Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Trains Are Running

Greetings All,

Another fun filled week here at the New York Central Train Layout Headquarters. With a few days off from work due to heavy rains I was able to spend some time in the layout room and run a few trains.

Here is a sample of what I've been up to;

Penn Central Train VN-4 (Selkirk to Empire City) rounds the newly scenicked curve much to the delight of the local 1/87th scale rail fans

Two New Haven engines work their way down to the Empire City Water Street Freight Terminal

PC VN-4 with an EMD GP38 and GE U30C are today's power. 

Block 1 of VN-4 consists of cars from connecting train KV-5 (Kings Port to Selkirk)

1/87th scale rail fans Sir Neal Himself and PC Ralph are track side watching the end of block 1 and the Rock Island start of block 2 roll by.

 VN-4 has entered Terminal Yard

Block 2 of VN-4 consists of  some TOFC cars along with a few boxcars

 VN-4 has been sorted and blocked for local deliveries 

 The arrival of VN-4 caught by local railfans

Watch on Youtube;

 Thanks for reading and watching!

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Greetings All,

As previously reported I recently purchased the Doc O'Brien Weathering Powders from Micro-Mark. This morning I weathered two New Haven engines to increase their realism. Using the powders and some dry brushing of the fuel tanks, couplers and trucks.

The Doc O'Brien's Weathering Powders

New Haven GP9 and RS2 lead a freight train pre-weathering

Both units have only a dullcote finish at this time

NH GP9 1218 has been weathered along with RS2 0503 

NH 0503 

Both units on upper level in better lighting. 

Subtle but much more distinctive in person 

A close up from another angle picks up more of the weathering on the engines.
All in all I like the way they look. I'll continue to experiment on my rolling stock and other motive power. I also plan to try the powders on structures as well.  That's it for now. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Odds and Ends on the N.Y.C.T.L.

Greetings All,

As previously reported train operations on the layout and virtual operations with friends have spawned a list of projects and scheduled improvements on the N.Y.C.T.L. Some will be slow to implement and others have begun. Working around cold and rainy weather which shut down my outdoor spray booth I worked on some odds and ends type projects on the layout. Some turned out well and can be checked off the to-do list and others are just kind of in the experimental stage and just roughed in.

First up I broke down and purchased the Doc O'Brien's Weathering Powders from Micro Mark. I have been wanting to get into the weathering of my rolling stock and motive power for quite some time but have been very hesitant to do so. I finally took the plunge. I experimented on a few cars with what I think are decent results for a first time effort.

RBOX 34593 is from Accurail and was part of a three car set I bought a long time ago. I was disappointed in the cars from the beginning as the body is yellow plastic with the lettering applied directly to that. First issue was the car glowed under the lights. Second it never looked right, especially next to cars with painted shells. All the cars were dull coated as is my practice but they still did not look right. I did paint the insides of these cars flat black to eliminate the radioactive look. I gave this one a dry brushing of burnt umber a while back and then followed that up with the weathering powders. Better but still needs some work.

Left to right weathered RBOX 34593,  not weathered Accurail RBOX 34685
and a not weathered Athearn BB RBOX 11065 

A wood sided Reading RR  reefer from Model Power. I believe this on one of those 10 freight cars for $12.00 deals from Standard Hobby Supply in New Jersey. It's languished in a box for many a year. Warped trucks, erratic running and frequently bumped by better running and looking rolling stock. Trucks have been replaced as were the wheels and body mounted knuckle couplers have been added. A brushing of some green, brown and white powder has this car looking much better, 

Two New Haven 40' box cars from Athearn have been renumbered. A brushing of brown and white powder has produced some subtle weathering.

Second project I wanted to address was the entry into Terminal Yard. Originally conceived as basically a hidden staging / fiddle yard it has grown out of that designation with the increased operations with Engineer Ed and the Virtual Ops with PC Ralph.

An empty hopper train arrives from the Kings Port Division. All City Storage has been borrowed from the layout and posed here for the shot. Some scrap MDF pieces block the train boxes on the left.

A gift from Engineer Ed was Model Train Software.  I recently designed and printed some building flats from the software and am quite pleased with the results. 
This is a work in progress but better than blank walls and / or boxes. 

A lot of potential here. 

Using the Model Train Software I designed and printed out these flats for my Empire City Post Office

Again a lot of potential

As I gain experience these efforts should get better and better. 

 Another layout area long neglected was this curve on the back end. While not Emery Gulash's Telegraph Curve it has real good picture potential. Adding in sidewalks, fauna and flora,
 and a road have given the scene some life. The little freight house in the rear right of the photo was also painted recently

Truck traffic into Water Street Freight Terminal and some rail fans under police supervision give this neglected area a new life. Looking closely it looks like 1/87th scale Engineer Ed has taken his Mrs for a leisurely drive in their 1955 Chevy. I wouldn't be surprised if that's 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself and PC Ralph standing on the corner across the street.

Next issue to address was the Ford Plant. Can't make cars without steel! With the Ford Plant operations continuing to evolve I needed a place to receive and unload coil steel cars like these breadbox trough cars. This siding can handle two cars at a time which will work well for the tight space. Work continues...

Running ops sessions and enjoying virtual ops sessions requires rolling stock and motive power in good working order. I've been slowly getting the whole roster into the action. Right now about 98% of the fleet can be included in either ops or virtual ops sessions. That said, I just read John Bruce's most recent blog entry titled Vintage. I am going to start referring to John as the Train Doctor due to his expertise in taking the old, worn and weary rolling stock of the hobby and giving it new life. See here for his recent entry:  http://modelrrmisc.blogspot.com/2016/02/vintage.html

After reading John's entry I thought I'd introduce these Varney hopper cars from 1961. I picked these cars up for a dollar from a former LHS that had a huge closeout of used inventory about 8 years ago. Both have been upgraded with knuckle couplers and the Virginian car has received new trucks and P-2000 metal wheels. The coal load in the C&O car is stamped Varney 1959.

1961 graduates from Varney Manufacturing. These cars were included in the unit hopper train in photo #6. Nothing wrong here with using rolling stock 55 years of age!

That's it for now. Thanks for reading!! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Joint Project: New York Central Pacemaker Freight Service Trains

Greetings All,

This past weekend a project in the making for several months with my friend and fellow modeler Neal M was finally completed.

The project: A run through of a New York Central Pacemaker Freight Service train from layout to layout behind an EMD F7A & F7B consist. Follow along as we explore the N.Y.C.T.L. and the Atlantic Pacific Railroad.
The power has coupled on and the terminal air test is completed

The conductor checks his watch and informs the fork life operator that it is cutoff time.

To watch the N.Y.C.T.L. action click the following link

To watch the Atlantic Pacific Railroad action click the following link

Although the trains never left their respective train rooms it was nice teaming up with Neal and enjoying the project and seeing his great layout.

Thanks for reading and watching     

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The arrival of Penn Central KT-1

Greetings All,

A hectic week on the New York Central Train Layout has finally slowed down  a bit. First up was the February 1st Penn Central Birthday Celebration. In honor of that PC Ralph himself sent over PC train KT-1, Williams Yard, King Port NY to Terminal Yard in Empire City as part of our fledgling virtual operations. This was not just any PC train, PC Ralph used plenty of NYC and PRR "predecessor" rolling stock as a tribute to these newly fallen flags.

Now all this may not sound like much but putting together a duplicate train of KT-1, filling out car cards, running it around the layout, switching out it's freight cars at their required destination and taking pictures of the process took some time. Add in the Extra 7606 that I was dispatching (I'll cover that in a separate blog entry) and the week was filled with rail car movements. And it was a lot of fun!

It's February 1st 1968 on the N.Y.C.T.L. and train KT-1 is making it's way towards Terminal Yard with a pair of GP30s

The 1/87th scale locals are track side to catch the action

The REA Express has a small facility at this station.

A trio of NYC double door boxcars roll past the switch tower.

 A yellow cupola PRR caboose brings up the rear of KT-1. The yellow cupola signifies that this caboose can be run over any division 

KT-1 has been broken down (probably not a good phrase to use when referring to the PC in later years) and an ALCO RS1 in NYC livery with PC road number 9909 hustles an Early Bird shipment to the NYC's Water Street Freight Terminal. 

The 9909 backs the Early Bird car towards the freight terminal

Rolling past the Empire City Station REA facility the boxcar enters 
the NYC Freight Terminal side of the street

 On time a day earlier is the Early Bird slogan and it remains true for this shipment

The 9909 and caboose head back to Terminal Yard

Another single car movement has this 34' hopper car going to T&R Gravel to pick up a load of gravel . A PRR Baldwin S12 holds down a local assignment today. 

With a unit train heading to T&R later in the day the dispatcher thought it prudent to get this single car loaded and out of the way before the unit trains arrival.

A covered hopper for Drywell Inks. A NYC Baldwin S12 holds down the North Side Yard Switcher assignment today.

A 40' boxcar for Reliable Machine Works

This 50' NYC boxcar will be loaded at American Hardware with a shipment for Peerless Appliance

The Baldwin S12 and tired caboose head back to Terminal Yard

Thanks for reading