Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Friday, December 28, 2012

Daring Daylight Burglary Thwarted

Greetings Blog Followers,

A daring daylight burglary at the Belvedere Hotel was thwarted by the quick response of the Empire City Police and Sheriff Departments. The authorities were tipped off by a local citizen who noticed a man climbing into a top floor room from the rear fire escape. The police quickly responded and confronted the suspect as he exited the building via the rear fire escape. The suspect attempted to flee back into the hotel but quick acting police had already cut off that escape route. A confrontation ensued and the Police and Sheriff Swat Teams both responded and locked down the hotel and parking lot. As the Swat Teams got into position the suspect realized the futility of his situation and surrendered. 

A photo of the suspect as he tries to flee the hotel which has been surrounded by the Police

A Police Commander with bullhorn, lower right, communicates with the suspect as a Swat Team sharp shooter, left,  keeps a trained eye on the suspect. 

Police and Sheriff Departments units blocking off the street while suspect is given a final notice to surrender 
 Police and Onlookers have gathered at the scene. Note sharp shooter on roof at top of picture.

The Hotel is locked down

Police trying herd onlookers from the scene while they conduct business. "Nothing to see here folks, Please move along and cooperate with your Police Department."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Greetings Blog Followers,

From all of us here at the New York Central Train Layout to all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Flexi Van Flat Car

Greetings Blog Followers,

The newest acquisition for my New York Central layout is a Flexi Van car with two Milwaukee Road 40'0 trailers. Just in time for the holiday rush....

N.I.F.X. #7030 with two 40' trailers minus their bogies (wheel assemblies). N.I.F.X. is the reporting marks of General Electric Rail Services.

The current Flexi Van fleet, new car is in the middle of the consist. Flexi Van service was first tested by the New York Central in 1957 as a way to cut costs over regular trailer on flatcar (TOFC) service. Production models arrived on the system in 1958 and handled only 36' trailers. As 40' was becoming the standard length for highway trailers later models carried a 36' and 40' trailer. Cars built from 1961 to 1968 carried 2 40' trailers. The low profile skeleton cars were designed for the clearance restrictions on the N.Y.C. Lighter and lower than standard TOFC cars they proved well suited for high speed operation and many cars were rebuilt so they could move in both passenger and freight  service. Although intended for most types of freight the Flexi-Vans proved very popular for handling mail. Although successful the rapid rise of containers and industry standards for moving trailers on flat cars pushed Flexi Van service into the pages of history.  

Car on left (new addition) is a Mark III Flexi Van car and the Car on the right is a Mark IV

The Flexi Van Fleet await motive power

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Leased Power II

Greetings Blog Followers,

The Holiday Season continues at Empire City with passenger trains heavy with mail and express car, freight is moving at record levels and motive power is running short. Additional leased power has been authorized and the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority as sent over two Long Island Railroad Alco FA units numbered 607. I will need to renumber one of these units eventually. The real LIRR #607 was acquired from the Western Maryland RR and formerly numbered 303 in 1951. It served the LIRR until 2001 when it went to a a private owner. It has been repainted as WM #303. The model trains are from Walther's.

Leased Power put right to work on the New York Central Layout 

LIRR #607 has a fregith train in tow as it passes through Empire City

Empire City Rail fans did a double take as these units passed through Empire City. 

 Another busy day in Empire City.

LIRR FA units head through Empire City under the watchful eye of a brother Alco FA of the home railroad. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 Holiday Season M&E Trains

Greetings Blog Followers,

The Holiday Season is in full swing and trains coming and going from Empire City Station are laden with head end cars full of bulk mail and express packages. Here are some short videos recently captured by local rail fans at Empire City Station.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Walther's Trainline FA Issues

Greetings Blog Followers, today is 12-12-12.

For the 2012 Holiday season increased passenger and freight movement has left my New York Central trains short on motive power. Fortunately neighboring railroads have been able to lease us some power by the hour. The Lehigh Valley sent over an Alco FA-FB-FA  lash up. Road crews reported problems with the units right out of the gate as the B unit was making a grinding sound and one A unit had structural damage. While the above is a 1/87th scale story the facts on the locomotives are quite true. Follow along as I once again tackle the issues of another set of Walther's Trainline FA/FB units.

Lehigh Valley Alco FA-FB-FA units made by Walther's as part of their Trainline offerings

Note rear of A unit where shell has split

The A unit on right is from the first release that came with horn hook couplers. This unit has had no issues since the 1990s when I first received it.
 This A unit is from a later release with scale knuckle couplers. The frames grew quite a bit from one release to another.

The B unit had a grinding noise that was an easy fix. The motor twisted just a bit under power and caused the universal to hit the frame. Some small strips of foam added to the sides of the motor corrected this.

 Here is the B unit frame. This frame had received a trip to the grinder last year to have the frame size reduced enough so that the shell would no longer split.

This frame was so large that the original coupler mounting holes were ground away during the shortening process. A Kadee coupler box has been installed.

The A unit frame that is in need of size reduction

The front of the A unit frame

Here is the frame completely stripped of motor, wheels, trucks etc

A view inside the frame

Bottom view. Note the coupler mounting pads on each end and the screw holes for each. The frame on the above B unit was so much bigger than the shell that the frame needed to ground down past the screw holes for the shell to fit without splitting.
 The working parts of the A unit. Note that I marked the motor and circuit board circuit board for easy reassembly.

Frame gets ready to meet grinder. Safety equipment such as eye protection is strongly recommended for this step and metal shavings will be flying off the frame. 

The newly ground frame. Fortunately the frame did not need as much material removed as the above B unit frame.

Front view of the newly ground A unit frame

Here are the units reassembled and back in service. The newly repaired A unit is in the lead. Note the Lehigh Valley boxcar to the right, talk about product placement ;)

The Lehigh Valley FA-FB FA units once again in revenue service

Here is the newly repaired A unit. The shell corners were glued and all seems to working well.

The B unit is now as quiet as a mouse after the foam was added to the motor sides.

LV 538 on point of a 50 car coal train. Doing what he is meant to do. 
   In review the Walther's Trainline units are now back in service and running smoothly. The later release units did require some work to repair the manufacturer defects that may be beyond the skill level of some modelers. Walther's continues to offer these units for sale and they are reasonably priced power for DC layouts. A bit sparse on the details but the are heavy and mostly run well. A good way to avoid the models with the frame problems is to closely look at the models. If the rear door is bulging outward than this is a unit with a frame problem.
 If you are tackling the frame problems yourself with a bench grinder as I did be aware that the metal used for the frame can easily break apart so go slowly and steadily. I know this because I broke the first one I tried to fix a few years back.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Leased Power

Greetings Blog Followers,
Due to overwhelming freight and passenger demands the New York Central fleet has been stretched thin. A recent coal train needed leased power from my son and my lovely wife who so graciously allowed her lone locomotive to assist in getting this train to it's destination....

The Grinch himself leads an A-A-B-A lash up of leased power on the NYC layout

The coal train crossing the Empire City station tracks on the high line. An A-A-A lash up of recently painted PC and PRR units look on.  

The Grinch loco is a Bachmann unit that is quite heavy, has eight wheel drive and a good runner and puller. 

The Grinch himself rides to the rescue

With the strength of 10 Grinches, Plus 2

 Whoville sure looks different today!!

 The Grinch has certainly earned his place at the Christmas feast where he himself will carve the roast beast. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

New Building for Industrial Area

Greetings Blog Followers,
The last few weeks have been spent working on a new building for my industrial area. The building is built with Design Preservation Models (D.P.M.) modular walls. The building is specifically for this and features a rail siding and truck loading / unloading dock. The building is not yet named but I hope to remedy that shortly. Here are a few pictures of the newest layout addition.....