Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prestage Tool & Gear

Greetings Blog Followers, I recently added a refurbished building to my New York Central Train Layout.. I believe the kit is from Pola but I do not remember it's original title on the box. I built the kit about 20 years ago and modified it a bit with the hoist location and raised foundation. I was looking for a small industrial building to tuck in next to the overpass and this building fit the scene perfectly. I was looking through my parts box and found some pallets with gears that I had also made a long time ago from a broken alarm clock. A check of my printed backdrop buildings and signs courtesy of Tomkat-13 on the Model railroader forums and I found the Prestage Tool & Gears signs. Seemed like a perfect match so the signs were applied and the building now occupies this site.

Prestage Tool & Gear at it's new location and open for business 

Track side view

Two workers talk it over as they wait for the local train to arrive.

Both agree the new site is a vast improvement over their old location.  

A customer gets ready to load up his truck with a recent purchase


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Highway Overpass Opens

Greeting Blog Followers, The motorists entering and leaving Empire City are celebrating a new overpass and approach that will drastically reduce their commuting time. Construction is finally complete and both cars and trucks can  into and out of the busy industrial and downtown areas of Empire City.     

The new overpass and approach curves behind Prestage Tool & Gear. This is a recently refurbished older model building and will be the subject of my next blog entry.

Traffic is heavy over the double main line and siding

Truck traffic is heavy making heading into Empire City

A view under the overpass

Looking down the line

The fauna and flora of the area

The Bomb Squad Truck enters Empire City

Getting to street level

A steady of flow of traffic entering and leaving the city.

A busy industrial setting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quick Inexpensive Coal Loads

Greetings Blog Followers,

I have been going through some of my rolling stock and noticed (again) that I have quite a few older hopper cars without coal loads. I even have a recently purchased P-1000 Penn Central Hopper car in need of a load. I brought the car to my local hobby shop and attempted to purchase a cast coal load to no avail. Seems the company that made the loads for this particular car, an older Life Like tooling was either bought out or went out of business. The hopper cars are mostly $1.00 and $2.00 cars that I bought a long time ago,  came across in the used section of an old hobby shop or were given to me. This being the case I did not want to spend $8.00 for a pair of cast loads for a $1.00 car.

As luck would have it I was recently wandering through a Michael's Craft Store when I came upon a product called Decorative Sand. It is black in color, comes in a decent sized plastic bag and cost under $5.00. Right away I thought voila new coal loads. So I bit the bullet and purchased a bag. Here are the results from the first batch.

The now loaded P-1000 PC Hopper Car

 Side view of PC Car

Southern 4327 with new load. This is an old IHC car that I bought for $2.00 many moons ago.

BN 542309 is another old $2.00 IHC car. Both this car and the Southern had been converted to body mounted knuckle couplers a long time ago but with their light weight and no decent looking coal load they languished in storage for years. Now they can ride the rails and are in line for replacement metal wheels.

Top view of homemade load in a 40' Bachmann Quad Hopper.

 Comparison shot of molded plastic loads on bottom and new homemade load on top

For a quick and easy installation I cut corrugated cardboard to fit tightly against the sides and the slopes. I then dull coated the cars which also sealed the cardboard. I then added white glue, sprinkled in the decorative sand and shaped to fit the car. I drizzled a little alcohol and then more white glue diluted with water and some dish washing soap. 

While the sand adds some much needed weight modelers can hide additional weight if needed under the cardboard. Weight was added to the two IHC cars above in this manner.  

So far seventeen cars have received these coal loads. I still have about a half a bag of the sand left so the cost was definitely well worth it for me. I glad to have taken cars that never saw the light of day and given them a spot in the roster so they are now in revenue service. Yes they will be forever loaded but I have many more cars that have cast loads that can run loaded or empty. But remember these seventeen cars were in dire need of the extra weight of the load and the added wight under the load to be reliable runners.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Closer coupling for Bachmann Amfleet Cars

Greetings Blog Followers,
I have noticed that me Bachmann Amfleet coaches couple up with a pretty big distance between the cars. While some clearance is needed so the cars can negotiate the curves on my layout the current spacing really does not look good to me. In examining in the cars I ascertained that 3 cars have talgo mounted couplers (couplers attached to the trucks) and two cars have body mounted couplers. The large spacing is the fault of the talgo mounted couplers. These cars originally came with the old horn-hook couplers and were converted many years ago to knuckle couplers by using Bachmann easy mates mounted in the original coupler mounting holes like the horn hook couplers. This causes the knuckle coupler to protrude a fair distance from the body resulting in the extra space between the cars. I came up with a quick fix by removing the couplers and cutting of the coupler mounting pin. I then placed the knuckle coupler further back into the mounting arm  leaving just enough clearance for the knuckle to swing back and forth. I then drilled a new hole and secured the coupler with a 2-56 screw. Here are some before and after pictures.
The car on the left has body mounted couplers while the car on the right has the talgo style couplers. Notice how far the coupler shaft protrudes from the talgo mounted car.

Here are two cars with the couplers repositioned. Much closer, looks better and operates fine on 22" curves

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's that time again

Greetings Blog Followers,
It's that time again when the locomotives and rolling stock move forward from the New York Central years, New York Central  / Penn Central years to the Penn Central / Amtrak / Conrail years. Right now I still have a good number of NYC equipment on the tracks but as the month progresses the NYC equipment will be cleaned up and stored for a bit giving some of my other rolling stock some layout time. Here are a few photos of the equipment changes;

Penn Central E-33 # 4605 leads a disabled Amtrak E60 into Empire City Station 

Flank Shot of PC E-33 #4605 as it passes through the grade crossing
 Amtrak E60 #951 being led into station. This is an older Bachmann unit that ran poorly at best and has since been de-powered.

Amtrak F40PH #209 and Penn Central F-7A #1802 idle away while awaitng clearance to depart Empire City Station. 209 is a Spectrum model and 1802 is a train set Bachmann with a pancake motor. The unit has been de-powered, stripped and painted in PC livery.  

PC 1802 recently painted in PC livery and de-motored. The unit will see much more run time now.

Conrail B23-7s 1908 & 1991 lead a four unit consist wiuth NYC fantasy paint scheme B23-7 in the rear.

Penn Central U30Cs on point of an upper level freight train. An Erie Lackawanna SD-45 in special Bicentennial paint scheme and an Amtrak B40-8 idle on the siding.

A PC E-33 led Amtrak train enters the station. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What a neighborhood !!

Here is a very short movie of some of my city scenes complimented by the comedy of Rodney Dangerfield.