Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Friday, June 26, 2015

Heileman Brewery Upgraded

Greetings Blog Followers,

I was looking for a project to escape the relentless heat and humidity here in the south I came across an easy project that had been on the to do list for a very long time.   

The Heileman Brewery Complex has been on three of my layouts Each time it was arranged to suit the available space. The kit was sold under the Monarch Brewery name by Heljan.

The latest incarnation left the building with a four 40' boxcar siding but loading dock doors for only one car. The the other three would have to be loaded or unloaded through the windows. So after waiting a few years I finally got around to upgrading the building by adding the much needed loading dock doors and blocking off the standard entry doors that lead to a big drop onto the rails.

Here is a picture of the kit  

Walthers HO 1870s Monarch Brewery Complex, 322-690 plastic model kit

The Heileman Brewery shows off it's four car siding, three loading dock doors, two pedestrian doors(watch the first step!) and plenty of windows. Not really suitable for track side

The first of four 40' box cars on the right are being shoved into the siding. In a rare moment of cooperation between management and labor, shipper and common carrier all agreed that new loading doors were needed

Four 40' boxcars sit comfortably on the siding. The industry looks much better now that you cannot see the lack of loading / unloading access to the the boxcars. The N.Y.C.T.L. probably didn't mind that much as the demurrage charges have been astronomical. But there is always the need for boxcars for other industries and management at the N.Y.C.T.L. does not want to be caught short handed. So they too urged the Heileman honchos to get the project going.   

Three different New York Central System boxcars with 
a close cousin New Haven boxcar sit and await loading

Well look at that! The Heileman Brewery has new loading dock doors spaced for four 40' boxcars.
And the suicide doors have been bricked up as well.

The loading dock doors are made from some spare roll up doors with the tool box staple black coffee straws as weather stripping. A dock plate made of strip wood has been added under each door.

With the new doors now operational the brewery efficiency expert realized he could have cars spotted at any door if they were numbered. So they were. This will work nice for enhanced operations now that train crews can identify what car goes to what door.

Two NYC 40' boxcars are spotted at doors 1 and 2

The P&LE 40' boxcar is spotted at door 3 and the NH at door 6. Why was the three door group of doors 3, 4 and 5 left like that you may wonder? 

Doors 2 and 4 can accommodate two 50' boxcars

The cars are spotted by a NYC SW8

With the new loading doors in place the beer can now be shipped ice cold
in old style iced reefers. Before the upgrade the siding and the cars would
have been a wet mess! 

With the advent of mechanical refrigeration the N.Y.C.T.L. 
has spotted two of it's cleanest 50' reefers at Heileman 

A Schaefer 50' Reefer at Heileman's! Kind of like having an EMD switch out the Ford plant. The dock workers may not notice as all they see is the inside of the car. Hopefully the shipping clerk does not recognize the cars reporting marks.

For more on the prototype Heileman Brewery check out this link;

Sunday, June 21, 2015

An A.P.R.R Story Part 1

Greetings Blog Followers,

As many of you know the A.P.R.R.(Atlantic Pacific Rail Road) has been an active interchange partner with the New York Central Train Layout for quite sometime. While the modeled A.P.R.R. is set in the modern day today we are going to go back in time to the early 1970s when the upstart A.P.R.R. came into existence during the dark times of Northeast Railroading. With many of the class 1s like the Penn Central, Lehigh Valley and the Erie Lackawanna in bankruptcy or close to it the Atlantic Pacific Rail Road was able to carve itself a profitable niche through shrewd business maneuvers that allowed it to purchase or lease rights of way thought to be non profitable. Combined with track rights on some class 1s the A.P.R.R. came to be a railroad to be reckoned with and was able to stay independent during the Northeast Rail Road Revitalization Act of 1976. This granted the A.P.R.R. additional  revenues and trackage rights with the newly formed Conrail.

The man behind the A.P.R.R. is really 1-to 1 Sir Neal but for story purposes we are going to attribute the founding to 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself  who started the railroad from his office at Neal's Lumber and Hardware in Empire City. Seeing all the trains running into and out of North Side Yard seemed to light a fire in 1/87th scale Sir Neal. Before long a rail siding was put in at Neal's Lumber and Hardware and he became an excellent online customer. Then 1/87th scale Sir Neal brokered a deal with N.Y.C.T.L. management where Neal's Lumber and Hardware would be switched twice a day with the outbound shipments going in NYC Pacemaker Freight cars because 1/87th scale Sir Neal liked the colors and wanted his products to arrive at their customers one day earlier than the traditional freight traffic. The next thing you know 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself became the proud owner of his own passenger car, a sleeper observation car, named "Nassau County". From there chartered trips and weekend specials became regular occurrences. With all this railroad activity the next logical step for 1/87th scale Sir Neal was to own his own railroad. With many railroads in bankruptcy good buys could be had at bargain basement  prices. And so the A.P.R.R. was born.

Let's take a look at the A.P.R.R. first arriving on New York Central Train Layout tracks;

The Pride of the new fleet! A.P.R.R. GP38 #358 is the first unit painted in full A.P.R.R. colors. This engine and five others were built by EMD for the Reading and Seashore Lines (P.R.S.L.), a jointly owned Penn Central Reading Company subsidiary, in late 1970. The P.R.S.L. however could not gain financing and four of the units went to the bankrupt PC who had better credit and 1/87th scale Sir Neal scooped up the fifth unit. The unit was painted at the N.Y.C.T.L. paint shop and fitted with dynamic brakes by EMD.
The four PC units, 2010 - 2014 were fixtures in the Camden N.J. area for many years. 

The 358 with a fully painted 50' foot A.P.R.R. boxcar and caboose head for Terminal Yard with this one freight car transfer train. 

A nice shot of the first A.P.R.R. freight car, AP 16035. Since the unit was painted at the N.Y.C.T.L. paint shop 1/87th scale Sir Neal and the paint crew agreed that a slightly different shade of jade green would be appropriate to show that the car was part of the family.

It didn't take long! The A.P.R.R. #358 is now part of the Terminal Yard power pool.
#358 is in the rocking chair as it passes the 
Empire City Cargill Grain Elevator with a unit grain train. 

A.P.R.R. #358 is teamed up today with PC GP38-2 8024 and GP40 3175 
Some say 1/87th scale Sir Neal suggested the orange "C" to Al Perlman President of the PC

The three unit lash up will need all of the advertised horsepower today!

The A.P.R.R. began buying used freight equipment to start building a decent roster. As many railroads of the period were looking to shed unwanted cars the A.P.R.R. was ready to scoop them up. Below is a second hand cylindrical hopper purchased by the A.P.R.R. from the A.T.S.F.

A few days later A.P.R.R. #358 had the honor of switching out Neal's Lumber and Hardware.

A brakeman holds traffic while the A.P.R.R.GP38 blocks the street.

The 358 is in the lead on this hotshot intermodal train with a four unit diesel consist. It's just left Terminal Yard and believed to be en-route to the newly opened A.P.R.R. "Reynolds Intermodal Yard". 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself was quick to realize that Intermodal was going to be a big part of railroad profits in the years to come. 

Well look who it is! 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself is monitoring the 
intermodal train from A.P.R.R. caboose #58

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lee Beverage Distributors

Greetings Blog Followers,

Urban renewal and some structure rehabilitation have lead to the grand opening of Lee Beverage Distributors adjacent North Side Yard in Empire City. This was once a blighted neglected area and considered undesirable due to it's proximity to the rail yard throat and front edge of the layout. Recent zoning changes and an uptick in the real estate market have lead some small industries to relocate to this area so they can use the prestigious Empire City zip code, benefit from tax breaks and enjoy a location where there businesses are welcome.

One such business is Lee Beverage Distributors. Lee's is the newest occupant of a modified Life Like Mt Vernon Manufacturing Co kit.

I originally built this kit in the early 1990s for a layout specific area. The building was in the L shape you see above but the left hand side was glued as a second floor on top of the right hand side after cutting part of the right side roof off. This was done to allow trucks to enter under the building to access the loading dock which was placed at the rear of the first level. After that layout was torn down the building was moved and turned into a city jail and then subsequent moves left the building languishing in the big parts container for a decade at least.

I stripped the building in 91% rubbing alcohol, re-configured it and repainted it with rattle can brown oxide primer. Signage was from a Walthers kit. I then sprayed the building with Krylon clear flat. This caused that a faded look to appear on the building and decals.

Track side view of Lee Beverage Distributors. Note the NYC FA2 with PC F7As across the aisle in the newly mocked up station scene. We'll explore that in an upcoming blog entry. 

Space is tight and the yard throat ensures hands and arms will be reaching around and over these buildings so no fragile details are being applied. Wood sticks are side being used as sidewalk mock ups. 

Aisle view. The windows and loading dock wood base are brush painted with acrylic green paint.

A 40' trailer is spotted at Lee Beverage Distributors while a 45' trailer and
tractor navigate the narrow streets still in mock up stage. 
A bakery supply company can be seen behind  Lee's at the edge of the edge. 
That will be the third and final building to occupy this area.

Dependable Auto Parts which was featured here a couple of weeks ago has received some roof top details. 
Nothing too tall to snag a wrist or hand.

Roof vents made from some wood pieces I bought many many moons ago and 
vent pipes made from black coffee straws (Thanks Ralph!)  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Special Duty Trifecta Part 2

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York Central Train Layout Mechanical Shop and Paint Shop appear to have once again risen to the occasion. The shop forces refurbished and repainted three vintage Special Duty Units that are now back in service. The focus of the project was to take three units in different paint schemes, two Atlas Yellow Box SD35s and one Atlas Yellow Box SD24 (now an SD9), and make them into a consistent consist as seen in the Green Frog Penn Central Video Series. See Special Duty Trifecta Part 1 for additional information.

Penn Central SD35 6018 wears the red "P" (thanks Ralph!) as it leads SD9 6922 and SD35 6024 towards North Side Yard with a hot shot auto parts train

The three SD units show three different aspects of full Penn Central regalia
but make up a consistent consist that was the goal of the project.

Penn Central SD35 6024

Penn Central SD9 6922. This unit has had it's roof top air tanks removed, the holes plugged 
and a new horn has been added. 

Penn Central SD35 6018. This was the former 6039. The prototype 6018 wore the red "P" 

The SDs use their combined 6,750 horsepower to haul their train into Empire City

The SD units are on the viaduct heading towards North Side Yard

The train is entering Empire City on the upper level above E.C. Station

The SDs cross the Empire City viaduct

A reverse shot of the units on the E.C. viaduct

The train as arrived at North Side Yard, an additional block of cars have been added and the train is ready for departure with the 6024 now in the lead.

Some custom painted power was photographed at North Side Yard .
Two GP30s to the left and two GP38-2s to the right.

Word's gone out over the scanner about the newest SD units in the fleet and 1/87th Scale Sir Neal Himself has cruised over to a favorite Empire City rail fan spot in his Trans Am. Looks like 1/87th scale PC Ralph was passing through and had the scanner on in his vintage corvette and decided to stop and have a look.  

The SD units are leaving Empire City under the watchful eyes of of 1/87th Scale Sir Neal and PC Ralph who are under the watchful eyes of the E.C.P.D. 

In concluding this project I am quite pleased how the three units turned out. Three pretty old (20+ years) Atlas units have been refurbished so that they run well individually and in consist. They were stripped and repainted into a nice looking consist that will see plenty of main line freight trains for many more years to come. Not to bad for some old second hand units....    

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Special Duty Trifecta Part 1

Greetings Blog Followers,

The shop employees for the New York Central Train Layout continue their hard work and proud tradition of locomotive rebuilding excellence. The latest project undertaken by the shop forces is the rebuilding and repainting of three EMD Special Duty Units, two SD35s and an SD9. Here's some background on the prototype and the models.

Electro Motive Division Special Duty SD35: A six axle C-C version of the 2500 HP GP35 manufactured June 1964 to January 1966. 40 units were bought by the Pennsylvania Railroad number 6000 - 6039. Mostly used by the PRR and later Penn Central in and around the Allegheny Mountain range but liable to pop up on mainlines anywhere in the system.      

Electro Motive Division Special Duty SD9: A six axle C-C 1750 HP high hood locomotive that the Pennsylvania Railroad purchased in 1957-58 to the tune of 25 units. These units replaced 2-10-0 I1a's in yard and hump service and seldom saw mainline freight work. Originally number in the 7600 series they were renumbered into the 6000 series for the PRR NYC merger.

The models used for this project are two Atlas yellow box SD35s and one Atlas yellow box SD24. which is now being called an SD9 A Shop Bulletin was posted last month covering some of the the rebuilding of the SD24/SD9 and the SD35s. The units were all purchased second hand over a span of twenty plus years. The units were painted as follows: SD35  factory painted PC 6039, SD35 factory painted PRR 6003, SD9 custom painted NYC 9844.

The inspiration for the rebuilding / repainting project came from the Green Frog Penn Central Volume 2 preview video that featured an SD35 and SD9 consist pulling a freight train in the beginning and then at about the 6:22 mark. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jungbasfviY&index=16&list=WL )  I thought to myself that "Hey I can do that"! Off to the train room I went and after putting an SD35 SD9 together I didn't like what I saw (I also didn't like how they were running either!). The PC unit was not actually painted. The lettering and numbers were applied over the black plastic shell and the numbers were way to big. The PRR unit was weathered by a prior owner and the SD9 custom paint job looked good but the NYC never had an SD9 so that wasn't working for me with the new consist I wanted to put together. I wanted the consist to be consistent. That meant Penn Central. So after some research and a check of available Penn Central diesel decals that I have I was able to cobble up enough decals to do all three units.

The first SD35 SD9 test run after being shopped. 

The SD units have this freight train well in hand as they pose on the Empire City Viaduct.  

A little roof top dimple caused by an overheating light bulb.
Covered in last month's Shop Bulletin 

Over the viaduct and heading towards North Side Yard.

The 6039 and 6003 coupled up last summer when the 6003 joined the fleet. Note the size of the number on 6039. This will not do! 

The 6003 looks better in the picture than in person. Somewhat like the prototype the 6003 arrived in a dirty worn condition and will be spruced up with new paint and lettering

The units have been stripped and repainted. The Penn Central Power book by Robert J. Yanosey has become my bible for these projects. 

Don't be fooled by the Athearn Blue box. All units are from Atlas. The former 6003 was bought used with the blue box

The decals are cut and ready to go. Looks like we'll be adding SD9 6922, SD35 6024 and SD35 6018 to the roster. Numbers are accurate. SD35 6018 will wear the red "P" just like the prototype. 

That's it for part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.