DAILY POST: When the Common is Uncommon.


Remembering the SPVs!

They were Budd’s follow up to its successful stainless steel rail diesel cars built in the 1950s. But where Budd’s RDCs had established standards for self propelled diesel cars, Budd’s SPV-2000 didn’t measure up.

I think ‘SPV’ was supposed to mean ‘Self Propelled Vehicle,’ but all the railroaders I knew called them ‘Seldom Powered Vehicles.’

These were adapted from the original Budd Metroliner (MP85) car style and in the same family as Amtrak’s Budd-built Amfleet.

For a few years they were routinely assigned to Amtrak’s Springfield, Massachusetts-New Haven, Connecticut shuttle trains.

Amtrak at Springfield Station.
Silhouette of a Budd SPV2000 at Springfield Station on the morning of September 30, 1984. Exposed on 35mm Kodak Tri-X with a Leica 3A with 21mm lens.
On the morning of September 30, 1984, Conrail B23-7s lead  eastward freight SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester) through Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station. A set of SPVs rests in the shadows. Although not the primary subject, I was sure to include the SPV2000s in my photograph. Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 21mm lens.
On the morning of September 30, 1984, Conrail B23-7s lead eastward freight SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester) through Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station. A set of SPVs rests in the shadows. Although not the primary subject, I was sure to include the SPV2000s in my photograph. Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 21mm lens.

I admit now that I didn’t like the SPVs. I didn’t like them because they were new, and I much preferred the traditional RDCs. Also, at the time, I found the round car style un-photogenic.

Despite my dislike of the SPV’s, I photographed them anyway. While I wish that I’d made more photos of them, I’m very glad that I bothered to put them on film at all.

As it turned out, Amtrak appears to have disliked the SPV’s even more than I did! Their tenure on the Springfield run was short. By 1986, they’d been largely replaced with locomotive hauled consists. Other than my own photographs, I’ve seen very few images of these cars working on Amtrak.

A lone SPV2000 makes a station stop at Windsor Locks, Connecticut in May 1985. From my experience, it was relatively unusual to find single SPVs working in Springfield-Hartford-New Haven shuttle service. Exposed with a Leica 3A fitted with a Canon 50mm lens. Contrast controlled locally in post processing using Photoshop.
A lone SPV2000 makes a station stop at Windsor Locks, Connecticut in May 1985. From my experience, it was relatively unusual to find single SPVs working in Springfield-Hartford-New Haven shuttle service. Exposed with a Leica 3A fitted with a Canon 50mm lens. Contrast controlled locally in post processing using Photoshop.

Here’s an irony: in retrospect I’ve come to appreciate the SPV’s. They were a rare example of a modern American-built self-propel diesel car, and to my well-traveled eye, I now find them very interesting. So, what seemed new and common, now seems rare and peculiar!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

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http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Also see: Old Pointless Arrow and the Basketball Hall of Fame.

and: Springfield Station, March 31, 1984

The Amherst Railway Society ‘BIG RAILROAD HOBBY SHOW‘ is on this weekend (January 25 and 26, 2014) at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

See: http://www.railroadhobbyshow.com/

Brian Solomon will cover the train show in Tracking the Light.

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