New Haven RDC goes to Berkshire Scenic

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ADAMS, Mass. – The Berkshire Scenic Railway has taken delivery of New Haven RDC-1 No. 42, the only named RDC. The car was acquired last year from the former Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum in Fall River, Mass. No. 42 is important to the Berkshire Scenic route since it had operated in the Berkshire Valley region under New Haven ownership.

Built in 1953 by the Budd Co. of Philadelphia, No. 42 was named "Firestone" in recognition of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., one of the New Haven largest freight customers. It carried a nameplate on each side emblazoned with the name. The nameplates, which were originally on New Haven RDC No. 26, were transferred to No. 42 following a wreck sometime before 1956. The New Haven operated the second largest fleet of RDCs in the country.

No. 42 became part of the Penn Central in 1969 when the New Haven was merged into the PC and the nameplates were removed. In 1976, No. 42 went the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter operations and was retired in 1989. Purchased by the Fall River group in early 1990, it was restored to its previous New Haven appearance inside and out including replica "Firestone" nameplates.

As the Old Colony & Fall River museum wound down its operations, Berkshire Scenic Railway began fund-raising to acquire and move the car to museum property. Now that the car is in Lenox, fund-raising will continue to return it to operating condition for possible use on its 5-mile Adams to North Adams line.

For more information on the Berkshire Scenic, go to www.berkshiretrains.org.

–This story was edited Nov. 13 to correct the location of the car.
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