Custom Painted P-2000 units

Friday, September 5, 2014

New York Central Lightning Stripes Return !

Greetings Blog Followers,

Once again it is time for the New York Central System to take center stage. The Penn Central has served us well the last few months but it is time to get back to the main fleet and purpose of this blog. To start it off we will focus on what rail fans of the New York Central referred to as Odd Ball Diesels. The odd balls were basically diesels from Baldwin, Fairbanks-Morse and Lima-Hamilton. The NYC mainly stabled a large fleet of Alco, EMD and later General Electric locomotives after they split from Alco.

Baldwin: Foremost steam locomotive builder in United States. Entered diesel electric market later than Alco and EMD  and did not begin producing road diesels until after World War II. The late start ultimately found Baldwin unable to compete with EMD and they exited the locomotive business in 1956. The New York Central ultimately owned 99 Baldwin diesels, so for every Baldwin, the NYC had nearly 8 Alcos and more than 15 EMD units. The bulk of the NYC Baldwin diesels were switchers but they also included some noteworthy road diesels such as the 12 "Baby Face" cab units, six DR4-4-15s with B-B trucks for freight service and six DR6-4-15s with A-1-A trucks for passenger service. The cab units later earned the nickname of "Gravel Gerties" and were disliked by both management and crews.

Lima-Hamilton: In the late 1940s steam locomotive manufacturer Lima Locomotive merged with diesel engine producer Hamilton Corporation to form Lima Hamilton. Between 1949 and 1951 the company built 174 diesel electric locomotives before merging with Baldwin and discontinuing its locomotive line. Of the 174 L-H diesels the NYC purchased 49 units. Most were switchers but there was a small fleet of 16 1,200 hp dual service road switchers equipped with steam generators necessary for train heating when the locomotives were used in passenger service. The NYC was the sole owner of this unique engine from L-H which were delivered in the Lightning Stripe scheme and bore a close resemblance to an Alco RS1.

Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton: In 1951 and 1952 following the merger of Baldwin and Lima-Hamilton Baldwin delivered its last road freight locomotives to the New York Central - 26 RF 16 (Road Freight 1,600 hp) "shark nose" cabs and boosters and 17 RS12, 1,200 horsepower road switchers.

New York Central B-L-H RF16 A-B-A "Shark Nose" cabs and booster
idle out side of Empire City Station

Sharks run lite through Empire City Station to pick up M&E train.

Sharks leave Empire City Station with M&E Train

Fairbanks-Morse: Diesel engine manufacturer Fairbanks-Morse entered the diesel electric locomotive market at the end of World War II. Between 1946 and 1952 the NYC bought 119 F-M diesels. The F-M engine used an opposed piston design that had two pistons facing each other in the same cylinder. This design produced significantly more horsepower than an EMD, Alco or Baldwin engine of the same cylinder count. F-m introduced 2,000 and 2,400 hp units a decade before other builder achieved the same power. The F-M downfall though was that the engines worked extremely well in maritime applications they had  exceptionally high maintenance costs. This resulted in short service lives, some units being rebuilt with EMD engines but they were gone by the mid 1960s.

New York Central F-M "Erie Built" with Pacemaker Freight Service train at Empire City Station. Known as "Eries or Erie Builts" due to F-M having units constructed at General Electrics Erie PA shops. The eight 2,000 horsepower freight "Eries" were geared for 79 mph.  

A common sight on the NYC was a single Erie racing along with a train of red and gray Pacemaker cars.

An AB "Erie Built" lash up on point of a New York Central Passenger train at Empire City Station. 
The six 2,000 hp passenger "Eries" were geared for 97 mph.  

The "Erie Builts" arrive at Empire City Station

New York Central F-M 2,000 horsepower C-Liners at Empire City

The C-Liners pause on the upper level with a freight train in tow.  The two boxcars were custom painted.

F-M C-Liners roll through Empire City Station

F-M H16-44 road switchers at North Side Yard. On the NYC these units were delivered in the Lightning Stripe livery making them eligible for this blog post. On the NYCTL these units were custom painted in a modified NYC design. The 3 NYC boxcars in background are also custom painted.

F-M H16-44s travel through North Side Yard  


  1. I like those. I have a set of Walthers P1K NYC freight Erie builts but was never aware that they'd done passenger Eries (if those you're showing are stock).

  2. Hi John, My P1K A-B-A Erie Builts are stock w/ road numbers 5002-5101-5003. Additional research indicates that the six Passenger Erie Builts were numbered 4400-4405. Oh well, another non prototypical occurrence. I can live with it. John

  3. I've got no problems with heritage! :)

  4. Glad to hear it Ralph! New York Central Fleet needs to get some layout time!

  5. My units, it turns out, are numbered 5002-5101-5003 too, but they have black bodies and black trucks. The only two NYC Erie B units were freight as well. NYC switched to gray paint on all lightning stripe units in the mid 1950s, but I don't know if any freight Erie builts got silver trucks.

    1. Hi John, Check link for photo of 5002 taken in the 60's. Looks to be gray with silver / gray trucks.
      Other photos seem to show black trucks with black bodies.

    2. Here is the 5000 with black trucks and short lightning stripe on the head of a Pacemaker
      This photo shows the 5000 with an Erie B unit in solid black with no striping. Interesting this locomotive had so many variations.

  6. In the photo in gray, too, it's repowered and running MU with a GP. Verrryyy interesting!!!