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 Post subject: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:15 am 

Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 1:08 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Gloucester County, NJ
Odd question, and hopefully it can be answered. Does anyone know of accounts of steam locomotives pulling Budd RDC's as coaches in a consist (pre-preservation)? I need to validate that it has been done in the past for a photo charter I will be hosting, and I was wondering if it would be practical to include one to represent a steam-diesel transition period consist. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:36 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3691
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Yes, it was done, and with some regularity in a couple of places. I believe it was done on at least one route on the New York Central (although that may have actually been in the post-steam era), and I've definitely seen photos of it being done on Canadian Pacific, in which the locomotive was nothing less than a streamlined "Jubilee" 4-4-4!

The Budd cars (as many as three in the Canadian Pacific example) were, in both cases, hauled on the rear of the train, and at some point would be uncoupled to go up a branch by themselves. This would be reversed on the return trip.

The New Haven, and I believe the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines, also used RDCs in trains that would be split to cover several branches, the New Haven becoming particularly known for this out on Cape Cod. This was with pure RDC trains, however, as opposed to a cut of RDCs at the rear of a locomotive-hauled consist.

Do keep in mind that although there may have been other examples of what you're hoping to create, that this practice actually seems to have been rather rare. It certainly wasn't typical!


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:02 am 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 540
There was a piece in TRAINS years ago about a Conrail Branch that was served by a RDC, the story was that the local freight would sometimes be running late and the RDC commuter would catch up to the freight.

As there was no sidings for the RDC to get around the freight, they would just couple onto the back of the freight for the last couple of stations instead of waiting for the freight to get in the clear at the last station on the branch.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:10 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9561
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
With the caveat that almost anything one "pronounces" in rail history has a tendency of being disproved:

The preponderance of the evidence before me says you shouldn't do it.

The RDCs were not designed to be dragged around as coaches by locomotives, nor were they supposed to drag around other coaches or cars, as was quite commonly done with predecessor "doodlebug" gas-electric or diesel-electric cars with more horsepower. I seem to recall a specific order against either in the P-RSL employee timetables, and a mention somewhere that doing either would void the warranty on the cars, as the hydraulic transmissions and shafts didn't take kindly to such abuse, to put it lightly. If a car was being transported any distance in freight, the shafts were supposed to be disconnected and put in the cars.

RDCs started showing up in 1950 on the P-RSL, as one of the first RDC orders. As described, they were sent out as six-car trains on the Cape May run, with two cars being cut off at Tuckahoe to go out the Ocean City branch, two more for Wildwood at Wildwood Junction, and the final two for Cape May. This seems to be the only instance nationwide where that "flexibility" of train consist was fully exploited routinely. I've seen photos of shuttle trains and buses meeting longer trains at these junctions, but never one of RDCs riding the tail of a longer conventional train on the P-RSL.

But this was 1950 and further. Most steam was gone from passenger runs if railroads could help it. I have literally thousands of photos of P-RSL operations at my disposal, and the closest I can find is a Phil Hastings shot of PRR 0-6-0 switcher 4035 switching a new RDC trainset at Camden in September 1955. The P-RSL, for one, didn't mingle locos and RDCs if they could help it, let alone steam and RDCs.

I'm inclined to say that your proposed consist would be as representative as an Acela cab car or any steam locomotive leading a conventional Amfleet consist, or an AEM7 leading a freight, or an Amtrak F40PH leading a branchline local--I've shot the latter, and a couple of us abandoned the chase of a Norfolk Southern steam special in 1989 to chase that local, which had collected a failed Amtrak loco further down the main and was servicing a branch before returning north to Alexandria!


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:19 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2226
because of the Hydraulics, should you still try to run the steam special? you would think they would have designed some clutch to release should they need to pulled? sounds like a design fault.


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:35 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1521
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
HudsonL wrote:
There was a piece in TRAINS years ago about a Conrail Branch that
was served by a RDC, the story was that the local freight would sometimes be running
late and the RDC commuter would catch up to the freight.
As there was no sidings for the RDC to get around the freight, they would just couple
onto the back of the freight for the last couple of stations instead of waiting for the
freight to get in the clear at the last station on the branch.-Hudson
The famous photo is in the meadows near Atlantic City, N.J. But, it could also be a
transfer from overhaul at Reading, Pa. or Elizabethport, N.J. shops.
Another photo about a week before ConRail Day shows 3 Reading RDCs pulling a
Reading Silverliner electric MU car through Valley Forge, Pa. on the way back from the
Reading, Pa. shop.
New York Central may have used MU cars to tow RDCs from beyond 3rd rail territory
to and from Grand Central Terminal in New York City.


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:09 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2460
I think you might approach this from a business angle and ask the question "whether there is precedent or not, would any of my paying charter attendees want to see it?"

I am somewhat of a charter snob. I only attend those where I think there is a reasonable match between locomotive and train consist. It doesn't even have to be steam... the diesel freight specials on the R&N are fun.

Given your question about using an RDC one might guess your charter is on the Bel-Del. I haven't done one there yet, even though I think the locomotive is quite appealing. They don't have a consist that matches what a little Mikado would have pulled. That's not a criticism. They would need a strong business case to justify restoring steam-era freight cars and they probably have other things to think about.

I have, however, ridden the line many times and have the highest regard for the effort the team makes in marketing, entertainment value and perseverance. They keep adding new events and opening more track. It is an operation that models many "right way" to do things.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:12 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:06 am
Posts: 503
Location: NE PA
As long as the RDC diesel engines are running it is fine to tow them around with the driveshafts connected. Make sure the transmissions are in neutral. If they do not run you may have a lubrication problem with some bearings in the "transmissions". It is best to remove the driveshafts for extended dead towing. We did it extensively on the Blue Mountain and Reading with no problems in the 1980s and 90s, after the 1st year Conrail made us remove the driveshafts when we were running on their rails, but we left them in for operation on our own lines, and we often operated in the 50 to 60 MPH range.

Mike Tillger


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2652
robertjohndavis wrote:
I think you might approach this from a business angle and ask the question "whether there is precedent or not, would any of my paying charter attendees want to see it?"


That's a very good question, especially if it's being sold as a photo charter. Sometimes you have no choice. Very few of us are fortunate enough to have the original motive power and equipment, so some compromises have to be made. However, anything you can do to make the consist look better is to your benefit. This might mean putting the open car at the back of the train, not towing an RDC or even breaking up your train into two parts, one for the riders and one for photography.

Only you can gauge what's possible and what your customers would prefer.


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:37 pm
Posts: 152
Yes, in the 1950's CPR used RDC's in Southern Ontario on the Toronto-London-Windsor-Detroit "bullet" except on Friday when heavy traffic required a "conventional" consist. However, this was far from an ordinary conventional train. See here: Scroll down.

http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/C ... senger.htm

See also:

http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/C ... n/3002.htm

Note: These RDC's were NOT used on a branch part way along the route.


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2226
simply on the point of view of..need it now...you will create your own heritage running the steam/RDC consist because you had an operational need to. Other lines had their purposes, and take advantage of the RDC's capabilities for operational management.
Is the AC independent of the power or does it need to run for the AC to work?


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9561
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Power has to run for AC or heat to run. The heat in RDCs was tied into the engine cooling/radiators, just like most automobiles/trucks.


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:44 pm
Posts: 118
The North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth, MN is a frequent user of Budd cars as towed coaches, standard operating procedure being to fire up one engine to provide power for lights and heating/cooling. Budd Cars were a surprisingly common component of the passenger train scene in Duluth, with the Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific, Northern Pacific, and the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range all operating Budd cars on their local trains. The DM&IR in particular might provide the instance of a steam locomotive hauling an RDC in revenue service, as the road purchased a RDC-3 in 1953, and at one point used it to provide all passenger service, a daily route of over 400 miles. As the DM&IR didn't purchase road diesels until 1956, any breakdown of the RDC (and there were apparently quite a few on a schedule that demanding) required a steam locomotive to rescue it.

_________________
Nick Turinetti
Operations Manager
North Shore Scenic Railroad


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:41 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 7:09 am
Posts: 43
Location: DFS
"New York Central may have used MU cars to tow RDCs from beyond 3rd rail territory
to and from Grand Central Terminal in New York City."


I can confirm that this did happen. In 1970 I rode a pair of RDC's from Brewster to N. White Plains on the Harlem Div. At N. White we coupled onto a set of MU's and were hauled into GCT. The engines on the Budd's were left running all the way into GCT.

Hal Reiser
MP 6.9 NAUG Torrington Main.


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 Post subject: Re: RDCs and Steam
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:23 pm 

Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 1:08 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Gloucester County, NJ
robertjohndavis wrote:
Given your question about using an RDC one might guess your charter is on the Bel-Del. I haven't done one there yet, even though I think the locomotive is quite appealing. They don't have a consist that matches what a little Mikado would have pulled.
Rob


I do have to agree. Yes, this is on the Bel-Del. I was honestly just curious if the given idea was plausible, and I would have only included it if it would be considered as a historical practice on any lines. Until we have a full matching consist in the NYS&W 1942 paint scheme (we are always looking for monetary donations so we can have these coaches looking appropriate), I have to work with Walter's scheme for now.

Now (personally, this is my opinion), I personally like how the LIRR coaches look behind 142. I never really liked when the Chinese engines pulled heavyweight coaches. It just didn't fit in my mind. The QJ's out at IAIS look great pulling the smoothside lightweights, for example. 3025 up in Connecticut pulling the older heavyweight coaches doesn't appeal to me. For my consist, the power car seems to be a good fit behind the locomotive, and it appeals to the eye.

Just to clarify, I am not challenging your opinion, because you make a great point. And I love to hear that you enjoy visiting the operation!


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