California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific RDC-1

Only 1 unit ever, #10

delivered March 1954 - last run April 30th 1971

Modeling Options:

Lifelike has released an RDC1 factory painted for SP in the early scheme. It looks pretty good with the orange and red stripes and SP medallion on the front and the Chair lettering on each end of the letterboard, the only things to do would be to replace the single chime horns with a 3 chime and definitely scratchbuild yourself the very distinctive numberboards using the info below.

Also occasionally available in undec to make our life easier for #10's appearance later in life. For the later era, paint the entire cab ends in SP Scarlet, add an SP medallion and a UDE light atop the cab roof.

You definitely want an undec for the last version, after the accident, when one end was completely rebuilt, again consult the photos in the directory below to get ideas on how you can do it.

You also have a choice of getting a close enough model by splicing two old Athearn shells; but to be honest, why would you, the LifeLike model is much better and saves a lot of work as well as always available at reasonable prices. However, the info below has been left in for the sake of history...

The Athearn RDC-1 is some 11ft 6ins. short (40mm). The adventurous could use 2 kits, to kitbash one to the correct length. Plans exist, see References below.

A very quick look at the kitbash, shows that, if you cut one shell 202mm from one end, and another shell 88mm from the other end. You get an RDC that is very close to the correct length, but has one large window too many (12 versus 11 on the Prototype), no small windows and the roof radiators are about one ft. (3.5mm) off being in the right place.

It will depend on what era you have in mind, as to what extra modifications will be needed.

Check out the RDC Directory for photos of two brass HO Scale models, one showing the modifications after the accident - and also photos showing the dimensions of the SP applied numberboards.

Models available:

  • N Scale:
    • ConCor
    • Kato

  • HO Scale:
    • Athearn
    • LifeLike
    • MTS Imports has imported a HO Scale brass model of the RDC-1, which comes with the SP Roof Number Boards on request.

  • O Scale:
    • Lionel 'shorty' model
    • Williams 'shorty' model
    • MTH

  • G Scale:
    • Aristo Craft

SP References:

  • Southern Pacific Historic Diesels, Volume 2, Diesel-Hydraulic Locomotives - by Joe Strapac. Has one b/w photo of RDC #10 in as new condition on page 13.

  • The Northwestern Pacific Railroad Volume 2. by Fred A. Stindt chapter 5 - The life of Budd Car No.10

  • SPH&TS Trainline #48 page 11 - The Pocket Streamliner by Donald M. Munger

  • The 1996 McMillan SP Calendar, has a color photo of #10 for the month of May.

  • Doodlebug Country by Edmund Keilty has a black/white photo of #10 on page 163, photo dated July 1954, shows original paint, and before the baggage compartment was added. - but chasing this book for one photo is a but unrealistic, try at your local library for a copy of the book.

General References:

  • Mainline Modeler Jan 1991, page 44/45 has a set of Plans for an RDC-1.
  • Mainline Modeler Feb 1991, page 42/43 has a set of Plans for an RDC-2.
  • Mainline Modeler May 1991, page 46/47 has a set of Plans for an RDC-3.
  • Mainline Modeler Jun 1991, page 40 has a set of Plans for an RDC-4.
  • Mainline Modeler Jul 1991, page 36 Modeling an RDC-4.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman September 1967, Page 34-39 - Plans for RDC-1, also RDC-2, -3, -4 and -9.

SP RDC1 #10

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This document © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008. Richard.A.Percy

Saturday, 13 May 2006