Custom Painted P-2000 units

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Track Inspection

We have power. Trains are now rolling. NYC Track Inspectors have arrived and test trains are being run. At this time only two minor issues have cropped up and they were quickly repaired. Issue #1 was a slight dip on a curve that required a small shim. Issue #2 was a turnout causing momentary power loss which resulted from some paint on the points interrupting electrical contact. Testing will continue through out the next few days.
Stay Tuned. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wiring and More

The New York Central Electrical Workers have been hard at work these past two days. After receiving authorization from the purchasing department the hard wiring of the new lower level tracks has begun. The purpose of the lower level is to eliminate some grade crossings for the intercity passenger trains that with serve the city and new station. These trains have a direct connection to the subway system to take passengers to their final destination. Feeder wires and bus wires are in place. Double pole double throw switches have been installed. The structure department built a nice shelf to accommodate three transformers, two for the lower level and and one MRC dual control for the subway system. The paint crew has painted the shelf to match the rest of the layout at this point and we are close to running trains on the lower level. The final hurdle is to solder the feeder wires to the rail and with any luck everything was connected properly.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Track Update

The NYC track gang was hard at work on Sunday, October 23rd 2011, as they completed installing the lower level track and and turnouts. Caboose Industries ground throws were installed for turnout control. Next come the electricians to install the cab control system and get power to the track.   

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Buying My Competition

When I originally began getting into HO scale trains I envisioned the hobby to be a good way to spend time with my two sons who seemed to really enjoy playing with the trains. As they got older they wanted their own trains so starting at Christmas one year trains started showing up under the tree. Soon they wanted to accompany me to the local train store and of course they needed me to make a purchase for their budding train empires. Since I was the NYC fan, that would be my railroad. My oldest son. originally drawn to Conrail, became an avid fan of the NYC arch rival, the Pennsylvania Railroad. My youngest son decided on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with quite a bit of Erie Lackawanna RR thrown in. Being men / boys we became very competitive regarding locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars. A lot of my engines are better than yours, my cars are better that yours went back and forth. As the only one with an actual income my NYC empire grew much faster than the PRR and B&O. But these two railroads still received plenty of equipment as the years went by. As of this writing the PRR empire of my son actually has a bigger passenger fleet than my NYC. The vast and sprawling B&O / E.L RRs feature an extensive passenger and freight car roster with quite a few military cars thrown in case there is unpleasantness on the layout. Maintenance, upgrades and repairs of this rival equipment is paid for and performed by yours truly. Often the rivals benefit from the learning curve that I gained from working on my NYC equipment. The result is that they have first class equipment that operates flawlessly. So now that my boys are quite a bit older and the verbal barbs continue I often wonder when being verbally abused for running junk, what was I thinking?

Backdrops by Margaret

There she is hard at work on the train layout backdrops. Who is this woman? Why she is none other than my mother in law, a long time contributor and stockholder of my model railroad. For the past 20 years the mother in law has enjoyed shopping for model railroad items and always picks out just the right things. From engines, to cars, to buildings and scenery. However her absolute favorite are crane cars. You see, Mama as she is known, never met a crane car she did not like.
Aside from being a genuinely nice person and having unlimited access to my man cave and layout room she is extremely artistic and enjoys painting. She has painted all the backdrops on the layout and detailed several scenes as well. With a good eye for color and a steady hand she adds a tremendous amount of realism and a level of detail well beyond my capabilities. For further proof check the wall on the top photo in the blog and some of the following as well.

And here is a picture of one of her favorite trains.

Friday, October 21, 2011

To FB-1 or not FB-1

The repair shop has tackled another long awaited project, the repair of four Walther's Train Line HO scale Alco FB-1 units. In real life these locomotives were made by Alco in Schnectady NY and sold to various railroads to compete with the EMD F series of locomotives. In HO scale they were offered in several runs by Walther's and at some point the quality assurance people were asleep as the frames of the B-units were bigger than the plastic shell causing the shells to break apart. These frames were so big they would not even fit on the larger shelled A units.Originally having 5 of these locomotives I tried to grind the frame down on the first one about a year ago however the pot metal frame came apart in my hands. So the units were put back on the shelf. While they do run they looked ridiculous so they remained out of service and went to the back of the line. Yesterday was their turn again, Here is how I achieved success
1, Removed shell, not an easy thing to do with the over sized frame.
2. Removed all components from the frame leaving the frame absolutely bare. Pay special attention to drive shafts as one is a bit shorter than the other.
3. Broke out the trusty hacksaw and cut about 1/2" from the front to the frame.
4. Ground all for corners on the grinder. Test fit until shell fits over frame easily.
5. Reassembled  units.  


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turtle Creek Central ?

Turtle Creek Central ?
What happens when you have some brightly painted toy trains that look garish compared to the rest of your rolling stock? Correct, you repaint them so they look more like real trains. Such is the case with four 50' LifeLike Auto Carriers that were originally bright red and yellow. The paint shop was given orders to repaint them in that famous New York Central color, Jade Green, and to decal them for the NYC.
So What happened? First the Krylon jade green while looking good, was not a good match of the many shades of jade green on my rolling stock. Second the decals for this project did not fit the cars.
Now what? After setting the first car aside I went on to other things and accidentally stumbled across some decals for the "Turtle Creek Central" These decals had been included in a Model Railroader magazine several years ago. The TCC is known as the "Route of the Dashing Turtle" which is a play off the L.I.R.R. "The Route of Dashing Dan" The artwork was nice and they would fit the cars. With nothing to lose the first car received decals. I thought they looked good and soon a second car was done. After some careful planning and cutting I was able to decal the final two cars giving me a four car set. Now that I liked the way they looked Kadee couplers and metal wheels were added. Now I have four good looking cars in a more realistic paint scheme(even if the road name is somewhat comical) that run great. Such is the level of prototype modeling that I follow.
The Turtle Creek Central, a subsidiary of the New York Central, now operating in my basement. Thanks Model Railroader Magazine and Jim Kelly, MRR article author.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Refurbished New Haven F7 Diesels

Just out of the shop are this pair of Athearn Super Geared New Haven RR F-7 units. These units are about 20 years old and are the some of the first model trains I owned as an adult. The New Haven was unique in New York in that it had track rights into both Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station. The New Haven later ended up as part of the Penn Central RR with the New York Central and Pennsylvania RR.
These two units have been disassembled, cleaned and lubed. I fabricated a draw-bar that close couples the units together so they look more prototypical when in service. The units received new numbers and the paint was touched up on both. Since my wife and her family are from Connecticut the New Haven is well represented on the layout 

First Message

Welcome to my New York Central Train Layout blog. The purpose of this blog is to document the ongoing saga of my construction of an HO scale train layout in my basement that features predominatly New York Central  trains. I am by no means a NYC RR historian nor am I a prototype modeler. I enjoy model railroading and this layout is more for running trains than operating them.