• Optimist seeks SPV's for private Delaware commuter line

  • Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
  by Jeff Smith
In case anyone was wondering what happened to these that had sat for years......(not the Hurricane Constitution Liners, these have been retired a while):

Delmarva Now article

This guy sounds like a piece of work.
In June 2007, he found five 109-passenger SPV 2000's for sale by the New York Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society. Built in 1981, the self-propelled diesel cars had been used by Metro-North Railroad around New York City until they were retired. He won't reveal the price he negotiated.

So far, the cars haven't cost Povlitz anything, because he hasn't paid for them.

"He's never come across with any money or anything," said Wayne Nilsen of the historical society. "He's waiting for some family to send him money."

Povlitz also hasn't paid Amtrak the $75,000 it billed him to move them from New York to Glasgow last October.
This may better belong in another forum, but I found it interesting.
  by Otto Vondrak
Too good not to quote...
The question is whether Povlitz's plan for a private railroad will work, since every commuter line in the nation is government-supported. State transportation officials doubt it can. Official pessimism isn't Povlitz's only hurdle: He doesn't actually own the cars yet, and he doesn't have permission from the state, the federal government or Norfolk Southern Corp., which owns the track, to run a railroad.
"We've had conversations with him off and on for the past 15 years," DelDOT spokesman Darrel Cole said. Povlitz talked to the Delmarva Rail Passenger Association recently, president Tom Posatko said. Members loved the idea. "I'm glad to hear he's still around," Posatko said. "But it seemed like a pretty brave venture to go out there on your own."
Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband is more straightforward. "We had one conversation and told him we really aren't interested," Husband said. "Any type of commuter service in Delaware on Norfolk Southern lines would have to be done through DelDOT." Povlitz is undeterred.
He would also need approval from the Federal Railroad Administration, which looks at safety issues, and the federal Surface Transportation Board, which oversees all rail operations. Despite all the hurdles he faces, Povlitz is convinced the railroad will be carrying passengers by early next summer. In fact, he expects to be overwhelmed by riders. He's already shopping around for more cars.
Everyone: Speaking of SPV 2000s and Delaware: Delaware Car in Wilmington has had a couple of SPV2000 car shells that they acquired from Budd in anticipation of their future use-right down there in Delaware sitting on their property adjacent to the Amtrak station.

This could be a new home for the CDOT Constitution Liners perhaps...MACTRAXX
  by geico
Other than these RDCs came from MN, what does have to do with MN now? Wouldnt this be more useful in the SEPTA forum? I think a similar posting there too.
  by DutchRailnut
Think this belongs on forum for self propelled cars (DMU's not on MNCR forum.


Btw they are not RDC's but SPV's, two distinctly different units.
  by electricron
This act should be performed by Delaware, not by a private individual. These DMUs would match the appearance of most of the cars on the NE corridor, should fit in well in Delaware. I'm not so sure the reliability of these DMUs are high enough. The earlier Budd RDCs reliability are much better.

Besides, for a new startup service, EPA Tier IV standards will be needed soon, and I don't believe either Budd design DMUs, SPV or RDC, can ever meet them. Even if they get grandfathered in, like at the TRE, there will come a time they will have to be retired because they pollute too much.....
  by goodnightjohnwayne
electricron wrote: Besides, for a new startup service, EPA Tier IV standards will be needed soon, and I don't believe either Budd design DMUs, SPV or RDC, can ever meet them. Even if they get grandfathered in, like at the TRE, there will come a time they will have to be retired because they pollute too much.....
The beauty of a DMU is that you can re-engine it with the type of commercial diesel engine found in trucks and buses - and you can be sure there will be plenty of emissions compliant choices. I somehow doubt that the EPA is ever going to regulate the trucking industry out of existence.
  by goodnightjohnwayne
I was glad to see the eyesore "dead line" cars disappear from Croton-Harmon, but I'm truly amazed that the Metro-North SPVs are still extant, despite their deplorable condition. I thought they must have been scrapped years ago, so this news is something of a pleasant surprise. Similarly, I'd be pleasantly surprised if the incomplete shells still survive. On the downside, the Metro-North cars were horribly vandalized and the SPV-2000s had a terrible reputation when they were in service.

My inclination is to say that many of the SPV-2000 problems could have been rectified with additional funding, not to mention the development of better operating and maintenance practices. If passenger rail had been a major priority at state and federal levels in the early and mid 1980s, and Budd hadn't been in the process of leaving the business, I suspect that these cars might have remained in service and been moderately successful. Perhaps the cost of rectifying the many deficiencies would have been a few hundred thousand or a couple of million back when they were still in service - but it would have taken cooperation between the manufacturer and the customers, not to mention dealing with a number of labor relations issues.

Today, it would take tens of millions and a fairly risky engineering effort to bring these stripped and vandalized cars back into service. It might be simpler to start with the demotorized CDOT cars, which are apparently up for sale. Still, it would take a lot of money and expertise, both of which are hard to find. There are a lot of things that would be easier today, such as using proven and reliable STADCO generators for electrical power, but many SPV features might have be completely redesigned.
  by NV290
There is still a bunch of neutered SPV's sitting in New Haven yard. Right next to the FL9's. I would guesstimate between 8 and 10 of the old SPV's.

The condition is excellent. They are totally intact as coaches. And the versions set up as cab cars are ready to go, radio's, ACSES, etc. All in place. They need only to be cleaned and tested.

If any railroad wanted coaches, they would not a bad choice. But who knows what type of ownership issues will come with them.
  by DutchRailnut
None, as those cars have always been owned by CDOT.

As for MTA SPV's they went for two rebuilts and never got the issues fixed, the systems used were just off the wall from the air controlled throttles, the removal of jake brake, the removal of drive shafts for outside axles etc., the APU(HEP) was weak link in entire system, if that went down car was stuck or if ran in multiple , made car a dead piece of steel to lug around.
there was nothing wrong with maintenance but car was over engineered and not friendly to field servicing like a RDC.
  by goodnightjohnwayne
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.
  by DutchRailnut
correct, and even the Colorado DMU seem to be a repeat of the SPV failures, (same type of system setup)
It seems the Brtish have the best type of DMU's built under K.I.S.S principle, just like RDC its keep it simple stupdid or it will fail.
A simple DC system with dsimple drive trains.

It will be interesting in what VIA is doing by rebuilding a fleet of RDC's including permanently coupling 8 cars into 4 married pairs.
They keep the DC battery and replace the Generators with two drive engine powered alternators feeding the DC bus.
All load comes of the DC bus with brushless DC motors powering the electric motors for fans , ventilation, etc except the Air compressor and AC compressor.
those are built on a stepless starter system that will increase speed on those two devices depending on load.