Need ID on HO Santa Fe Mail car Powered ?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TedTrain, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. TedTrain

    TedTrain Member

    I just got a hold of this car at a Tag Sale. I'de like to find out who makes it! I can't find markings! It says Santa Fe Mail, US Post Office, HO Scale It IS a powered car. I have good pictures. Any guesses?

    Thanks, Ted

  2. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    That model is an Athearn RDC-3 that was produced around the mid-1950s. The key ingredient to the power delivery were small rubberbands, one for each axle, that wrapped around the motor driveshaft. Actually, other than a wobbly start, the mechanism was smooth and quiet.

    Like its passenger cars, the RDC was shorter than scale in order to follow the tight radius of most train sets.

    Here is an ad from 1954: athearncatalogrdcpg00.JPG

    Santa Fe never ran the mail/passenger combo, but they did run the RDC-1 full passenger cars. Two color schemes were used and MicroScale decals issues a set of decals for both schemes.

    If interested, Life-like Trains has recently produced the RDC family under the Proto 1000 Series with full scale length and a very smooth drive-train.

  3. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member


    I regret that I got carried away and showed a catalog page for a METAL RDC-3. The correct page comes from the 1959 Athearn catalog:


Share This Page