Budd RDC Operations

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Budd RDC Operations

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:37 pm

I'm tracing the lineage of a model produced by Rapido which represents MBTA 9154, an RDC-1. A quick check of some rosters show this car was originally Reading 9154, retired by SEPTA in 1985. The MBTA Vehicle Inventory at TransitHistory.org shows 9154 as one of nine cars purchased from SEPTA in 1985 and retired in 1989. The roster also indicates that MBTA purchased/leased 24 additional RDC's between 1983 and 1987.

Help me understand MBTA's policy regarding the RDC's. It was my assumption that MBTA was seeking to eliminate all powered RDCs and convert them to non-powered HEP coaches (the roster indicates 32 RDCs were sent to M-K for rebuilding as coaches and cab cars, doesn't say what year). It looks like the last of the RDCs (powered or not) ran in 1989.

My question... Was MBTA still running sets of powered RDC's after 1982? What year did the fleet get sent to MK for conversion to non-powered cars (did it happen all at once in 1982? did they all get returned at the same time)?

Thanks for any resources you can point me towards.

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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby edbear » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:01 pm

After the February, 1978 Blizzard, RDCs operating alone began disappearing. Lloyd Kierstead of the B & M Shop at Billerica, perfected the Kierstead Connection about this time which permitted control of a set of RDCs with an engine, usually a B & M GP-7, from either then engine end or the RDC end. Until then, if an engine ran with a set of RDCs, it was towing them. Even before the Blizzard, two sets of RDCs, composed of units that had trouble operating alone or in multiple, were towed into and out of Boston each day. One was from Lowell, other from either Rockport or Ipswich. Due to the large number of failed RDCs, after the 1978 Blizzard, a reduced North Station timetable was placed into effect and full service was not restored until late in June, 1978. I can't tell you when, but I went to work late one day in Spring, 1978 and it was the last time I remember riding an RDC only train into North Station. Can't give you a date. There was a 3-car set assigned to the Back Bay Shuttle during the 1979-87 shutdown of the mainline via Back Bay Station and reroute of all former New Haven South Station routes (except Needham Branch) via Dorchester. Shuttle ran from South Station to Back Bay. I believe it was last full-powered RDC set left on MBTA. Was running into early 1980s anyway. Reading RDCs had low back seats, very uncomfortable. Jersey Central RDCs were incredibly filthy.
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:49 pm

As Mr. Bear notes above, there were no self-propelled RDCs in Boston in the 1980s, but locomotive-hauled RDC sets continued to run through the decade. These included the secondhand cars that the MBTA bought from SEPTA and CP. Don't confuse the 32 M-K rebuilds, which came back from Boise as conventional coaches, with the more or less intact Budds that continued to run as trailers and control cars propelled by FP-10s, F40s, and GP9s. These typically retained one working underfloor engine for lighting and heat/AC. Here's an example of such a set being pushed by an FP-10, outbound from North Station for Lowell in September 1987.
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:02 pm

Excellent information, thank you.

So I wonder about the set of ex-RDG SEPTA RDC's that were purchased in 1985. Looks like MBTA had them set up running together, never even bothered to paint the purple stripe on:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/8348059@N ... otostream/

Was this a set of intact RDC's that had motors running for light and heat and were hauled by locomotives? Just trying to paint a complete picture for an article I'm putting together.

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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:13 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:Was this a set of intact RDC's that had motors running for light and heat and were hauled by locomotives?


Yes. If you zoom that North Station photo and look carefully you can (barely) see an FP-10 at the far end of the Budd string. That locomotive-powered format is the only one in which the ex-SEPTA cars ran in Boston.
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:34 am

Per board search, found this post from 2014 about the official last self-powered run.

MIKEMOXIEMAINE wrote:Just got this ,HERE ARE THE RDC Facts

Last Self Propelled B&M RDC run was February 4, 1985
Trains 5303 and 5308,
Boston to Framingham & return
had RDCs 6134 (ex B&M) and 42 (ex NH)
Condr. Steve Egnet
Engr. Doug Kydd


This appears to have just been a fantrip because calendar year 1982 holds as the last time the powered RDC's were holding down any regular schedules, and there's no documented evidence that they were still taking regular turns in 1983 or beyond. Per that same 2014 thread the very last schedule that they remained on after being purged all elsewhere systemwide was the short South Station-Back Bay shuttle that ran during Southwest Corridor reconstruction. Not sure if the shuttle lasted all the way to 10/5/87 and the SW Corridor's reopening or not, or if it was subsumed by increased Framingham service at some point earlier because of low shuttle-specific ridership; NETransit's usually extremely specific about every service's begin/end date but doesn't specifically mention the shuttle on its SW Corridor reopening blurb. At any rate, if the shuttle remained it switched to loco-hauled at some point between '82-85. This 1985 fantrip most likely utilized the normal BBY shuttle set, as that is the most logical explanation for why the T was still maintaining self-powered RDC's on active-service reserve after the '82 purge and after the mass rebuilds to non-powered trailers had begun.
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby Otto Vondrak » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:46 am

TomNelligan wrote:
Otto Vondrak wrote:Was this a set of intact RDC's that had motors running for light and heat and were hauled by locomotives?


Yes. If you zoom that North Station photo and look carefully you can (barely) see an FP-10 at the far end of the Budd string. That locomotive-powered format is the only one in which the ex-SEPTA cars ran in Boston.


Thank you, Tom!

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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby Otto Vondrak » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:48 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Per board search, found this post from 2014 about the official last self-powered run... This 1985 fantrip most likely utilized the normal BBY shuttle set, as that is the most logical explanation for why the T was still maintaining self-powered RDC's on active-service reserve after the '82 purge and after the mass rebuilds to non-powered trailers had begun.


Thank you! I think this helps connect all the dots. Appreciate the help.

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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:54 pm

What was this "Kierstead Connection"? A way to connect a GP-7 to the RDC MU trainline?
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby KB1KVD » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:18 am

The Kierstead cable was a way to connect a Geep and Budds together thus allowing the budd to control the geep. The cable used certain notches of the geep when controlled from the budd. It used something like notches 2,4,5 and 7, when they were shoving in the geep would kick the cars unless they had the train stretched when coming into the station.
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby RenegadeMonster » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:36 am

So, what is the latest update on the two Budd's by BET?

Last up date is 2/3 years old where there was a bid put out to scrap them. But it doesn't seem like that went anywhere.


Are the plans still to scrap them? Or is there any chance they could end up sold / restored?
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:44 am

If I recall correctly, they were sold for scrap years ago but the buyer never picked them up.
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby talltim » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:46 am

A useful thread for, so thanks for people' contributions. I have plans (which may involve winning the lottery!) to model a FP10+RDC rake as per https://youtu.be/ht4NH5R5nVw?t=3m43s
Otto, please let us know where and when the article is published
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby Arborwayfan » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:49 pm

Once during the SWC project years I was in South Station and heard the Back Bay Shuttle called. It would have been fall 86, winter or spring 87 -- or maybe fall 87; I know Needham Line restarted around October 87 but I don't remember if the other lines had already started running via the SWC before that. I did not go see the Back Bay Shuttle -- just another train in the station -- but I'm sure I at least walked out the doors and looked at the platforms and I don't remember seeing any RDCs in S Station, powered or otherwise. Mostly German Cars, some Pullmans. Were the RDCs all north side by then? I remember riding an RDC train (locomotive hauled but RDC engine running for heat and light) back from a scout hike in Salem in 87 or 88 or so.
Anyway, I think there was not an RDC set running the Back Bay shuttle by 87.
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Re: Budd RDC Operations

Postby BandA » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:26 pm

In the '87 '88 timeframe, the Moody Street RR crossing guard told me that all the derelict equipment that Amtrak would not allow on the south side lines that they dispatched was segregated to the north side. That's why they had the old Pullmans and de-powered RDC's while the south side had the Messerschmidts and Bombardiers (and for a while the GO-Transit leasers which had tight seat pitch). When they tried to accelerate out of a station, the engines would sometimes stall & they would have to restart them.
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