The New Haven RR in 1959                 
                                                   ...gone but not forgotten

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Budd Company Rail Diesel Cars (RDC) and Multiple Unit Trains (MUTs)

Budd Rail Diesel Cars

In 1952 the New Haven Railroad began purchasing RDC's to provide passenger service on rail lines with consistent but low ridership in an effort to provide service while reducing costs.  With the exception of the Boston & Maine, the New Haven owned the largest fleet of RDC's.


RDC-1 Between 1952 and '53 the New Haven acquired RDC-1 road numbers 20-48.  While all RDC's were equipped with the same two 275hp diesel engines underneath the carbody, each version of RDC had a different configuration.  The RDC-1 was a straight coach layout with 89-seat capacity.

Life Like Proto 1000 (LLP1K) has produced three versions of Budd RDC.  Unit 22 is straight out of the box and required only the addition of Hancock air whistles on the roof.


RDC-2 In 1952 the New Haven also acquired RDC-2 numbers 120-121.  These cars were configured with a 70-seat capacity coach section and a baggage section.

LLP1K 121 out of the box equipped with Hancock air whistles.


RDC-3 Also in 1952 the New Haven purchased six RDC-3's numbered 125-130.  The arrangement of these cars was a 49-seat capacity passenger section, a baggage section and an RPO (Railway Post Office) section.

LLP1K 130 is also straight out of the box with Hancock air whistles installed.


RDC-4 The New Haven rounded out their assortment of RDC types purchased in 1952 with three RDC-4 units numbered 135-137.  These cars were express and RPO cars, carrying no passengers.

Here's a rare treat! Athearn produced a metal RDC-4 many years ago.  Although Athearn's other RDC offerings were shorter than prototype length, their version of the RDC-4 was almost spot on!  Athearn discontinued the RDC-4 when they transitioned to injection molded plastic carbodies.  These can still be found occasionally at on-line auction sites.  Because of their construction and age they may be an inexpensive purchase unless bidding against a collector.

Here's the same unit with some detailing in addition to the Hancock air whistle.  Accu cals makes HO scale RDC decals for the New Haven Railroad.  I also added pilots to each end to conceal the "cowcatchers" of the orignial unit (they're still there!).  The pilots were kitbashed from later-era Athearn plastic shells and joined with ACC to the metal-bodied RDC-4.  It will still need re-powering, but it does run...the Pitmann motor pre-dates the Athearn rubber band drive, but is still outdated by today's standards.

Multiple Unit Motor Cars

In conjunction with the electrification projects from New Haven to Grand Central Terminal and Harlem River (AC only), Danbury on the Pittsfield Line south to Norwalk and the Canaan Branch (AC only) to Stamford, the New Haven Railroad built a fleet of Multiple Unit (MU) motor cars beginning with wood body Motor Combines built by Osgood Bradley in 1908 and steel body Motors and Trailers (coaches) built by Standard Steel Car Company in 1909. The last MU equipment purchased by the New Haven was 100 cars built by the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company in 1954.

Many New Haven MU cars lasted beyond the end of the New Haven Railroad. Thus, a large variety of MU equipment can operate across a wide range of eras on a model railroad. Very few models of New Haven MU equipment have been manufactured, and with the exception of the 1954 Pullman-Standard Lightweight HO scale resin kits manufactured by Island Modelworks all other models have only been produced in brass decades ago.


Because of the scarcity of models, it’s difficult to say if the electrified zone is rarely modeled due to lack of prototype models or lack of interest. I’ve chosen a couple of models to represent MU passenger traffic in the electrified zone.


Osgood Bradley Steel Motor Cars


Beginning in 1926 and in 1929-1931 the Osgood Bradley Company built 102 Steel-bodied MU cars for the New Haven Railroad. This included 40 AC-DC coach-style motor cars equipped with a pantograph at each end and 62 trailers without pantographs. All were equipped with Westinghouse motors and control gear. Both motors and trailers were 120-seat capacity in 3-2 style seating consisting of Heywood Brothers & Wakefield seats covered with Pantasote.


I have not seen much discussion on the paint scheme of these MU’s. They were built when “Pullman Green” as painted by Pullman was a standard color, so the delivery color is unknown to me. Photographs show the cars were green with black roofs and gold serif “NEW HAVEN” and gold numbering at delivery. This was later replaced with white sans serif “NEW HAVEN” on the letter board and white car number centered on the body below the windows. Depending on the year and if the car was repainted, it’s possible for the cars to be painted Serial #13 Green (early repaint up to ca. 1945), Serial #212 Hunter Green (up to ca. 1954) or Serial #401 Green (1954-55). A McGinnis scheme that was all black with Red-Orange letter board with white serif “NEW HAVEN” and White “NH” heralds centered over each truck was developed for these cars and a small number were repainted into this scheme.


4070-4109 Motors (Coaches)


This is a New Jersey Custom Brass model from a 3-car set. I have not read any reviews on the quality of these models, but I assume there are some inaccuracies. Overall these are very nice models but do not meet today’s requirements of detailed interiors, lighting or DCC and sound.


4252-4313 Trailers (Coaches)


This is a New Jersey Custom Brass model from a 3-car set. I have not read any reviews on the quality of these models, but I assume there are some inaccuracies. Overall these are very nice models but do not meet today’s requirements of detailed interiors, lighting or DCC and sound.

Pullman-Standard Lightweight Stainless Steel Motor Cars


In 1954 The Pullman Standard Car Manufacturing Company built a total of 100 low alloy high tensile strength steel-framed MU cars at their Worcester, Mass. facility for the New Haven Railroad.


The fleet consisted of 89 coach-style motor cars, 7 combine-style motor cars and 4 club-style motor cars. The sides of the cars were skinned with stainless steel. The window panel was flat and the stainless steel above and below the windows was fluted.

The cars were delivered with black roofs and No. 401 Green ends. Within a few years, many cars were repainted into a McGinnis scheme in which the ends were painted white with white block “NH” logos on a red-orange background positioned to each side of the black-painted end doors. The cars were originally equipped with script heralds on stainless steel panels centered over each truck on both sides of the car. Unlike the Lightweight Stainless Steel Pullman-Standard passenger cars, the original script herald plaques were retained on these cars when they were repainted to the McGinnis scheme. The scheme was similar to that applied to the RDC fleet. Some cars were not repainted and soldiered on into Penn Central years in their delivery scheme.


There were no trailer cars in the order and each car was independently powered and equipped with a pantograph and third rail shoes for operation under 11,000 Volt AC catenary as well as 650 Volt DC into Grand Central Terminal. A spotting feature of these cars in photos; the cars were always operated with the pantograph on the New York end of the cars.


4400-4488 Motors (Coaches)

These cars were 120-seat capacity and furbished with Heywood-Wakefield walk-over type 3- and 2-passenger seats upholstered in blue mohair plush from Goodall Fabrics. Flooring was mottled black and grey B. F. Goodrich rubber tiles laid in an alternate checkerboard pattern with Terrazzo composition flooring in the saloon and Cordoglas window curtains. Coach 4464 was delivered to the Danbury Railway Museum.


This is a New Jersey Custom Brass model from a 3-car set that belonged to the late Lee Ritchie. The end New Haven heralds need to be replaced with the correct style and the shroud cover for the saloon end exhaust vent over the window to the left of the car end door needs to be added. Truck details lacks brake cylinders and third rail shoes. Overall these are very nice models but do not meet today’s requirements of detailed interiors, lighting or DCC and sound.


4670-4576 Motors (Combines)

These cars featured an 18’4” baggage room with wood floor and 4’ doors on both sides of the car. The passenger section was 92-seat capacity and furbished with Heywood-Wakefield walk-over type 3- and 2-passenger seats upholstered in blue mohair plush from Goodall Fabrics. Flooring was mottled black and grey B. F. Goodrich rubber tiles laid in an alternate checkerboard pattern with Terrazzo composition flooring in the saloon and Cordoglas window curtains. Some cars soldiered on in other service after the New Haven ceased to exist. Cars 4671 and 4673 were converted to Wire Train service later delivered to the Danbury Railway Museum.


This is a New Jersey Custom Brass model from a 3-car set that belonged to the late Lee Ritchie. The end New Haven heralds need to be replaced with the correct style and the shroud cover for the saloon end exhaust vent over the window to the left of the car end door needs to be added. Truck details lacks brake cylinders and third rail shoes. Overall these are very nice models but do not meet today’s requirements of detailed interiors, lighting or DCC and sound.


5110-5113 Motors (Club Cars)

There were four 66-seat club cars built by Pullman-Standard in Worcester, MA, delivered June-July 1954 via New Rochelle.  Car numbers 5110-5112 were contracted to the Special Car Associates which was a group that leased these as private cars for daily commute between Connecticut communities and New York City. The cars were assigned to the same specific trains each day (Eastbound and Westbound) and each ran to a specific station along the electrified zone.  Car number 5113 ran to New Canaan and was known as the New Canaan by name. It was contracted out to a separate organization and the New Canaan people owned all of the interior furnishings. This car was scrapped in North Haven in December 1986. Before the car was scrapped it was deadheaded to New Canaan and all the furnishings were removed from the interior. Car number 5111 is stored at the Danbury Railway Museum.


The layout of each car was slightly different, depending on the requirements of the car lessee, however as delivered each car was furnished with Heywood-Wakefield aluminum frame lounge chairs upholstered in blue, gray and ashes of roses Super Needlepoint fabric from Goodall Fabrics and 4-5 folding bridge tables and 5112 and 5113 were delivered equipped with folding poker tables of different designs. Car 5113 also included Chairmaster anodized aluminum card chairs with the Hayward-Wakefiled Company lounge chairs upon delivery, and all chairs in this car were upholstered in blue fabric. Flooring in 5110-5112 was mottled grey B. F. Goodrich rubber tiles with Terrazzo composition flooring in the saloon and Cordoglas window curtains and drapes. Car 5113 had gray carpeting with Goodyear vinyl flooring in the buffet and Terrazzo composition flooring in the saloon and window drapes.

This is a New Jersey Custom Brass model from a 3-car set that belonged to the late Lee Ritchie. The end New Haven heralds need to be replaced with the correct style and the shroud cover for the saloon end exhaust vent over the window to the left of the car end door needs to be added. Truck details lacks brake cylinders and third rail shoes. Overall these are very nice models but do not meet today’s requirements of detailed interiors, lighting or DCC and sound.