Why I Liked Budd RDCs—four photos from the lost image file.

It looks to be Spring of 1979: My parents drove my brother, Sean and me to Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station to catch Amtrak to New York.

At that time most Amtrak services on the Springfield-Hartford-New Haven run were operated with vintage hand-me-down Budd Rail Diesel Cars, the much loved RDCs.

I always liked the Budd Cars because I could talk our way into a cab-run, which was vastly superior to sitting on the seats.

Bummer about the post; but I made this view from the head-end of another RDC at Springfield Union Station in Spring 1979 (April, I think.)
Bummer about the post; but I made this view from the head-end of another RDC at Springfield Union Station in Spring 1979 (April, I think.)

On this day we were treated to running ‘wrong main’ (against the current of traffic) because of track-work south of Springfield.

Nothing finer than a forward view. The top of Sean's head is just visible in some this trips images. He was only nine at the time.
Nothing finer than a forward view. The top of Sean’s head is just visible in some this trip’s images. He was only nine at the time. Here we are looking westward at Springfield. Our train will take a hard left before reaching the Connecticut River and follow the former New Haven line toward its namesake.
We were running wrong main because of a track gang on the normal southward track. Note that this is traditional section gang, not a tamper in sight!
We were running wrong main because of a track gang on the normal southward track.
Approaching the Connecticut River bridge between Enfield and Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This span dates to about 1906. Today it has just one track.
Approaching the Connecticut River bridge between Enfield and Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This span dates to about 1906. Today it has just one track.

At New Haven we changed trains for an electric-hauled run toward New York City. At that time, Amtrak served Rye, New York (rather than New Rochelle as it does today) where our grand parents would collect us. I always hoped for a Pennsy GG1 leading our train from New Haven, but usually had to settle for a boxy General Electric E60.

I made these views from the head-end of the RDC using my Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. The train crews were always friendly and on this day the engineer gave us a detail running commentary about the line, much of which I’ve either forgotten or melded in with my general knowledge of the New Haven Railroad.

Back then all photos were film photos (except for Polaroid, I suppose). If could you make photos like this now with your phone, where do you think you’ll find them in 37 years?

Tracking the Light posts every day.

3 thoughts on “Why I Liked Budd RDCs—four photos from the lost image file.”

  1. Re finding your photos in 2053:

    Clifford Pickover, in one of his books, asks us to conduct a thought experiment: how would computing (and life) change if computer memory & storage were infinitely fast and infinitely cheap? Compared to even 10 yrs ago, it’s getting there pretty fast. So I think if you (or someone) take(s) minimal care to refresh your digital photos in storage to the latest storage tech (which should take less time each cycle), then the real pain issues would be the same as film storage: finding what you want when you want, not losing your stash to hazards (theft, fire, “cloud” companies going out of business, etc.). I suspect software won’t be an issue unless your files are in some really obscure format. Today you can run software made for thoroughly obsolete systems in emulations.

    Now if only you could find those tapes of the engineer’s running commentary about the Springfield to New Haven line!

  2. Great NH memories, Brian. Thanks for sharing.

    ***Back then all photos were film photos (except for Polaroid, I suppose). If could you make photos like this now with your phone, where do you think you’ll find them in 37 years?***

    That’s the down side of digital. That, and not easy availability of film for my square format Hassalblad.
    Roger

    Roger

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