Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A.P.R.R. GP35's Inspection Report

Greetings All,

The N.Y.C.T.L's Locomotive Shop was recently contracted to perform a post purchase inspection and refurbish a quartet of EMD GP35s for the Atlantic Pacific Railroad. That work has since been completed and the four units have been sent off to the A.P.R.R.'s Rock Ridge Yard for testing.

Here are the engines at Rock Ridge NJ in their great looking custom painted A.P.R.R. colors.
This report and spec sheet has been forward to A.P.R.R. management.

To:         Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Pacific Railroad                                         
From:    Chief Executive Officer, New York Central Train Layout
Subject: Atlantic Pacific RR GP35’s 361, 362, 363, 364 

1   The Terminal Yard Shops have recently completed their post purchase inspection on A.P.R.R. EMD GP35’s 361, 362, 363 and 364 that were contract painted in Dedham Mass. The GP35’s bought used from another railroad have been rebuilt to like new standards and are now ready for the AP.R.R. to put them into service testing.
2   The EMD GP35’s were built from 1963 thru 1966 with over 1,300 units sold to various railroads. The GP35 introduced the spartan cab which became an EMD standard for twenty plus years.
3   The rebuilt GP35s feature upgraded mechanical systems that are to EMD standards and configured to A.P.R.R. requirements. These include the 567D3 prime mover rated at 2,500 HP and a gear ratio of 62:15 with a top speed of 65 mph. The A.P.R.R. units are each fitted with dynamic brakes and all have multiple unit capabilities. A complete spec sheet is attached to this report.

Submitted for your information,

John R. C.E.O. N.Y.C.T.L. and E.B.R.R.

Engine Builder: EMD
Engine: 567D3 16 cylinder
Bore & Stroke
8.5" X 10"
RPM (Maximum / Minimum)
800 / 275
Main Generator: GM - D22
Horsepower: 2500
Gear Ratio: 62:15
Speed: 65 mph
Trucks: 4-Wheel
Configuration: B-B
Traction Motor Blowers: Delco Electric Drive (4)
Model: GM
Weight: 260,000 lbs
Traction Motors: GM - D57 (Four)
Tractive Effort (starting) 60,500 lbs @25%
Tractive Effort (continuous): 50,000 lbs @ 9.3 mph
Multiple Unit Capability: Yes
Dynamic Braking: Yes
Auxilary Generator: Delco 64-72
Alternator: GM D14
Air Brake: Westinghouse
Model: 24L
Compressor: Gardner-Denver
Model: WBO
Quantity Built: 1333
Dates: 10/1963 to 1/1966
Exterior Dimensions
Total Length
Wheel Diameter
Truck Wheel Base
Height to Top Engine Hood
Height to Top Cab
Cab Width
Engine Hood Width
Top of Walkway
Walkway Width
Center Bolster
Center Front Truck to Front Pilot
Center Rear Truck to Rear Pilot
Distance between Truck Centers
Minimum Turning Radius
39 degrees
Fuel Oil (gallons): 1700
Lubricating Oil (gallons): 220
Engine Cooling Water (gallons): 275
Sand Capacity (gallons): 18 cu. ft.
Options: - Hot dog roller, coke machine

For more on these great looking engines check out 1:1 Sir Neal's A.P.R.R. blog site.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 15, 2018

A Joint Effort / Penn Central Empire Belt Train

Greetings All,

After the less than positive results from the Empire City Service train that I posted about last time I tried running a joint PC-EB train from Selkirk that stops at North Side Yard drops cars for the Empire City industries and picks up outbound cars for Terminal Yard.
The 30 car test train is on the main where it will drop off the cars for the Empire Belt.
The PC-EB train has backed into North Side Yard and coupled to the cars for Terminal Yard. 
The work at North Side Yard completed the PC-EB train heads towards Terminal Yard
 The train heads over the High Line towards Bedford. 
Later that day Empire Belt Train EC-3 makes it's daily afternoon appearance at North Side Yard with cars for Empire City industries forwarded from Terminal Yard. EC-3 will pick up the outbound cars on the left and head back to Terminal Yard as EC-4.
Here's the yard after EC-4's departure. The GP30 crew will do the pick ups and deliveries either later today or the following morning. Note there are no cars for the L.I.R.R. included in today's test.

Having the special Empire City Service train was just to cumbersome to deal with during an ops session and looks to be even worse for the virtual ops. With all that said the Empire City Service train(s) are now suspended until further notice.

The joint effort train worked OK. Freight cars were in North Side Yard bright and early w/o having to build a train for Empire City at Terminal Yard. The downside is not having to build a train for Empire City at Terminal Yard which is one of my favorite activities. 

The N.Y.C.T.L. operating scheme was designed so that Terminal Yard would be the clearing yard for all trains arriving and departing the layout and be the feeder yard for all rail operations. That scenario has worked well and been quite enjoyable. Getting away from that scheme did not improve operations or the overall fun of running the layout.

To close on a positive note it was fun coming up with the new operating scenario and testing it out. I got to run the layout and experiment with proposed rail traffic efficiencies. While those were not realized running the trains was still fun and to me that's the bottom line. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Empire City Service Part 2 / Testing and Conclusions

Greetings All,

Last entry I posted about the Empire Belt R.R. testing the waters of express trains to and from Empire City's North Side Yard going under the name Empire City Service. This week I tested the feasibility of operating such an Empire City Service train that included the local switching of the freight cars brought in by the E.C.S. train. The local switching of Empire City industries is the backbone of the E.B.R.R. and any initiative undertaken has to benefit this work.

The results were not very positive. In theory it all sounded and looked good on paper. The practical application of the Empire City Service however revealed some issues that had been overlooked like yard capacity and duplication of switching moves. Lets take a look;

An Empire City Service train entering Empire City. The FA-FB-FB-FA lash up leads the train thru the east side towards North Side Yard. The High Line to Bedford and Terminal Yard is behind the engines. 
 The train arrives at North Side Yard via the east side.
The four ALcos have cut off and given way to the GP30s that will deliver the cars to their consignees. The ALcos and train now on track 3 are simulating the outbound Empire City Service train that would need a yard track. I'm going to wish I had this track available as the op session went on.
The GP30 crew has switched over to the industrial track and begins their work shoving back towards the Ralph's Grocery Warehouse /Gervais Pipe siding.
Pulling three boxcars from Ralph's Grocery and one bulk head flat from Gervais Pipe and Fitting. Another unforeseen issue is arising here.
A boxcar exchange at Neal's Lumber & Hardware has 1/87th scale Senior Engineer Sir Neal ready to connect the air hoses to get the empty Illinois Terminal all door boxcar out of the way.
Working Empire Produce more unforeseen issues have cropped up. The boxcars and reefer from Empire Produce are to be included in tonight's outbound E.C.S. Train. The caterpillar bulldozer is not going to an E.C.S. train and neither are the bulk head flat with pipe from Gervais Pipe and the empty IT all door boxcar from Neal's Lumber. 
Over on the west side 40' double plug door boxcars from the GN and BN are spotted at Superior Furniture.  
Finishing up the Empire City Service switching requirements a Chessie 40' boxcar is shoved towards Drywell Inks and two 50' boxcars will be spotted at Moore & Company.
With the switching complete the GP30 crew now heads over the High Line towards Bedford and Terminal Yard as Extra 2160. The  lack of yard space at North Side Yard to accommodate these cars has prompted this extra move. 
The E.B.R.R. GP30s extra heading towards Terminal Yard meet the daily morning train EC-1 powered by the E.B.R.R.'s U30Cs heading to North Side Yard at Bedford Station. Getting Extra 2160's train out of North Side Yard gives the E.B.R.R. enough capacity to accommodate EC-1's pending arrival.

The time saving efforts by diverting the train to North Side Yard were not realized. The extra switching required to move the Empire City Service freight cars to and from their consignees is negated by the fact that other non E.C.S. freight cars coming in on  EC-1 and later EC-3 would need still need to be spotted. This means the switch crew(s) has to go out three times.

Sorting and segregating Empire City Service and non Empire City Service freight cars at North Side Yard would be a time consuming task that further complicates the daily switch crews lives. Leaving the E.C.S. and non E.C.S. freight cars together for the proposed outbound nightly E.C.S. Train pretty much eliminates the premium freight rate charged for E.C.S.  

Building and sorting an outbound train from North Side Yard directly to Selkirk also highlighted the issue of capacity or lack thereof. Holding the cars and engines all day in N.S.Y. is not feasible and would negatively impact the daily E.B.R.R. operations and the all important interchange with the L.I.R.R.

Next I'll be posting about a Joint Effort between the Empire Belt and Penn Central to speed up freight service to Empire City.

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Empire City Service?

Greetings All,

A recent trip to the beach had me mulling some ways to increase my freelanced Empire Belt Railroad's role in the overall New York Central / Penn Central scheme of things that are the backbone of the N.Y.C.T.L. The state of railroad affairs in the northeast in the late 60's and early 70's was challenging for all railroads to say the least. With long distance passenger service on a severe decline and to many railroads with too much capacity fighting for too few car loads what if anything would be plausible for the E.B.R.R. that exclusively serves the fictional and mostly prosperous Empire City? 

Taking a cue from NYC and their Empire Service passenger trains and coupling that with their Early Bird Freight Service a light bulb went off. I thought hey why not an Empire City Freight Service or Empire City Service that would run from Selkirk NY directly to the E.B.R.R.'s North Side Yard in Empire City and back bypassing the always busy and congested NYC / PC Terminal Yard in nearby Bedford NY. Hmm.

The B&O had their Time Saver Service, the Reading had Bee Line Service. So why not an Empire Belt Empire City Service?Borrowing the 'On Time a Day Early' slogan from the Early Bird Service trains this may have some potential. Let's see if we can have some fun with it;

The big three, 1/87th scale Senior Engineer Sir Neal, PC Ralph and Engineer Ed,  meet for a sit down at Dominick's Restaurant to discuss the implementation of Empire City Service over plates of pasta and carafes of red wine.
Empire City Service would be a premium freight service that would expedite the freight traffic in and out of Neal's Lumber & Hardware. Neal would pass the charges along to his customers so it's a win win for him.
Ralph's Grocery Warehouse would also benefit from the faster service and the quick turnaround.  
Engineer Ed Walsh's Steel Wool Products is another highly valued customer that would pay the premium prices for faster shipping to get his products to market. This would also allow the railroads to compete with the over the road trucks that carry and deliver some of Walsh's freight. 
Empire Produce is another likely candidate as they deal with fresh produce that can have a short lifespan.  
Faster shipping and receiving would keep a business like Superior Furniture competitive and keep their products on the rails. 
Moore & Company Importers & Exporters is another likely candidate to request Empire City Service.
A pilot program Empire City Express train takes the middle track over the High Line on it's way to North Side Yard.
The E.C.S. Train comes thru the east side of Empire City and gets ready to enter North Side Yard bypassing the Vanderbilt Bridge in the background and the town of Bedford. 
The Empire City Service would also bypass the congestion in Bedford and the wait to enter Terminal Yard.
The crew of the 6018 has outlawed and that train is waiting for a recrew. The F7 on track 2 is waiting for an available track at Terminal Yard.

Empire City Service. An express train from Selkirk to Empire City and back running once in each direction each day. A premium freight rate would be needed to make it profitable and pay the trackage rights fees to the NYC /PC should the E.B.R.R. be able to convince them that this is a good idea.

Maybe this could be a joint NYC /PC - E.B.R.R. endeavor? Not a bad idea that needs some further thought. 

Will other model railroads be interested in continuing the expedited service with timely connections and priority routing? 

Stay tuned as this is still in the mulling stage. It looks promising at this point and I'll see if it's actually fun to route the trains in this fashion and if they contribute favorably to the virtual ops Penn Central Car Movements that I participate in.

Thanks for reading!!! 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Lessons Learned From A Recent Visit To The N.Y.C.T.L.

Greetings All,

The N.Y.C.T.L. was recently honored to receive a visit from my wife's uncle who lives out of state and made his first visit to our house. Uncle Harry had heard about the trains and was eager to check out the layout. His not being a model railroader or rail fan came into play big time. Things model railroaders and rail fans would normally focus in on drew little or no interest. I found that other things that I often take for granted or rarely pay attention to made a big impact on him.

Uncle Harry seemed to enjoy viewing the layout with some trains running but didn't really pay attention to the trains all that much other than commenting positively on how smooth the trains ran and how he liked the click clack sound of the metal wheels. Thankfully I didn't have any derailments!   

After a couple of oh wows upon seeing the layout Uncle Harry focused on and really liked this scene with the sheriff's car parked half on the sidewalk.
This A-B-A- lash up with MILW T.O.F.C. trailer mimicking a photo in the summer 2018 Classic Trains magazine was no big deal to him. I really liked it!
Hey that's cool! Mobsters sitting around their social club.
I love those mountains! The Ford Plant with the auto racks, boxcars steel coil cars etc not much of a comment. That I used blue painters tape was found to be impressive.
The coal hopper summer of 2017 spent painting and lettering accurate PC coal hoppers and E.B.R.R. coal hoppers wasn't as impressive to him as the painted mountains.
Is this powered? After answering affirmative we ran some trains in and out of the yard tracks that he enjoyed. 
During his visit I had a couple of trains running thru the layout while Uncle Harry explored the layout at his own pace enjoying the little scenes like this one. That I made the trees from sedum was deemed cool.

Here's some of the questions I was asked.
#1 How do you keep it clean? 
#2 How much is it worth? 
#3 How do you make these buildings? 
#4 How do you 'letter' the boxcars you painted? 
#5 Where did you get the vehicles on the layout?
#6 How long having you been working on it?
#7 How could you ever move?
#8 Do you watch the Big Bang Theory? 

Here's some tips for hosting a non model railroader or non rail fan.
#1 Mention early in the visit that Rod Stewart and Frank Sinatra are / were model railroaders to get some coolness factor going to get away from Sheldon and the Big Bang Theory.   
#2 Have the layout in a presentable condition. Obviously this is not always possible when doing big projects on the layout. But having a clean area will go a long way in your presentation.
#3 Allow the visitor to explore the layout at their own pace and ask questions as they come up. No sense overloading the visitor with railroad minutiae that will cause their eyes to glaze over.
#4 Be ready for the trains not being the main attraction. What! Yup. In some cases the scale world you've created will take center stage and the trains will be an afterthought.
#5 Be ready to run some trains. While they may not be the main attraction it is a model train layout and therefore model trains should be shown running thru the layout.
#6 Trains should run reliably well. Every layout owner has been cursed at least once with a "visitor derailment". That's OK just rerail and get them running again. 
#7 Afford your visitor as much time as reasonably needed to take in the layout and enjoy it. Showing a willingness to answer questions and spend the time explaining the layout, the scenes, the wiring etc is the sign of a good host. Be that guy or girl.
That's it from my soapbox.
Thanks for Reading!!!   

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dispatch of Extra 3175

Greetings All,

In early April the Patti O Paint Shop released a bakers dozen of paint projects that included twelve covered hoppers in A.P.R.R., E.B.R.R. and Penn Central paint and Penn Central GP40 #3175. Ebbs and flows in our rail traffic patterns led to the the hoppers and GP40 being stored serviceable on the N.Y.C.T.L. 

1:1 Sir Neal has sent word that the new covered hoppers and GP40 are now needed on the A.P.R.R. so today we'll dispatch Extra 3175 with a consist of newly painted empty covered hoppers from Terminal Yard to the Atlantic Pacific Railroad's Rock Ridge Yard.

The Empire Belt RR dispatches GP30s 2160 and 2161 to their west side storage track to retrieve the empty covered hoppers.
The E.B.R.R. engines make their way of the Empire City viaduct to access the storage track and covered hoppers in the background. 
Pulling out the covered hoppers with E.B.R.R. caboose 1605 ready to be coupled on to make up train EC-4
E.B.R.R. Train EC-4 rolls past Bedford Tower and 1/87th scale John B. as it makes it's way to Terminal Yard.
The new A.P.R.R. covered hoppers are clean, pristine and ready to earn revenue!
E.B.R.R. 827941 is in 'unit train service' and assigned to the A.P.R.R.'s Rock Ridge Yard.
The newly painted GP40 has been called out of the engine terminal and coupled on to the covered hoppers. Once again the 1/87th scale trainmen have gathered at Terminal Yard as 1/87th scale senior engineer Sir Neal prepares to board GP40 #3175 for the trip from Terminal Yard to Rock Ridge Yard with train Extra 3175.
 Extra 3175 leaving Terminal Yard
Extra 3175 coming out of the Terminal Yard tunnel and working it's way downgrade behind Hudson Coal. The dynamic brakes will keep the train under control.
Rolling thru Bedford 1/87th scale Sir Neal notches up the throttle
 Penn Central caboose 26403 brings up the markers.
1/87th scale Bedford Tower operator John B has cleared Extra 3175 for the High Line and gives a highball and roll by inspection.
Next stop Rock Ridge Yard!
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

P.C.C.M. #47H

Greetings All,

The P.C.C.M. 47 series went off the sheet so to speak to highlight some of the recent work done on Ralph's K.P.D., my N.Y.C.T.L. and Brian's Ralston Creek layouts. As the originator of the series Ralph took available virtual ops cars that were currently on the K.P.D. according to the Official Dispatch Sheet and our Rail Traffic Management Form and sent these cars out to Brian and I. 

For #47 Ralph prepared a special dispatch sheet for Brian and I to follow. As freight cars destined for Ralston Creek continue their journey to Denver today I'll start getting the cars sent to Terminal Yard from the K.P.D. heading back to West Mill. This will put things back in order for P.C.C.M. 48.

We start the action in Empire City at the Empire Belt RR's North Side Yard. 1/87th scale ATJOE will be the engineer for today's moves with EBRR U30Cs 6574 and 6576 as his assigned engines. ATJOE is getting plenty of advice for the other 1/87th scale trainmen some of it useful some of it not so much. 
1/87th scale ATJOE and his conductor have cut their train after the sixth car using the 40' box cars as a handle to pull the empty Cargill hopper from the Empire City Cargill complex. This keeps the big six axle trucks off the siding. Smart move!
Loading slowly? Maybe. The Big U Boats head over to the West Side to continue their switching work.
On the West Side the crew has cut the train so as not to block Hohman Ave. 
The crew was able to fit the the freight cars on the EC viaduct in such a fashion they don't unnecessarily block this street either while working the west side. ATJOE is shoving back towards Superior Furniture with six boxcars, four of which will act as spacers. 
Shoving under Superior Furniture to retrieve PC 104478
Shoving thru to retrieve NYC 80775 from Reliable Machine Works
A text book move! No drama, no damage and no nasty phone calls to the Empire Belt office.
PC 104478, NYC 80775 and TLDX 7241 are blocked together as they head out of town in Empire Belt Train EC-2.
EC-2 arrives at the Penn Central's Terminal Yard as 1/87th scale ATJOE gets a roll by inspection and a thumbs up from Senior Engineer Sir Neal, PC Ralph and his trusty brakeman.
EC-2 continues towards Terminal Warehouse passing this newly paved road 
Passing the T.O.F.C. crane we see a PC Trailer getting loaded onto a 50' flat car.
With EC-2 now off the books the yard crews are busy at work. Yard crew A has their three S12s pulling a barely visible caboose from EC-2 back to the caboose track while Yard Crew B pulls PC 229046 from Bruce Electric Equipment loaded with electric components for Zenith
The A crew works the Terminal Warehouse pulling empty PC77047 from door 21 as well as empties EL 73510 and P&LE 35892 from doors 1 and 2.
The A crew is building train NV-3 (Empire City to Selkirk) and has three empty boxcars brought in on train EC-2 in tow. The B crew is shoving PC229046 on the high side for inclusion in NV-3. All four boxcars are destined for West Mill. A quick look on the T.O.F.C. track shows that the E.B.R.R. trailer is being loaded onto a 50' flat car.
Train NV-3 is taking shape as the T.O.F.C. cars are coupled up to PC 229046.
The A crew has finished building train NV-3 and the B team tacks on the caboose. All of NV-3s freight cars are destined for West Mill Yard on Ralph's K.P.D. layout 
The power has been coupled on and our engineer 1/87th scale PC Ralph discusses the pending trip with his brakeman/conductor. 
NV-3 meets an inbound train at Bedford NY as it heads out of town
Rolling thru Bedford Station
PC 18418 bringing up the NV-3 markers.
Heading over the High Line. Next stop Selkirk!!
Don't forget to follow the action on Brian's Ralston Creek Layout and Ralph's Kings Port Division

Thanks for reading!