Custom Painted P-2000 units

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Addtions

Greetings Blog Followers,

New York Central Train Layout Management made the following recent acquisitions at a local hobby shop;

 Roundhouse Western Pacific 40' boxcar, Roundhouse Southern Pacific 40' boxcar, Athearn BB Denver & Rio Grand Western 40' Hi Cube boxcar and a City Classics Penn Ave tile front building.

WP #1953 will join the fleet and be converted to a track cleaning car

SP #163113 will also join the fleet as a track cleaning car.

D&RGW #67422 has joined the fleet and is now in revenue service. Kadee #47 couplers and Intermountain metal wheels were added.

102 Penn Ave building was purchased by the real estate division to diversify the layouts portfolio.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

FM, No Static At All

Greetings Blog Followers,

Today's Blog title, FM, no static at all, is borrowed from the lyrics of the Steely Dan classic song FM. For our purposes the FM stands for Fairbanks Morse, a diesel locomotive builder from 1939 to 1963. The last US locomotive was sold in 1958. The company is still in business today and continues making diesel engines for ships among other things..

On the New York Central Train Layout passenger service was temporarily suspended due to snow and ice covering much of the country. Mail and Express trains were the first to roll on the layout powered by Fairbanks Morse (FM) H16-44s  Four major railroads passed through Empire City Station.

The NYCTL fleet of H-16 44s are all from the Bachmann Spectrum line. The New York Central units were custom painted. The NH, PRR and B&O are factory painted. The units have proven themselves to be quite rugged with the NH, PRR and B&O units entering 20 years of faithful service. The NYC units have about 5 years of service.  

B&O #926 and #927 pose at Empire City Station. The B&O operated their H16-44s long hood forward.

B&O and New Haven Fairbanks Morse H16-44s idle side by side. NH ran their H16-44s short hood forward. A NYC train sits on track #3 

Some of the variety of Mail and Express cars seen at Empire City Station. Each M&E train has at least one track cleaning car

B&O, NYC, NH/PC and PRR trains at Empire City Station.

A B&O Hi-Cube 40' box on the rear of the B&O train. Two REA trailers on flatcar (TOFC) on rear of NH/PC train. Custom painted NYC H16-44s on point of NYC train. PRR M&E cars pulling out of station. 

Pennsylvania Rail Road H16-44s #8810 and # 8815 lead the way out of Empire City. PRR operated their H16-44s long hood forward.

The PRR units heading for the Empire City tunnel

The B&O and NH units occupy tracks 1 and 2

The New Haven is first out. The white building mock up is the Empire City Station Post Office bulk mail handling facility.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

NYC #2103 Joins the Fleet

Greetings Blog Followers,

Ever have one of those model railroad projects that seem simple enough to accomplish and turn out to be a lot more than you originally bargained for? Say hello to the newest addition to the New York Central Train Layout fleet, EMD GP20 #2103 who was recently that project.

The prototype EMD GP20 was a turbocharged 2000 horsepower unit with the reliable 567 engine that debuted in 1959. The basic logic behind the GP20 was that  three modern GP20s could do the job of four antiquated 1500 horsepower units. On the NYC and later the PC the GP20s were mainline power into the early 1970s. After introduction of the EMD 2000 horsepower GP38 the PC began to perform "turbo lobotomies" removing the costly turbo charger and replacing it with 645 engine parts and paper air filters.

Owning two Proto 2000 NYC GP20s, #6107 & 6109, from the 1990s, I sought to add a third NYC GP20 to the fleet. About a year ago I was able to purchase a new in the box P-2000 NYC GP20 numbered 6107 from a fellow modeler. Excellent so far, I would just have to renumber the locomotive, while keeping the majority of the paint scheme intact. Upon receiving the locomotive the first thing I noticed was that the frame was wrong. It was not for a GP20 but for a high hood unit. Next I noticed some missing parts like the fireman / conductors cab door. Further inspection found that this frame was not of the same release period as my GP20s, but from a prior release period, showing different style wheels, electronics and frame. If anyone is a Proto 2000 owner the original boxes were I think gold and the next wave was blue. The locomotive should have been in a blue box. I contacted the seller who offered that he had purchased the item at a train show and never actually removed it from the box. He voluntarily and promptly refunded my money, minus shipping, and told me to keep the locomotive.

A test of the locomotive showed that it ran well but at a much faster speed than my original 2 NYC GP20s due the different electronics package. Of course the prerequisite Proto 2000 cracked axle gear syndrome was present. So I took everything apart and grinded the frame down to accommodate a low nose unit. The gears were fixed and everything was put back together. So the engine ran well but did not consist with the 2 GP20s already on the roster. What to do? Wait, I have a P-2000 ATSF GP20 that I received as a gift many moons ago! If I swap frames then I can move this project forward. So in the end that is what happened.

Next up was a small repainting of the cab sides, renumbering and replacing the cab door. Here are the results.

NYC GP20 #2103has received Penn Central style numbers, a new cab door and a Nathan M5 horn. Note the blue coupler boxes from the ATSF GP20

2103 on point of the sought after three unit GP20 lash up.  

The NYC GP20s were originally in the 6100 series (6100 to 6112) and were renumbered to the 2100 series (2100-2112) as part of the readying for the Penn Central merger.

NYC GP20 #2103 rides tall and proud

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Neal's Lumber, Hardware, Storm Supplies.

Greetings Blog Followers,

As most of the country is dealing with snow and ice a tribute to my frozen friend in the tundra of Northern New Jersey seems appropriate. He is a man with more snow plow time clearing his driveway than most Highway Departments. I think his local Highway Department is actually jealous of him because each time he clears out his driveway a Highway Department truck comes by and plows the snow back blocking him in. This snow plow waltz has gone on for several days now and fans of Neal M are cheering him on.

On the New York Central Train Layout Neal's Lumber and Hardware has become the place to go for snow blowers, generators, shovels, ice melt etc. 

A car load of lumber is spotted in the yard adjacent a container with snow removal equipment.

So far it's business as usual at Neal's Lumber and Hardware

An intermodal train has recently arrived in Empire City and the containers destined for Neal's Lumber and Hardware are arriving. 

A sign telling everyone that Snow Blowers, Ice Melt, Shovels are now available has been posted. Note Neal's personal snow plow parked to the right

 Sir Neal Himself checks the traffic from the office. Neal's will be offering free delivery and 10% discounts to all Train Lifers. Promo code TL2014 Tell them you saw it here.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Removal Special

Greetings Blog Followers,

The State Department of Transportation requested assistance in moving it's snow removal equipment from the southern portion of the state, which is unaffected to the northern part which is being walloped with snow and ice. With roads covered with snow and ice moving the equipment by highway would have been perilous at best. The management of the New York Central Train Layout jumped right in to help solve the transportation problem putting together a Snow Removal Special.

The Snow Removal Special on it's way to Empire City. Two New York Central GP20s are the power and a snow plow has been placed at the front of the consist

Heavy equipment including bull dozers, front end loaders, snow plows with salt spreaders are loaded up and on the move. 

A road grader, some more front end loaders, a fuel truck and some supply trucks. 

Highway Department trucks, covered hoppers with sand and tank cars with diesel fuel.

Two more covered hoppers with sand and a NYC caboose brings up the rear.

The Snow Removal Special arrives at Empire City North Side Yard. After a crew change the train will be of again.  

Snow Removal Special heading for Empire City

Snow Removal Special arriving at Empire City's North Side Yard.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wonder Bread Plant

Greetings Blog Followers,

Many many moons ago on a different layout at a different home I purchased and built two Walther's Red Wing Milling kits. One was built in the standard fashion with four side and a roof. The second was built as a building flat to place behind the first kit. At the time, thankfully, I only applied lettering to the standard kit.

Fast forward ten years, a new home and a new layout and the Walther's Red Wing Milling "Flat" had still to be named. As I am trying to incorporate some operations on the New York Central Train Layout it became obvious that trying to figure out the incoming and outgoing rail traffic to an industry without an identity was proving to be impossible for me. Then one day while communicating with Neal M. via I sent him a picture of the building and asked him if he had any suggestions. Being a fellow New York native he responded back almost immediately "Wonder Bread". You see Wonder Bread was at one time rail served and was located in Jamaica, Queens near the Long Island Rail Road's busy Jamaica Station. An iconic building and a product from our youth it was the perfect name for the era and building. Neal sent me several links about the building including a link for signs. The more I read the more I liked.

The management of the New York Central Train Layout proudly announces it's newest on line customer....
"Wonder Bread"

Here is a 2012 view of the building flat in need of a name and identity

Here is the building with new signs One of the things I learned when researching rail customers served with covered hoppers is that the as built building needed a way to unload the covered hoppers.   

Here is the beginning stages of a simple covered hopper unloading spot. Note the 1/87th scale Neal M supervising the project

A look at the receiving spot for covered hoppers. For those unfamiliar with the process, covered hoppers are loaded from the top at the spot on the left. To unload, hoses are attached to control valves at the bottom of the car and the contents are basically vacuumed from the car. Note the 1/87th scale Neal M. has taken to the loading dock overhang to get a better over all view of the Empire City Train action.

A close up shot of the receiving spot for covered hoppers. Four hoses, a main trunk line that connects with the necessary machinery and tanks via underground piping. The fence is placed to prevent accidental spills from spreading out to the main lines.

 1/87th scale Neal M takes a look at the receiving spot. Seeing the amount of spilled grain and flour he is thankful that the containment fence was installed.

Custom painted New York Central H-16-44s deliver the first load to the new covered hopper receiving spot.

 1/87th scale Neal M checks out the new ladder for Wonder Bread Plant workers to get from the loading / unloading dock platform to the covered hopper hoses

Covered hoppers lined up for delivery /removal from the newly operational Wonder Bread Plant 

Cars being moved under the watchful eye of 1/87th scale Neal M. While the crew is somewhat nervous under Neal M's watchful eye they are also thankful for his efforts in getting this building to be a good online customer. 


Saturday, February 8, 2014

U-Boats Lead Auto Parts Train

Greetings Blog Followers,

This week a local Empire City rail fan caught an Auto Parts train detouring through Empire City Station behind 3 New York Central GE U-Boats. The NYC was a big buyer of the U-Boat purchasing the U25B, U-28B and U-30-B in large numbers. The U-Boat nickname was derived from GE releasing the locomotive as it's "Universal Series".

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reefer Madness

Greetings Blog Followers,

This past week with all the cold weather and snow seemed like a good idea to get the reefer fleet out and run them while cleaning their wheels and track with my track cleaning cars. The reefer fleet shown in the below two videos encompasses from the days of wood side express and standard reefers through the 1980 Conrail 359020 57' Mechanical Refrigerator. The consists are not historically accurate but hey this is my railroad.

Four New York Central EMD FTs are using all of their combined 5,400 HP to muscle this reefer train consisting of 40' standard  reefers and 50' express reefers.

A Lehigh Valley Alco FA-FB-FA  consist lugs a string of 50' and 57' refrigerator cars through Empire City Station..  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New York Central F7 A-B-B-A Conversion

Greetings Blog Followers,

You knew this wouldn't take long. My New York Central Bachmann Plus F7 A-B-B-A consist was sent into the shop to have the close coupling kits removed. These units have been on the roster for about 20 years. The conversion was a simple matter using 2-56 screws and crafting some draw bars from IHC passenger car couplers.

The newly converted A-B-B-A consist takes a curve.

A close up of the B units

The consist on the curve

The NYC F7 A-B-B-A consist in action