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.