• Virginia Tolles

Once in a While . . .

Budd RDC on Grand Canyon Railway (Hermann Luyken - own work in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

. . . the pieces come together as you dared not hope they ever could or would. Case in point, I've long wanted a picture of one of the old Virginia Railway Express rail diesel cars. I used to ride on them five days a week, yet I never took a picture of them. Silly me!

The Virginia Railway Express kindly sent several pictures of the last RDC to remain in their inventory of rolling stock. I stumbled upon a video that showed an ex-VRE RDC serving the Metro-North Railroad at its northern terminus in Poughkeepsie, New York. But I never could get a picture of an ex-VRE RDC serving the Grand Canyon Railway in Arizona. On two occasions, I wrote and asked them for a picture; on neither occasion did I hear back from them.

And, then, last night, I was prompted to check Wikimedia Commons. Why hadn't I thought of that before? Goodness knows, I've found many photographs there that I can legally use on my websites. And, so, I began my search. I had to scroll down four pages of pictures, but then, the photograph you see above came to light. To top it off, its photographer, Hermann Luyken, had released it into the public domain. Thank you, Mr. Luyken! Thank you, Wikimedia Commons!

Some months back, I came across a photograph of a VRE RDC in service with a commuter rail in the San Francisco area. It still wore the VRE livery, even, but it was not in the public domain. Alas! I did learn that that commuter rail company used the RDCs for only a short time before selling them to the Grand Canyon Railway.

So, in a round about way, I have managed to find photographs of the RDCs from the VRE forward. Now, I need to find them from before the VRE acquired them. According to a VRE conductor, they date back to the late-1940s and early 1950s. Then, they served in the Boston area.

I did come across a photograph of the VRE RDCs in their Boston and Maine livery. They were parked in the VRE rail yard at Broad Run before they were sent to Morrison Knudsen for conversion from self-propelled to standard coaches for use in push-pull operations. Sadly, it was not in the public domain.

More research needed here. I'm not giving up!


Copyright 2011 - 2020, Virginia Tolles. All rights reserved.

Banner Photograph: DDZPhotos / Pixabay