NYC ALCO FA / FB Units

NYC ALCO FA / FB Units
Custom Painted P-2000 units

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Burlington Northern rolls through Empire City

Greetings Blog Followers,

A trio of engines from the newly formed Burlington Northern Railroad rolled through Empire City recently with a unit grain train. The locomotives leading the train were 2 SD40-2s and 1 GP38-2. All three are Athearn BB products that have been hard wired and have KD couplers added. The second SD40-2 in the lash up has an HLCX patch on the cab side. The Covered Hoppers are from Accurail, Athearn, Atlas and IHC. All cars have been upgraded with metal wheels and body mounted couplers where appropriate.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New York Central T.O.F.C.

Greetings Blog Followers,

A recent agreement between the Santa Fe and New York Central has led to the inauguration of a transcontinental T.O.F.C. that will run between Los Angeles CA and New York City. The train will feature run through power from both railroads, priority scheduling and limited stops for fuel or engine change and crew change.

This NYC / ATSF will been known under symbols Transcon1 (east to west) and Transcon2 (west to east. The train will also feature both standard T.O.F.C. flatcars and the newer style Impac Cars.




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Sunday, October 27, 2013

New York Central Freight heads across the E.C. Viaduct

Greetings Blog Followers,

A busy weekend here on the New York Central Train Layout. The mighty Pennsylvania Railroad has been rumbling through Empire City utilizing their temporary track rights. Rail fans have been out in droves catching the action. Today the New York Central answers back to remind everyone who's tracks these are.

New York Central GP20s with assistance from ATSF GP20 head into Empire City with a train load of automobiles, 86' auto parts cars and TOFC trailer flats. Locomotives are from P-2000. Cars are from Athearn, Bachmann, Life Like and an Atlas Caboose brings up the rear. The Turtle Creek Central 50' Auto carriers are Life Like products that have been custom painted and lettered.

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A trio of New York Central GP30s haul another auto parts train utilizing 60' Boxcars and 3 steel coil cars through Empire City. Locomotives are by Bachmann Spectrum and were custom painted and lettered. Cars are from Walther's and IHC and an Athearn BB brings up the rear..

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The above two trains have been re blocked and are now headed through Empire City towards either Terminal Yard or their consignee within the Empire City District. The auto carriers and TOFC cars are being unloaded at North Side Yard. These cars will make up a hotshot Detroit bound train rumbling through Empire City towards the Motor City with the next 24 hours.    

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Pennsylvania Railroad invades Empire City

Greetings Blog Followers,

Track work on the Pennsylvania Railroad last weekend led to the Pennsy receiving track rights over the New York Central Train Layout into and out of Empire City's North Side Yard. Railfan caught the following action;

A trio Pennsylvania Railroad GP9m' s lead a priority freight train consisting of 40' Merchandise Service Boxcars and the famous PRR 40' X29s. The engines are from Walther's. Merchandise Service cars are from various manufacturers and the X29s are from Walther's. The caboose is an Athearn BB model.

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2 Pennsylvania Railroad GP30s and 1 GP35 lead another PRR freight train with two T.O.F.C. flats in teh mix. Engines are from Bachmann, Cars are from various manufacturers. Caboose is an Athearn model. 

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Close up view of the PRR Geeps


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Monday, October 21, 2013

Container Chassis Build Complete

Greetings Blog Followers,

The 8 Walther's Extendable Container Chassis kits I purchased have now been built, painted and ready for service. The chassis is a generic model of a common prototype found in service through out the Country.

Longer and heavier containers introduced in the 1980's led to the need for new railroad equipment and new types of chassis for moving containers by truck. Most containers up to this point were 20' or 40'. New containers however were being built in 45' and 48' lengths. To overcome the need to build a suitable chassis for each 40', 45' and 48' container the extendable container chassis was developed. This saved the railroads both money and space. No need to buy a fleet in each length and have a fleet ready to go at each terminal.

The Walther's model is a pretty straight forward build with decent directions, a good drawing and parts diagram. The kits are basic plastic with rubber tires and metal axles. The frame castings left a bit to be desired and required a good amount of sanding to remove unnecessary ridges and parting lines. Failure to adequately sand the frames will lead to a leaning chassis.

Below are the 8 new chassis in service and ready to receive the incoming containers.   


 The 2 20' containers will be mounted on 20' containers spotted further up the track.


Yard Tractors are moving the chassis to spot them adjacent to the the rail car carrying the container destined for the chassis. The spotting of right chassis adjacent the right rail car / container is an important function of the Terminal Intermodal Service Workers*(see below)


8 Chassis in 4 colors adds a nice variety to the terminal.  


An Athearn BB Conrail SW 1500 brings a short stack train into the North Side Yard. The car behind the engine is a Gunderson 48' Husky Stack and also an old Athearn BB product. 


*For model railroading purposes the placing of chassis around the terminal and next to a train / container is an excellent way to model the intermodal container train to truck interface. On Intermodal Ramps Intermodal Service Workers or ISWs are responsible for the lifting of the containers, the movement of containers within  the ramp boundaries, the marrying of the right container to the right chassis and the recording of said marriage. Agreements between container companies and chassis fleet owners vary so not every container can go on every chassis of the appropriate size. JB Hunt Containers are the easiest as they ship only on a JB Hunt chassis.

A long double stack container train arriving at an Intermodal Ramp and the ensuing action are basically poetry in motion when done right. Once the train is safe to work, blue flag protected and switches locked an ISW groundsman (a tough job) will mount the train and begin to unlock the inter box connectors used to hold the upper and lower containers together. Using a computer in the ISW yard tractor a senior ISW will assign the other ISWs in their team the task of finding the right chassis in the storage yards and spotting it next to the appropriate rail car. As the containers are removed from the train and placed on the waiting chassis the truck operators will begin to remove the container chassis combo from the ramp noting the lower container in the well.. The groundsman meanwhile is removing the IBCs from the lower container and storing them on the rail car.The combo is then parked and the spot recorded. The operator then returns to the ramp with an empty chassis for the remaining container in the rail car. When all containers to be removed have been unloaded the truck operators finish parking the container chassis combos. At this point the train and ramp are ready to switch to outbound.

Starting at one end the operators will find the outbound containers in the parking area(s) and place them adjacent the receiving rail car. The crane operator lifts the container into or onto the rail car and proceeds along the train lifting and placing the waiting containers. The groundsman follows along inserting the IBCS. Empty chassis are removed and the next process starts all over again for the upper containers. The groundsman then goes the entire train and locks all the IBCs.

These trains are usually on a very tight schedule and all efforts are made to ensure the departure is on time even if the train was a late arrival at the terminal ramp.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New York & Atlantic RR GP38s spotted in Empire City

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York & Atlantic RR enjoys trackage rights on the New York Central Train Layout. Recently two of the NY&A's GP38s were spotted operating between Terminal Yard and the newly opened North Side Yard. 




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Saturday, October 12, 2013

New Haven Transfer Freight

Greetings Blog Followers,

Rail fans at the recently opened North Side Yard caught this transfer freight from the New Haven RR behind a NH SDP40 and EL SD45. Both locomotives are Athearn Blue Box models. The New Haven SDP40 was "hardwired" and runs extremely well. The Erie Lackawanna SD45 was custom painted in the Bicentennial livery.

New Haven transfer freight enters New York Central Train Layout track

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 The Transfer freight passes through a NYCTL industrial district

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NH transfer freight enters Empire City

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 Transfer freight heads through downtown Empire City

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NH transfer freight enters North Side Yard

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New Haven engines and caboose leave North side yard "caboose light". Union agreements allow for transfer of freight from one railroad's yard to another railroad's yard. The delivering railroad however cannot pick up freight at the delivery yard and must return to home rails with engines and caboose.


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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Build a Simple Freight Car Kit

Greetings Blog Followers,

I recently built an Accurail Burlington Northern 40' Double Door Boxcar kit and thought I'd share some helpful hints on the build and some easy improvements that will make the car a better runner and much more durable.

The Accurail BN boxcar shell is a basic one piece affair with molded on ladders, grab irons and stirrups. The shell has received a coat of Testor's Dullcote to knock down the shine.  

The boxcar floor with weight attached using double sided foam tape. The couplers are checked against the Kadee Height Gauge and the weight is verified easily.  

Close up of frame. Metal wheels have been substituted for the plastic wheels included with the kit.The metal wheels have been weathered with a burnt umber acrylic paint 

Underside view showing completed assembly which includes separate brake components, truck and couplers. Note the coupler boxes and trucks are secured to the frame with 2-56 screws instead of the pressure pins included with the kit. This simple upgrade, while not mandatory, make this car much more rugged and durable. I have found over the years that the coupler box pressure pins tend to loosen during operation and cause the coupler to sag. This has resulted in unwanted separations and derailments. The pressure pins holding the truck to the frame also loosen up and cause the car to wobble unnecessarily.     

The completed car is checked against the height gauge to verify that the added shell has not caused the couplers to droop.
 The brake wheel included with the kit is a bit primitive and comes molded in black. I painted it Kelly Green. Not a great match but better that the black.



Monday, October 7, 2013

First Train action at North Side Yard

Greetings Blog Followers,

Rail fans were on hand to record the first train action into and out of the newly operational North Side Yard. While the yard still has some work to be completed it can receive and forward rail cars and engines.

A New York Central FA-FB-FA lash up leads a reefer train into North Side Yard. Cars are destined for the Grocery Warehouse / Distribution Center.

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 A trio of PC Geeps lead a freight train past North Side Yard

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New York & Atlantic GP38s arrive at North Side with tank cars in tow.

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 New York & Atlantic Light engines rolling by.

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