Reading Railroad . Budd RDC over the East Branch Perkiomen Creek Viaduct . Sellersville . Pennsylvania . Watercolor . 12" x 16"
... dashing through the snow... last run... north to Bethlehem out of Reading Terminal in Philadelphia... approaching Sellersville over the 7 arch viaduct
built in 1917 to span the East Branch feeder and adjacent floodplain to the Perkiomen Creek. I rode these Reading commuter cars back and forth until passenger service north of Lansdale was terminated in 1981. Reading Railroad (then CONRAIL and then SEPTA) ran the Budd built, RDC-1 (Rail Diesel Car)... a 90 passenger, self contained unit, powered by a pair of Detroit Diesel engines developing 550 horsepower and each separately and independently, driving through a hydraulic torque converter... as an economical alternative to running a road diesel locomotive at the head of a line of passenger coaches. The Budd Company of Philadelphia built 5 different versions of the RDC, for a total of 398 units, between 1949 and 1962. Each RDC unit had an operating console at each end and could be run as a single car when necessary. Of the 14 former Reading units, numbered 9151 to 9164... 11 still exist as of 2014... 3 of them operating on various excursion rail lines. Other examples of the RDC continue to operate in the Northwest, Alaska and Canada.