Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by Raakone
I know that MN and its predessesors used SPVs and RDCs for some services into GCT. Now, I know SPVs and RDCs are DMUs. So what was done about getting to the station? The tunnel is poorly ventilated, and I thought only 3rd rail was allowed. Did their DMUs also have third rail shoes? Or were they hauled in by electric motors beyond 125th street or maybe even the "end of third rail" sections?


  by DutchRailnut
other than equipment moves the RDC's and SPV's did not run in service to GCT.
Poughkeepsie trains terminated in Harmon were passengers transfered to Electrics.
at one point mule trains were used to tow RDC's into GCT as trough service but engines were killed before entering the tunnel the FRA stopped the practice due to certain things not working propperly if RDC was towed.
trains from Brewster use to go as far as North white plains and passengers transfered to Electrics.
same with the New haven branches.

  by Otto Vondrak
RDC's were hauled into GCT occasionally on the read of conventional trains, but not with motors running, if at all possible. RDC were not ever equipped to run off third rail, but there were no clearance issues involved. Slightly off topic, but we had some odd practices back in the day:

- Electric trains would stop at Croton... a steam engine would be tacked on, and the train would continue on to Poughkeepsie. Lights were provided by the MU's battery reserves, and in the middle of summer, no one had to worry about providing heat or A/C (just open a window).

- I've seen a photo of an FL9 towing two RDC's as coaches on the Harlem Line around 1970... or maybe the two RDC's were towing the FL9!

- RDC's were sometimes tacked onto the rear of conventional trains for the last leg of the trip into GCT as described above.

and the list goes on. as servicable equipment became scarce in the 1970s, you could see just about anything cobbed together and run into GCT, electric or not!

  by FL9AC
Only RDC(s) ever equipped with 3rd rail shoes and related equipment were the New Haven "Roger Williams" RDC trainset. As far as Metro-North...their RDC's didn't have the capability. :)


photo by Greg Guimond

  by shlustig
Hello, all

Through the early and mid-1970's, we regularly ran RDC's into and out of GCT.

Several off-peak Harlem Line trains to and from Brewster were run with 2 or 3 RDC's to North White Plains, at which location an electric P or T motor would take the RDC's into GCT and return. The RDC's would be left on idle to provide the hotel services. If no electric motor was available, we used multiples of the ACMU's to power the consist, usually 2 MU's for each RDC handled.

These trains stopped only at White Plains and E. 125th St. stations.

There were no equivalent regulalrly scheduled Hudson Line moves as the only standard consists were the 3 rush trips. All off-peak service utilized MU's to Harmon and RDC's beyond. The 3 standard consists covered multiple trips on the weekends, so again there was no need to schedule RDC's into GCT.

Hope this helps.

  by Otto Vondrak
Explain third rail shoes on the Roger Williams?


  by DutchRailnut
The Roger Williams was a dual mode RDC, it originaly had traction motors on outside axles(original idlers) for operation into GCT, and a small Motor Generator to keep Batteries charged.
To acomodate the traction motors the Roger williams cars had outside swinghanger trucks very different than standard RDC's
  by Tom Curtin
Oh Geez, do I well remember this practice. I often rode these consists. The Harlem began doing this on a bunch of off-peak runs around 1965 and continued into at least early-Penn Central era.

South of NWP they used two MUs per Budd --- i.e., either 1 RDC and 2 MUs, or 2 RDCs and 4 MUs. In addition, there was one rush hour job, the first train out of Brewster in the morning, that used 3 RDCs, and had an electric locomotive and 3 standard coaches added at North White. This consist returned to Brewster on one of the late rush hour jobs.

I don't know if anything comparable was done on the Hudson at that time, or if all the off peak stuff on the Hudson involved cross-platform transfers at Harmon.

  by Xplorer2000
The "Roger Williams" did have third-rail pickups, that I believe drove a GE traction motor for when the trainset was running into GCT in its intended role. Unfortunately, the Roger's third-rail systems were as buggy as the rest of the other McGinnis lightiweights.This equipment was removed when the Roger was downgraded and put into commuter service.
However, the Roger Williams equipment were not RDCs, but a combination of RDC components with lightweight coach shells. If you take a close look at the posted photo, you'll note they are slightly different in size than the standard RDC that they're coupled to.I believe this was done to allow them to operate within the tighter clearances of GCT. In fact, IIRC, the Roger's radiators were original slated to be mounted in the sides of the units , thus freeling the roofline for domes, hence the requirement they be as compact as possible. When this idea was scrapped, the radiators where instead located back to the traditional, albeit lower profiled, RDC roof blisters.
(P.S. theres also one of the cabless "B' unit Roger Williams coaches in the process of being restored for use as well, IIRC...)

  by DutchRailnut
Correct the RDC-b 162 is currently at Hobo railroad in New Hapshire being worked on.
The RDC version actualy worked well in Third railmode but because the other two lightweight trainset had problems the New Haven decided to use the Roger Williams elswere.

  by Otto Vondrak
I never liked the Roger Williams because ther fluting extended to the windowband. You know, aesthetics! Hehe.


  by arnstg
Brings back memories for me in the 60's. Was going from GCT to N. White Plains sometime after 9 PM. Looked strange since the seats were all aimed south. Hmm, is the right train? However, other people got on.

Train indeed headed South and gave me the only trip on the underground loop in GCT since it had, as I recall, 1 RDC on the rear end.

  by Tom Curtin
Ah yes, when leaving GCT on one of those odd consists (MUs towing an RDC) you always got treated to a trip around the loop. Being strictly unidirectional, they generally arrived and departed track 39.

I did this many times and quite frankly got pretty sick of it since it added several minutes to every trip! One you saw the loop, you saw it!

  by Xplorer2000
I actually had the pleasure of riding the "Rogers" a couple of times while they were still running on Amtrak on the "Bay State" out of Boston. Went as far as the old Providence station. They weren't bad riding units, even after close to 30 or so years in service. Amtrak took care of them fairly well...I understand they were very popular with the crews who operated them, as well as the public.