David P. Reaves, of Recklinghausen, Germany is researching to write a book about the Budd Metroliner high-speed trains from the 1960s, and particularly looking for insight into the design and manufacturing processes of the Railway Division of the Budd Company and their legendary Red Lion (Philadelphia) factory.
Powered from overhead electrification, the Metroliner MU (“multiple unit") cars were among Budd’s last railcars built for a private railroad, the Pennsylvania and 61 were constructed in 1967-68. They were part of the high-speed rail initiative of US President Lyndon Johnson's administration and per the program requirements, each car was tested to 160 miles per hour. The design made generous use of stainless steel, and was the basis for the hundreds of Amfleet cars built for Amtrak by Budd in the 1970s. Structurally-sound nearly half a century after being built, and having run millions of road-miles in revenue service, many of the original Metroliner cars are still in daily 125-mph use (though now without motors) on the Northeast Corridor.
Interestingly, Budd engineer Albert G. Dean, who led the design of the world’s first stainless steel Diesel train, Budd's 1934 Pioneer Zephyr, three decades later was one of the Metroliner’s designers.
Scarce information available
David Reeves expalined: "It may be hard to believe, but the Budd Company, through its acquisition by Thyssen in 1978 and eventual dissolution, has left very little corporate documentation behind and, very sad to say, the people who have a personal recollection of the company (and its rail transportation legacy in particular) are a quickly dying breed. Even after consulting and visiting numerous museums and libraries dedicated to preserving technology, I have to conclude that the behind-the-scenes story of Budd remains virtually a black hole."
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