Budd Railcar CB1

Australian National Railways

Standard Gauge


Class operators: Commonwealth Railways/Australian National Railways

Condition: Very good

Provenance: Commonwealth Railways & Australian National

Ownership: Port Dock Station Railway Trust

Built by: The Budd Co., Philadelphia, Penn, USA

Number in class: 3

Model: RDC-1

Entered service: 6th March 1951

Withdrawn: 31st December 1990

Entered the museum: 7th August 1996

Length (over coupling points): 85’ (25.908 metres)

Total Weight: 49.25 tons (50,038 kilograms)

Engine type: GM 110 x 2 - 2 stroke

Cylinders: 6

Bore & stroke: 5" x 5.6" (127mm x 142mm)

Horsepower: 275hp x 2 (205 kW x 2)

Wheel Arrangement: 1A-A1

Gear Ratio: 2.08:1

Tractive Effort (starting): 8,000 lbs (35.5 kW)

Tractive Effort (continuous): 2,000 lbs at 85 mph (8.9 kW)

Fuel capacity: 210 gallons (950 litres)

Maximum Speed: 85 mph (136.7 km/h)


As part of its post war rehabilitation programme the Commonwealth Railways upgraded its short haul passenger services by introducing railcars on the runs between Port Pirie, Port Augusta, and Tarcoola. A contract for the delivery of three air-conditioned railcars was let to the Budd Company, Philadelphia, U.S.A. in October 1950. The railcars arrived in March 1951. They were the standard Budd RDC-1 design, and featured stainless steel bodies and air-conditioning. There were two compartments, with seating for 49 in one and 41 in the other. After entering service buffet facilities were fitted and seating improvements made, reducing the capacity to 70 passengers.

Regular passenger services were introduced from May 1951 when the cars operated between Port Pirie Junction and Pimba. In 1952 the service was extended from Pimba along the military stores siding to the Woomera township. From July 1952 the cars made regular runs to Tarcoola, however this journey involved long stretches of unfenced track and damage was often caused through running down stock and kangaroos. The Budd car service to Tarcoola was discontinued on 25th January 1961, although the service was retained between Port Augusta and Woomera.

Completion of the new standard gauge line to Marree made it possible for Budd cars to work over that line, at first to Brachina, and ultimately to Marree.

Following the opening of the Port Augusta to Whyalla line, Budd rail cars were also introduced on that service.

Alterations in passenger traffic resulted in the cars being removed from service in 1976 and placed in storage until refurbished in 1985 for a new service between Adelaide and Whyalla. The Iron Triangle Limited ran its first regular trip on 21st April 1986. The Iron Triangle Limited was withdrawn from service on 31st December 1990.

Railcar CB1 was donated to the museum by Australian National in 1996.

Visit the NRM

76 Lipson Street
Port Adelaide
South Australia  5015
Open Daily / 10am – 4:30pm





5-15 yrs & with an adult


2 adults & up to 3 children


  • Prices may vary for special events
  • EFTPOS is preferred payment method
  • Open from 12pm on ANZAC Day
  • Closed Christmas Day

Phone: 8341 1690

The National Railway Museum acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country. We aim to respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.

Go to top