• RDC questions

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

  by glennk419
Nice pictures and it certainly lived up to its' name as a Snow Special. From the second picture, it looks like it could actually be as long as eight cars, definitely at least six.

  by Tadman
Because of the fact that each RDC is a legal locomotive, there is an over/under number for when it is most efficient for a locomotive or MU consist. With electric MU's, the numer is about 6-7. After that, the locomotive is more efficient. This is also only applicable on a dense commuter line, like NJT (where I think the number came from), because of the acceleration needs. The B&O Pittsburgh run is likely uneconomical because of the long distance running, unless it was a 2 car train. I still think Amtrak is nuts today for running some of their 2-3 car short distance trains with a Genesis, rather than some rebuilt RDC or modern interation. It must have to do with their diesel surplus and lack of money for DMU's.

  by mxdata
By the way, going back to the original set of questions that were posted to start the string, the rated top speed of the Budd RDC is 83 MPH (limited by the governors of the Detroit Diesel 110 engines). The published acceleration figures with a full load (100% occupied) of adult passengers was standing start to 43 MPH in 60 seconds.

  by Idiot Railfan
When Metro-North/NJ Transit was operating ex-NYC RDCs between Port Jervis and Suffer NY in the 1980s, the frequently stalled on the grade east out of Port Jervis. And it having been single-tracked in the 60s, the RDC sometimes had to switch direction and go back to Port Jervis so the line was not blocked.

But then they are already pushing 40 years old even then.
  by fl9m2026
BlockLine_4111 wrote:What were the longest lengths that RDC were coupled and run? I have never seen a set longer than 4 cars. Also what were their top speed ? Were they sluggish on acceleration too (as compared to loco hauled sets) ? Were the climate control systems, particularly the AC, unreliable ?

5,6 and 7 cars were not uncommon on the B&M for regular runs. I remember seeing first-hand 5 and 6 car consists coming through Melrose Highlands. There's a picture in excellent book "Boston & Maine; City and Shore" of an 8 car Reading consist at North Station. Railfan and excursion trains were often equally long consists.
  by edbear
I worked for the Boston & Maine 1968-86 and commuted into Boston until late 1983 when we moved out to Billerica. Up until the fleet showed signs of really aging by the mid-1970s, the longest morning consist came in from Lowell, 6 cars arriving North Station about 7:45 am and immediately made a turn to Woburn. During the spring-summer & fall months in that era, the RDCs were left overnight at outlying points shutdown. The cars at South Acton, Reading and Ipswich (and probably Rockport and Lowell) were brought in all coupled together on Saturday mornings, and not usually the first trip but mid-morning. They were run through the Budd House. The five South Acton cars usually were returned Saturday afternoon. The Reading and Ipswich consists, all coupled together, made the return move Sunday evenings, not too late. The large consists in both directions were on regularly scheduled trains. Usually one car open, the rest deadhead. After the big Chelsea fire in 1973 - on a Sunday night - the Monday services from Rockport and Ipswich were combined into a single train and ran via the Saugus Branch - reportedly 17 cars, probably the record.