Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Penn Central Tribute

Greetings All,

40 years ago today, March 31, 1976 was the last day of operations for the Penn Central Railroad. Tomorrow the Consolidated Rail Corporation "Conrail" would take over. After eight tumultuous years the PC would become a fallen flag. So today we are focusing on a 1/87th scale tribute to the men and women who kept the trains rolling thru some of the darkest railroading times ever witnessed.

The Penn Central was a merger of two struggling class 1 railroads, the New York Central and Pennsylvania RR who for almost a century were bitter rivals. A strange marriage indeed. Consummated on February 1, 1968 after years of ICC hearings the PC struggled from the beginning. In 1969 the ICC forced the perpetually bankrupt New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad into the PC stable. In the first quarter of 1970 the PC would report a loss of over 100 million dollars on it's rail operations. The company was on the ropes to say the least. On June 21, 1970 the unthinkable happened. The PC declared bankruptcy after 872 days of existence. For the next almost six years it would operate under court appointed trustees.

This blog entry is to celebrate the dedicated men and women who's continued employment was sketchy at best but who persevered through all the negative aspects of this fallen behemoth to provide rail service over 19,000 miles of freight trackage, while operating 65% of Amtrak's passenger services.

It also needs to be noted that during the time I have been involved with this blog and the exploration of the Penn Central I have made some very good friends who I am able to share the hobby and love of the PC with. These include Neal M, (AKA 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself), Ralph V (AKA PC Ralph) and Ed W (AKA Engineer Ed). Having these three "train buddies" has made an enjoyable endeavor even more so. I look forward to even more exchanging of ideas and barbs about this and that and exploring the PC even further .

A four unit EMD lash up. These were the first units I painted for the Penn Central back in April 2012.

SD40 #6282 purchased new by the PC in 1970-1971

GP40 3175 purchased new in 1968 and one of a group, 3170-3186, to be painted with the Orange C 

GP35 2252 is former PRR unit painted with the Red P April - June 1968 

GP35 2327 a former PRR unit that wears the traditional all white logo
A familiar sight on the N.Y.C.T.L. A five unit EMD lash ups featuring NYC, PC and PRR power.  

GP30 2228 is a former PRR unit. Custom painted October 2014

The 2228 is coupled up to GP30 2232 on the head of this freight train

 GP30 2232 is a former PRR unit that received the red P in early 1968. Custom painted July 2014.

Two NYC GP30s with a PRR GP35 lead this train. The GP30s were custom painted in July 2010.

GP38-2 8024, GP38 7692 and GP40 3175 roll lite across the upper level. 
7692 and 8024 custom painted October 2014 

 Factory painted GP38-2s 8150 and 8148

In 2012 I also started to repaint some of my rolling stock into Penn Central and New York Central paint schemes

PC 167999 is a Bachmann 50' plug door boxcar

NYC 159895 is another Bachmann 50' plug door boxcar. 

 In 2015 i started adding some PC Auto Racks. In many of the PC videos I have seen there is usually an impressive scene with PC engines pulling long strings of auto racks. 

These are reworked Bachmann 89'ers

 A 1969 Plymouth commercial featuring the Penn Central

A recent addition to the PC rolling stock. A Custom painted 60' Auto Parts boxcar

The most recent custom painted PC unit is this Atlas FP7A

Another late arrival on the layout is this custom painted Atlas C-424 #2415. A singularly unique PC engine as they had only one on the roster.

Lastly a Penn Central tribute video which is part of a three layout project to commemorate this day. 
Ralph V.'s Kings Port Division https://www.youtube.com/user/RalphPCvids/videos
and my N.Y.C.T.L.
Unfortunately our fourth partner in crime, Ed W.'s Hoschton RailwayCompany 
 was unable to participate due to illness. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to the throttle. 

Penn Central Tribute

Thanks for reading and watching!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Trains Keep Running and The Projects Keep Coming Part 2

Greetings All,

Another busy week on the New York Central Train Layout has more trains running and a couple of projects completed. Let's take a look;

Terminal Yard switch crew on board an NYC SW8 roll under the newly installed tank car unloading structure and overhead piping as they enter the Ford Plant tracks. Seasoned switch crews leave the caboose back at Terminal Yard to make pulling and sorting cars in this tight area easier and more efficient.

The 9608 couples up to two empty breadbox trough cars on the steel car unloading track. 
A new asphalt roadway has been installed. 
The brakeman has attached the brake hoses and the train is building air pressure.

The engineer and crew have maneuvered 9608 onto the east track past the Ford Plant switches 
9608 will uncouple and back through the switch towards All City Storage in the left rear of the photo. 

9608 sans caboose can now clear the east side track switch points without having to handle the freight cars at All City Storage. A big time saver. 9608 can now proceed down the west track and get in front of the coil steel cars pulled from Ford.

9608 has coupled up and shoved back to pick up the three empty breadbox trough cars behind 
the Rock Island tractor trailer.

Meanwhile over in Empire City two GP35s are clearing out North Side Yard and picking up outbound cars destined for Terminal yard and points beyond. 

Covered hoppers pulled from Cargill 

A loaded NYC Pacemaker car is pulled from Neal's Lumber & Hardware. Those that have followed this blog know that Neal's L&H is a big time rail customer and continues to use Pacemaker cars for shipping their merchandise whenever possible.

Boxcars being shoved back under under Superior Furniture. Superior Furniture has gained a new interior. One of those projects that keep on coming. Actually it's been waiting patiently for four years. 
Pay no attention to that Conrail trailer photo bombing us.

A Superior Furniture loading dock worker enjoys the new loading dock and the train action. 

Window shades, floors and a new blue carpet on the upper level management offices highlight the upgrades.

Neubaum's Coffee & Tea Importers has loaded this colorful 40' BAR boxcar with imported teas for new online rail customer Cavendish Fine Foods and Spirits located in Kings Port NY 

The Terminal Yard switch crew is on the industrial siding picking up loaded boxcars from University Lumber and Berk Enterprises. The crew does a rolling inspection for the freight train on the right headed towards Terminal Yard.

The GP35s return caboose light to North Side Yard

An EMD / GE lash up leads train LS-1 ( NY to Elkhart) out of Terminal Yard. 

Block 2 will be removed at Selkirk for delivery to various industries on the Kings Port Division

Block 3 is this six car block of Breadbox Trough Coil Cars also known as clam shell coil cars. The block will also be dropped at Selkirk for delivery to Kings Port Steel 

Jaded commuters don't bother to check out the freight engines and train rumbling past the station platform.

Next Stop Selkirk!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Trains are Running and the Projects Keep on Coming!

Greetings All

In the last blog entry we looked at PC Train VN-4 (Selkirk to Empire City) arriving in Empire City with a block of cars from PC Train KV-5 (Kings Port to Selkirk) As a follow up to that entry let's take a look at what happened to the VN-4 Block 1 cars and the projects needed to make that happen.

Local Train EC-1 (Empire City Local) is on track 8 in Terminal Yard with cars from block 1 of Train VN-4
Today's power is GP30 2218 and F7A 1602 
The road power from VN-4 is on track 9 awaiting the fuel truck.   

The first stop out of Terminal Yard is Hudson Coal where this 40' Hi Cube Boxcar with mining augers has been spotted. No card box? No Problem! A quick clip and we're all set.

Next stop is University Lumber and Millwork. EC-1 will have to remove these 3 empty Thrall All-Door Boxcars and spot two empty 50' plug door boxcars.

50' plug door boxcars PC 160502 and TPFX 5510 are spotted and the 
Thrall cars are now part of train EC-1

EL 73510 has been spotted at Berk Enterprises and awaits loading

The train crew of EC-1 is re blocking there train to get these Breadbox Trough Cars
 with steel coils for the Ford Plant to the front of the train. Due to switch alignments Tank Cars and Steel Shipments are delivered going towards Empire City's North Side Yard while Auto Parts and Auto Racks are switched in on the return from North Side Yard. An important piece of information overlooked by the duly chastised Terminal Yard switch crew.

 EC-1 with two steel coil coaches from Kings Port Steel rolls onto the Ford Plant siding under the newly constructed tank car unloading and pumping station. One of those projects I mentioned in the opening.

To gain clearance to the steel car track two cars from All City Storage need to be pulled out and placed on the track closest to the layout edge.

The newly arrived steel cars roll under the imagineered steel loading  structure. 
A new cement pad for steel coil storage and roadway has been added.
 Another one of those projects that cropped up.

Vents and Roll up doors have been added to the flat. The entire Ford Plant has been "opened up" to better show the auto parts and auto rack rolling stock. With the partial roof obscuring just enough to make the siding looking larger we can imagine the lading racks being loaded.  
Another one of those projects.

The empty breadbox trough cars are being shoved back to EC-1 after the All City Storage cars have been re spotted

 A close up of the imagineered tank car unloading facility and the 
corresponding car cards for this train movement

EC-1 cools it's heels back to the left while it waits clearance to cross the 
Commodore Vanderbilt Bridge into Empire City.

The Water Street Freight Terminal sits below the bridge and overpass while the City View Apartments are tucked into the curve.  

GP30 2218 rides tall and proud over the C.V. Bridge as it leads EC-1 towards North Side Yard 

Meanwhile a 1/87th scale rail fan spectacular is taking place!
EC-1 is crossing the C.V. Bridge, 
A PC E8A leads a passenger train up out of Empire City Station.
A M&E train rounds the curve towards EC Station and NY-4 thunders past on the upper level.

A close up of three of the four trains.

 The North Side Yard and Empire City trackage has been spun off to short line Empire Belt a wholly owned subsidiary of the N.Y.C.T.L. The E.B. will handle the last mile for the cars delivered to North Side Yard in train EC-1

Two look alike 50' NYC double door boxcars are spotted at Prestage Gear with loads of steel stock

The E.B. with two newly painted GP35s shoves it's cars towards the East Side.

A Cargill covered hopper is spotted at...Cargill! 

Some shuffling of cars at Ralph's Grocery Warehouse gives us a nice shot of our EMD power. The experimental red "P" on 2252 was applied in the early stages of the PC in 1968.

PC 77010 has been spotted at Ralph's Grocery Warehouse and Distribution Center

A old video of Train KT-1 to close this entry out.

Thanks for reading and watching!