• RDC questions

  • Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
  by BlockLine_4111
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 ?

  by missthealcos
BC Rail ran trains of up to 9 cars(maybe even more, most I saw was 9, RDC-1, RDC-3, and the short lived RDC-2), up until only 2 years ago. One of the reasons the RDC's were never replaced was the fact that locomotive hauled trains could not maintain the schedule, due to acceleration, or lack thereof. They were very reliable for well over 40 years. If it weren't for a change of gov't philosphy, they would still be running today. Top speed....I have heard reports of 90MPH+
  by eddiebear
The Boston and Maine in pre-MBTA subsidy days (1965 and earlier) ran a few trains with 7-8 car consists. There's a B & M Employee Magazine article about 1956 that trumpets the longest assigned train at the time was a 7-car Rockport job.
In MBTA subsidy days RDCs from outlying points were brought into Boston Saturday morning, serviced, swapped, etc. and returned Sunday nights. The Ipswich set was up around 8-9 cars. These were also scheduled, passenger carrying trains.
After the most recent big Chelsea fire, Oct., 1973, all of the Rockport and Ipswich cars were coupled together into one mammoth, 17 cars by one account, train and run into Boston via the Saugus Branch.

  by mxdata
Budd RDC's have a very high power to weight ratio compared with many locomotive hauled passenger consists and are capable of relatively high acceleration rates. The climate control systems left a lot to be desired compared with newer equipment. The inclined Detroit Diesel 6-110 engine and its transmission were rather difficult to service, and their mounting and enclosure made some service tasks considerably more tedious than would be the case with an open mounted engine. However the greatest drawback compared with locomotive hauled consists is the number of operations you have to perform in order to completely fuel and service a multiple car train and the number of times you have to reposition it to get this all done. Every car has to be fueled individually, every engine and transmission needs to have the oil level checked. etc. And having a 6 car train with 12 engines multiplies your chances of a mechanical failure considerably. Does anybody else out there remember all the failed Budd car engines sitting in the downstairs of the building at the west end of the B&M East Deerfield yard in the 1960s?

  by missthealcos
Just about all of the Canadian Budd RDC's that ran(or run) with Via or BC Rail long ago had the 6-110's replaced with Cummins NTA855R's if I recall

  by missthealcos
Just about all of the Canadian Budd RDC's that ran(or run) with Via or BC Rail long ago had the 6-110's replaced with Cummins NTA855R's if I recall

  by missthealcos
Just about all of the Canadian Budd RDC's that ran(or run) with Via or BC Rail long ago had the 6-110's replaced with Cummins engines.

  by va3ori
In Montreal comuter service in the '70's, CP Rail was known to run as many as 11 RDCs in a train. I've seen a photo!

  by bill haithcoat
My memory is oh, so very vague............but there was an RDC train about 4 or 5 cars long on the Baltimore and Ohio, which went, I think somewhere like Cincinnati to Washington.

I do not remember its name, but it was something like "Daylight Speedliner"???????? It was pretty much a dayllight schedule and it featured most of the different kinds of RDC's.

Hopefully someone out tthere can fine tune my memories.

I am thinking this train just lasted a few years, from the mid to late 50's.

  by ENR3870
missthealcos wrote:Just about all of the Canadian Budd RDC's that ran(or run) with Via or BC Rail long ago had the 6-110's replaced with Cummins engines.

Not all the VIA RDC's got the Cummins engines. Some cars, like 6130, 6133, 6134, 6207, and 6250 kept their Detroit Diesel 6-110 engines. 6133 is the only one that still has them.

  by missthealcos
Yes, hence the "just about all" reference...cars remaining assigned to CP terminals for maintenance were for some reason left equipped with 6-110's,
ie. 6133-34 based at Victoria for many years...
  by isaksenj
The MU'ing of RDC's is not a problem in and of itself, but there are a couple of factors to consider:

First - it's a locomotive. Operating costs for a locomotive are higher than for a coach - both in term of fuel use and periodic inspection costs.

Second - Staffing levels are subject to local Union agreements.

Use of RDC's as a trainset therefore is not as cost-effective as a loco/coach consist, unless there are special circumstances.

Probably the most famous of these is the "cumulative" use of RDC's on the Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines, where an initial lashup of 6-8 RDC's would be broken apart as it progressed down the line, with individual cars splitting off onto different branches.
  by bill haithcoat
I checked a B&O 1960 timetagble last night and the train was indeed called the Daylgiht Speedliner. It went from Baltimore to Pittsburgh. the timetable did not detail the equipment but I still think it had about one of each type of RDC ever built, including some kind of food service car.
  by eddiebear
I think the B & O only had RDC1s and RDC2s. One RDC2 on the Daylight Speedliner was fitted out with a galley in the baggage section with booths and tables in the passenger section and this functioned as the dining area.
The Speedliner replaced the daytime Washingtonian which had been a Erie/PLE/B&O operation through from Cleveland. Introduction of the RDCs ended the through service.

  by Aa3rt
Gentlemen, I'd been trying since last week to find a photo of more than two RDC's MU'ed. I stumbled across this photo this afternoon. While the focus of the photo is of a Washington Terminal RS-1, taken in September 1984, there are at least 5 RDCs, in MARC (Maryland Area Rail Commission) paint in a single consist.

http://www.railpixs.com/wt/WT62_WashUni ... Sept84.jpg