shafts need to be removed.
this to prevent failure of torq converter and subsequent driveshaft failure.


I would assume that this was a safety measure?
I'd think that a failure of that sort under the car could do some serious damage, and possibly derail the car?
If it was self-powered, I'd think a warning light would come on, or you'd hear it, but when it was towed, it could go un-noticed for quite some time . . .
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Re: RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby JimBoylan » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:39 pm

I've seen published photos:
Reading RDCs pulling a Reading Silverliner MU car through Valley Forge, Pa. on its way back to Reading Terminal from repairs at Reading. Pa, shops, a week before ConRail.
Canadien Jubilee 4-4-4 steam loco pulling RDCs and probably some coaches, as the caption in Trains magazine said the steamer was because of extra riders for a winter holiday.
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Re: RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:10 pm

eddiebehr wrote: During 1962-63 I attended Northeastern University in Boston and all the classrooms at the back of the buildings had a great view of the New Haven's Boston-Providence-New York mainline. Mail #182 sometimes had an RDC coupled on as the crew car, probably from New Haven.


Hi Eddie !
I also spent many an hour gazing out onto the then Penn Central Boston-Providence Main Line during classes at Northeastern University (1969-1974). I can tell you that there wasn't much that the PC didn't do with RDC's back then, coupling them to anything that happened to be in the yard at the time. (Warranty ? What warranty ?) I think that they would have hauled passengers in one of their E units, pulled by an RDC, if they could have gotten seats in it !
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Re: RDC's cut into regular consists

Postby Gerry6309 » Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:01 pm

The inbound from Needham shortly after rush hour was usually a classic, with two or three consists (P-70s and Shoreliners each in two paint schemes) and their locomotives coupled together with one or two RDCs bringing up the rear. It would often occupy the entire field of vision from the old student parking lot. Often the Model Railroad Club members would go out to observe what was in the mix. It semed like a museum run.
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