Near Strasburg 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:
The Lehigh Valley Railroad ordered a pair of RDC's, Nos. 40-41, from the Budd Company in 1951 for service between Hazelton and Lehighton. At Lehighton, passengers could make connections to the Valley's intercity
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 Pennsylvania Railroad Museum.
Location. 39° 58.919′ N, 76° 9.681′ W. Marker is near Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker can be reached from Gap Road / Strasburg Road (Pennsylvania Route 741), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Located in the outdoor display lot for the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Strasburg PA 17579, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pittsburgh and Lake Erie No. 508 (here, next to this marker); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 6755 (within shouting distance of this marker); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 460 (within shouting distance of this marker); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 3750 (within shouting distance of this marker); Monongahela Railway No. 67 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Reading Observation No. 1 (about 300 feet away); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 7688 (about 300 feet away); Strasburg Rail Road (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Strasburg.
More about this marker. On the lower left is 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 is 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.)
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,022 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.