Strasburg Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Lehigh Valley No. 40
In 1949, the Budd Company began development of a new lightweight, self-propelled diesel rail car for use in local and branchline passenger service at the request of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad. The resulting prototype, named Rail Diesel Car (or RDC), quickly gained nationwide popularity.
With many small passenger trains operating at a loss of revenue, railroads searched for ways to reduce costs as opposed to abandoning service. The RDC was efficient, easy to maintain, and required only a two-person train crew. RDC's were also available with options for baggage or mail sections.
Ultimately, 368 RDC's were sold to twenty-five North American railroad companies including the Baltimore and Ohio, Reading, Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines, and the Lehigh Valley. Many were subsequently resold, and several remained in operation into the twenty-first century.
Builder: Budd Company, Red Lion, PA
Build Date: August 1951
Retirement Date: 1984
No. Built: 368
Weight: 118,000 lbs.
Length: 85 ft.
PHMC Cat No. RR84.2
Lehigh Valley No. 40:
On February 4, 1961, the Lehigh Valley ended all intercity passenger service. No. 40 made the last run from Hazelton four days later, marking the very end of scheduled passenger service on the railroad.
With the end of service, No. 40 was sold to the Reading Company and renumbered 9163. The car served its new owner on commuter trains out of Philadelphia until the Reading's bankruptcy in 1971. Acquired by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), No. 9163 continued to serve the region until 1984. Donated by PennDOT to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the car arrived in Strasburg under its own power as the first RDC to be preserved at an American railroad museum.
(Banner at bottom of marker):
The RDC's low operating costs helped save many small passenger trains in the 1950's.
Erected by Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1854.
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 39° 58.919′ N, 76° 9.681′ W. Marker was in Strasburg Township, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker could be reached from Gap Road (Pennsylvania Route 741) east of Bishop Road, on the right when traveling east. Was located in the outdoor display lot for the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 300 Gap Road, Ronks PA 17572, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Reading Observation No. 1 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Strasburg Rail Road (about 400 feet away); History of Railroad Pump Cars (approx. 0.2 miles away); 37 East Main Street (approx. 0.8 miles away); 33 East Main Street (approx. 0.8 miles away); Original Head Race & Water Turbine (approx. 1.9 miles away); Neff's Mill Covered Bridge (1875) (approx. 3.4 miles away); Leaman Place Bridge (1893) (approx. 3˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Strasburg Township.
More about this marker. On the lower left was a photo of the RDC in operation. Lehigh Valley's RDC's, No. 40 and 41, arrive at Hazelton at the end of their run from Lehighton. No. 41 was equipped with a baggage as well as coach section to accommodate passengers' and express parcels. On the right was another photo of RDC No. 40.
Also see . . .
1. Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. (Submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Lehigh Valley Railroad. History of the line. (Submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. The Budd Rail Diesel Car. More information about the RDC. (Submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,117 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.