NYC ALCO FA / FB Units

NYC ALCO FA / FB Units
Custom Painted P-2000 units

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Penn Central Gondolas Join The Fleet

Greetings All,

Followers of the P.C.C.M. 42 series saw the first virtual ops revenue run of Penn Central gondolas 576104 and 576123 which had been recently added to the N.Y.C.T.L., K.PD. and A.P.R.R. railroads.

Here they are on Ralph's K.P.D. in P.C.CM. 42F with their bulkheads in place and some great looking pole loads made by scratch builder extraordinaire Ralph himself.


Here they are on my layout heading thru Bedford towards NYS DOT Region 10 on an L.I.R.R. train. 
Here is the story on the gondolas and my trial and tribulations to get mine into revenue service.

At the end of 2017 I added two Walthers Penn Central G43a gondolas to my ever growing Penn Central fleet. When I first saw the cars I really liked the way they looked and kept my eyes open for them to hopefully go on sale. Eventually they did and I was able to score some from MB Klein known also as modeltrainstuff.com

The PC gondolas are numbered 576104 and 576123 and are based on the PRR G43 and later Penn Central G43a gondolas. In the first half of 1968 Penn Central's Hollidaysburg Shops built three lots of G43a gondolas for a total of 2,150 cars continuing on with the G43 lineage originated at Altoona prior to the merger. The cars have a 100 ton capacity and an inside length of 52'6''. The cars were extremely rugged and successful marking the last of the PRR and first PC gondolas.

In the Penn Central promotional video Call us Penn Central the newly built G43a gondolas can be seen starting at the 1:45 mark.

The Walthers PC G43a models are nice representations of this sturdy and iconic PC car. Rivet counters will find some discrepancies but they look to be few. 

Upon initial inspection of the new gondolas it was noted that the knuckle couplers were drooping significantly. A Kadee fiber washer should take care of that. Once the drooping coupler was fixed it was noted that the couplers did not couple up to the Kadee height gauge even though the were at the exact same height. Hmm. Closer inspection found that the factory installed Proto-Max coupler faces were slightly bent downward. This caused the coupler face not to fit inside the Kadee coupler. This is what should happen when coupling.
Image result for train coupler 
The PC gondolas have been placed on the layout now coupled up with Kadee #5s. Bulkheads and a steel coil cradle were included with the models and make for some nice additional operational opportunities. The defective couplers are shown at the ends of the car.
PC 576123  looking fresh out of Hollidaysburg sits in Terminal Yard. The bent Proto Max couplers have been removed.
Other Walthers cars delivered by Santa sit in Terminal Yard. The PC 50 boxcar, 360063 courtesy of PC Ralph was perfect out of the box as was the 10-6 sleeper car. Both matched up perfectly with the Kadee height gauge and were extremely free rolling.
Upon testing of the gondolas I noted they did not roll as well as the other two cars listed above. Investigation into this revealed some flash on the ends of the axles. This was easily removed with a single edge razor blade. After this procedure the cars were rolling smoothly and wobble free.
A look at the underside of the gondolas shows the bolsters were broken during assembly. Wrong sized screws? Machine setting not right? Who knows? But it really shouldn't be damaged like this right out of the box.
With everything coupling and rolling smoothly I put some loads in the cars along with the bulk heads. They look good! I also added ACI labels going with prototype photos for the location.
With the steel coil cradles installed and great looking steel coils made by Ralph inside, the cars are now ready for revenue service!
A test run with the cars headed for North Side Yard. The steel coils will be delivered to Gervais Pipe and Fitting.
The obligatory company photo from the Empire City viaduct.
Conclusions: I contacted Walthers Customer Service and advised them of the coupler issues found on the gondolas. The service rep was cordial, expressed the expected I'm sorry to hear that and then promptly sent me replacement couplers which arrived on January 2nd. 

All things considered shaving of the axles and replacing of the couplers should not be necessary on a ready to run model that has an M.S.R.P. at around $25.00. But it was. Walthers to their credit promptly made good on the defective parts. Ralph and Sir Neal report no problems with their gondolas so these may be two that got away. 

As you saw the cars are now in service and look very good on the layout. I am happy to add them to my fleet but needed to be honest  about them in case I'm not the only one to face these issues. Would I buy them again if on sale? Yes.


Thanks for reading!




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

P.C.C.M. #42J

Greetings All,

Today we'll wrap up the P.C.C.M. 42 series with the Empire Belt Railroad taking center stage.

To: Terminal Yard, West Mill, Rock Ridge, Zenith Yard, 
       H.R.C. West Side Yard 
From: Empire Belt RR North Side Yard.

Placement, constructive placement and interchange of freight cars forwarded to the E.B.R.R.'s North Side Yard.


North Side Yard out...

1/87th scale senior engineer Sir Neal is giving today's Empire Belt crew some last minute instructions before heading out to oversee construction on the new A.P.R.R. Southern Division. 1/87th scale PC Ralph will be the lead engineer for the E.B.R.R. today.

Over at Terminal Yard 1/87th scale Engineer Ed and conductor AT JOE hold a similar briefing with the TY yardmaster as their power set idles on track 9. Engineer Ed and AT JOE will be on Double's E's favorite train, EC-1, the transfer run from Terminal Yard to Empire City's North Side Yard.
Bedford Tower operator 1/87th scale John B is out and ready to give PC Train EC-1 (Terminal Yard to Empire City) a high ball and roll by inspection.
EC -1 passing Hohman Ave Tower
1/87th scale Sir Larry is out and ready to greet EC-1 as it makes it way into Terminal Yard.
EC-1 arrives at Terminal Yard and cuts off it's train. The cars for EC-2 are sitting on track 3 with a pooled caboose.
1/87th scale EE has run the engines around to the Hohman Ave side of the yard and couples up to the freight cars that will make up EC-2. After a terminal brake test they'll be off to Terminal Yard.
Train EC-2 heads back to Terminal Yard.

With EC-2 now gone 1/87th scale PC Ralph and the Empire Belt RR crew gets to work on sorting and delivering the freight cars left by EC-1. The first move was to pull off the cars for the L.I.R.R. and two boxcars from Ralph's Grocery Warehouse. With five inbound cars today and spots for only three the Rock Island and PC boxcars will be considered constructively placed in North Side Yard and will be spotted once space becomes available.

The Empire Belt crosses over to the industrial main

With the caboose out of the way the E.B.R.R. engines shove into the Gervais Pipe / Ralph's Grocery siding to pull these cars.
Spotted at Ralph's grocery are P&LE  35892 loaded with bagged flour from Blue Ribbon Flour on Ralph's layout, E.B.R.R. 358150 loaded with paper products from Marcal Paper on Neal's layout and L.F.N.W. 160 loaded with canned foods from Oswego Manufacturing in West Egg , CA on John B's layout.
The crew has spotted this empty PC gondola at Gervais Pipe &  Fitting. They are now spotting one Cargill covered hopper loaded with grain from Empire Grain on Ralph's layout and three loaded PC covered hoppers from the large Cargill facility on Neal's layout at Empire City Cargill.
PC depressed center flatcar 766053 loaded with a Caterpillar excavator gets a royal welcome at E.C. Caterpillar. Caterpillar management, legal department, foremen and the E.C.P.D. are all happy to see the long lost excavator returned from the clutches of Sal Monella and his Sal's Salvage henchman.   
The E.B.R.R. crews heads over to the West Side across the Empire City viaduct.
First order of business is spotting NYC 50' boxcar 80775 loaded with new 55 gallon drums from Kings Port Steel at Drywell Inks.
BM 109 and 110 loaded with glass and mirrors from Corning Glass are spotted at Superior Furniture. Cushion cars with air pak load restraints makes these cars perfect for these shipments. Having 1/87th scale PC Ralph at the controls doesn't hurt either as he is very familiar with moving high cost and fragile loads.
The last move on the West Side is pulling TP&W 40' boxcar #627 from Walsh Steel Wool. The car is loaded with steel wool scrap for Boom's Ready Mix on the K.P.D.
The E.B.R.R. crew is back at North Side Yard and preparing for the arrival of the L.I.R.R. transfer run.
Cars for the L.I.R.R. include P&E 3638 and IC 30130 both loaded with packaged meals from Cavendish Fine Foods are consigned to Pilgrim State Hospital. The two Penn Central gondolas loaded with telephone poles from Bell Pole are headed to NYS DOT Region 10. All four loads originated on the K.P.D. 
1/87th scale PC Ralph and the crew have the yard ready for the L.I.R.R.'s arrival.
Like clockwork the L.I.R.R. makes it way thru Bedford NY towards Empire City's North Side Yard.
The L.I.R.R. arrives at North Side yard.
The cars from the L.I.R.R. are spotted on track 1 and the L.I.R.R. RS-1 has run around to couple up to the cars headed out to Long Island. 
The L.I.R.R. reclaims it's caboose and heads back towards Bedford NY.
Rolling thru Bedford NY towards Long Island tracks we catch the PC gondolas , IC and P&E boxcars bringing up the rear of the train.
P.C.C.M. 42J Addedendum
The following day we're back at North Side Yard shortly after 1/87th scale Engineer Ed and AT JOE have arrived with train EC-1. If we look past the UP boxcar we can see that excavator leaving Caterpillar on a low boy trailer with some sketchy paperwork having been submitted to transfer the unit.
Here is Double E shooting the morning breeze with 1/87th scale PC Ralph who is again filling in for senior engineer Sir Neal who is attending to matters on the A.P.R.R. Southern Division today.
With EC-2 gone the Empire Belt gets down to business placing RI 35062 loaded with grocery products from Ralph's Grocery Davenport, Iowa warehouse and PC 77047 loaded with Woodstock Hills All Natural Soda located in Kings Port NY.  
With the RI and PC cars spotted the E.B.R.R. engines head back to pick up three empty boxcars from Ralph's Grocery and the loaded PC gondola from Gervais Pipe sitting on the industrial lead. 
The E.B.R.R. gets busy in North Side Yard setting up Train EC-4 which will be leaving for Terminal Yard this afternoon. By late tonight the P&LE, E.B.R.R. and L.F.N.W. boxcars will be ready for loading and the gondola loaded with pipe should make the cut for PC Train LI-1 due out of Terminal Yard for Selkirk at 04:00 AM. We'll save these stories for P.C.C.M. 43.   
That wraps up the P.C.C.M. 42 series!
Thanks for watching and reading!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

P.C.C.M. #42I

Greetings All,

Welcome back to the P.C.C.M. 42 series! Today we'll focus on the Coal Job and start the action at Hudson Coal.

That's none other than 1/87th scale senior engineer Sir Neal who's assigned to this train today showing off this morning's Coal Job power consisting of A.P.R.R. GP38 #358 and PC GP40 #3175 with A.P.R.R. caboose #58 assigned to bring up the markers. If you're thinking this is a bit fancy you're right. 1/87th scale Sir Neal is on a promotional tour letting Hudson Coal management know that their coal is in good hands with the PC and A.P.R.R transporting the black diamonds to RM.O. Electric on 1:1 Sir Neal's A.P.R.R. layout.
15 cars of black diamonds are ready to be pulled.
The Coal Job has coupled up to it's caboose and is heading out towards Bedford NY.
New and clean power is rare on these local coal drags. 
1/87th scale Sir Larry of Flemington is back on duty at the Hohman Ave tower and gives Sir Neal and the Coal Job a wave and an inspection as the train makes it's way thru the west side reverse track.
The Coal Job arrives at Terminal Yard and heads towards the weigh in motion scales.
Their run done 1/87th scale Sir Neal has tied up his motive power in the Terminal Yard engine terminal. Can you say half day!
A yard switcher gets to work pulling a caboose from the caboose track 
PRR N6B caboose #980196 is tacked onto the loaded coal hoppers.
That done the crew from the departure yard pulls the loaded coal hoppers towards a departure track.
Loads on track 6, empties on track 7. The crew shoves the A.P.R.R. caboose towards the caboose track.
That done another crew has been called for the Coal Job to spot the newly arrived empties from the A.P.R.R. and H.R.C. The PC RS2's  burbling away as the train builds up air pressure are a more normal Coal Job consist.
The anonymous Coal Job crew shoves the first 5 empties into Hudson Coal track 3.
Another block of five are in place on track 2 and the crew shoves the final five into track 1. 
With the empties spotted the Coal Job shoves back up towards Terminal Yard with their caboose in the lead. 
The RS-2 head towards the engine terminal and caboose track.
The caboose is spotted.
And the crew ties down their power.
Tomorrow we'll wrap up the 42 series following some Penn Central transfer runs and the Empire Belt Railroad as it makes it's moves thru Empire City and interchanges cars with the L.I.R.R. 


Thanks for reading!