Custom Painted P-2000 units

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Santa Delivers! Express Style

Greetings All,

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Many of us model railroaders can trace their interests in trains and the hobby back to seeing their first train under their childhood Christmas tree. Whether it was running in circles or wrapped up and received as a gift that first encounter with a model train remains vivid in many of our memories. I remember my first trains, a Lionel steamer some freight cars and an O-27 loop of track. I also remember as a kid that many others brought out and set up their trains around the holidays so when visiting friends and family their was always a good chance of seeing some model trains.

There has always been something magic about a toy or model train and this is especially true around Christmas. Holiday train displays are still being presented in some locations and they are a pleasure to visit and watch the young and old light up while watching the trains roll through the villages and holiday scenes. As my boys have grown older I've continued the Christmas train tradition with them even though at this point in their lives they are not into the hobby. But they are into the tradition of getting a train or two from the worlds best known model railroader, Santa Claus. For me I continue the tradition by circling some items in the Walthers flyer and passing it to the Mrs so she can forward the info to Santa.

For the old  man some NYC converted troop sleeper express cars like NYC 9220
in two tone gray

And NYC 9370 in Pullman green

My youngest son, B&O and EL fan, received this C&O style converted troop sleeper express car. 

Four express cars pose for pictures outside of Superior Furniture

An Athearn BB Erie Lackawanna PB gave the youngest a gift for both of his RRs 

For the oldest guy, a PRR man through and through, another
 Athearn RTR 40' Merchandise Service Boxcarso we can continue the L.C.L.
battle between the NYC and PRR. 

 And an Athearn BB 40' crane tender 

The tender with crane

 My two new express cars have been spotted at the New York Central Freight House. 

That's it for today. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to All.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Trio of Close Enough Projects

Greetings All,

With abundantly warm weather and low to no humidity the New York Central Train Layout outdoor  paint shop was quite busy over the past few weeks. Here is a run down on three of the paint projects that were recently completed.

First up is New York Central  bay window caboose 21505. This Athearn BB caboose was purchased at a recent train show sans numbers and reporting marks. Using a Micro Scale NYC/PC caboose decal set I added the NYC herald, reporting marks, number and "Road to the Future" logo. The roof, frame and weight were painted with rattle can flat black. A coat of Lusterless Flat was applied to protect the decals. Window "glass" and metal wheels were added as well. The car came equipped with knuckle couplers that I adjusted to meet the Kadee Height Gauge.

NYC 21505 sits at North Side Yard

This Athearn BB NYC bay window caboose was renumbered to 21698. I used Bluegrass Green acrylic hobby paint to paint over then previous numbers and them applied Microscale NYC numbers. A brush coat of clear flat was applied over the numbers to protect the decals. 

A four caboose set sits at North Side Yard. Each one is just a bit different but they are all in the family so to speak. I hope to add at least one more of these cabooses in the near future. The prototype New York Central had bay window cabooses but not this type. On the N.Y.C.T.L. they are close enough.

The next paint project was inspired by the "Big E", Emery Gulash and the "Big PC", PC Ralph. PC Ralph showed me a project NYC GP7 with just a NYC logo he was working on. Then watching the Green Frog NYC and PC DVD collections and listening to the narrator note that prior to the merge the NYC and PRR received their new motive power with numbers and logos only. I saw plenty of engines in this paint scheme in the DVDs. Of note were the later versions of the NYC GP40s. I had just the unit to try this on, an old Life Like ATSF GP unit I thought was a GP40. Nope it's a GP38 and more than likely a GP38-2. Oh well close enough for this project. The ATSF paint was stripped off in 91% Alcohol. A light coat of rattle can flat black and then a coat of rattle can gloss black. Decals were cobbled together from some NYC Microscale decals I had on hand.

The newly painted NYC 3067 a GP40 in GP38 clothing. The number is correct for the paint scheme.

The pancake motor has been disconnected and the unit is now non powered and free rolling.

A close up of the 3067

The final project for today's blog entry is a Penn Central 60 foot Auto Parts Boxcar. This project car started out as a TYCO Union Pacific model. I was able to cobble together enough PC decals from the Microscale PC Esoterica set, PC boxcars with PC numbers set and Freight Car Data set to get this car onto the roster. Not an exact PC match but close enough for the N.Y.C.T.L.  

Testing decal selections and placement.
The car has been stripped of of the UP logos and the yellow paint.
Krylon rattle can Sea Glass green has been sprayed onto the car.

The finished car sports Penn Central subsidiary Toledo & Ohio Central (TOC) reporting marks. 

An ACI label puts the car firmly in the PC era. 
The lettering below the ACI label reads
When empty return to D.T.I.R.R. Ford Park Lima, Ohio
This puts the car firmly into my own Ford Plant and in line 
with some of my NYC 60' Auto Parts cars that were also assigned to Ford. 

TOC 350562 sits at North Side Yard as it awaits being witched into train ML-12. 
Train NY-4 is in the background.

A short video of some hot shot train action that includes the above project cars 

Thanks for reading and watching!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The One and Only

Greetings All,

A couple of weeks ago I was at my L.H.S. to take advantage of a big sale they were having. I checked out the used Atlas locomotives hoping to spot an RS3 to assist a fellow modeler in his ALCO Quest. I did not find an RS3 but did stumble onto a Reading ALCO C424 which was an Atlas / Kato model. I seemed to remember that the NYC may have had these units or at least the PC had some. So off to the L.H.S. test track where the engine ran smooth as silk.

Upon returning home I fired up the computer, got out my New York Central and Penn Central books and went to work looking to find some information on NYC - PC C424 ownership. Turns out the NYC did not have any C-424s, they had C-430s. The PC had the ten ALCO C430s from the NYC, forty one ALCO C425s from the PRR and NH and exactly one C424 from the PRR on it's roster. That's right one.

Penn Central #2415 was a one of a kind unit. It was built as PRR 2415 in 1963 utilizing the electrical equipment from ALCO's scrapped DL640 (AKA an RS27) demonstrator 640-1.

So what's an ALCO C424? Good question. Here's a brief summary. The ALCO Century 424 is a four axle 2,400 horsepower diesel electric locomotive built between 1963 and 1967. 98 units were built by ALCO and 92 by Montreal Locomotive Works. Candian Pacific bought the most units, 51 with the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México coming in second with 45 units. Some are still active today with their fourth and fifth owners.

Reading C424 5207 as purchased

Reading C424 5207 being tested on the layout
The RDG paint scheme is quite nice but not long for this world

The engine was disassembled and the paint stripped in 91% Alcohol.
Rattle can black and some Microscale Decals were the used to
paint and letter the engine.

The newly painted Penn Central 2415 sits on track 2 at North Side Yard

Numbers in the number boards, air hoses and an ACI label bring the unit close to the prototype.

PC 2415 chortles away at North Side Yard while a part of ML-12 sits on track 1. The horn placement is not correct on this unit. Next trip to the L.H.S. I may look to correct that. Current horn is not glued on and can be easily removed.

Truck detail on the C424 and C425 appears the same. 
The NYC C430s were equipped with ALCO's new high adhesion trucks.    

A view of the conductor's or fireman's side

As with all of my engines that bear some semblance to a prototype I enjoy exploring their history and disposition. This one of a kind PRR and PC engine had quite a life. Here are some links to the history of this locomotive;

Alco C424 model history

As Alco Demonstrator 640-1 (with 640-2)

As PRR 2415

As PC 2415 in 1968
As Conrail 2474

As Green Bay & Western 319 in 1980

As Caddo, Antoine & Little Missouri(CALM) 319 in 1998

As Livonia Avon & Lakeville(LAL) 319 in 2009

As Livonia Avon & Lakeville(LAL) 319 in 2012

And last but not least some Alco C424 action on the Minnesota Commercial

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Penn Central Caboose 23045

Greetings All,

A short entry this week on my purchase of used Bowser N5C Penn Central Caboose # 23045 from my local hobby shop. While browsing I was checking a display case and this caboose quickly caught my eye with it's jade green body, large lettering and porthole windows. It was an interesting looking caboose, one I don't have and after noting it was made by Bowser I thought it might actually be prototypical.

Turns out it actually appears to be prototypical. The N5C caboose was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad starting in 1942. With the NYC / PRR merger they served Penn Central and then Conrail.
                                                   Here is an interesting read on the N5C

A PRR N5C on display at Strasburg PA

From Essex County Rail History
1979/05     ETR obtains PC caboose 23045 [Now privately owned in West Windsor]

 Here is a prototype picture from 1979. 

Here is a prototype picture of  PC 23045 on display in 2012

Penn Central caboose 23045 with the large lettering and numbering. The bottom indicates the car is assigned to the Northern Region, Canada Division. The caboose is class N5C with a 3-42 build date according to the model. 

Here is my HO scale model on an upper west side curve near Reliable Machine Works. 
The car has received a few coats of Lusterless Flat, window "glass", metal wheels and adjusted couplers.
Yellow stirrups have been added as the original steps were not attached to the used model.

I believe this is my one and only PC prototype caboose.
Note the distinctive PRR smoke jack.

The PC 23045 is on the rear of PC Train ML-9. The SP car was found and purchased during the same LHS sale. I remember seeing this car at the LHS on several occasions but it never caught my interest. Then after watching the Green Frog NYC and PC videos I saw numerous cars in this paint scheme on trains ML-9, ML-12 and other manifest freights. The narrator credited the SP with being a developer of the 86' Auto Parts Boxcars. So of course it immediately caught my interest when I saw it again.   

Monday, November 30, 2015

Upgrading a Bachmann 89' Tri-Level Auto Transporter

Greetings All,

This past week the N.Y.C.T.L. Purchasing Department successfully procured a used good condition Bachmann Penn Central 89' Tri-Level Auto Transporter (Auto Rack) with 14 of the original 15 cars included in the box. The purchase order stemmed from my October entries regarding Automobile Industry Traffic on the New York Central see here:

Of particular interest during this research were New York Central Trains ML-12 and ML-9. Thanks to the fine work of Emery Gulash I was able to view these trains on the New York Central Odyssey and Penn Central Green Frog DVDs. Spurred on by the DVDs the N.Y.C.T.L. mechanical and paint  shops went on an improvement program of the Bachmann 89' Tri-Level Auto Racks that I had owned for 15 years and ran maybe a handful of times. See here for that blog entry 

That brings us to our current project, the upgrading of this newest auto rack to join the fleet. Follow along for the step by step process used to get this car mechanically layout ready.

The project car as purchased

The Bachmann car shown above was made in Hong Kong and sported a long X2f coupler which was different from the other Bachmann Auto Racks I have. Those had a long tongue on the truck that used a standard sized coupler which was held in place by a small screw. Some ingenuity was going to be required here. I considered body mounting the couplers but the 89' length and 24" radius curves made me apprehensive to do this. I wanted to talgo mount the couplers similar to the other 89' auto racks in my fleet.
Kadee's longest couplers were too short. Enter the McHenry #MCH53. These long couplers were just a bit longer that the horn hook couplers currently on tje model. It looked like I had enough room to screw the coupler further back on the talgo mount.

A horn hook coupler and truck assembly to the left. A McHenty 53 knuckle coupler mounted on the truck on the right. 

A view from the bottom of the trucks

The coupler box lids were removed. The center pins and coupler box was carefully cut off and the mounting area was sanded smooth. The McHenry couplers have two ridges on the bottom and these were sanded smooth as well.  

The newly installed coupler and truck have been attached with a screw eliminating the press pins

The proof is in the pudding or in this case the Kadee Height Gauge. 

Testing the new auto rack with the original Bachmann PC auto rack.
Note the Hong King car's version of jade green is a shade different.
The GP30 shoved the two auto racks around a 22" radius curve without

Now off to the paint shop to paint over the yellow railings and ramps.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Train Day for the Ages!

Happy Thanksgiving All,

Every now and then the stars line up and all is right in our model train worlds. I'm happy to report that this happened to me last weekend. This entry is a bit longer than normal and I wanted to make into two parts but to fully enjoy the scope of the Train Day for the Ages and do it justice this is the best way for me to present it.

Last weekend I attended the Greenberg Train Show at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta with my friend Engineer Ed. This year's show was a rousing success for us both and we both left with our arms laden with bags of trains and train related items that we absolutely positively could not live without. As with all train shows there were some good deals and there were some items with price tags so high that I must gave missed out on something.

After the show and a bite to eat Engineer Ed and I enjoyed a nice operating session on the N.Y.C.T.L. We ran several trains, made up some outbound freights and spotted and pulled cars from numerous industries. Derailments were few and there were no injuries to railroad personnel or civilians.

Here are some pictures of the latest must haves that I now have  

The train show haul

The best purchase for me was this Penn Central set of DVDs. Four DVDs, all six volumes and a bonus hour of PRR action. The timetable to the left was given to me for free by a vendor. Note it is the Penn Central New Haven Region dated February 2, 1969.  

A Bachmann Penn Central 89' Tri Level Auto Rack in very good condition
 but missing one of the fifteen cars.

An Athearn BB NYC bay window caboose with no numbers. I have several of these in my fleet so a I would be looking to renumber it anyway. I don't think the NYC actually had this style of bay window caboose but it good enough for the N.Y.C.T.L. 

An Athearn 50' Express reefer with knuckle couplers and metal wheels. The reporting marks are CMSTP&P, Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific, the proper name for the Milwaukee Road known under reporting marks MILW. I don't know if this is a ready to run car or custom built and painted. The coupler box lids were the traditional BB metal but theses were also held on with screws. A red Kadee fiber washer to eliminate coupler sag and some Testors dullcote were all that was needed to get this car in service 

Two Roundhouse 40' New Haven boxcars with different numbers.

Three Bachmann 50' boxcars for future projects.

Kadee #37s, underset medium shank. These work great on a lot of the BB cars. Instead of adding a bunch of washers to the bolsters to raise the car height so the couplers meet the Kadee height gauge I use these. The #27 works just as well but costs a little more. 

Ol Reliable Kadee#5

Post op session photos

Prior to the session I downloaded and printed some switch lists. Using clipboards and pencils I filled these out prior to the session hoping to make the session go smoother and feel more realistic. This would be the first time using this type of forms.  

A close up shows the form was for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. I fit two such forms on a single piece of paper and just folded the paper over. I wrote in the cars at industries we would be switching in order of the anticipated switch moves. Pick ups were listed at the top, drop offs were listed on the bottom. A car type legend is also on the bottom of the form.

To make up some outbound trains in Terminal Yard / Staging I put together train cards for each train. Cars were blocked for their respective destinations. In doing this I just took numbers from cars already in the yard and decided where they needed to go. Blocking assignments were figured out and writing it all down definitely helped me put these trains together    

The North Side at the conclusion of the session. An inbound freight has arrived and the road power, the ALCO FAs have been cut off and placed on track 1 for fueling. The yard power and local engines were the GP30s

Engineer Ed did a fine job keeping the yard fluid all afternoon. Freight cars are blocked for local industries and points beyond the layout. This is how we basically started the session. E.E. broke up the inbound into two trains, one for the local industries paying close attention to the freight car blocking and one to to go outbound. Once he pulled and spotted cars at the local industries the pulled cars were placed into the outbound train.    

On the East side of town Gervais Pipe and Fitting got four flat cars of pipe and Cargill received two covered hoppers.

United Technology received four 40' boxcars.

Over on the West Side Superior Furniture received two 40' boxcars. 
(I really need to get an interior in this building!)

Reliable Machine works received one 40' boxcar

Over on the shelf side we switched out Wonder Bread. 
The B&O boxcar was a hold so it had to be pulled and replaced.

Four 50' boxcars to University Lumber and Millwork to the left 
and two 50' boxcars to Berk Enterprises on the right.

Heileman Brewery received the NH car on the left at door#1 and the NYC car at door #2. The NYC cars at doors 3 and 4 were holds that needed to be pulled and re spotted. All these cars were from Train #1 that I made up with the blocked cars in Terminal Yard. The outbound cars were taken on a scenic ride back to Terminal Yard / Staging.
There's that cat in the car again! I move it around on the layout and it always seem to pop up when I report getting prototypical and serious. 

Terminal Yard / Staging has inbound trains on the right, various freight cars in the middle and two passenger trains on the left. This was at the end of the session. Yard power is the ALCO RS1 in the middle.

GP20s on the point of an arriving train.

An A-B-A- NYC F7 lash up brought in the train from North Side yard. The turnouts on the right connecting tracks 1 and 2 are for locomotive escape. This train was so long that the yard power will have to pull the caboose and a car from the rear so the road power can escape without fouling the yard lead. The tracks beyond the turnout on track 2 is where I keep the cabooses. Building out bounds on track 2 lets me couple up the train with a caboose ready at the rear. Not prototypical but it works well on the N.Y.C.T.L.

Yard Power sits on track six. The cleaning car and caboose were used as handles and for the ground crew. Cleaning the track while switching the cars worked well.   

After Action Report
#1. The time spent on preparing the switch lists and train cards turned out to be time well spent. I really liked the way they worked out and would definitely use them again. Car cards and waybills may be in the future as well.

#2 The operating sequence seemed to work well. For additional switching action at North Side Yard I might incorporate a "blocking sequence" into that outbound train as described in op session photo#5. This would add some more time and action for the N.S.Y. switch crew but that may be an enjoyable thing. We'll give it a try next time.

#3 A DC Controller gave us some problems during the course of the day. That will be replaced before op session #3.

#4 Andy Sperandeo was right when he said that yards work best at about half of their capacity. North Side Yard and Terminal Yard performed well following this advice.

#5 Making up trains in Terminal Yard / Staging was a lot of fun. The blocking of cars destined for the local industries and for points beyond gave the train a nice prototype feel. The "points beyond" worked well. When the outbound cars were added this made for a substantial 20 plus car train.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post through to the end. I know it was a lot of material to sift through but it was that kind of day. Special thanks to Engineer Ed for his fine work and companionship.

Happy Thanksgiving All