Custom Painted P-2000 units

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pacemaker Freight and Early Bird Service

The New York Central System introduced it's "Pacemaker" freight trains in 1946. Named after the Central's high-speed New York to Chicago "Pacemaker" passenger train the service was skillfully marketed and aimed at recapturing L.C.L. (Less than Carl Load) traffic. The "Pacemaker" trains featured distinctive specially designed boxcars painted in a flashy vermillion and gray livery with "Pacemaker" written on the sides in script. The cars were equipped with high speed trucks that used stabilizers and bolsters to reduce incidents of in-transit damage. As "Pacemaker" service expanded the box car fleet grew to 1,000 cars.

The "Pacemaker" fast freights originally operated on an 11 hour schedule from Manhattan to Buffalo / Niagra Falls. Carrying the symbol NB-1 the "Pacemaker" left Manhattan at 7:45 PM and arrived at Buffalo 6:50 AM the following morning.  By 1950 "Pacemaker Service" reached most Mid-Western cities within the Central's service region.

In 1954 the New York Central introduced the "Early Bird" trains aimed at recapturing carload traffic through improved scheduling. New York to Chicago service was promised in just 29 hours, "on time a day earlier" than previous trains. A cartoon bird dressed in an engineer's cap and carrying a pocket watch was featured on the sides of some of the "Early Bird" freight cars.

On my train layout Empre City has been included in the expanded "Pacemaker" freight service and the "Early Bird" service. The New York Central's Terminal Yard train master often combines both the "Pacemaker" and "Early Bird" freights into one hotshot train when possible and gets them across this division with time to spare. Take a look as this train runs across the upper level of my layout through Empire City. Also beware of the Sharks that have come swimming into the city.


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