New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

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

New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby BlockLine_4111 » Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:09 pm

Does anyone recall:

1. CNJ/RDG RDC's on the Raritan Valley Line and if they had a very hard time climbing the ramp at Hunter Interlocking going westbound?

2. PRSL RDC's at the Jersey Shore?

3. NYS&W RDC's shuffling across Bergen County?

4. NJ Transit RDC's operating from Hoboken at the end of their lives?
a. struggling to hold the schedule
b. spewing sparks and starting brush fires
c. being towed by diesels in revenue service
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Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:34 am

1. Yes, I remember the "Scoots" and the RDG three car set, that came up daily from Trenton. The ramp at Hunter is a lot more forgiving, than the ramp at Aldene. Both easily transversed.

2. Saw these a few times, on the trains that ran the Cape May Line, in the late 70's. Track was a bit shoddy, and the bridges were all slow ordered, IIRC, but no real difficulties running at sea level.

3. Never saw 'em.

4. Saw them, and even ran a few trips, on the Gladstone Branch, during the re-electrification project, in the mid 80's. Worn out, tired and unable to pull the hill at Millington (?) one night, until we backed down west, and got a run at the hill, from a quarter mile down the road. Of course, we also had the same problems with the GP-7's and the F-7 they sent out, to cover the Branch when the power was down, for restringing new catenary. Don't recall starting fires, and though they did break down occasionally, I never had a train, that required being rescued, unlike a trip or two by Richie Brush.......... :P
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Postby mxdata » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:02 pm

I cried just about every time I was on an RDC. No, it was not nostalgia, it was all that unburned fuel in the exhaust blowing through the car every time you stopped.

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Postby EDM5970 » Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:33 am

I only rode them a few time, but here are a few of my recollections-

They seemed to do OK on the Scoots between Cranford and Bayonne on the CNJ. I believe those cars were the ones that were rebuilt with Cummins engines replacing the 110s.

I had a cab ride once, in the mid-1970s, from Newark to Raritan, on a two car set. That set seemed to have problems, as the trip took forever; I don't think we got up over 40 or so, the throttle was wide open and we were in high gear or direct drive, whichever it was called.

The best trip was on the Reading in June of '81, from West Trenton to Newark on the Wall Street or Crusader, (forget which). Those things flew, especially on the NEC.
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Re: New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby cobra30689 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:32 pm

I do recall them on the RVL...climbing up and down the Aldene ramp, seen as a child from the Burger King below.

I was lucky enough to finally ride them as an MN shuttle from Suffern to Port Jervis and back in the late '80's. IIRC, those things could really step north of Sloatsburg....

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Re: New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby polybalt » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:15 pm

I rode an RDC from Lindenwald to Cape May and back in the final years. My most vivid memory is parting the weeds that had grown up in the track well above top-of-rail hieght at a very high rate of speed, blowing alomst continuously for the many crossings protected only by crossbucks. I am not sure how fast we were going. The line did not have block signals so was limited to 59 mph by FRA rule, but the crews solved that minor problem by breaking the speedometers! I would guess we were doing about 70mph.
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Re: New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby glennk419 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:45 pm

polybalt wrote:I rode an RDC from Lindenwald to Cape May and back in the final years. My most vivid memory is parting the weeds that had grown up in the track well above top-of-rail hieght at a very high rate of speed, blowing alomst continuously for the many crossings protected only by crossbucks. I am not sure how fast we were going. The line did not have block signals so was limited to 59 mph by FRA rule, but the crews solved that minor problem by breaking the speedometers! I would guess we were doing about 70mph.


You mean like this: http://www.thebluecomet.com/prslRDCestmanor.jpg
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Re: New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby delvyrails » Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:45 pm

Parts of the Cape May Branch were rated for 70 mph for the RDCs under a special rule that allowed that speed where enough block signal equipment was retained and operative to give "facing point indication", that is, to show that an upcoming facing point switch was closed and locked. Vandalism of switches with unpleasant surprises was occasional (and still is) in isolated areas.
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Re: New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby GSC » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:12 pm

The Budd RDCs that ran on CNJ's Seashore Branch seemed to handle that route okay, winding up the last years of passenger service between Matawan and Highlands. Smoky and dirty, but the line was level and they scooted right along (between breakdowns, that is).
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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Re: New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby jhdeasy » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:08 pm

I do remember the RDCs that ran between Lindenwold and Atlantic City / Cape May, when I was stationed in Philadelphia, 1980-1982. I very much regret not riding them, because they were discontinued after I was transferred to sea duty in spring 1982. I did get a bunch of photos at Atlantic City.

I did ride the Wall Street or Crusader RDC train from Newark Penn Station to Philadelphia Reading Terminal one weekday evening in 1981. I think that was a joint NJ DOT & SEPTA operation.

My other travels on RDCs that I remember:

MTA PC Hudson Line, between Poughkeepsie and Croton Harmon, numerous trips 1971-1975. The crews referred to them as Bee Liners. I got one or two rides up front with the engineer.

CR/TH&B/CP, RDC train from Buffalo to Toronto, 1977. Maybe 15 minutes up front with the engineer, while we were doing 90 MPH across southern Ontario!

SEPTA RDCs between Philadelphia Reading Terminal and Pottsville, 1980 or 1981. One roundtrip.
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Re: New Jersey - RDCs (various roads)

Postby mitch kennedy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:25 pm

Kind of late on this thread..but in my mid-50's, I can remember RDC's on the PRSL still on the Clementon run (by my house in Magnolia).. Never caught them on the Millville run that lasted til 72 I think. But TT speed on the Cape May line(north of Tuckahoe) was still 70 psgr/50 frt til '78 or so and then downhill from there. The FRA 59 mph rule didn't hit til arround 79 or 80.I know this is like the proverbial fishing story, but crew members recall 42-43 seconds per mile between Winslow and Tuckahoe into the first year or two of CR! The Wall ST/Crusader ran "as is " til 77 or so, still with the converted RDC2 snack/lounge car...The operating crews were split between CNJ and Rdg engineers and fireman, on a 6 mnth or 1 year rotation, with the cndr's and trainmen being exclusively Rdg. In 1973 or so the NYT ran a 2-page feature on that run entitled "Taking a Ride on the RDG", and indeed in 74 til 76 a one-way fare was $5 versus $10 on Amtrak! When the Rdg overhauled the budds in the early 70's to include digital speedometers (like the Metroliners!), the orange/black safety striping, and the orange rotary beacons, it was the Rdg RDC's finest hour (or swan song!) Also, the RDC2 "diner" areas, til CR, had small prints of the Ranulph Bye watercolors of Rdg stations. The Collegeville and New Hope ones come to mind. And the attendant on the later of the two AM departures from Philly was one of the last pre-Amtrak dining car stewards on the B&O. Rode the Bayonne scoot over the "big bridge" in 73.. So sad compared to the Rdg and PRSL cars. And we won;t even mention the ramshackle PC RDC's on the fringe of Metro North....Couple of shots of mine attached... One is the Wall St or Crusader coming into Newark from the Harrison layover yard, the first winter of Conrail, and a slightly blurry one of PRSL RDC's on the scoot in Oct 1974. Since NJDOT owned them, they were used off season on the scoot starting in 73 or 74....Oh yeah.. everyone got a free cabride on the Crusader/Wall St, as the front door was almost ALWAYS open on the northbound run after Wayne Jct, but ALWAYS closed coming back to Philly.. go figure
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