Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, March 29, 2014

NYSW B40-8s Make A Guest Appearance

Greetings Blog Followers,

A trio of New York Susquehanna and Western (NYSW) General Electric B40-8s have made a guest appearance on the New York Central Train Layout using the time honored model railroader time warp..

The models; NYSW 4002, 4006 and 4008 (renumbered from 4006) are Walther's Train Line products. Walther's sold only the 4002 and 4006 numbers. I have owned them for about 15 years and they have not had much run time since I started focusing on the late New York Central early Penn Central period (with exceptions from time to time). Originally and again today they run smoothly right out of the box. When purchased the units came with horn hook couplers and sparse details. I have added number boards and Kadee couplers.  

The Prototype; The NYSW acquired a total of four General Electric B40-8 units built in June 1988 and purchased under order number 1415N. The units were number 4002, 4004, 4006, 4008. The units were painted in the attractive NYSW "Yellow Jacket" paint scheme with a black SUSQUEHANNA on the long hood. The B40-8 or Dash 8-40B was built for high speed intermodal service boasting 4,000 horsepower. It was (is?) the most powerful 4 axle freight diesel built in the United States. The B40-8 is also the basis for the P40, P42 passenger engines. These four units worked for NYSW through the late 1980s, 1990s and into the 21st Century. They soldier on with the Providence Worcester RR.

The NYSW had a total of twenty four B40-8s on the roster, all painted in the Yellow Jacket paint scheme. All twenty four engines, 4002 through 4048, were numbered in even numbers only.The original four, 4002, 4004, 4006, 4008 were purchased by the NYSW. The remaining twenty, 4010 through 4048, were built in April 1988 and purchased with financing from CSX to operate stack trains. At the time NYSW was temporarily operating the D&H and stack trains were run over the Conrail Southern Tier via D&H track rights. When CP took over the D&H the track rights were lost and these twenty units went back to CSX where they soldier on today.

The last yellow jacketed B40-8 was the NYSW 4006 (P&W 4003) which remained in the original paint until December 2006 at which time it was repainted in P&W colors

NYSW B40-8s travel through Empire City via New York Central Train Layout track rights.

Passing 102 Penn Ave on left which is still under construction.

Looking good heading through downtown Empire City 

A close up of the trio with 4002 in the lead

Built to haul "Stack Trains" The NYSW B40-8s are comfortably doing what they were designed to do. 

The tail end of the intermodal or "Stack Train" features some Containers with chassis riding TOFC style 

3 diesels, two single well cars and the front of an APC 5 car set. Well cars come as singles, three car sets and five car sets.

The rear on the train on the famous Empire City viaduct 

NYSW B40-8s in action

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A.T.S.F. #49277 Joins The Fleet

Greetings Blog Followers,

A used ATSF #49277, a 50' plug door boxcar has joined the fleet.  The model is a Tyco products Brown Box 339-A. The car was sold by Tyco from in the 1970s through the early 90s.

The car has been upgraded with body mounted knuckle couplers, metal wheel sets, a new brake wheel and a coat of Dullcote. The under frame and weight were cleaned and spray painted flat black. I find that painting the weights inhibits rust from forming and keeps the car in much better shape.

The prototype 50' boxcar had tight fitting plug doors to keep out dirt, dust and moisture. These cars could carry canned goods, paper products and other fragile loads. 50' plug door boxcars still ply the rails today earning revenue and transporting all kinds of products. This car is classified as Plate C, 70 ton boxcar with a 220,000 lb gross rail load.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thrall All Door Boxcar GBW #54 Joins The Fleet part 2

Greetings Blog Followers,

A follow up to yesterday's post on the Thrall All Door Boxcar, GBW #54, joining the fleet. Last night I took a closer look at the newest addition, the GBW 54 already on the roster and the Delson Lumber Thrall All Door Boxcar. Some interesting items were noted.

Paint: The newest GBW 54 is on the right. Both units are factory painted yellow over yellow plastic. The new car on the right has a thicker coat as the light does not glow through it as it does the second car. Never noticed that until now. Older GBW 54 will head off to the paint shop and have it's interior painted.   

Delson Lumber Company, HTCX 329, is also a Life Like Thrall All Door Car.  

New GBW 54 sports what looks like a Bettendorf Double Truss Truck

 Older GBW 54 and HTCX 329 both sport 100 ton roller bearing trucks

Some of the modifications. Kadee metal wheels, knuckle couplers body mounted in Hadee coupler boxes.

A mixed freight lead by three custom painted New York Central GP30s rolls through Empire City at exactly 5 o'clock on March 19th

Train Consist:
Locomotives: New York Central GP30s 2324, 2526 and 2627. Custom painted Spectrum units

Freight Cars:  3 Thrall All Door Boxcars (Life Like), RF&P and GBW 50' boxcars (Athearn BB), NH and MCRR 50' covered gondolas (Athearn BB), 2 NYC 50' box cars, custom painted (Bachmann), 50' Rock Island boxcar (Athearn BB), 2 WCRC Center Beam Flats (Walther's), 50' NYC boxcar (Accurail), 50' Atlantic Coast Line bulk head flat, Chessie 40' boxcar / track cleaner (Life Like), EL, TPW Cylindrical 3 bay covered hoppers (Atlas), NYC 40' boxcar, custom painted (Mantua),  NYC caboose (Atlas)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thrall All Door Boxcar GBW #54 joins the fleet

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York Central Train Layout has recently taken delivery of a second hand Life Like Thrall All Door Boxcar lettered Green Bay and Western RR with reporting number 54. The model is an older pre-Walthers Life Like model. Life Like originally introduced the All Door boxcars in 1975 but it appears the GBW was a later release as that car is not featured in the release ad.

The car came with the standard of the time talgo mounted X2F couplers and plastic wheels. The car also showed some wear and tear on the roof with several scratches but for an older car it was in pretty decent shape. The N.Y.C.T.L. shop added body mounted knuckle couplers, metal wheel sets, and additional weight. The car then hit the paint shop and had it's roof re-sprayed and got a shot or two of dullcote.

The prototype car was built by Thrall in the late 1960s through the 1970s and had 50'6" interior length. The car was specially built for the lumber industry to protect lumber loads but still offer easy loading and unloading. Some of the cars are still in service as of 2011;



Saturday, March 15, 2014

CB&Q Coil Car Joins the Fleet

Greetings Blog Followers,

N.Y.C.T.L. management recently purchased a used CB&Q coil car numbered 18300. The model was first  released by A.H.M. in 1972 under their 5202 series. The car arrived on N.Y.C.T.L. rails with talgo mounted horn hook couplers and plastic wheels. The car was sent to the back shop and emerged with knuckle couplers installed in new body mounted coupler boxes, new Atlas trucks with Intermountain metal wheel sets and additional weight. The car was dull coated and put into revenue service.

The prototype coil car was built by Evans in 1966 was classified as a 100 ton coil car. The car was purchased by the B&LE and P&LE.

CB&Q coil car #18300 sits in North Side Yard awaiting pick up 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Center Beam Flats join the NYCTL Fleet

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York Central Train Layout recently took possession of two used 72' Center Beam Flat Cars from the Washington Central Railroad Company. The cars are red in color, numbered 9226 and 9232, feature opera style center openings and "Cascade Warehouse"  in large white letters.

The cars are Walther's models and arrived in decent shape with just some minor shipping damage to correct. The cars as delivered to the NYCTL featured metal wheels and the old X2F or horn hook couplers. The cars were washed, repaired and received Kadee #37 under set shank couplers to meet the Kadee Height Gauge clearances.

With a new date of 5-88 they are certainly well beyond the New York Central and Penn Central trains that dominate the layout. They will however fit right into the Conrail trains that enjoy annual trackage rights.

WCRC #9226

WCRC # 9232

The new center beam flat cars at North Side Yard.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Track Cleaning Cars Update

Greetings Blog Followers,

As some may remember I have been regularly running my homemade track cleaning cars in my train consists and have been extremely happy with the results. This has lead to the NYCTL acquiring two additional cars for conversion to homemade track cleaners. The newest cars are the old MDC / Roundhouse 40 boxcar kits. These cars are easiest for me to convert as their weights sit over the ends of the cars and do not approach the middle of the underframe. This makes it easy to drill the two required holes with a pin vise.
The cars, Western Pacific #1953, and Southern Pacific #163113, are on now on the roster and in service.

 Western Pacific #1953 came painted in a good looking orange paint scheme. This easy to build old MDC/Roundhouse kit was easy to convert to a home made track cleaner. Track cleaning pad is in place. The car has been upgraded with Kadee #5s and Intermountain 33" metal wheels.  

Southern Pacific #163113 factory painted in a catchy silver paint scheme with Southern Pacific Overnights lettering. An MDC /Roundhouse kit, it has received a home made track cleaning pad, Kadee #5s and Intermountain metal wheels.

Four of my Five homemade track cleaning cars pose at Empire City. The Lehigh Valley and Chessie System cars are old LifeLike products. Missing from picture is an MDC/Roundhouse NYC Pacemaker car.

Do they work ? Yes, they absolutely do work and work very well at that. The pads are easily cleaned with an alcohol pad. If too much dirt has accumulated then a light sanding will do the trick.

The WP #1953 shows off it's track cleaner. The pads come right off the car making it super simple to clean and reinstall or just leave off if desired.   

For anyone thinking about adding some homemade track cleaners to their fleet I highly recommend giving them a try. On the positive side they are easy to build and maintain. The are inexpensive to add and easy to remove. They work extremely well and create very little drag. A huge positive is that the wheel to rail - rail to wheel dirt transfer ends up on the pad and results in both rails and wheels getting cleaned. Check the shine on the LV boxcar wheels, they were bought used and had years of crud. Not anymore!

The dimensions for these cleaning pads is the exact same dimension of the commercially available Walther's and Roco products. The pad can also be used as a replacement pad in those models if you wish to save some money and reduce the drag of those cars.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Recent Empire City News

Greetings Blog Followers,

Today's post will deal with some recent Empire City news that was reported in both the local paper, The Empire City Times and on the local television stations.

Road Gangs consisting of non violent misdemeanor prisoners with upcoming release dates have begun to appear in and around Empire City. Here they are cleaning up along the NYCTL right of way on Empire City's west side. The mayor has come under fire from the various construction unions for this use of non unionized labor. It looks like this practice is here to stay for the time being. The mayor reminded everyone that Empire City and he are union friendly and that the two Sheriff's deputy's overseeing this are union men.   

Meanwhile Unionized Construction Crews and Skilled Laborers continue to work in and around a new West Side Furniture Factory. The road crew (unionized of course) is prepping for the installation of a grade crossing. The building interior and crossing should be ready by Summer 2014.  

Across town on the West Side the Empire City Building Department authorized the installation of the new signs on the Cargill grain elevator. Cargill opened for business last year and is already looking to expand it's operations in Empire City. 

From The Empire City Crime Blotter: Empire City Police received a tip  that the elusive cat burglar that has plagued Empire City for years was due to strike again at a Mid Town Department Store. Word got out that the store had just received a delivery of high end jewelry for it's spring line. The ECPD set up around the clock surveillance and were able to nab the cat burglar in the act. The cat is now in the bag. Note the ECPD undercover officer posing as a utility worker on the electric pole.

Truck Traffic on the Rise: In recent months Empire City has seen a huge increase in truck traffic in and out of the City. With the North Side Train Yard recently completed and operational along with a West side rail spur the amount of Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) and Container on Flat Car (COFC) rail traffic has grown immensely. Trucks are pouring in and out of the NYCTL yards picking up either a container or trailer for delivery to it's final destination and then returning them for loading back onto the next train for routing to it's next destination. Below a Conquest 48' container on chassis being hauled by a cab over Freightliner tractor heads into Empire City while a set of custom painted New York Central GP9s watch from below. 

Back over to the West Side, construction crews (union of course) get ready to start prepping the site and building 102 Penn Ave. If no labor unrest  this building, owned by the NYCTL, should be complete by Spring 2014. 

A Lee Way FreightLiner cab over tractor and 40' trailer makes it's way through Mid-Town. The model is an Athearn BB and the first cab and trailer kit I ever bought.

An Empire City Police car has stopped after observing the white Chevrolet is blocking the fire hydrant. The officers will discuss whether or not to issue a ticket to the car as they are in a work slow down due to another year without a new contract from a city that is purportedly union friendly. Friendly to every union except the PBA and the other police unions. The mayor forgets that on September 10th he was the most hated man in the city. After September 11th when he got a little dust on his suit he became America's Mayor. The cops will wait for a few minutes to see if the driver reappears and when he does not a summons will be issued for the fire hydrant violation. As shabbily as they have been treated by this so called law and order mayor who they carry on their backs they remember they are in fact heroes, just like the sign says.