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Budd announced the RDC in 1949.
Some are still in use.


New York Central

Welcome to our "Budd Rail Diesel Car" WebSite


Here's a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:


Our feature articles are the Budd RDC and Budd RDC's in Connecticut .

See our Budd RDC Reference Material and read about the continuing saga of the Budd RDC .

We have a picture of a Budd RDC in the snow and an RDC in Quebec's Eastern Townships Section . Read about the RDC in Cape May and did you know some RDC's went to Cuba? .

We talk about other types of rail cars as well as some comments on the Colorado DMU .

Find out what happened to the SPV ?

Do you know the types of RDC's ?

Some photos: Cuba has RDC's !!!

Lehigh Valley Budd RDC
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First Budd RDC on NY Central

The first Budd RDC-1 went to the New York Central for service on the Boston & Albany in 1950.

Railroad Station at Troy, New York

Railroad Station at Troy, New York


The station in Troy was owned by the Troy Union Rail Road. The TURR lasted from the mid 19th Century till the mid 20th Century. It was owned by the New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Boston & Maine. Access from the South was from Rensselaer; from the West, via the Green Island Bridge; from the North was street running almost the entire length of Troy. See Penney's blog for more information (and a great movie from the 1950's).

Lots of Boston & Maine RDC's went to Troy

BUDD RDC's in CONNECTICUT



Meandering from Devon on the Northeast Corridor, through Derby to Waterbury is a 32-mile Metro-North branch usually protected by Rail Diesel Cars which are almost forty years old. About three RDC's are available for use on the branch. They were used by AMTRAK until the State of Connecticut purchased newer-model SPV2000's for AMTRAK.

Budd announced its RDC in 1949. Self-propelled passenger equipment had been tried in the 1920's and 1930's. Models used had inadequate power, involved maintenance and were fire hazards. Railroads wanted out of short-haul and commutation service. By 1949, passenger car orders had fallen to 109 units from 2993 in 1945.

Budd had built some equipment before 1949 that helped pioneer the concept. Representative of early self-propelled equipment was the Burlington "Zephyr" of 1934 and the Rio Grande "Prospector". American Car & Foundry had built some "Motorailers" which Susquehanna and a few others used. World War II made the engineering of the RDC possible. Detroit Diesel's V-6 had been made for tanks. They were a modest investment at $160,000. RDC's never reached their full potential because they were caught in the timeframe when railroads were cutting back passenger service.

The RDC has outlasted most of the railroads that purchased them. Over one-half of them remain "alive". They were used in secondary mainline service, on branch lines and in commuter service. Currently, the largest operator of RDC's is VIA Rail Canada. Canadian RDC's serve branch lines from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. RDC's successor, the Budd SPV-2000 never quite made it. New York State ordered 10 and Connecticut ordered 13 (mostly for AMTRAK New Haven-Springfield service). They encountered severe maintenance problems, especially in cold weather.

AMTRAK made use of RDC's in the Northeast for several years. When it was first formed and searching for equipment, AMTRAK found 24 RDC's from Penn Central and Burlington Northern including half of Budd's experimental "Roger Williams" production. This consisted of:

They were used on the New Haven-Springfield route, Providence-New Haven, and in Boston-New Haven service. Their only use outside the New Haven area was on the 182-mile Chicago-Dubuque "Black Hawk" between 1974 and 1976.

The RDC-3's never turned a dollar for AMTRAK. The intention was to use the large baggage section as a food service or lounge area. In 1976 they were sold to the British Columbia Railway. The remaining RDC's were rebuilt in the old Reading shops in 1973.

Before the "Maple Leaf" began service between New York and Toronto, VIA ran into Buffalo with RDC's to provide a Toronto connection. The route followed Canadian National from Toronto to Hamilton, TH&B to Welland and CONRAIL (after Penn Central) into Buffalo over the International Bridge.

The unique "Roger Williams" was a six-car train built for the New Haven in 1956 for Boston-New York service. It was even equipped with third-rail shoes for Grand Central operation. Like the rest of the New Haven's 1956 experiment (also "Talgo" and "Train X"), it flopped. Relegated to commuter service, the six cars (two cab units and four middle cars) went to Boston. Three middle cars wore out and the fourth was sold by AMTRAK to the B&O for Washington service. Eventually, the residue was seen on the New Haven-Springfield corridor.

Several ex-New York Central "Beeliners" and New Haven "Shoreliners" can still be found. All were Penn-Central also at one time. At least five are in Alaska. Five more were being used by Massachusetts (no longer self-powered). Metro-North has a dozen (4 New Haven and 8 Central). These are used mostly on the Waterbury, Danbury and Pawling branches. One was with the Blue Mountain & Reading while another went to the Bellefonte RR Society. An ex-New Haven RDC-3 ended up as a Northwestern track inspection car. Two were out of service on the AMTRAK roster. This status will become out-of-date quickly as time passes because of the advancing age of the RDC's. It may even be so now.

Speaking of RDC's, on June 20, 1988 a Metro-North train from Waterbury bound for Bridgeport left the station a little ahead of schedule. It left so early that the surprised conductor and engineer didn't get a chance to say "All aboard".

None of the dozen passengers on the 96-seat car were hurt in the incident which ended when one of the passengers pulled the emergency brake 200 yards from the station. Metro-North officials were trying to determine what caused the 7:07 a.m. train to leave at 6:57 a.m. They were focusing on the electric switch that governs the diesel-powered vehicle's hydraulic brake system.

The conductor and engineer had gone inside the station for coffee when Self-Propelled Vehicle No. 992 took off on its own. It was in neutral and gravity alone may have caused it to start rolling down the tracks, which are pitched at a slight grade. The train was moving so slowly that two passengers who thought the train was leaving without them were able to jump aboard. One passenger was a six-year-old on his first train ride who asked his mother where the conductor was. She couldn't answer him, nor could any of the other passengers. The passengers came out of the train blowing the horn so they wouldn't be forgotten. The trip continued by - you guessed it - bus.

September 1989 CALLBOARD

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com

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Lehigh Valley Budd

This Budd RDC still lives at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. It once ran for the Lehigh Valley

.
Budd RDC on NY Central  that did not work out

NY Central Beeliner failure 1953


(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Budd RDCs and snow plow at Susquehanna yard in Utica, NY

Budd RDCs and snow plow at Susquehanna yard in Utica, NY


(From BirdsEye View in Bing Maps)

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Budd announced its RDC in 1949.



Now that they are disappearing, many of us tend to forget about Rail Diesel Cars (RDC). Self propelled passenger equipment had been tried in the 1920's and 1930's. Models used had inadequate power, involved maintenance and were fire hazards. Railroads wanted out of short-haul and commutation service. By 1949, passenger car orders had fallen to 109 units from 2993 in 1945.

Budd had built some equipment before 1949 that helped pioneer the concept. Representative of early self propelled equipment was the Burlington "Zephyr" of 1934 and the Rio Grande "Prospector". American Car & Foundry had built some "Motorailers" which Susquehanna and a few others used. World War II made the engineering of the RDC possible. Detroit Diesel's V-6 had been made for tanks. They were a modest investment at $160,000. RDC's never reached their full potential because they were caught in the timeframe when railroads were cutting back passenger service.

Some features of the RDC:
o Simple to service
o Comfortable
o Doesn't require turntable or wye.
o 64 cents/mile (1953 prices)
o Can be used as a coach.
o Can be run with a two-man crew on many railroads.



Total Budd 1953 Budd New Haven
RDC-1 (all-coach) 239 88 29
RDC-2 (coach/baggage) 67 16 2
RDC-3 (coach/baggage/RPO) 48 9 6
RDC-4 (baggage/RPO) 14 3 3
RDC-9 (coach/no cab) 30 0 0
"Roger Williams" 6 0 6
TOTAL 404 116 46


In 1966, the New York Central even made a RDC jet-powered. It got up to 183.85 mph between Indiana and Ohio.

AMTRAK made use of RDC's in the Northeast for several years. When it was first formed and searching for equipment, AMTRAK found 24 RDC's from Penn Central and Burlington Northern including half of Budd's experimental "Roger Williams" production.
This consisted of:
No. Type Former Owner Seats
11 RDC-1 New Haven 90
2 RDC-2 New Haven 71
1 RDC-2 New York Central 71
3 RDC-2 Northern Pacific 71
3 RDC-3 Northern Pacific 49
1 RDC-3 Great Northern 49


They were used on the New Haven-Springfield route, Providence-New Haven, and in Boston-New Haven service. Their only use outside the New Haven area was on the 182-mile Chicago-Dubuque "Black Hawk" between 1974 and 1976.

The RDC-3's never turned a dollar for AMTRAK. The intention was to use the large baggage section as a food service or lounge area. In 1976 they were sold to the British Columbia Railway. The remaining RDC's were rebuilt in the old Reading shops in 1973.

Before the "Maple Leaf" began service between New York and Toronto, VIA ran into Buffalo with RDC's to provide a Toronto connection. The route followed Canadian National from Toronto to Hamilton, TH&B to Welland and CONRAIL (after Penn Central) into Buffalo over the International Bridge.

The unique "Roger Williams" was a six-car train built for the New Haven in 1956 for Boston-New York service. It was even equipped with third-rail shoes for Grand Central operation. Like the rest of the New Haven's 1956 experiment (also "Talgo" and "Train X"), it flopped. Relegated to commuter service, the six cars (two cab units and four middle cars) went to Boston. Three middle cars wore out and the fourth was sold by AMTRAK to the B&O for Washington service. Eventually, the residue was seen on the New Haven-Springfield corridor.

Some facts about RDC’s from a BUDD manual:
Length varies with model; usually 88 feet.
14 ft 7" high
Anti lock disk brakes.
120,000 lbs (empty?)
80 or so passengers
Two 275 hp GM engines. 6 cylinder, 31 cubic inch each.
Drive line hydraulic/automatic to right angle drive to adjacent axle of truck.
Max speed not given, but I have seen 65 mph on good track

Pre RDC "Doodlebugs" were more of a success than they are commonly given credit for, especially in "fan" literature. They were not tradtional steam and they were not "flashy streamliners". By the time the RDC was being designed, the proper power to weight ratio had been determined (by experiment) and adequate hydraulic transmission, based on tank development during WWII were available.

An Indiana shortline: the Louisville, New Albany & Corydon Railroad operates a small tourist line on the weekends using a GE 45 Tonner with a couple of older heavyweight passenger cars along with an RDC lettered for the Corydon Scenic Railroad. They also have another RDC with what looked like New York Central peeking faintly out from under much newer painted lettering (MARTA ?). I’m not sure where they got this particular RDC but think it was an old New Haven RDC. One of the employees was of the opinion that this RDC carried Penn Central number boards and although more details were not forthcoming about the origins of the various machines, he did say that they were looking to acquire yet another RDC. Another RDC does carry very faded New Haven lettering.

A Rail Budd car was blown up in November for a made for television explosion at Porteau Cove. "Basically, it means we will do anything for money," BC Rail's Barrie Wall said with a laugh. He hastened to add the Budd car, although genuine, is little more than a shell, its parts long ago cannibalized for other cars. Wall wouldn't say how much the producers of the "X-Files" is paying for the privilege of exploding taxpayers property. "Just say we're getting a good buck for the band," he said. Fox Television, which produces the mad in Vancouver sci-fi drama, is also coy on the cost. "I haven't a clue; I don't know," said Mary Hendrickson, assistant to the co-executive producer. "Suffice it to say a train car goes phlooey, smithereens." Hendrickson said she hoped the big bang wouldn't attract much public scrutiny because explosions "can be a little dodgy," requiring crowd control.

February 1996 BRIDGE LINE BULLETIN

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com
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What happened to the SPV?



Was the Budd SPV, a failure or ahead of its time?

The SPV was in some eyes a failure but in most railroaders that did understand them a car that was way to advanced for the railroads of 80's. In todays enviroment with AC locomotives and electronics galore it would seem a SPV would be maintainable. With 30 actual cars built from 1979 to 1981 it was not even a small class .

Cars built were:
One demonstrator for Budd itself #2000
Six cars for Morocco's Royal train shell numbers 2001 to 2006
One Car for FRA geometry unit shell no #2007 #T-10
Thirteen cars for Conndot (amtrak painted) shell numbers 2008 to 2020 Road numbers # 988 to 999 plus #50
Ten cars for MTA(metro North) shell no's 2021 to 2030.

There were extra shells built of which 3 are at Delaware car Company plus 10 shells cut up at the former Red Lions plant in Philadelphia.

The cars had two Drive engines, stock 360 hp Detroit 8V-92's and one aux(HEP) Detroit unit 4V-92 of 35 Kw (the Conndot cars had Lister-Petter Aux engines) at 127 000 Lbs it only weight in 10 000 lbs over the RDC.

The SPVs (now named "Constitution Liners") run in push-pull service on the ConnDOT's Shoreline East route between New Haven and New London.

A dunebuggy was a Volkswagen but it no longer is. A SPV once motors are removed is no longer a SPV no matter what you call it.
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Talgo Train in Castelldefels, Spain

Talgo Train in Castelldefels, Spain Picture was taken along the beach in Castelldefels, Spain.



In 1950, the first Talgo train was put into service in Spain. The Talgo principle was invented by the Spanish engineer Alejandro Goicoechea and his research was financed by an investor named Oriel - thus the name Talgo: "Train Articule Leger Goicoechea et Oriel". The innovative Talgo articulation system combined with construction techniques from the aircraft and automobile industries (extensive use of aluminium materials and monocoque construction) created a totally new lowslung look of lightweight railroad trains consisting of up to 16 short articulated cars.

Spain's first successful Talgo trains had been custom-built by the American Car & Foundry Company. American Car and Foundry's Spanish Talgo Train was the first of the postwar lightweight streamlines.



The Talgo set a standard for all other manufacturers as the race for new development began in the 1950s. The radical design concepts of the Talgo gave hope to the American railroads who wanted to turn the diminishing amount of passengers into a situation more in their favor. It all began in 1944 when the American Car and Foundry (ACF) expanded on the Talgo concept in a joint effort to create the prototype trains for the Spanish National Railway. The units were manufactured at ACF's two subassemblies units in Wilmington, Delaware.

In Spain Talgos were further perfected (even attaining a speed world record for diesel powered trains in 1972: 137.9 mph/222.0 kmh) and are to this day very popular and successful and have even been exported for service for example in Germany and also in the Pacific Northwest of the USA (Seattle - Portland). Experiments with Talgo type trains during the 1950s in the USA (on the Rock Island, the New Haven and the New York Central railroads) were not very successful.
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Types of RDC's



RDC1 - full coach

RDC2 - baggage coach

RDC3 - mail - baggage - coach

RDC3m - can be either enlarged baggage (covering the area for both the mail and baggage compartments) - coach or mail (encompacing the mail and baggage section) - mail

RDC4 - baggage - mail (some built without mail compartment)

RDC9 - full coach with a single motor and no oeprating controls

RDCA - "Roger Williams" cab - coach

RDCB - "Roger Williams" blind end coach

Budd RDC used by Amtrak
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Budd in Cuba
Cuba has RDC's!!!
These articles appeared at various times in the BRIDGE LINE BULLETIN of the Bridge Line Historical Society. and the CALLBOARD of the Mohawk and Hudson Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Material researched in these articles was done by the author at the Yale University Library and other credible sources.
The Bellefonte Historical Railroad operates two Budd Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs), #9167 and #9153. RDC #9167 was built in 1953 and operated originally on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (or just New Haven) while RDC #9153 was built in 1962 for the Reading. A great picture from British Columbia
From Bob's Garden Railroad
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Boulevard Rene Cassin / Avenue Californie at the Champion/Carrefour food market has a tramway in its future.
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Continuing Saga of the Budd RDC


The RDC-4 did not carry any passengers, with the exception of some customized RDC-4's, they were designed to carry baggage and mail only. There is only one RDC-4 that I know of that is still in opreation. VIA RDC4 6250 in use on the Sudbury-White River RDC run.

Here's the list of all 14 that were built:
New Haven (3), 135, (first RDC-4 blt. 5/53), 136, 137
CN (6), D150, D151, D451, D452, D4401, D402
CP (3), 9200, 9250, 9251
M&StL (2), 32, 33

In 2005, commuter rail came to Duluth, Minnesota (briefly)


From KARE-TV 11

Unlike the light rail line in Minneapolis, Duluth's Lakefront Zephyr is costing taxpayers almost nothing. But it's just running long enough, promoters say, to prove it's a feasible alternative to cars.

The Duluth and North Shore Scenic Railroad will use a single "Budd car" that carried commuters for decades in the Chicago area. It's self-propelled passenger coach, with a diesel engine in the middle and operating controls on both ends.

The idea is to help commuters who live in east Duluth, where traffic from Lake Superior's North Shore funnels in with city drivers for what can be an aggravating three-mile, stop-and-go drive along two-lane London Road.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning a traffic study for London Road to consider solutions such as widening the street or pushing one lane up a block to Superior Street. Maybe MNDOT is overlooking the best idea.

There is a set of perfectly good railroad tracks that extended from downtown Duluth right along London Road, out to Lakeside, Lester Park. The tracks are publicly owned and used now by the North Shore Scenic Railroad. And the railroad already has the Budd car.

The demonstration is a partnership between the Scenic Railroad and the Duluth Transit Authority, which has rearranged an east end bus schedule to meet the rail commuters. The train ride will take about 30 minutes.

The railroad acknowledged the demonstration is really intended to make a point -- to prove there are other ways to get around beyond cars.

See a picture of the RDC.
Budd RDC's running in snow
Budd RDC's running in snow. See more about trains and snow.
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Head End


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On passenger trains, railroads operated lots of equipment other than sleepers, coaches, dining cars, etc. This equipment was generally called 'head-end' equipment, these 'freight' cars were at one time plentiful and highly profitable for the railroads. In the heyday of passenger service, these industries were a big part of the railroad's operations, and got serious attention.

We have text and pictures not found elsewhere on the Web.
RDC in Quebec's Eastern Townships

RDC in Quebec's Eastern Townships

RDC Album

REFERENCE

The Budd Rail Diesel Car List
Our favorite Short Lines
Interesting Railway Stations
Leaving on a Jet Train:
How Don Wetzel
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The Colorado DMU

The Colorado DMU...some comments


Colorado's DMU is now being experimented with in Florida.
What do you think?
Any opinions on the new DMU?

I say it's about time......look at Europe, they have really advanced DMUs.....over here refurbished RDCs, are the only thing available, as good as they are.

They had the DMU in New Jersey too. The engineers claim the studied the Budd SPV-2000 for it pluses and many faults. They use available standard diesels, nothing special. The transmissions are the same as used on European DMU's, so those are also proven reliable units. The trucks only have one powered axle each, the inboard ones. They claim the powered unit can haul one trailer. One interesting thing is that there is only one unit and it is a single ended cab, the other end has a door. The electronics used to control everything is home built. They tested the unit at the Railroad test facility at Pueblo. The design has been approved for use on freight lines. The prototype that they displayed is designed to show off many possible seating arrangement, seat types, interior designs and window types. It is interesting that they didn't construct a cab trailer so that they can run it in either direction. It is a design that is being seriously considered here in Bergen County NJ as a less expensive way to reactive passenger service on light service freight rail lines.

Hummer How many gallons of foreign oil does it take to fill this thing?
Trains can be powered by electricity generated by home-grown coal.
The purpose of the Budd RDC Yahoo! Groups list is to provide railfans and railroad modelers of BUDD RDCs a forum for where they can share information, ideas and photographs related to these cars... and work towards keeping the memory of these cars alive.
M-497 Jet Powered RDC New York Central

M-497 Jet Powered RDC New York Central at Bryan Ohio in 1966 courtesy of Wayne Koch

July 23, 1966 In a combination publicity stunt and test of how track functions under high speeds, a New York Central jet powered Rail Diesel Car hits 183.85 mph near Stryker, OH

M-497 still holds the record as the fastest passenger car to travel on a US railway system.

High Speed Budd on the New York Central

Read a book about New York Central's M-497. The Midwest High-Speed Rail Association has put a pdf on their WebSite.
M-497 Jet Powered RDC New York Central

M-497 with New York Central president A.E. Perlman


(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Ever wondir how far an RDC could go on without refueling?

They have a 250 gallon tank giving it a range of about 450 miles.

RDC's at Cape May

Thanks to Tom Moran for sending me a lot of information on the new RDC operation near at Cape May, NJ. For the first time in 15 years, 1950-style Rail Diesel Cars are running alongside Route 9 north of Cape May. They currently operate 10 miles of track (owned by NJ Transit) between Cold Spring Village and the Cape May County Zoo in the town of Cape May Court House. Aim is to continue south into the city of Cape May and north to Tuckahoe (total 27 miles). Beyond that is a "stretch" goal of another 26 miles to a junction with the Atlantic City rail corridor at Winslow Junction. Among other things, the bridge over the Cape May Canal needs repair. It is designed to serve mostly tourists, but could start to gain regular riders as it expands. They acquired eight of the Budd RDC's that once served the Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Line (another one is owned by Central NY NRHS and leased to the BattenKill). Expansion may see some old Pennsylvania coaches in operation as well as a dinner train. The Cape May Seashore Lines Inc. is a private operation but did receive some aid, including local communities fixing stations. The county has 100,000 permanent residents (including some NIMBY's making noises about harmful diesel fumes and irritating noises), but can see 650,000 on a busy summer weekend. Having been a visitor to Cape May in the '80's (I walked the line a couple of times) as well as an RDC fan, this venture is exciting to me and I hope to visit whenever I can get East.
Corsica Ferry
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Corsica Ferry
French

Other Types of Railcars


Mack made them too!
Ex Sperry Rail Services, exx Remington Arms #2, originally New Haven #15. Built August 1954 by Mack in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Sold to Remington Arms of Bridgeport, Connecticut, April 1962. Sold to Sperry Rail Services of Danbury, Connecticut, July 1985. Donated to the Danbury Railway Museum, September 7, 1996.

Copake Station Rain

Copake Station on a rainy day in March 1932.



Heyward Cohen Collection

These gasoline powered rail buses were used in place of steam trains for the last few years of passenger service. They ran to Poughkeepsie in the morning and returned in the afternoon. Rail Bus #9020 was a Brill car built in 1925 that had a 120 hp gasoline engine and a manual transmission similar to trucks. Service was discontinued by the NH RR in September 1933.

See more about the railroad this doodlebug ran on.
Brill Car

Brill gas car #9022 at Millerton station ready to depart for Poughkeepsie as train #917 due out at 7:50am. Photo taken prior to Apr., 1928 when this train was cut back to originate from Copake instead.



Lee Beaujon collection

See more about the railroad this doodlebug ran on.

Did you know some RDC's went to Cuba?


5 ex-VIA Rail RDCs made it to Cuba in 1998. No .2302 - 2306.

In early 2006: Of those five, currently only 2303 is working. Usually on Havana - Moron express service. But due to maintenance, it is frequently canceled. 2304 is now stored at Moron Station with window grazing and some parts stripped. Probably to be demotered (as of early March 2006). At least until December 2004, 2305 was also running. 2303 and 2305 had been spotted MUed on Havana - Moron service. But now 2305 is waiting for repair at Moron works along with 2302 and 2306.

According to "Cuban National Railways Volume 2" (by Wilfrid F. Simms, published in UK), the history is as follows.

2302: RDC-1, Built 1955, Works # 6222, Ex-Chicago & Eastern Illinois, then CN 6109, then VIA 6109

2303: RDC-3, Built 1957, Works # 6703, Ex-CN 6120, Converted to RDC-1 configuration by CN, then VIA 6120

2304: RDC-1, Built 1955, Works # 6220, Ex-Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic, then CN 9049, then VIA 6124

2305: RDC-1, Built 1953, Works # 5924, Ex-CN 9055, then VIA 6132

2306: RDC-2, Built 1955. Works # 6014, Ex-CN 9307, Converted to RDC-1 configuration by CN, then VIA 6147

Another source stated that 2304-06 are former CP RDC's. 2304=ex-CP 9049, 2305=ex-CP 9055, 2306 is ex-CP 9307 and was rebuilt to an RDC1 by CP.
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