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.....


  1. Very interesting. I enjoy creative approaches to AHM type cars like yours. I don't know how common those early Evans cars were, but a google does turn up some prototype photos. It's also worth noting that Allen McClelland (or maybe one of his group who did the work) had an article on shortening Walthers enclosed auto racks for the V&O. This could be another approach, but I really like the idea of trying to track down more info on those early Evans cars.

    The Gulash and similar DVDs certainly show that Detroit -- which I believe in 1960 was the fourth largest city in the US -- is a neglected prototype.

    1. Thanks for the tip regarding the shortened enclosed auto racks. I think if I shortened an 85' to 89' open car to about 73-75' it would be more reliable and operate better on my 24" curves. The 3 full length Bachmann cars I have use talgo mounted couplers. They work OK but need to be upgraded. This research may spur that project to the forefront.
      Agree about Detroit. NYC was very prominent there and I always enjoy reading or watching videos related to the Detroit rail scene,

  2. Yes, check this page http://tycotrain.tripod.com/freightcars/id41.html for a prototype photo of a car lettered for UP. If you google "evans auto loader photo" you will also come up with a few additional prototype photos. The cars were short-lived proof of concept items, but they were real!

    1. Hi John, Thanks for the link! This is the car I have. I thought it might have been an AHM release but double checked after seeing the photo provided with the link and it is definitely the car. In my research on this topic I saw a notation that showed the NYC had one car test fitted with the Evans auto loading equipment. Here's some info on it

      Like you said short lived but they were real!

  3. Thanks for the extensive research on this topic John! I would have loved to see ML-9 with its eight locos thundering by! Nice work on your LL 50' racks renovations as Turtle Creek cars. Looking forward to your Flexi Van autorack conversions.

  4. Thanks Ralph! Agree the eight power unit consist would have been a great sight. Would like to try and run that on the layout but the lights in the neighborhood would probably dim. I like the Flexi-Van auto rack conversion idea as well. Hopefully I can make that happen.

  5. Thanks for the history lesson. While I model modern, this definitely adds credibility to how the current auto racks have evolved.

  6. Glad you liked the entry Sir Neal. Make sure to catch Part 3 coming soon.