Buda Inspection Cars on Union Pacific

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This file was last updated on February 2, 2020.

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Buda inspection cars were known as Model 619, which Buda started building in 1928. It appears that these Buda inspection cars were used as a high-end speeders, used by managers and supervisors. They were considerably more comfortable than the average track maintenance handcar or motorized speeder. In later years, UP apparently used them with rail detection equipment before they converted OSL M-66 to track test car DC-2 in November 1951.

First located in Buda, in central Illinois, the Buda Foundry & Manufacturing Company moved 118 miles eastward to Harvery, Illinois, in suburban Chicago. Contracts for the company's new eight-building location had been awarded in November 1890, with the new factory being nearly completed by March 1891. by May 1891 the foundary was employing 100 men, expecing to grow to 500 men very soon. (Chicago Tribune, November 9, 1890; March 24, 1891; The Inter Ocean, May 24, 1891)

In its new Harvey, location, Buda built all manner of track maintenance equipment, including rail jacks and tools. They made small gasoline engines during the 1910s and 1920s. They made handcar trailers, and walking beam handcars, under the Harvey brand name.

The following comes from Commercial Car Journal, November 15, 1920, page 80:

The Buda Company was organized in 1881 and was then known as the Buda Iron Works, at Buda, Illinois, employing about fifty men and engaged in the manufacture of railway appliances and material such as railway, hand and push cars and patented steel wheels for these cars; also switch stands, baggage and warehouse trucks, railway castings and forgings, and architectural iron work.

During the later part of 1890 and '91 the company moved to Harvey, Ill., and became known as the Buda Foundry & Manufacturing Co., later purchasing the Paige Iron Works (1895) and erecting a large shop for turning out frogs, crossings and switches and all types of special track for both steam and electric railroads. In 1906 additional ground was secured adjacent to the plant and a large machine shop erected for the manufacture of jacks for all railroad purposes.

The next year (1907) additional buildings were secured and the company began manufacturing railroad gasoline motor cars, which were powered by a two-cylinder, opposed, air-cooled engine. In perfecting this engine the company became interested in the automotive industry and started the manufacture of the "Buda transmission" which was soon followed by building special automotive engines and in 1908 started building transmissions and gasoline engines for the Hudson Company, which were used in their first model, the "Original Hudson," as it was known at that time. In 1910 it was decided to wind up the transmission business and to concentrate upon the perfection and improvement of gasoline engines for automotive purposes. The firm then became known as the Buda Company.

In 1913 it was decided to discontinue the baggage and warehouse trucks and to substitute the Buda electric truck and tractor for warehouse and industrial use. Also during this year the Buda-Ross headlight generator for steam locomotives was brought out, giving the Buda Company a most complete line of railroad appliances and equipment as well as electric industrial trucks and automotive engines.

A large modern four-story structure of reinforced concrete and brick was completed in 1918 and it now houses the huge milling and grinding machines for finishing off crankcases and cylinder blocks as well as the many drilling, reaming and boring operations necessary in producing a heavy-duty automotive engine.
In normal times The Buda Company employs approximately 2400 men in the entire plant, about 1500 being engaged in the engine division alone, the other 900 being engaged in the other divisions.

The plant covers about twenty-five acres of ground and has a combined foundry capacity of 100 tons of poured metal a day.

The Buda Company has been under the same management since 1904, L. M. Miles, president, and F. E. Place, vice- president and general manager, having been connected with the firm for over 16 years. The personnel includes besides these men: Wm. P. Hunt, Jr., secretary and railroad sales manager; H. M. Sloan, treasurer; R. B. Fisher, general sales manager; S. Gordon Hyde, advertising manager; John P. Mahoney, sales manager; R, J, Broege, chief engineer, and E. D. Conant, general superintendent.

The following comes from Interurbans Without Wires, page 173:

Well known in railroad circles as the builder of gang and inspection cars, Buda was also a major engine builder in the 1930s and some of its larger inspection cars doubtless were used in common carrier services, at least overseas.

Most of the cars built by Edwards were equipped with Buda engines, as were some of the conversion of railway coaches to motor cars carried out by Railway Motors Corp.

In 1946 Buda advertised the availability of its inspection cars in 8, 12, 16 and 20-passenger versions utilizing its own streamlined body and bus-type leather seats. None was known to have been sold to a U.S. carrier.

William J. Watson, founder of the reorganized Buda Foundary and Manufacturing Company after its move to Chicago in 1890, passed away on October 1, 1926, at age 83. Watson had also organized the Hewitt Manufacturing company, and the Fort Madison Iron Works company. (Chicago Tribune, October 2, 1926)

Photos suggest that there were two body styles used on the Buda inspection cars. Both styles were Buda Model 619 cars. UP B-4 (photo below) is the earlier body, introduced in 1928, with just one door on each side and separate interior seats. The later body style, introduced in 1932, as shown on UP B-9 (photo below), was equipped with additional doors, and had bench seats. Both styles seated 11 persons, plus the driver.

Although none are known to have been in service on Union Pacific, a third body style was built by Buda, possibly in the mid 1930s. These cars had a fully enclosed "full length" body with a flat front, in three separate capacities seating 14, 23 and 27 passengers. Photos show that AT&SF and American Association of Railroads owned these fully-enclosed Buda cars.

Although various Google searches reveal information about the Buda company in general, nothing has yet been found about motorized Buda speeder cars, or these specialized Buda inspection cars owned by UP.

These Buda inspection cars are not shown in the UP Equipment Record ledger book.

An article in the November 1931 issue of The Union Pacific Magazine, about the Sperry Detector car operating on Union Pacific, at the east end of the Nebraska Division. A photo, and photo caption mention that detector car S-99 was the motor car in charge of the detector trailer. The photo shows car S-99 with a Union Pacific "Overland" shield plainly visible.

UP Buda Cars

UP B-1 to B-19 (?)

Mark Amfahr wrote about UP B-10 on May 28, 2014:

On a U.P. dispatcher's sheet Oct 19, 1956 it shows a piece of equipment identified as "B-10" operating from Green River to Ogden. The only notation is "fire inspector". It used a conductor-pilot but no engineer. It ran from Green River to Ogden in about 6 hours, about the same amount of time as a hot Forwarder train would take, so it was moving right along.

I would have expected to find critters like that on secondary mainlines, on branches, and in places like LaSalle. But it's amazing to me that cars like that were out running around on UP's high-speed, double track mainlines, especially on the busy Overland Route in the 1950s, mingling with the Streamliner fleets, etc. The dispatcher's sheet I reviewed shows car B-10 running from Green River to Ogden Oct 19, 1956, for example. The note says they were doing a "fire inspection", but I'm not sure if that would have been adjoining forest land, ROW ditches, ties, bridges, coal chutes? As I'd mentioned, those cars could run pretty fast, running GR to OG in 6 hours (including stops) just like the expedited freight trains did.

OSL Buda Cars

OSL B-20 to B-29 (?)

There is a photo of UP Buda B-24 in S. Kip Farrington's Railroading From Coast to Coast, published in 1976, page 189. The photo shows Buda car B-24 sitting at the Ketchum (Sun Valley), Idaho, while being used to take the author from Pocatello to Sun Valley and return on November 15, 1947.

OWRR&N Buda Cars

OWRR&N B-30 to B-39 (?)

Gordon McCulloch wrote about B-30 in his A History of Union Pacific Steam, page xi:

First mention of Buda “B-Cars” was found in The Union Pacific Magazine, September 1930, with a short article and photo of OWRR&N B-30. At that time, OSL also had one and Union Pacific had two. The article states they had seating for nine, and had four speeds ahead and reverse.

Overland medallions stayed with most until the end. These were inspection cars and some were used to pull a rail detector trailer. Originally they were passenger car green but were repainted armour yellow (seen here) when it was adopted for passenger equipment.

Jim Ehernberger offers that “B” numbering below 20 was on UP, the 20s were on OSL, the 30s on OWRR&N and the 40s were on the LA&SL. The Budas were being retired circa mid 1960s.

LA&SL Buda Cars

LA&SL B-40 to B-49 (?)


UP Buda Cars -- Photos of Buda cars in service on Union Pacific and its subsidiary railroads.


Buda Manufacturing Company, 619 Motor Car -- An defunct Geocites web site archived by Reocities.com. The archived web pages at Reocities.com, which themselves were archived from the former Geocities service, were among the thousands of personal web sites that disappeared when Yahoo shut down Geocities in October 2009. As of October 2018, Reocities itself was also shut down.

The original Geocities page was <https://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/4742/budaverbage1.HTM> and is presented here in case an archived version becomes available.

(Read more about Buda Cars -- mirrored from the orphaned site at the abandoned Geocities web site.)

Multiple message threads on Trainorders.com

More Information

Buda Model 619 Catalog, dated July 1930 -- Compiled from images shared by Evan Werkema on Trainorders.com, on April 5, 2014 (PDF; 5 pages; 1.5MB).

(Link to the Buda Model 619 Catalog; Trainorders.com, April 5, 2014; subscription required)