Personally, when I say RDC, I mean the same thing as DMU. (though I suppose they could be run as DSUs)I'm not suggesting that VIA buys the the former OTrain DMUs, but I do not see why there is such focus on RDCs instead of the other options in the new and used markets.
Those Talents do not meet FRA crashworthy standards and cannot be used on main line service with freight trains. The reason OC was able to use them was because freight traffic only uses the line at night when the passenger trains are not running.
It's not just LRC Locomotives, but RDC's as well. Considering that there is no crumple zone compared to modern designs with CEM.
I think this is at Brockville.
^Many people seem to be fixated on those old Budd built RDC carbodies, largely (I guess) because they are still out there and therefore (seemingly) quicker to access than new stock. I would question whether they are really the optimal purchase, considering a) they would have to be rehabbed, and b) they will only last so much longer.
The cost difference between a 2, 3, or 4-car Budd RDC train and a conventional train is a spreadsheet exercise, and only VIA knows those exact numbers. And even that is likely a guesstimate, because the current White River operation has sufficient differences from Corridor service that the numbers may not be generalizable. I can't ever remember a VIA or CN RDC consist exceeding 4 cars, nor did CN routinely run 3-car conventional trains.....maybe that gives a hint. But that's very old data.
In any event, the big advantage of DMU is probably not cost, it's quick convenient turnability. VIA's current fleet doesn't have a good solution for that except where longer consists justify push-pull configuration. However, VIA has addressed that issue by ordering cab cars and by configuring its fleet to provide some short push-pull consists.
With VIA having options for more equipment, I would argue that it would be as quick, and no more expensive, to just order more 3-car Challenger trainsets for any low-volume service.
There is a romantic attachment to the railways' old branch line RDC service, where on many routes a single car (or maybe two) plied a lightly used line to smaller communities. That was fine once, I guess, although those branch lines were uneconomical for decades and the tracks are mostly gone. The RDC's advantage as a light, quickfooted railcar is likely lost to current track and speed regulations. I'm old enough to have ridden a few branch line RDC's, and they were great fun. But..... this is 2020, and a single partial carload of passengers is not going to approach the minimum "break-even" threshold to justify service by today's yardstick. Let's face it, it takes 2 or 3 carloads of passengers to justify a VIA train anymore.
Likewise, there may be a romantic attraction to the likes of DMU services in, say, the UK. Also great fun to ride, but we just aren't going to see a St Ives branch in Canada anytime soon.....while these may return some day if the country moves away from road transportation, the capital cost of restoring the tracks and adding signalling and maintenance infrastructure will be so substantial that the choice of rail vehicle will not be a consideration. And again, that's so many years down the road that clinging to RDC's seems a very poor strategy.
VIA's attempts to buy back RDC's is as much a matter of desperation as anything. Government is certainly not encouraging a light-load rail passenger service. I commend VIA's intentions, but let's not pretend that buying back these old veterans is a sound fleet acquisition strategy.