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NWP (Northwestern Pacific) RDC Budd Railcar

NWP Budd Railcar stading at Willits Station

NWP Budd Railcar standing in Willits Station

Per this NWP site the picture shows, "1961 Railcar Lineup, SP 10, Budd RDC car operating as NWP Train 4, ready to start its tri-weekly run from Willits to Eureka on September 30, 1961. It will leave at 1:45 and arrive at Eureka at 7:20, taking 5 1/2 hours for the 98-mile run. Barely visible to the rear are California Western Railroad railcars M80 and M100, ready to depart for Fort Bragg on the coast."

The Budd Rail Diesel Car, RDC or Buddliner was a self-propelled diesel multiple unit car (DMU) Between 1949 and 1962, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia. The cars were primarily adopted for passenger service in rural areas with low traffic density or in short-haul commuter service, and were less expensive to operate in this context than a traditional diesel powered train with coaches. The cars could be used singly or several coupled together in train sets and controlled from the cab of the front unit.

Wiki tells this story: “The Budd Company entered the market in 1932. Heretofore Budd was primarily an automotive parts subcontractor but had pioneered working with stainless steel, including the technique of shot welding to join pieces of stainless steel. This permitted the construction of cars which were both lighter and stronger. In 1941 Budd built the Prospector for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW). This was a two-car DMU. Each car had a pair of 192 horsepower (143 kW) diesel engines and was capable of independent operation. The cars were constructed of stainless steel and included a mix of coach and sleeping accommodations. The design was popular with the public but undone by the difficult operating conditions on the D&RGW. It was withdrawn in July 1942, apparently another failure. However, several technical advances during the WWII would encourage Budd to try again.

The proliferation of large powered vehicles such as tanks and landing craft led to the development of larger diesel engines and, just as importantly, the hydraulic torque converter. Budd, which by then had produced more than 2,500 streamlined cars for various railroads, took a coach design and added a pair of 275 hp (205 kW) diesel engines. Each drove an axle through a hydraulic torque converter derived from the M60 Patton tank. Budd broke with the "railbus" designs of the 1920s–1930s and used a standard 85-foot (26 m) passenger car shell. The result was the RDC-1, which made its public debut at Chicago's Union Station on September 19, 1949.”

Drawing of an RDC 3

Drawing of an RDC 3

The RDC came in 5 variants. NWP's was an RDC 3.

What was it like inside?

Inside of an RDC

Inside of an RDC

And what did they look like running? This is quite a lengthy vid:

Our club has a G Scale mode of an RDC which has been fitted with a battery, sound card and radio control. She's heaven to see operating:

RDC pulling into Tunnel #2

RDC pulling into Tunnel #2

RDC adjacent to Big River

RDC adjacent to Big River

RDC by Tunnel #3

RDC by Tunnel #3