Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

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?


  1. POWER! POWER!! POWER!!! Great looking line up of PC locos John! That said, it will be fun to see some past heritage as well. Do you have some Conrail? I don't think I've seen that on your blog yet (or else I may be unconsciously denying its existence since my model railroad mind stops at 1976. :)


  2. Thanks Ralph! I do have some Conrail Equipment and may have posted something with them a few years back. I just checked and didn't even realize I've been doing this blog since 2011! I like to run the era up to the beginning of Conrail for awhile and then usually go back to NYC Lightning Stripes. I did not do this last year for some reason. I believe I was enjoying running a heavy passenger train roster with lots of head end traffic for the Holidays and the Conrail conversion never happened.