The Budd Rail Diesel Car (RDC)

Alaska Railroad's Whittier/Grandview Service - May 2004

Photos of Alaska Railroad's summer Grandview and Whittier services from Anchorage which make use of a Budd RDC, on busy days in a push-pull configuration with a HEP (Head End Power) equiped GP38-2 as seen here. These photos taken on Monday 24th May 2004 and Tuesday 25th May 2004 feature Budd RDC-2 #711 and GP38-2 #2002.

All Photos: © Copyright Bevis R W King 2004 - All Rights Reserved.

The Whittier-bound service prepares for departure at Portage AK on a very wet Monday 24th May 2004. Budd RDC-2 #711 is leading for this eastbound service, with GM EMD GP38-2 (with HEP) bringing up the rear.
HEP - Head-End Power - a locomotive with an extra electrical output to power lights, heating and air conditioning on passenger services. The GP38-2, which is usually a freight locomotive, does not normally have this feature - these ones from Alaska's fleet that do are a very unusual variant.
The Whittier-bound service clears the switch (points) at Portage AK on the Whittier branch; the main line seen here on the right continues on to Grandview, Spencer Glacier and Seward. Seward is normally served by a separate train out of Anchorage AK. Budd RDC-2 #711 leading the train east to Whittier. The entire consist is Budd RDC-2 #711, two regular passenger cars, a baggage car and GP38-2(HEP) locomotive #2002.
The Whittier-bound service emerges from a tunnel and crosses over the bridge near Portage Glacier; shortly after this the train enters a mile and a half long tunnel which provides the only land route to Whittier. Historically Whittier was only accessible by rail, but recently the rail tunnel was paved and operates as a one-way reversable toll tunnel when not needed by rail traffic.
The entire train is visible for a moment as it crosses the bridge.

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