Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Empty Hoppers to Selkirk

Greetings All,

As part of the Penn Central Car Movement #12 series we are using the harvest time of fall planted barley (now) to initiate some unit covered hopper trains. As part of the scenario Empire Grain in West Mill NY and other large operations of this type will be in need of empty hoppers ASAP. To fulfill these empty car requests the N.Y.C.T.L. has begun moving and forwarding the empty covered hoppers being stored on N.Y.C.T.L. tracks. to Selkirk for further distribution. The first unit train to be dispatched will be XVS-1 (Terminal Yard to Selkirk Yard)  Let's take a look at what I call "the gathering";

PC GP40 3180 sporting the rare orange C pull empties from Cargill

3180 rolls past North Side Yard and the in progress Empire City Terminal Market. The train is heading to the west side to pick up a group of stored empty covered hoppers.

First we'll grab these five on the right

Pulling onto the main to clear the switch so we can then
shove back and reach another group of stored hoppers

The last of the stored hoppers from the west side

Pulling hard towards Terminal Yard

Heading to the Cornelius Vanderbilt Memorial Bridge

Four Penn Central Geeps idle at the commuter station. They will be the power for XVS-1

The 3180 arrived with a caboose and covered hoppers in tow

Building XVS-1 on the main line

We're on the move!

A short video of the action
Empty Hoppers to Selkirk!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Caboose Project

Greetings All,

I was recently rummaging through a box of old trains that I had accumulated over the years and came across two Life Like A.T.S.F. Cabooses. I seemed to have acquired quite a few of these but couldn't remember how or why. I believe these are the last two not repainted and re-purposed.

So with two bright red Santa Fe cabooses I took a look to see what if anything could be done with them to spur on some future usage and usefulness for the N.Y.C.T.L. Searching various printed media and internet resources I came across the "Penn Central Caboose Photo Archive"  http://www.hebners.net/pc/ and noted the PC N5G class of caboose resembled these A.T.S.F. units  http://www.hebners.net/pc/pcN5G.html  .

According to the website the N5G class were built by the Lehigh Valley and 16 were sold to the Penn Central in 1968. Looking for additional information on the PC caboose fleet in general and the N5Gs I came across this fine tutorial from 2009 on Big Blue Trains titled "Ralph's Caboose Thread" http://www.bigbluetrains.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=2305   This is the same Ralph from the Kings Port Division Blog, PC Ralph videos and the Virtual Ops that I often post about. This is a photo and information bonanza for anyone wishing to kitbash some easily found model cabooses into convincing PC units.

Other sites I checked included the Penn Central Fallen Flags site. What became clear to me was that the PC N5Gs were painted in quite a few different styles for only having 16 on the roster. So I cobbled together some decals to try and closely approximate the N5Gs for my layout. Let's take a look at the caboose project;

The two A.T.S.F. Caboose shells.

Both shells spent the night in a container of 91% alcohol. Paint on the caboose on the right came right off. Paint on the caboose to the left was unaffected. A night in a container of brake fluid solved that problem. Note the difference in the plastic. The caboose to the left is almost translucent and the one to the right is much more solid. Both units were then thoroughly washed, rinsed and ready for painting.

Here are the cabooses after a trip to the N.Y.C.T.L. Paint Shop which is my patio. The cabooses are painted with rattle can Jade Green from a company called American Slings.  http://americanslings.com/cart/spray-paint-c-144.html and rattle can flat black.

Some of the N5Gs had round porthole windows on there ends and I added them to once of the units.

Here they are lettered and numbered. Both schemes are pretty close to the prototype and the best I could do with the materials on hand. Getting the lettering to snuggle down over the pronounced rivets was a challenge and applying Walthers Solvaset sparingly did the trick.  Both cabooses will receive a coat of Testor's dullcote and some clear plastic window "glass"

PC 18401 gets a look over from the usual suspects as it is pulled out of the paint shop at Terminal Yard
This unit used the bigger PENN CENTRAL lettering found on locomotives and other freight equipment. 

The porthole windows, large PC and small number and reporting marks are close to the prototype
                    Here is the prototype 18401 http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/pc/pc18401apg.jpg

The 18418 gets a roll by inspection and it sports a look far different from the 18401. 
The PENN CENTRAL is smaller and this unit had COTS stencils and ACI labels.

I believe the yellow steps are prototypical for this unit but could be wrong.
Here is a photo of PC 18417 that I used for guidance. http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/pc/pc18417akg.jpg

18418 on it's test run on the upper level

18401 on it's test run on the lower level.

So there it is.  An enjoyable paint project that rescued two cabooses from languishing in the bottom of a box and resulted in equipment that will now get track time and be enjoyed. Are they exact replicas? No. Will anyone visiting the the N.Y.C.T.L. know that when looking at them? Probably not.

Thanks for Reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

P.C.C.M. #11 Part 2

Greetings All,

Last entry we saw some of the Penn Central Car Movement #11 series. The #11 series started in Kings Port NY at the Penn Central's Williams Yard on Ralph V's Kings Port Division. A total of eleven cars were blocked for Terminal Yard in PC Train KV-9 (Kings Port to Selkirk) This block then traveled from Selkirk to NY-Terminal Yard in PC Train VN-4 which we covered in the last entry.

Today we'll take a look at some of the P.C.C.M. 11 series car movements across the N.Y.C.T.L. Below is the switch list that will help us get the cars sorted for delivery to their respective destinations. I find it easier to take a few minutes and write out a switch list to keep the operation organized. I've tried in the past to just use the car cards but this works better for me.

Penn Central and Cooper - Jarrett trailers traveling T.O.F.C. originated on PC Train KV-9 (Kings Port to Selkirk).  Here they get shoved onto the T.O.F.C. track at Terminal Yard

The T.O.F.C. cars from VN-4 track are coupled on and will be offloaded shortly
Two cars spotted. Nine to go.

KP&W gondola with wheel sets get shoved to the Terminal Yard Car Shop 
One car spotted. Eight to go

Train EC-1 ( Terminal Yard to North Side Yard) known as the Empire City Turn has departed Terminal Yard with the eight cars from KV-9 / VN-4. A NYC F7A, PRR F7B and PC GP30 are today's power. The EC Turn is on track 1 to switch out cars from T&R Gravel to the left.

We're pulling loaded ore cars with the caboose still attached. The empty NYC and PRR hoppers will be spotted at T&R Gravel once the loads are moved out of the way

Empty hoppers are spotted under T&R Gravel tipple. Loaded ore cars and caboose wait on the mainline.
Two cars spotted. Six to go.

The EC Turn has coupled up to the caboose and loaded ore cars. After an air test, and a shove back to clear the switch the EC Turn is now on track 3 headed for Empire City and North Side Yard. 

The eleven loaded hopper cars have been uncoupled from the EC Turn, had their brakes set and will wait here for the EC Turn to pick them up when it is headed back to Terminal Yard.  Note Universal Lumber the white building to the left. The EC Turn will be making a delivery to that building later in the sequence when the siding can be accessed easily through a trailing point switch move. 

The EC Turn heads into Empire City proper.

Here we get ready to cross Hohman Ave as the Hohman Ave tower operator gives us a wave.

Hohman Ave tower is a new addition to the N.Y.C.T.L. and 1/87th scale Sir Neal, Engineer Ed and PC Ralph have come by to check the new building and say hello to the tower operator

The EC Turn rolls through the West Side reverse curve. The Terminal Yard switch crew blocked the cars for easy delivery.   

The EC Turn will drop the cars destined for North Side Yard and the Empire Belt on the industrial lead in front of Neal's Lumber and Hardware. 

Five cars constructively placed late on a Friday afternoon.

TPFX 5510 will be heading back towards Terminal Yard for delivery to University Lumber. Here it is getting shoved into North Side Yard to pick up outbound cars from track 2 for Terminal Yard. The PC moves cars from North Side Yard to Terminal Yard after 1400 hours on Fridays as the Empire Belt engine crews like an early blow on Friday to start their weekends. This agreement was brokered by 1/87th scale Engineer Ed.

The EC turn spots TPFX 5510 at University Lumber. The transfer cars from North Side Yard are on    track 2 and the loaded ore cars are on track 3. One car spotted. Five to go.

We're pulling the loaded ore cars to clear the switch for track 2 

A shot thru the overpass shows we have about 10 car lengths to go before clearing the switch

We're coupled up and performing an air test. The simple eight car train that left Terminal Yard has grown quite a bit. 

The reason for the  F7A, F7B , GP30 power units is now clearly visible.
The EC Turn is now heading back to Terminal Yard.  

The Empire City Turn

But wait...There's more!
The Empire Belt RR with the PC's one and only C424 for power and a NYC caboose ironically lettered with the "Road to the Future" slogan will handle the final mile for the five cars left by the EC Turn.
The 2415 has pulled out of North Side Yard and crossed Hohman Ave.

The 2415 with caboose has backed down the mainline to clear the midtown crossover for the industrial lead.

The E.B. crew has coupled up to the five cars and work is under way. First item is to pull the gondola with gear load from  Prestage Gear. The tank car with cutting oil and the 50' NYC box car with steel stock will be be spotted at Prestage Gear. Two cars spotted. Three to go.

The loaded gon from Prestage gear has been shoved clear of the East Side industry tracks.
The E.B. crew has shoved shoved their train into the lead serving Ralph's Grocery Warehouse and Gervais Pipe and Fitting.  

Pulling outbound cars from Ralph's and Gervais Pipe

PC 40' boxcar with cases of Soda is spotted at Ralph's Grocery Warehouse.
One car spotted. Two to go.

Empty PC and MCRR gondolas spotted at Gervais Pipe and Fitting. Gervais Pipe and Fitting has landed a big contract to supply irrigation pipe to the Hudson Valley Ag Coop.
Two cars spotted. None to go.
P.C.C.M. #11 series is now completed. 

The EB crew has tied up the 2415 and outbound cars on track 2 at North Side Yard. The early blow on Friday mandated by 1/87th Scale Engineer Ed is in full effect. The crew will shortly be at Vaughn's Pub telling everyone how hard they worked today over a couple of pitchers of ice cold beer.  

Thanks for reading!