Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Second Hand Covered Hopper

Greetings Blog Followers,

This past week interchange partner the Atlantic Pacific Rail Road (known here as the A.P.R.R. with eporting marks AP) purchased a quantity of used cylindrical covered hoppers from the A.T.S.F. One of the newly purchased hoppers was located on a siding awaiting loading at the Empire City Cargill Grain Elevator. An alert N.Y.C.T.L. engineer spotted the car and notified the Terminal Yard Train Master. The train master knowing it was a three day weekend in observance of Memorial Day noted the following three things;
1. Workers at the N.Y.C.T.L. Paint Shop were off duty.
2. A.P.R.R. CEO Sir Neal M would gladly pay the holiday wages to have the car lettered and numbered for the A.P.R.R.
3. The Cargill Grain Elevator was also closed for the day.

A plan was then put in place to have the empty covered hopper brought into the Terminal Yard Paint Shop where it would be repainted and then spotted back in place on the siding near the Cargill Grain Elevator. The Paint Shop foreman contacted a few volunteers who agreed to report in and take care of the needed painting and lettering.

Late Sunday afternoon and all is quiet at the North Side Yard and the siding across the main where a group of covered hoppers sit waiting to be switched into the Cargill Grain Elevator for loading. The covered hoppers closest to us have already been loaded and are waiting to be made into a unit train and head out of town.  Note the brown A.T.S.F. covered hopper looking suspiciously at the newly patched A.P.R.R. covered hopper. You can almost hear a "don't I know you from somewhere?"

Just like that the A.P.R.R. has added a covered hopper into it's fleet. Some blue painter's tape, some gray rattle can spray paint and the A.P.R.R. decals and this car is back in revenue service before anyone even knew it was moved. Being a contract paint shop for the A.P.R.R. means that the N.Y.C.T.L. Paint Shop has the materials on hand to accomplish these projects in a timely manner. 

The new AP 314783 waits patiently for Tuesday morning to be loaded. The quick weekend maneuver by the N.Y.C.T.L. will allow the A.P.R.R. to be paid for the Cargill Load.  

1/87th Scale Sir Neal Himself stops to chat with some friends at Dino's Pizza Parlor. Always a class act 1/87th Scale Sir Neal is ordering lunch and dinner for the men and women at the N.Y.C.T.L.'s Terminal Yard complex who made the quick conversion possible.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shop Bulletin

TO:            SHOP FOREMAN

1. The N.Y.C.T.L. Shop forces recently addressed two mechanical failures of it's locomotive fleet. The first incident was the poor performance and poor electrical pick up of  NYC SD9 #9833 (Atlas SD24) which was being tested as part of a proposed rebuilding and repainting project. The second was the poor performance and grinding sounds emitting from PC GP38-2 8148 (Bachmann). The N.Y.C.T.L. Shops have identified the issues and are passing along this service bulletin as it is believed some of you have similar locomotives in your fleet.

2. NYC SD9 #9833 (Atlas) being test with PC SD35 #6309 (Atlas) was found to be running very poorly and unable to speed match with the SD35 which is of similar vintage. 9833 was brought into the shop and overhauled. The following issues were noted and corrected. (A) corrosion motor wiring terminals where joiner connects to motor. (B) gunk on wheel wipers and back of wheels. (C) Loose flywheel. The flywheel was reattached to the motor with a drop of CA. The terminals were lightly wire brushed and cleaned with an alcohol swab. The wheels were removed from the trucks by prying off the retainer from the bottom. The wheels and wipers were cleaned with an alcohol swab. The unit was put back together and lubricated. Testing of the 9833 showed a marked running improvement and m.u. compatibility with the 6309. A parts drawing is attached for reference.

3. SAFETY WARNING #1: ATLAS YELLOW BOX SD35s AND SD24s. Use extreme caution when working on these engines as some of the plastic parts under the shell that hold the wires and wheel wipers were extremely brittle.
4. SAFETY WARNING #2: ATLAS YELLOW BOX SD35s AND SD24s. It has been discovered that the placement of the engine light in these engines is right under the cab hood. (not shown in diagram) and the heat build up from these old school bulbs will in fact melt the top of the cab. The N.Y.C.T.L. has removed the bulbs from the SD35 (after the top melted a bit) and the SD24.   

5. PC GP38-2 #8148 (Bachmann DCC on Board) (Run #K090930 on bottom of fuel tank). While in consist with GP38-2 8150 and GP40 3007 #8148 was found to be running poorly with an audible grinding noise. The engine was brought into the shop and the troubleshooting showed that the rear drive shaft coupling was spinning freely on the metal shaft that connects it to the gear box. A drop of CA on the metal shaft and the replacement of the coupling have cured this issue. Allow the CA to cure before operating. A parts diagram of an older GP40 has been attached although the gear tower assembly is a bit vague in the drawing. 

6. This is the second occurrence of this type on a Bachmann DCC engine. The first units affected were NYC RF16s. They were repaired in the same way and continue to run well.

7. Submitted for your information.

Shop Foreman
Terminal Yard Shop

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dependable Auto Parts Distributors

Greetings Blog Followers,

It's been a couple of busy weeks away from the layout with both College and High School graduations plus the out door chores that arrive every May. I was able to get a few small things done this week. One of which is this small building built from DPM leftover components. It was a pretty simple and straight forward build that resulted in a pretty nice building that will occupy the front edge of the layout near North Side Yard.

The building features a loading dock and lift up door on this side. The building has been painted with rattle can red oxide and the doors and windows are a rattle can green.

The building is close to the edge and the tracks. A roll up door faces the area where a roadway will be installed. 

The underside shows the card stock roof and black coffee straw supports. The card stock is from some junk mail and the black straws are courtesy of PC Ralph. 

A 32' P.I.E. trailer is spotted at the side loading dock.

The roof awaits some additional details. The gray edging is made of some hobby sticks from Micheal's Crafts. They cover the notches in the tops of the DPM components.
Looking to the left you can see the area getting some attention. A rehabbed structure sits to the left and another industry is located at the far left. All are non rail served industries but they are small enough to fit in at this edge and give the area an industrial feel. A team track in North Side Yard may be in the works to provide periodic rail service to these three industries.  

Needing an identity these decals came in a Walthers kit. I painted some styrene rattle can red and applied the decals. The "signs" were then mounted with a tacky glue. Dependable Auto Parts Distributors is now a thriving non rail served industry.

View from the other side of the layout. Note how that PC car photo bombed the pictures!

Next up is some dullcote and some window "glass" after that I'll continue with this area and report on the progress. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Big Doings on the N.Y.C.T.L.

Greetings Blog Followers,

Big doings continue in the Big Apple! Let's take a look at a colorful week that featured the Subway Series and other noteworthy layout happenings.

First up the New York Central Train Layout's Terminal Yard Train Master has become the local rail fans most popular N.Y.C.T.L. employee. With the Subway Series Special already on his scorecard the Train Master added to his growing popularity by consisting and dispatching some very interesting and colorful locomotive pairings. With the popularity going to his head the Train Master is actually thinking of setting up a phone line to take requests from rail fans.  Here are a some other noteworthy events from last week.

A four unit lash up consisting of two GP30s and two GP40s. But not just any four unit PC lash up. A rare red "P" PC GP30 and two very rare orange "C" GP40s

The four unit lash up that had the rail fans buzzing passing through Empire City Station
All units did in fact wear these paint schemes for the Penn Central

The Geeps pulling hard up the grade. Note the newly installed Wilcox Barriers on the layout edge.  

3175 brings up the rear of the consist while construction workers put the finishing touches on the Wilcox Barriers. The barriers are named after renowned rail photographer Bill Wilcox who noted the absence of the safety devices at the edge of the abyss to the concrete floor. 

A M&E Train heads towards the lower level on track 1

The newly famous ALCO FA-FB-FB-FA lash up leads the M&E Train into Empire City Station. The consist has become very popular with rail fans and train crews alike.   

What's This!! That's right a trio of SD40s in PC and BN livery!

Now we see the first unit is an HLCX Leaser. Unit#2 is in the BN white face scheme.
All are powered BB units.

Pipes, pipes and more pipes. Gervais Industries looks to be on a 24 hour work cycle!
CEO Bobby G has left his foreman in charge while he spent the weekend in the Big Apple with family and friends aboard the Subway Series Special. Looks like the profits are way up this year.

Clam Shell Coil Coaches on their way back to the Kings Port & Western for another revenue run.
KP&W CEO and President PC Ralph will make sure these cars are spotted quickly at Kings Port Steel. 

Another recently refurbished SDP40 in full Penn Central regalia leads a group of heavyweight coaches to Empire City Station. With the Subway Series the N.Y.C.T.L. has added some extra short haul passenger trains to handle the commuter crowds.

A baggage car has been converted to a temporary bar car and has been tacked onto the rear of the train.

Speaking of the Subway Series, NY Yankee fans arrive at the Grand Central - 42 Street Station. The Yankees are known to some baseball fans as the Evil Empire. Looks like the Yankee fans have taken that to heart. Or these guys have traveled a few light years for the game. Holy Cow!

Uh oh! The NY Mets fans have arrived at the G.C. 42 Street Station at the same time. The Mets are the young start ups in NYC being only 53 years old. Compared to the NY Yankees who have been around  since 1903 starting out as the NY Highlanders

The #4 train rolls through

What's This? The dark lord of the Evil Empire has stopped at Neal's Lumber to try and turn 1/187th scale Sir Neal Himself  to the dark side!
The Force is strong in 1/87th scale Sir Neal  and he would not be turned.
 Darth Vader left with a Let's Go Mets! ringing in his ear.

Now back to the trains!
Another set of coaches arrives at Empire City Station behind a NYC lightning striped F7A 

Surprise! A Penn Central F7A on the rear of the short passenger train.
Reason: the lighted coaches usually short out the reverse curve. 
Solution: Push Pull Mode with dual power on both ends 

The train heads back to Terminal Yard with the PC unit in the lead. This unit is up for a possible repaint as the PC fonts are wrong. It just might end up a NYC gray cigar band unit to consist with the lightning stripe unit. Both are MRC Platinum units. Both have steam boilers for passenger service. Although the NYC never had any F7As (or FP7As) in either passenger scheme the lightning stripe scheme looks too good to me to repaint. We shall see.