RDC (Rail Disel Car)

The Budd Rail Diesel Car or RDC is a self-propelled diesel-hydraulic rail passenger car. In the period 1949–1962, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These cars were primarily adopted for passenger service in rural areas with low traffic density or in short-haul commuter service, like the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Line, and were less expensive to operate in this context than a traditional locomotive-drawn train. The cars could be used singly or several coupled together in train sets and controlled from the cab of the front unit. The RDC was the one of the few versions of the DMU-type train diesel multiple unit to achieve commercial success in North America.

The basic car was adapted from a standard 85 ft (26 m) coach. They were powered by two Detroit Diesel (then a division of General Motors) Series 110 diesel engines, each of which drives an axle through a hydraulic torque converter, a technology adapted from military tanks of World War II. RDC trains were an early example of self-contained diesel multiple units, an arrangement now in common use by railways all over the world.

RDC cars are still riding the rails on the Cape May Seashore Line.


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