Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reader Service Request - Part IV

Prince Rupert, February 1958. As brief reminder in case you have just joined the blog, as a young man living in Prince Rupert (1957-1959) I had written a number of letters to the various locomotive manufacturers, requesting information and photographs of their products.

And so far as this story goes, so far I’d received some great materials from Fairbanks-Morse and a downer letter from Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton:

Reader Service Request
+ Reader Service Request – Part II
+ Reader Service Request – Part III

Bye and bye, a BIG envelope was left by Canada Post at our front door. It was from the Budd Company, and very generous in offering a couple of 8x10’s, a large format comb-bound product catalog of self propelled cars – the RDC series, and a number of brochures on other products they were manufacturing.

Edward G. Budd Manufacturing had it’s modest start back in 1912, building truck and car bodies. By the mid ’30’s Budd entered the self propelled rail business, pioneering with it’s hallmark material, stainless steel.

Generally speaking, most rail fans are up to speed with the familiar line of Budd cars, typified by this builders photo Budd included of Canadian Pacific RDC-3 9022 (built 3/55, sn 5901.)

To be honest with you, the cab of an RDC is pretty basic. My late wife and I rode the cab of Canadian Pacific’s Via Service on Vancouver Island years ago, all the way from the Malahat summit down to Victoria Station.

But that’s another story another time.

There is a directional control lever, throttle, amp meter, speedometer, radio, and brake stand.

Budd was no slouch when it came to being innovative and competitive. In the mid-50’s, Budd built the famous “Roger Williams,” for the highly competitive Boston New York City run. Consisting of six cars; two single end RDC1’s and four twin engine RDC-9’s. This train was further innovative in that it carried third rail pickup shoes, for operating in Grand Central Tunnel.

The “Roger Williams” (middle picture) was in built in direct competition with ACF’s (American Car & Foundry) “Talgo” and Pullman-Standard’s “Train-X.” Top picture is Budd's Pioneer III.

And who could forget Budd’s “Black Beetle” jet engine powered M-497, built in conjunction with the New York Central? This

modified RDC-3 hit 183.7 miles per hour outside Melbern, Ohio in July 1966, powered by an engine nacelle off a bomber, with two General Electric J-47 jet engines.

Another brochure featured a photo of a Budd passenger car undergoing a 2-million pound car body stress test:

Another inovation was the Pioneer III multiple unit electic cars. Only eight were built for the Pennsylvania Rail Road for the New York City - Washington DC corridor, and New York City Chicago run.

I was really thrilled to be getting responses from the manufacturers. There was a lot of interesting reading and information. Now, waiting with baited breath to hear from American Locomotive Works, English Electric, and General Motors …

3 Comments - Click here:

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

I enjoyed this post, I've always been fascinated with the Budd Co. and in 1980 got to see one of their Finest Products, the former CPR Canadian Rolling Stock when Mum, Dad and I made a trip across Canada by train from Nova Scotia to Vancouver.

Thank you for sharing.

PS, how do you post your pictures on your blog so they don't expand into a bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you! When you gonna share another photo or two?
Budd is fascinating - everything from custom car wheels to dome liners! As to photos, must be in the Google template - 1st position photo can be expanded ...

Anonymous said...

In the paragraph about "Innovative and Competitive" the picture shows 3 Budd products: Top- PRR "Keystone" low-slung trainset (not the "Pioneer III" as stated below the picture). Middle- The "Roger Williams" modified RDC set. Bottom - The Santa Fe "Hi-Level" equipment used on the "El-Capitan". The 'El-Cap' equipment went on to become the design basis for the Amtrak Superliner fleet.
The "Pioneer III": I think only 6 were built, and they served Philadelphia and Harrisburg. They may have also served NYC, later follow on models certainly did, but they did not go to Chigago: the wire ends at Harrisburg, PA. Great article!

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