Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Homemade Track Cleaning Cars

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York Central Train Layout Maintenance of Way Department recently requested additional track cleaning cars. The MOW Dept is seeking to reduce the amount of manual track cleaning needed to keep everything running smoothly with a continuous  routine cleaning by train.

The NYCTL currently has four track cleaning cars on the roster. Walther's 40' boxcars in NH, CSX and UP liveries and a 40' REA boxcar from Rivarossi. While the cars do a decent job cleaning the track they require constant cleaning to keep their pads clean and working well. These cars also create a lot of drag on the engines and should be placed at the front of the train. Right now the purchase price of these types of cars is about $21.00 and a replacement pad about $6.00. Other cars from different manufacturers go from over $100.00 to $50.00.

The NYCTL MOW Dept came up with a cost saving solution that allows the usage of cars currently on the roster and materials currently in stock in the NYCTL warehouse.

A 1&1/16th" x 1&1/4" piece of hardboard mounted on a 1&1/16th" x 2" piece of hardboard and 2  1&1/2" finish nails were all that are required for this project. 
 The top is painted black an the sides will be as well to camouflage the assembly. Two small holes drilled into the car allow the entire assembly to easily move up & down over rail joints, dips, etc.  

Here is the car in the Pacemaker consist 

A Lehigh Valley 40' boxcar sports a track cleaning slider assembly

A Chessie 40' Boxcar with a slider assembly
If you are going to cut and make a mess cut a bunch of replacement pads. This size is an exact fit for the Walther's and Rivarossi cars on the roster.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Old Favorite Is Back on the Layout

Greetings Blog Followers,

As I continue to mull over and refine areas of the layout I identified one specific area that I could improve with a small structure and an improved scene that catches the the viewers eye. A search of available structures and related yielded an old Bachmann Police Station from a previous layout. The building was actually used in an outdoor tank battle with fireworks tanks that shot sparks from the barrels and were propelled by fireworks as well.

Here is the area that I wanted to improve. As an industrial area I wanted a small building but the building was too small to be rail served. Enter the Bachmann building

  Seeing that the building had suffered damage in it's past life it was perfect for playing a neglected structure adjacent the tracks. Since it was fire damaged a fire scene made perfect sense.

Here is how the scene looks from the aisle. Note the fence on the right. I made this with window screen and finish nails. The screen is wired to the nails. The nails need a bit of weather or maybe they'll just rust naturally after awhile.  

 Fork Lift Operator watches along with other workers, Cops and Firemen at the fire scene

Matchbox, Hot Wheels & Maisto Fire Apparatus on the scene 

 Firefighters getting up close and personal battling the smoke and flames

 Rear view of the scene

A Policeman watches from across the street out of the way of the Fireman.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New York Central / Penn Central / EMD E Units call at Empire City Station

Greetings Blog Followers,

Rail fans were treated to an all EMD E unit day on the passenger trains calling at Empire City Station. Seems the New York Central Train Layout train master had several E units available today and assigned them so they would be at the station in succession.

 New York Central E8A #4040 leads a stream lined passenger train out of Empire City Station.

Another shot of #4040 headed out of the station

Next out is New York Central E8A #4088
 NYC E8A #4088 leading an EMD E8A in the Demonstrator paint scheme on point of Train#26

 EMD E8A in the catchy Demonstrator paint scheme. The New York Central Train Layout purchased this engine from EMD and have decided to leave in the original paint scheme 

 Penn Central E8A #4317 in a somber black depicts how the times they were a changing. The above E8A in the demonstrator scheme and New York Central Lightning Stripes reflect the optimism the railroads had for post war passenger rail traffic. The PC unit reflects the sobering reality of late 60's, early 70's passenger train traffic.  

Penn Central E7A #4210

New York Central E8A #4020 leads train #7 into Empire City Station. The #7 was a Mail Express Train carrying bulk mail and an R.P.O. from Chicago to Grand Central Terminal. The Mail and Express trains were profitable for the railroads and helped to offset the huge passenger train deficits they were experiencing due to lack of ridership. Sadly the U.S. Post Office would cancel the mail contracts in 1967. The last active R.P.O. Route was from New York City to Washington D.C. on the Penn Central and the last actual R.P.O. run would take place 10 years later in 1977

 An interesting fact on Mail by Rail is that in the 1980s air congestion and the increased weight of advertising catalogs caused the Post Office to renew shipping bulk mail by rail. Amtrak began carrying mail on many trains and freight trains pulled TOFC cars loaded with mail. In 1993 Amtrak and the USPO introduced RoadRailer Service, special intermodal equipment that could travel on both highway and rail without having to be hoisted onto a flat car. Amtrak stopped carrying mail in 2004 but mail continues to be carried by rail in intermodal service.  


Thursday, August 15, 2013

NYC F7B Coupler Conversion

Greetings Blog Followers,

This past week saw the New York Central Train Layout shop forces and train crews work together to install a Kadee #452 Close Coupling Conversion kit to a Bachmann F7B TWICE!! Here is the story...

The C.E.O. of the N.Y.C.T.L. is a member of a group of world renowned model railroaders who participate in a friendly ONE THING DONE challenge. On the day of the challenge the N.Y.C.T.L. decided on converting a Bachmann F7B with a Kadee #452 kit. Having two Bachmann F7Bs on the roster the train crew quickly delivered #2457 to the shop crews for the conversion which needed to be completed in a single day. The 2457 is a non powered (dummy) unit and will see action in a NYC F7 A-B-B-A consist with the other three units powered. After a judicious amount of filing the shop forces completed the installation and a train crew was summoned to test the locomotive. The B unit was then coupled up between two A units and road tested. The B unit performed flawlessly and the train crew headed to Terminal Yard to pick up NYC powered B unit #2443 to make up the A-B-B-A consist. The train crew then noticed that the 2443 had never been converted with a close coupling kit. OOPS! 

The N.Y.C.T.L. shop crew was notified of the situation and rightly decided that the powered unit should  receive the conversion kit. The entire consist was delivered to the shop and the close coupling conversion kit was then installed on the 2443 and the 2457 reverted back to the factory installed couplers.  


Sunday, August 11, 2013

NY-44 Refrigerator Train

Greetings Blog Followers,

Rail fans at Empire City were treated to an all reefer meat products train this past week that featured 40', 50' and 57' refrigerator cars. Listed in the timetable as NY-44 this train was en route from the Union Stockyards in Chicago to New York City. The train boasts Alco FA-FB-FA units for power.

Rail fans had a pleasant surprise when a freight train going in the opposite direction came into view just after NY-44s caboose exited the camera lens. Led by an EMD SD35 and EMD GP40 the train consisted of 40' boxcars, 40' hi cube boxcars and a 50 footer thrown in for good measure.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Penn Central / New York Central / New Haven Action

Greetings Blog Followers,

Empire City rail fans caught some train action on the "wrong side of the tracks" today. This part of the layout is awaiting completion / modification and is basically the back part of the layout. Not often seen by visitors but some enterprising rail fans made their way there today and filmed the following action.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

40' Boxcar Six Pack

Greetings Blog Followers,

A six pack of custom painted 40' Boxcars has been completed and put into service today. The project consists of six AHM 40' Penn Central boxcars that were purchased years ago. The cars were upgraded with additional weight, body mounted couplers and metal wheel sets. They run well but since starting my fleet painting projects the cars just don't look that good to me anymore. After mulling it around and painting 1 of the cars I decided to just repaint the cars.

The cars are painted with Jade Green rattle can paint and lettered with Microscale Decals. The project took about a week as it took time and copious amounts of Walther's Solvaset for the larger decals to settle in. The cars received a coat of Testor's Dullcote to protect the decals and eliminate the gloss look of the paint.   

The newly painted cars pose on the layout

The newly painted cars make their way to Terminal Yard and their first assignment

Saturday, August 3, 2013

NYC / PC Power Issues

Greetings Blog Followers,

Two recent engine failures have spurred this advisory post. The units involved are both from the Bachmann DCC on Board line, one a New York Central RF16A (Shark Nose) and the other a Penn Central GP38-2.

The Problem: Plastic Coupling on metal shaft that connects the drive shaft to the rear power truck. Seems plastic coupling works it's way free from the smooth metal shaft causing the rear truck to lose power.

Solution:  Place a small dab of gel CA the hole of the coupling and then insert coupling onto metal shaft. Allow to dry and cure overnight.  Reassemble and test.

Misc Notes: In addition to both units being from the Bachmann DCC on Board releases the failures occurred while both units were in multiple unit operation. The RF16A being run in an A-B-A consist of Bachmann DCC on Board Shark units and the GP38-2 being run with a Bachmann DCC on Board GP40.

PC # 8148 being run in consist prior to being sidelined with a disconnected rear coupling  

 NYC RF16A A-B-A consist. The rear unit, RF16A #4173 also suffered coupling failure on the rear truck.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Newly Painted Cars Coming For The NYC & PC

Greetings Blog Followers,

After mulling this over for a few weeks I have decided to repaint six AHM Penn Central 40' boxcars. The cars had previously been upgraded with body mounted Kadee couplers, metal wheels and additional weight. They run and perform well but since I began my repaint program they quite frankly no longer look so good to me. That said it was either relegate them to a life of infrequent use and much shelf time or repaint them and have them for everyday revenue service.

Here is a sample of the cars to be repainted. 

 Here are pictures of the first car repainted and lettered

Weather and time permitting the remaining five will be ready for service very shortly. The cars have been painted and are ready for decals.