Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

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


  1. A great story! I couldn't have told it better myself. You're a true PC historian! Looking forward to part 2!

  2. Glad you liked it 1 to 1 Sir Neal! The story about PC GP38s 2010-2014 is actually true. Part 2 is in the works.

  3. Internet connectivity issues have kept me from responding up until now but everything is fixed and I'm able to comment that I really like the orange A.P.R.R scheme and lettering. The Geep and caboose look terrific! I also enjoyed the back story of Neal's railroad!

    1. Thanks Ralph and welcome back! Neal's A.P.R.R. lettering is in the same font as the Penn Central. He picked out a nice color scheme for his engines and cabeese and the "current day" A.P.R.R. engines on his layout are fantastic. I will post a link to them in part 2.