Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Automobile Industry Traffic on the New York Central Part 2

Greetings All,

The value of auto traffic was reflected in NYC's freight schedules. In the mid 1960s one of the highest priority trains on the system was the exclusive auto carrying "multi level" freight, ML-12, which departed Detroit (Junction Yard) eastbound every day for Selkirk Yard (Albany NY) via Toledo and Cleveland. Carrying up to 150 auto racks, each carrying as many as 15 autos, ML-12 was typically assigned eight (8) high horsepower locomotives and was permitted 70 mph on the main line. At Selkirk the auto-racks were redistributed to other trains while some cars were unloaded and trucked to their final nearby destinations. ML-9 was the Selkirk to Detroit return trip.

May 1, 1964 NYC Freight Schedule
Leaves Detroit (Junction Yard) 12:01 AM EST and arrives at Selkirk 6:00 PM EST
Takes Cars classified: 1. Selkirk and beyond Multi Levels and Flexi Vans
Selkirk Connection to Trains: SV-2, Advanced SV-4, SV-4, SV-12, WS-12

Leaves Selkirk NY at 7:00 AM EST and arrives in Detroit (Junction Yard) at 9:00 PM EST.
Takes cars classified: 1. Detroit Flexi Vans (except open tops)
                                  2. Multi Levels for Cadillac at Detroit NYC
                                  3. Willow Run Multi Levels
                                  4. Wayne Multi Levels
                                  5. Multi Levels for Chrysler
                                  6. Multi Levels for Detroit, Flint, Lansing and Pontiac via Detroit G.T.W.
                                  7. Suspension bridge C&O Multi Levels
Detroit (Junction Yard) Connection from Trains BB-1, SV-11, SV-1 and SV-3
Suspension Bridge: Set off group 7
Detroit Junction Yard: Group 6 Multi Levels to be delivered to G.T.W. prior to 11:59 PM

A check of the Canada Southern website http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/loco-consists-rochester.htm shows some interesting locomotive consists and train numbers out of Rochester NY. For example;

July 23,1966                ML-12   71 Loads                      4 GP40s
November 13, 1967     ML-9     6 Loads, 60 Empties     2 GP40s and a U25B
November 27,1967      ML-12   94 Loads                      4 U Boats

Let's take a look at some of the Multi Levels and Flexi Vans that made up ML-9 and ML-12

Here is an ACF 85' Tri Level Auto Rack built by ACF in 1961. The NYC leased these cars from MDT and NIFX. No lot # reported. A total of eight cars of this type on roster. ACF also built 135 85' bi level cars that same year that the NYC also leased from MDT (MDAX)

Accurail NYC Tri Level Auto Rack

A Prototype NYC Tri Level Auto Rack

From Pullman in 1961 150 87'4" Bi Level Auto Racks. 50 cars leased from MDT (MDAX), 100 cars leased from North American (NIFX). Lot#s 8601-A, 8620-A and 8639-A

An Athearn Genesis Bi Level Auto Rack with BTTX (TTX) reporting marks.

To sum this up the NYC had approximately 2,098 Auto Racks delivered to them between 1960 and 1966. The ranged from 85' to 89' and were built by ACF, Pullman and Bethlehem. The Cars were leased fron MDT (MDAX), North American (NIFX) and Trailer Train (TTX). That's a lot of railcars!

And let's not forget the ever popular NYC Flexi-Van cars that were part of the make up of 
ML-9 and ML-12
NYC Lot# 925-F 100 cars built by Greenville in 1962

The Mark III Flexi Van rail car was capable of carrying two 40' trailers. 
Those trailers could certainly be auto carriers as seen below.

On the N.Y.C.T.L. auto racks have not really been rail cars I sought to add. Worried about the 89' length and light weight versus the 24" radius curves I have been reluctant to invest in them thus far. I have however purchased several 50' Life Like bi level auto racks over the years, a few Bachmann 89' Tri Levels and an AHM(?) 50' bi level mostly for the vehicles that came with them. Looking at the above pictures this is something I may seek to rectify as the N.Y.C. and layer P.C. both ran numerous auto racks. I especially like the idea of making some of the Flexi Van cars I have into low riding auto racks. Another project now up on the drawing board.

Back in 2011 I looked at the sorry state of my auto rack fleet and decided to do something about it. I repainted the four LL 50' cars a rattle can jade green. That jade green was no where close to a NYC or PC jade green so I used my Turtle Creek Central decals that came with a Model Railroader magazine several years ago. So the T.C.C. became a subsidiary of the N.Y.C.T.L.

2 LL 50' bi level auto racks. 

A repainted LL 50 auto rack. Now TCC #132. Intermoutain metal wheels and body mounted Kadee couplers  have been added

T.C.C. #513 shows a black lettering scheme. All in all I painted and upgraded four of these cars.

Part 3 coming soon.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Automobile Industry Traffic on the New York Central Part 1

Greetings All,

Back in August I built a Roundhouse CB&Q 50' Automobile boxcar kit. I posted about it here on August 15th. http://newyorkcentrallayout.blogspot.com/2015/08/cb-50-double-door-auto-boxcar-46662.html

Since building that car I became even more interested in automobile industry traffic on the real New York Central System and my own New York Central Train Layout. So I did a little research using both printed media and the internet. Here are some of the things that I found interesting and a bit ironic.

The New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad competed fiercely for lucrative automotive traffic. Ironically, NYC, who's extensive passenger service was decimated by the growth in highway transportation, benefited greatly from the growth of automobile industry traffic. The NYC for many years claimed the title as the world's leading transporter of new automobiles. During the 1960s the number of new vehicles carried by the railroad increased dramatically. In 1962, the railroad moved approximately 500,000 new cars; in 1965 the NYC carried nearly 1.2 million cars. This was roughly 12 percent of American new car production.

Until the late 1950s autos shipped by rail were transported in special boxcars which was inefficient and cumbersome making railroads easy prey to the trucking industry. The introduction of the bi-level and
tri-level auto rack in the late 1950s changed all that. A single train could carry as many as 2,300 new cars and significantly lowered transportation costs not only for auto manufacturers but for railroads. Auto traffic resurged on America's railroads.

Let's take a look at the 1950's Automobile Traffic on the New York Central and the New York Central Train layout.

NYC Automobile Boxcar
NYC Lot 701B 50'6" All Steel Boxcar

NYC 50'6" 64000 - 64499 series All Steel Box with double doors. Built by DSI in 1941. Lot# 701B consisted of 500 cars of this type for the NYC. Some cars from this group in revenue service with NYC reporting marks until 1977.

NYC 76027 looks to be a rebuilt and repainted 64000-64499 series all steel double door box. So far research has this car number assigned to rebuilt Lot 700B series cars which were single door car. Go figure.  

A 50'6" CB&Q all steel box car fitted to transport automobiles 

G.T.W. 50'6: all steel double door automobile boxcar with end door. 
The NYC exchanged cars in Detroit with the GTW so I like having this car on the roster.
 Of course I did not know that at the time I bought this car.

CB&Q exterior post 50'6" automobile boxcar with end door. The car that started this research.

Nickel Plate Road 50'6" Automobile Boxcar #87143

Lehigh Valley 50'6" Automobile Boxcar with end door #8516

New York Central 40'6" All Steel Auto Box
New York Central Lot# 760B 
1000 cars built by DSI in 1947. Some cars assigned to various special services. Some cars from this lot in revenue service with NYC reporting marks until 1977.

40'6" NYC All steel auto boxcar #70835

A rebuilt and repainted lot 760B NYC All Steel auto boxcar #70924

A 40'6" all steel PRR auto boxcar.

A pair of Fairbanks Morse C-Liners leads a string of automobile boxcars towards terminal Yard.

A grainy video of the action

Next installment we'll take a look at the growth of the equipment and automobile industry traffic on the NYC and NYCTL. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Not Bad for $2.50!

Greetings All,

I recently came across some TOFC flatcars offered for sale on ebay with a starting bid of $2.50. I looked over the items offered and thought I could use them on the layout. Being a big TOFC fan that was no surprise. So I placed the opening bid and completely forgot about it. Upon return home I checked my email and discovered I had won the auction by default as it appeared I was the only bidder. So here is what I got...

A TYCO 50' TOFC Flatcar with two Union Pacific Trailers in very good condition with no broken parts. 

An Athearn BB A.T.S.F. 85' TOFC Flatcar with two semis and two trailers. B&O trailer is an Athearn BB and the semis and UP trailers are from TYCO. Flatcar is in good shape with no broken parts noted. B&O trailer is in rough shape.

Note the Express Trucks on the 85' TOFC Flatcar

This type of retro fitting and upgrading is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby. One important key to these older car projects for me is the use of a .96 cents can of rattle can flat black spray paint. I used this for the under frames and wheels of the trailers, the trailer mounting apparatus, the under frame of the 85' A.T.S.F. flat, the flatcar trucks and the metal weight on the BB car. Wire brushing the rust off the weights and other metal parts and spray painting them does wonders in my opinion for these vintage cars. The spray paint also helps stop the rust from returning.

Another is the use of the right knuckle couplers. Keeping all cars in the fleet adjusted to the Kadee Height Gauge has proven to be an important part of my fleet maintenance. While mostly using the ol' reliable Kadee #5 for many of the cars in the fleet I find that the underset #37 or #27 is often an excellent option when converting cars from horn hook to body mounted couplers. The underset #37 or #27 allows the car to ride at a lower height while still lining up with the gauge. The need to raise the car with washers between the truck and bolster to accommodate the #5 is eliminated resulting is a smoother less wobbly ride. Kadee.com has a helpful conversion chart for many coupler applications.

Fast forward one week and both TOFC flatcars are now in service.

Athearn BB A.T.S.F. 85' Flatcar #89102 has had it's express trucks replaced with trucks from another BB car (more on that later). Trailer hitches have been installed, Kadee #37s added and the car runs very nicely. 

Here it is with two 40' trailers     

A trio of BB 85' TOFC cars behind two BB Custom Painted NYC Geeps

The 50' A.T.S.F. TOFC. flatcar with UP trailers has received body mounted Kadee #37 knuckle couplers, IM metal wheel sets and a liberal spray of dullcote. The trailer securing apparatus on the flatcar has been painted flat black.

The TYCO A.T.S.F. TOFC flat between a Bachmann 50' TOFC flatcar and an Athearn BB B&O TOFC flat. This is not the B&O trailer that came with this purchase.

The Athearn B&O trailer included in the purchase is now a red & gray trailer. It will be a NYC Pacemaker trailer in the near future if all goes well.

TOFC and COFC 50' cars at North Side Yard.

The Express Trucks that came with the BB 85' A.T.S.F. TOFC flatcar have received 33" IM metal wheel sets and added to this 50' BB A.T.S.F. Express Boxcar. 

One of the TYCO semi's is now working at the Post Office facility near Empire City Station. The yellow semi is also from TYCO. The trailers are from Athearn and Walthers

An excellent blog to follow that showcases what can be done with the "old stuff" is the Kings Port Division HO Scale Model Railroad. http://kingsportdivision.blogspot.com/
Ralph V showcases his excellent eye for detail, weathering and blending of humor and operations in his highly photogenic layout. A must see.

Another excellent blog I recommend checking out is John Bruce's Model Railroad Miscellany.
http://modelrrmisc.blogspot.com/  John has some interesting railroad stories to share and his layout photos are well extremely done.

John details finding some great older models and how he got them layout ready in these two blog entries.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Some Hobby Shop Finds

Greetings All,

Two weeks ago my local hobby shop, TrainMaster Models in Buford GA, had their eighteenth anniversary sale. Not needing much since I was just their a week or two before on a parts supply run I was going to skip the event. On the parts supply run I did browse the store and came up with a Roundhouse CB&Q 50' Automobile boxcar (see post dated: August 15, 2015). There was not much else that caught my eye on that trip. Anyway, I made it to the shop right after they opened and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of new and used merchandise that awaited me.

First thing I saw were  two boxes of engine and rolling stock shells each offered for the price of one dollar. So I rummaged  through those first and came up with three pretty good finds. First was a round roof 40' Roundhouse P&E boxcar, second was a BN GP30 shell with all glass and handrails intact and lastly an ATSF E8A shell with all stirrups present. To me these were the home runs of the day.

A custom painted P&E boxcar with metal grab irons added. The shell was one dollar. I bought a WM 40 boxcar kit for five dollars and here it is on that frame with IM metal wheels and Kadee #5s added

Someone put a lot of work into this car adding the metal grab irons and the paint job. I'm happy to see it out of that box and being used on the layout. This car will eventually be fitted with a track cleaning pad.

BN GP30 #181 shell with all handrails, glass and horn intact. Believed to be a Lionel model. Same tooling as some of the a Bachmann models that I have so I grabbed it for future use. Price $1.00

A Rivarossi ATSF E8A shell in very good condition minus "glass". This shell virtually flew out of the box and into my cart. Several years ago I bought some Proto 2000 E units from an acquaintance down sizing his collection. Included in that purchase was an E6A power chassis. I've been looking off and on for a shell for this unit and here it is! Price $1.00

The P-2000 E6A power chassis with detailed cab and figures

After removing two tabs from inside the shell it fits! Now to scrounge up a windshield

After loading my shopping basket with the above shells I wandered over to the used section of the store. Seeing the shop buys collections and from stores going out of business you never know what you'll find. It's hit or miss. But if you see it, grab it, because it will be gone when you return for it. Here are a few finds from that section;

Atlas UP 60' Double Door Auto Parts Boxcar #960568 sits in Terminal yard after a shot of Testor's Dullcote. and having it's wheel faces and trucks weathered 

The model features opening doors and a decent looking interior.

Frame and brake details

Atlas Illinois Terminal Cylindrical Six Bay Cover Hopper #128 and Atlas 70 ton SCL hopper sit in front of Wonder Bread

The press pins holding the truck to the bolsters have been removed and replaced with 2-56 screws

An Athearn BB Rock Island tractor and forty foot trailer. The Rock actually had trailers in this paint scheme

The new tractor trailer sits outside Anchor Cargo and Distributing.

Athearn BB B&O 40' Hi Cube boxcar #19818 with IM metal wheels and Kadee #37 couplers added. This is the second BB B&O Hi Cube #19818 on the roster and was given to my B&O fan son. 

And last but not least that Roundhouse WM shell that came with the frame being used for the P&E car.