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The Budd Rail Diesel car (RDC) was an idea born of the late 1940's, an attempt by the Budd Company and General Motors to put gas-electric motor cars of earlier decades into aa modern form.

The prototype Budd RDC-1 was constructed at Budd's Red Lion, Pennsylvania, shops in the summer of 1949 and it was introduced at Chicago on September 19, 1949. The car measured 85 feet long, was bidirectional with engineermen's compartments at both ends, was powered by two 275-hp Detroit Diesel (GM) two-cycle power plants and used an Allison Division (GM) torque-converter transmission. Inside, the RDC-1 could accommodate 90 passengers.

With John Barriger's interest in passenger service, it came as little surprise that a proving tour of the RDC-1 that included the Pennsylvania, New York, Susquehanna and Western, Chicago and Eastern Illinois, Chicago and Northwestern and Western Pacific also included the Hoosier Line. For two weeks, from April 1 through April 15, 1950, Budd's RDC-1 worked in revenue service on the Monon.

Left: Experimental Budd Rail Diesel Car (RDC) at Monon.
-Photo: MRHTS Collection.

Right: Train #11 at Monon. Note RDC on the Michigan City track. -Photo: Sandy Goodrick Photograph-

The RDC-1 was based at Bloomington during its stay on the Monon. Each morning at 6:40 a.m. it departed Bloomington and galloped 132 miles to Monon, arriving about 9:30 a.m. in time to connect with the northbound Tippecanoe to Chicago. The Budd car waited at Monon to meet the southbound Tippecanoe, then at 11:05 a.m. and headed south. On this journey, it ran beyond Bloomington to Bedford, arriving there about 2:40 p.m.


Left and Right: Budd RDC car at Bedford. For several weeks this car ran between Bloomington, Monon and Bedford as an experiment during 1950. These images come courtesy of Tim Swan. The black and white shot was taken by Charles Herley.

After a quick servicing, the RDC-1 began the second journey of its day by departing Bedford at 3:30 p.m. It arrived at Monon at again at 7:05 p.m., this time to connect with the northbound Hoosier, waited at Monon for the southbound Hoosier, then journeyed bach to Bloomington arriving at 11:00 p.m.. The next day the RDC-1 would begin its 578 mile cycle again. In addition to Bloomington, Bedford and Monon, the RDC-1 made stops at Greencastle, Crawfordsville and Lafayette.

Despite the Monon promotional flyers for the RDC-1 proclaiming it "Another step towards Monon's service goal" and John Barriger's interest in a regularly scheduled Monon Bloomington train following the demise of the Bluegrass, there is little evidence that the Hoosier Line seroiously considered purchasing Budd Rail Diesel Cars. The RDC was never the subject of serious discussions by the CI&L directors.

-From: Monon, the Hoosier Line by Steve and Gary Dolzall-


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