Custom Painted P-2000 units

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Interstate Freight Opens In Empire City

Greetings Blog Followers,

Another local train show find that I picked up for five dollars is a  Model Power structure kit "Interstate Freight". The kit has been painted, put together and is now open in Empire City. Although not rail served it currently occupies a vacant layout corner.

The building kit was thoroughly washed in warm soapy water and then rinsed. I allowed the parts to air dry for several days and then built and painted the kit using rattle spray cans.  I did not care for the signage that came with the building so right now it has not been added. The building lends itself to be part of a bigger industrial complex but right now I do not think I have the room for that type of expansion.

The front door 

Shipping / Receiving. Note the light into the building via the sky lights. Might have to do something to add some visual interest within the building. 

Side walls. Nothing to fancy. A billboard would work well here 

2 40' trailers are backed into the loading dock doors

Here I've added a rear wall, a figure, a few large crates and 
a broken n scale orange steam roller in the background. Employee vehicles 
and a fence have been added to the right exterior of the building.

Now the building has some life to it and since it is at the front edge 
of the layout the added details are easily seen 

A fence along the track radius from building edge to the front edge looks good to me so I'll add that in and then add the fauna and flora and some more scenic details.

 The local photographer covering the Interstate Freight opening was lucky to catch a unit coal train heading over the Empire City Viaduct behind some Alco Road Switcher power.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Alco Road Switchers Invade Empire City, Part 2

Greetings Blog Followers,

The Alco Road Switcher invasion continues....

A New York Central Lightning Striped RS2 with a gleaming set of corrugated side passenger cars. 
Another train in the Great Steel Fleet

A PRR RS1, NYC RS1 and a PC RS2 lug along unit coal train through Empire City Station 
on their way to the Empire City Power Plant

The newly acquired NH RS2 truly performing yeoman's duties 
and has been assigned to a Milk Run Passenger Train 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Alco Road Switchers Invade Empire City Part 1

Greetings Blog Followers,

With the recent arrival of Proto 1000 New Haven RS2 #0503 the Terminal Yard Yard Master gathered up several New York Central, Penn Central and a lone Pennsylvania Alco Road Switchers that were on hand hand at Terminal Yard. The RS units were assigned to several trains that left the yard in back to back sequence. Local Empire City rail fans caught the action from the Empire City Station Parking Lot.

First out of Terminal Yard was New Haven RS2 #503 with a short train of pure New Haven boxcars


Next out was a Lightning Striped New York Central RS2 with some 
head end cars and four two tone gray coaches 

A New York Central RS1 with Flexi Vans 

A Penn Central RS2 with a High Wide Train. 

PC High Wide Train view from overpass. High Wide train movements on the PC 
were governed by the the Clearance Bureau located in Philadelphia PA. Good
thing someone was paying attention. This one was close!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Four Aluminum Coal Gondolas Join The Fleet.

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York Central Train Layout has recently received four new aluminum coal gondolas from the Atlas Railroad Company. The new units are painted silver and jade green and lettered for the Penn Central. Yes the Penn Central! These units were pre ordered through my local hobby shop. When making the order my LHS go to guy made sure I knew these were "fantasy units". I replied to him that my whole layout is a fantasy and so are most others including his! He agreed and we both shared a good laugh.

History: Railroads have been hauling coal almost since their inception  using gondolas and hoppers made of wood, then steel then aluminum. The light weight of aluminum allows for greater lading and cubic foot capacities ideal for bulk minerals. The four new cars are American Association of Rail Roads car type code J311, a gondola with a load limit greater than 185,000 pounds. Typical of these cars is a rotary coupler on one or both ends usually signified with a contrasting color on the end. The new units have a tub bottom and Gross Rail Loading is 286,000 pounds.

Some prototype information and  specs can be found here;

Some prototype photos can be seen here;
Models: Atlas Trainman. Factory painted PC units with metal wheels and accumate magnetic knuckle couplers. Out of the box the cars look good. They are very free rolling although a bit light for a car this size. Removing the coal load reveals an empty hopper with no interior details present. When checked against the Kadee Height Gauge the accumate couplers were found to be sagging and the trip pin too low. All in all though these are nice models and I give kudos to Atlas for producing them.

Penn Central 682100

Penn Central 682242

Penn Central 682147 is on the work bench ready to have it's accumate couplers removed. This is a standard practice that I follow as I do not like the accumate's two piece design. You can see previously removed two piece accumates next to the Kadee parts drawer.  

Bottom view of the hopper cars shows tub bottoms and reveals that trucks and coupler boxes are easily removed with a Phillips screw driver. 

The truck has been removed and we now have easy access to the coupler box

A Kadee #5 has been installed with the bronze spring on the bottom and a Kadee #209 .010 gray fiber washer below that. The washed will act as a spacer to prevent vertical play and coupler sag. The coupler spring washer configuration is basically trial and error but the adjustments will be worth it as seen below.

PC 682147 tested against the Kadee Height Gauge. Perfect!

Penn Central 682147 now on the layout at North Side Yard

Penn Central 682497 

The new hopper cars coupled up and ready to roll

The cars await motive power and caboose  

A pair of Penn Central RS2s pick up the cars from North Side Yard.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Haven Proto 1000 RS2 Overhaul

Greetings blog Followers,

The last Blog entry introduced the newest motive power for the layout, a New Haven Proto 1000 RS2 #0503. This was a used engine purchased at a local train show. Road testing the engine revealed that it suffers from the Proto 1000 / 2000 cracked axle syndrome that plagued certain 4 axle units from this manufacturer. An easy way to tell if your locomotive(s) have a cracked axle gear(s) is to basically attach it to a train and listen to it run. The noise will sound like a flat spot in wheel and you may even notice the wheel bounce up and down a bit. If you hear the thumping sound from the locomotive one or more gears are cracked. Another way to tell is to see if the engine wheels will turn freely. If so you have a cracked axle gear. When purchasing these engines always assume that the gears will have to be replaced and fortunately it is a pretty easy fix.

NH RS2 0503 with a short freight train. Listening to the engine go by you can hear the thumping from the cracked axle gears.

If you have the Proto 1000 / 2000 series 4 axle locomotives on your roster a pack or two of Athearn axle gears will come in handy in your parts box.

Athearn part number ATH 60024 is a drop in replacement for the Proto 1000/ 2000 4 axle locomotives.   

The replacing of the gears is pretty easy as you do not need to disassemble the locomotive. An NMRA HO Standards Gauge will help set the wheels in gauge when installed into the new axles.

The gear covers have been removed with a small screwdriver. Note the gears are dry as well as cracked

The gears have been removed and are ready for repair

The first axle has the new Athearn axle gear installed and is set to the NMRA Standards Gauge

All four axle gears have been swapped out and checked against the NMRA gauge. The completed axles have been installed back into the trucks and some grease has been added.   

Since this is an overhaul I decided to replace the older style Proto Magnetic Couplers with Ol Reliable Kadee #5s. The older proto couplers do not have a coupler spring

 An easy enough upgrade as the coupler boxes are held in place with a Phillips screw and the bronze centering spring is already in place. Removing both  coupler boxes will allow you to remove the shell.

 Note the rear coupler is in the open position as the thin strip in lieu of a coupler spring has failed. 

The shell has been removed and the engine will get a light oil on the worm gear bearings. No oil on the actual motor at this point since it is running smoothly.  

New Haven RS2 0503 stands tall and proud after the overhaul.

NH RS2 0503 pulls freight train after the overhaul. All is smooth, as it should be.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Haven RS2 #0503 Joins The Fleet

Greetings Blog Followers,

Engineer Ed and I hit the train show in Atlanta last week and the New York Central Train Layout has added Proto 1000 RS2 #0503 to the fleet. The class 1 New Haven RR served the Northeast, mainly New England, in colorful style but with little profit. Heavy in passenger operations and light in freight the NH was forced into Penn Central on January 1, 1969.

New Haven passenger trains enjoyed access to both the New York Central's Grand Central Terminal and the Pennsylvania's Pennsylvania Station. The NH boasted a locomotive line up that included catenary powered electrics and dual powered 3rd rail electrics. The New Haven was a principle in the smoke abatement from the NYC tunnels into GCT. In 1904 a NYC train crashed into the rear of a NH train in the dense fog of the tunnels. The NH also enjoyed a decent relationship with the PRR combining on express passenger trains from Boston to Washington.

On the New Haven the RS2s known as DERS 2b (Diesel Electric Road Switcher) began to arrive in 1947 and actually preceded the arrival of the Alco DERS 1b. The RS2 / DERS 2b boasted 1,500 horsepower and was dual service equipped and capable of hauling either freight or passenger trains. The RS2 fleet were numbered 0500-0516. The front zero was used to separate the newer diesels from the established steam locomotives.

The NH 0503 now on the roster is painted in the hot dog or balloon paint scheme that was applied to some units in the mid 50's prior to the McGiness Administration. 

The exhaust stack is in the delivery position indicating it is still  in the air cooled design. 

The NH 0503 making a shove move 

NH 0503 delivers a flatcar to Neal's Lumber and Hardware. 

New Haven fan 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself has come out to look over the newest motive power on the roster. Some children are also running up to see the new colorful locomotive.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

More Steel Train Action

Greetings Blog Followers,

Coiled Steel continues to roll into Empire City as the newest industry, a Ford Stamping Plant, is getting ready for it's grand opening. The New York Central Train Layout's Terminal Yard is getting a bit crowded and the Yard Master waits anxiously to roll out the steel cars and make some space in this always crowded yard.

A New York Central Alco RS1 leads a four car train towards Terminal Yard

A KP&W Rebuild Clam Shell Coil Coach

DTI# 1352

P&LE 42279 

Three Coil Coaches showing they have been in steel hauling service for a few years at least!
The RS1 and freight cars on the move!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

KP&W Rebuilds Back on Home Rails

Greetings Blog Followers,

Back on July 4th the Purchasing department of the New York Central Train Layout acquired two used Clam Shell Coil Coaches. Shortly thereafter the NYCTL contracted with the Kings Port & Western Rail Road in upstate New York to have the clam shell mechanisms rebuilt. On July 10th the clam shell coaches left for the KP&W shops

On August 4th the newly modified clam shell coaches, now known as "KP&W Rebuilds" returned loaded (Thanks KP&W!) to home rails with a steel train from Empire Steel located in Kings Port NY.

Penn Central GP40 3007 is on point of the steel products train from Kings Port Steel. The 3007 was in fact run through power making the trip from Kings Port to Mayfield Yard and then on to Terminal Yard.
Rail fans in Kings Port caught the 3007 in action a few days ago.

PC 3007 with a KP&W Rebuild first in the consist followed by a home road PC 8091
which had it's clam shell scrapped. 

The coil steel cars make their way to Terminal Yard. Barely visible behind the train is the new Ford Stamping Plant that these cars will serve. Looking closely there is at least one boxcar with machinery spotted. The coil cars on this train are for Day One when the plant opens.

An early KP&W Rebuild sports the older style KPW lettering.

The first of two of the NYCTL cars that have under gone the rebuilding process at the KP&W Shops and are now proudly known as KP&W Rebuilds. The cars are lettered for the NYCTL subsidiary rail
equipment leasing company JTRX.  

JTRX 2810 shows off it's patchwork paint and lettering which was part of the KP&W rebuild contract.

The Clam Shell Fleet is looking good and working fine. The KP&W car under the overpass shows it's miles in heavy steel service while the two newer JTRX cars are looking quite clean for now.   

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Derailment at Empire City!

Greetings Blog Followers,

This past week the testing of some of the new additions added in July unfortunately resulted in a major derailment on the upper level tracks at Empire City. Fortunately there were only minor injuries reported and the damage was minimal.

Portion of reefer train left on track

REA track cleaner car still coupled to engine and first Flexi Van car in the consist.
 Of course this is the newest Flexi Van car in the fleet.  

The Flexi Vans lay string lined across the inner track

The first locomotive of the consist has derailed after smashing into the caboose which has left the tracks and and caused the rear two box cars to derail. The Virginian car was spotted at Prestage Gear when it was struck by the caboose and engine.

Several reefer cars on the right have left the tracks and a Railway Post Office car sits on it's side. 

A newly painted Penn Central 50' reefer lays on it's side while sister unit and a 
Lehigh Valley unit have left the rails 

Another angle shows that the reefer is indeed the newly painted car.

A wreck crane was dispatched and and the tracks were open by the next day.

An investigation into the train derailment was conducted by the FRA and it was determined that the newly painted PC reefer 229007 jumped the tracks at a switch point, separated from and derailed a Great Northern reefer in front of it. The train continued on at which time the GN reefer's wheels caught on another switch point causing the GN car to topple over and separating the seven cars in front of it from the consist. At this point the 3 engines and three remaining cars continued on until striking the caboose and derailing it and several other cars. This collision caused the reefer train cars to strike the Mail and Express train which then derailed as a result.

The reefer train engineer and conductor were both found to be at fault. Both now face disciplinary action.

PCA 229007 was examined at the New York Central Train Layout shop and found to be underweight which is believed to have been the reason for it jumping the tracks. Placed towards the middle of 22 cars the stresses on the car became too much causing the front truck to ride high and ultimately derail.