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 (RDG) 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.