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The Budd Company (now ThyssenKrupp Budd) is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry. The company is headquartered in Troy, Michigan. It was founded in 1912 by Edward G Budd, whose fame came from his invention of the 'shotweld' technique for joining pieces of stainless steel without damaging its anti-corrosion properties.

A railroad legend[edit | edit source]

From the 1930s until 1989 The Budd Company was also a leading manufacturer of stainless steel streamlined passenger rolling stock for a number of railroads. After briefly dabbling with French Michelin rubber-tired technology, they built the Pioneer Zephyr for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1934, and hundreds of streamlined lightweight stainless steel passenger cars for new trains in the USA in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1950s, Budd built a set of two-story or high-level cars for the Santa Fe's El Capitan and Super Chief passenger trains, which became the prototypes for the Amtrak Superliner cars of the 1980s. Budd also built two-story gallery passenger cars for Chicago-area commuter service on the Milwaukee Road, Burlington Route, and Rock Island lines duing the 1960s and 1970s; most of these cars are still in service on today's Metra routes. Stainless steel Budd cars originally built for the Canadian Pacific Railway's 1955 train The Canadian are still in service with Via Rail Canada.

Train in one car[edit | edit source]

In 1949, Budd introduced the Rail Diesel Car or RDC, a stainless steel self-propelled 'train in one car' which prolonged rail service on many lightly populated railway lines, but also provided a flexible, air conditioned car for suburban commuter service. More than 300 RDCs were built, and some are still in service in Canada, the USA and Australia. One example is OnTrack in Syracuse, New York. In the 1960s, Budd built the Pioneer III electric m.u. coach for intercity travel. Six were built and were bought by the former Pennsylvania Railroad, but in 1966, these Pioneer III cars, later called "Silverliner I" cars, were replaced with the "Silverliner II" cars, which used the Pioneer III body, but with many improvements, for Philadelphia-area commuter rail service on both the PRR and Reading Company lines. Budd was also contracted to build the original Metroliner m.u. coaches for Washington-New York City service on the Northeast Corridor, but these have since been replaced by traditional locomotive-hauled systems. The Silverliner II cars, still in service (but slated to be replaced with newer "Silverliner V" cars), have a top speed of 100 m.p.h., while the old Metroliner MU cars traveled at speeds of 125 m.p.h., although they were slated for 150 m.p.h. service—a feat now possible with the new Acela trainsets.

Almond Joys[edit | edit source]

In 1960, Budd manufactured the first stainless steel production subway cars for Philadelphia's Market-Frankford Line. 270 M-3 cars (nicknamed the "Almond Joys" for the 4 ventilators on top of the roof of each car) were jointly owned by the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Transportation Company (now SEPTA), or Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). 46 single units and 112 married pairs (the pairs were of "mixed" marriage because the odd-numbered car came with General Electric motors and equipment was permanently coupled to the even-numbered car, which had Westinghouse motors and equipment). These cars were replaced with more modern, air-conditioned M-4 units in 1997-99, although some cars were retrucked (the Market-Frankford line is a broad-gauge line) and used on the Norristown High Speed Line (a standard railroad gauge line) until 1995.

Transportation innovations[edit | edit source]

Template:Section-stub During World War II, Budd designed and built the RB-1 transport airplane for the U.S. Navy using much stainless steel in place of aluminium. Only 25 were built but, after the war, 14 aircraft found their way to the fledgling Flying Tiger Line and provided a fair start for the business.

In 1966, Budd designed and manufactured a front disc brake system for Chrysler and Imperial automobiles, used for the 1967 and 1968 model years. In 1966, Budd also produced a concept car, the XR4000. This car did not enter commercial production.

Final years[edit | edit source]

Budd also built two series of "L" cars for the Chicago Transit Authority, the 2200s (1969–1970) and 2600s (1981–1987). The New York City Subway R32 (1964-1965), Long Island Rail Road/Metro-North Railroad M1/M3 (1968–1973,1984-1986) and M2 (1972-1977), NJ Transit Arrow III (1978), Baltimore Metro Subway and Miami Metrorail cars (1983) were also built by Budd.

All of Amtrak's 492 Amfleet I and 150 Amfleet II cars were built by Budd in 1975-77 and 1981-83 respectively. The Amfleet body was recycled for usage in the SPV2000, a modernized diesel passenger car which was very problematic, saw only three buyers (Amtrak, Metro-North, and Connecticut Department of Transportation), and saw very premature retirements within 15 years. The fallout from the SPV2000 furthered the decline of the company.

In the early 1980s, Budd reorganized its rail operations under the name TransitAmerica, this name appearing on the builderplates of the Baltimore/Miami cars and Chicago's later 2600s (but not the LIRR/Metro-North M3s). The new name did not save the company, and in April 1987 Budd ended all railcar production at its Red Lion plant in northeast Philadelphia and sold its rail designs to Bombardier Transportation.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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