Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Projects Project

Greetings Blog Followers,

The newly formed Empire City Housing Authority has completed construction on Empire City's first public housing project. Reflecting a trend of the late 1960s and the 1970s the E.C.H.A. has stacked the city's poor on top of each other in a very undesirable area. Talk about the wrong side of the tracks! I hope the new inhabitants are rail fans.

Initial mock up with two men running.  

10 stories tall the building awaits windows. 
Accusations of Mafia bid rigging and kick backs have stalled the process

A pedestrian bridge has been installed to assist the residents entering and leaving the projects 

From the upper level the building has that sleek public institution look 

The window contract was finally awarded to RV Windows and Grids of New Brighton MN. 

A standard issue E.C.H.A. lobby door is in place. The overhang above the door slants back to protect people entering or exiting the building from falling / thrown debris. Note the two guys running for the pedestrian bridge. A harbinger of things to come? 

A B&O GP30 F7A F7B led freight train cautiously approaches

The B&O GP30 eases past the building.

Not a bad building if you are a rail fan. 

The next area to be upgraded on the layout. Plans call for some more more flora and fauna, fencing, retaining walls, bridging and working on the other side of the pedestrian bridge. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Six Axle Power

Greetings Blog Followers,

I've continued operating the layout using Empire City Station as a diesel ready yard as described in my prior blog entry. Another operations scenario I added is to reestablish the importance of the New Haven's Maybrook Yard.  PC management tried heir best to close this yard to save money coming up with run through trains NE-74 and NE-97 pooling PC and EL power.  We will operate under teh premise that het Poughkeepsie Bridge fire has not yet happened. With the emergence of regional carrier Kings Port and Western and the class 1 Atlantic & Pacific Railroad the amount of freight traffic to and from Empire City has grown by huge amounts. To move this traffic some of my six axle fleet drew the assignments for this week.

The EC Diesel Yard hostler has backed this trio of EMD six axle power into place and coupled up with the Maybrook Manifest. For today we'll call it MB-1. The three engine lash up consists of custom painted Penn Central SD40 #6282, NH SDP40 #6502 and custom painted PC SDP40 #6190. All engines are BB models and all are powered which will be necessary for today's train. The train itself is basically two blocks. The first for the A.P.R.R. and second for the K.P.&W. The train will arrive at Maybrook where the train will be split. K.P.&W units will pick up their cars at Maybrook while block 1 will continue on to the A.P.R.R.  

MB-1 awaits it's crew while passengers await their next train. Seeing the Evans coil car up front tells us that Shapeless Steel Products will getting at least one empty car back.

A freight train from Maybrook behind big GE six axle power rolls into the EC diesel yard 

EMD units running lite for fuel and sand rack

MB-1 leaving Empire City. See if you spot where the A.P.R.R. block ends and the KP&W begins 

MB-2 rolls through Empire City en route to Terminal Yard.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Empire City Diesel Engine Yard

Greetings Blog Followers,

Thought I'd try something different and maybe a bit drastic on the layout this week. As many of you know the layout has gone into the late 60s and early 70s on many an occasion. While the paint schemes on the diesels changed the freight cars basically stayed the same on the layout. However, I never really paid attention to the passenger train implications. Sure I painted a couple of E units in Penn Central livery and added some PC passenger cars but I didn't do much more than that. So let's take a look at say 1969 at Empire City Station.

The famed New York Central 20th Century Limited has been discontinued. The train left Grand Central Terminal for the final time on December 2, 1967. To add insult to injury the Century arrived at Chicago over nine hours late due to a freight derailment. A harbinger of things to come. Over on the Pennsylvania Railroad side of things the Pennsy's premiere train, the Broadway Limited, survived although it was no longer all Pullman and had been merged with the PRRs General. The Broadway lasted through the PC merger and well into Amtrak. That said I think the Pennsy's passenger woes were fully realized when the sold off the air rights over Penn Station in New York City and the once marvelous building was razed. Not to be out done the New York Central tried the same thing but by this time prominent New Yorker's led by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis stepped in and the building was saved.

As for head end traffic the United States Post Office cancelled all "mail by rail" contracts in September 1967 further sticking the knife into the passenger train. The Penn Central and later Amtrak did run RPO traffic between NYC and Washington DC up until 1977. The Railway Express Agency had become REA Express and traffic was in heavy decline.

So that set the stage for the current operating scenario on the layout. Empire City Station has had two tracks designated diesel ready tracks. The other two tracks allow for through traffic although now it mostly freight.

A sea of diesels idle away at Empire City Station awaiting their next call to duty. Note C628 #6309 trying to blend in so he's doesn't get sent back to Mingo Jct. 

A freight train awaits a new crew on track 1 while tracks 2 and 3 are now diesel ready tracks.

Big GE U Boats are mingling with EMDs and a few Alcos 

The ice cream man is still a fixture here even though passenger trains are much fewer 

Two Penn Central GP30s with a freight train enter the Empire City Diesel Engine Yard 
and Passenger Station. The USPS lead is now a caboose track
New York Central GP20s roll in with a freight train

Penn Central GP30s head to Track 4 with a freight train in tow

Penn Central freight train heading to points West 

While I'm having some fun with this new concept I can guarantee that Empire City Station will return at some point to it's glory days. That's the beauty of model railroading and the Flux Capacitor. Stay tuned for the next episode. Will we go further to Conrail or backwards towards the New York Central?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Two New Penn Central GP38-2s Join the Fleet

Greetings Blog Followers,

A couple of recent second hand GP38-2 locomotive purchases have been released from the New York Central Train Layout paint shop after being stripped and repainted and lettered for the Penn Central. The engines are Athearn BB and fill a void in the roster that left my BB Penn Central GP40 #3175 without a suitable running mate(s).

The EMD GP38  was introduced in 1966 but it did not attract much attention from buyers at that time as the Railroads opted for the more popular and powerful locomotives like the GP40s and SD45s of that year. The 2,000 horsepower non turbo charged V16 GP38 was ignored by the Penn Central for several years until a nationwide swing towards better fuel economy and maintenance made it a giant seller. Cheap to run and able to see use throughout the system the GP38 became Penn Central's ideal locomotive.

The Penn Central purchased 240 EMD GP 38s between 1969 and 1971. They were numbered 7675 - 7939. A handful of the GP38s were purchased for specialized service that saw them get a bumped out cab, dual controls and no dynamic brakes.

In the beginning of 1972 EMD began production of it's "Dash 2" line of locomotives. While the GP38-2 was internally different from the GP38, externally the only noticeable were high adhesion trucks with dampening struts and a sight glass on the long hood. Being pleased with the performance of the GP38 the Penn Central starting at number 7940 in May 1972 added 223 GP38-2s by October 1973.

   Newly released form the Paint Shop is Penn Central GP38-2 #8024

Released the same day is GP38 #7692 ( GP38-2 with a GP38#. Don't tell anyone)  

Penn Central GP40 #3175 was extremely pleased with the two newest Penn Central additions. 
This will mean more layout time for the 3175.

The newest Penn Central BB consist. Note the 8024 is non powered. 
Don't hurt his feelings by calling him a dummy

The units have been tested and run well and look good together

The versatile non powered 8024 has been added to a pair of Bachmann DCC equipped GP38-2s 

Some of the PC and NYC fleet. A smorgasbord of EMDs  

An interesting tidbit I found while researching was that Penn Central GP38 #7776 became Conrail # 7776 and was painted in a Bicentennial livery in May 1976 one month after the PC ceased operations. However by October 1976 it was repainted into Conrail blue during the CR's push to get it's several thousand locomotives in a dozen different paint schemes into Conrail blue. Seems no one thought to make this unit an exception. Quite possibly the shortest Bicentennial Liveried paint scheme.

CR 7776