Fact 72 / 100 – The Budd RDC
Pre World War Two Budd did produce two trainsets that, although successful on level track, struggled with great difficulty to negotiate any inclines as the under floor engines were just not strong enough for the task.
During World War II, General Motors developed and produced many thousands of hydraulic (torque converter) transmissions for tanks, small ships and heavy armoured vehicles and the lightweight and simplistic characteristics of this system led the Budd Company and General Motors to decide on this combination of diesel engine, transmission and stainless steel construction for what would be a composite design for the 'ideal' railcar.
In total 398 Budd RDC's were manufactured between 1949 and 1962. They mainly saw service in America (and Alaska), Canada and Brazil. A few were sold to Cuba and Saudi Arabia. Some still survive in service to this day, whilst many are preserved in both the USA and Canada. The Commonwealth Railways Budd Cars were the 25th , 26th and 27th Budd’s ever made.
This version of the Budd (RDC 1) had no large luggage or mail compartments although later variations in America did have this space built into the car (RDC 2,3 and 4’s were equipped with various size luggage and postal compartments) so a steel luggage van was often seen attached to the Budd Cars for luggage, parcels and mail. Prior to this the Budd Cars also pulled a Brill passenger car (these had been purchased from the Reading Railroad in the USA). As the Budd Company advised against pulling any form of carriage the Budd Car warranty was deemed to be void by the Budd Company.
The cars were taken out of service in 1976 and placed in storage until refurbished in 1985 for a new service between Adelaide and Whyalla. The “Iron Triangle Limited” (don’t you just hate that name!) ran its first regular trip on 21st April 1986. The Iron Triangle Limited was withdrawn from service on 31st December 1990.
A Budd RDC derivative was also made under license in Australia by Commonwealth Engineering Group (COMEG). The New South Wales system used the 1100 Class cars mainly on the South Coast Daylight Express from 1961. Other Budd inspired variations included the 2000 Class Queensland Railways Rail Motor and the WAGR had the famous “Prospector” train WCE / WCE class which ran from Perth to Kalgoorlie from 1971 – 2005.
Source: The Budd RDC – Donald Duke & Edmund Keilty
Riders of the Steel Highways – Monte Luke &
Railmotors and XPT’s – David Cooke Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division
Quite a few points here:
I know of no small ships fitted with hydraulic transmissions or torque converters.
I think you will find that the reference is to the use of Detroit Diesel 71 series engines in small ships rather than Allison transmissions. The VR purchased sets of Detroit 6/71 engines in geared pairs as used in landing craft to replace the petrol engines in their Petrol Electric Rail Motors. The current RAN ANZAC class Frigates have fluid couplings which are used to isolate the propellers and shafts from noise and vibration from the diesel engines to reduce the chance of detection by submarines using passive sonar.
But as far as I know no WWII small ships used any form of hydraulic transmission in their propulsion system. Lots of armoured vehicles, as you say.
The Budd cars used a Detroit 110 series engine, basically an enlarged six cylinder version of the 71. Like EMD locomotive engines the Detroit engines were described by their displacement in cubic inches, per cylinder. The 71 was in some ways a half scale model of the 567.
Detroit later began building 71 series engines with more cylinders, V-8 and V-12 and larger and these superseded the 110 series. Eventually by the 1970s, Detroit stopped supplying spares and it was this as much as anything that caused the withdrawal of the standard Budd cars worldwide. Other engines could be used. I think CB-3 had two Rolls Royce engines fitted.
The railcars in Brazil were smaller metre gauge vehicles based on the later Budd "Pioneer III" vehicle.
The Brill trailers hauled by the Budd cars were converted to include a baggage compartment and became class BM. There was at least one full passenger car Class B but it was used between two converted DH (ex NDH) railcars to run a school train service from Stirling North to Port Augusta. The vans hauled by the Budd cars were converted to use straight air braking rather than Westinghouse and were coded VDB.
The Queensland Budd Cars were 1900 class, numbers 1900 and 1901. The 2000 class were a different design built by QR themselves, the first pair having aluminium bodies, but later units being stainless steel.