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!


  1. You have quite a PC roster! When you say "custom paint", do you mean someone else did it, or did you do it? If you do it, can you explain in more detail what you do to paint a loco PC or NYC?

  2. Thanks John! All custom painted units were painted by me. For a real in depth look at my painting process check these older blog posts: http://newyorkcentrallayout.blogspot.com/2015/02/fa1-fb1-fb1-fa1-project-part-1.html

  3. Have to echo John B.'s comments about your impressive roster, especially considering how many of the locos and freight cars you customized or modified yourself!

    1. Thanks Ralph! I'll use the cliche 'It's been a labor of love" here. Some of the inspiration for these paint projects comes from my viewing your own impressive PC fleet. Thanks for the encouragement and assistance with research and development on many of the above units.