DutchRailnut wrote:....the APU(HEP) was weak link in entire system, if that went down car was stuck ....
That's why I mentioned the reliability of modern Stadco HEP generators. I really think that the HEP issue could have been very reasonably solved.
I'm not so sure about some of the other issues. The braking issue, for one, was a fairly dramatic problem at the time, but part of the issue was the failure to use the compression brake. The M-N/CDOT management didn't understand it and the crews didn't understand it, even though it was a common, almost universal practice in the trucking industry. Similarly, there was nothing technically wrong with powering all axles, although it caused a major labor issue, and the removal of those drive shafts in response to that artificial labor relations issue apparently caused some real mechanical problems. Today, that labor issue is a settled matter and belongs to the past.
Looking back, the original RDC had it's problems, although it was much better supported by the manufacturer, and more to the point, Budd recommended operating procedures and even enforced them through its warranty coverage.
I think it's too easy in hindsight to forget that the original RDC was had its own little idiosyncrasies, but the biggest difference is that it had a reliable but archaic DC electrical system, running of batteries and with a generator on both engines, which offered plenty of redundancy. The interesting thing about modern RDC rebuilds is that they many seem to involve a switch to an AC electrical system and a HEP generator, just like the SPV-2000.