Custom Painted P-2000 units

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Penn Central U30B Project

Greetings All,

The N.Y.C.T.L. Purchasing Department recently acquired a second hand Athearn BB A.T.S.F. U30B for a paint project. I've long wanted to add a PC B boat to my fleet and after disastrous results from an earlier attempt with some second hand B30-7s this U30B project came to be.

PROTOTYPE INFORMATION: General Electric Universal series four axle 3,000 hp locomotive with an FDL-16 (V-16) turbocharged prime mover and equipped with dynamic brakes they were delivered to the New York Central from November 1966 to December 1967. A total of fifty eight  units were delivered numbered from  2830-2857 and 2860-2869. Numbers 2858 and 2859 were actually U33Bs. Classed by the NYC as GF30s (General Electric Freight 3,000 hp). #2830-2839 were built with traded in Fairbanks Morse trucks. Later replaced with GE-Alco trucks after merger. Cosmetically these units were delivered sans New York Central lettering on the long hood and with NYC heralds on the cab sides and front.

All of the above units were in service at the time of the NYC - PRR merger. The NYC was the only PC predecessor to have purchased this model.  During the PC era these units were assigned to Selkirk as their maintenance base and could be found on symbol trains like LS-1, TV-42, NG-3 and NY-4.

MODEL INFORMATION: Older Athearn U30B bought second hand. Model stripped of paint in 91% alcohol and painted with rattle can black. Microcale Decals applied and sealed with Model Master clear flat. Mechanical upgrades include extensive cleaning, hard wiring motor and adding KD#5 couplers.

PROJECT SUMMARY: Mechanical Upgrades.
 Athearn BB ATSF U30B as delivered. 

 This is an old school BB unit as you can see. Older motor. No flywheels. Metal truck side frames.
First step is to pop off the clips holding the worm gears and trucks to the frame

 That grimy looking area is where the frame sits on the truck. 
This is an electrical connection and needs to be cleaned

Now I can easily clean the wheels by rolling the truck over an alcohol pad.

Clean wheels and clean electrical contacts are a good start to the project 

Now it's time to hard wire the connections between trucks and motor. I've removed and cut the metal strap from the motor. Flux has been added and I'll solder the connections for good electrical contact. 

The finished power chassis. If a newer motor with flywheels becomes available for this unit then all I will need to do is pop the soldered strap off the motor, remove old one and insert new one.

It works!

PROJECT SUMMARY: Paint and lettering.

 The shell has been stripped in 91% alcohol. I was surprised by the color of the cab. The yellow spots below the stanchions are where a prior owner used some type of adhesive to secure the stanchions. I'll work on these areas with a razor blade. When dealing with used equipment be prepared to fix a prior owners fixes. 

The shell has been painted with rattle can flat black followed by rattle can gloss black and it is time for decals. PC Power book with picture of U30B is right in front of me, decals are cut and ready. A test fit looks good. Black coffee can lid used with water to soak the white decals. The black lid makes it easy to find any small decals that release from their backing paper during the process.   

 Getting the decals snugged down over hinges and latches, etc using Walthers Solvaset 

PC U30B 2875 has been released from the paint shop !
The white number boards are prototypical for the U30B

Here it is with two BB NYC U30Bs on a shake down run

Going solo on a transfer run from Terminal Yard to North Side Yard

Plenty of Penn Central equipment to make the 2875 feel right at home.

Prototype and model 


CR U30B  2875

In CR Blue  

SFLR 2875 
last known owner

Thanks for reading!


  1. It looks like the N.Y.C.T.L. paint shops have done another outstanding job on getting another engine into revenue service. Rumor has it the A.P.R.R. may need to outsource some of its newly acquired engines to your shops for repaints and upgrades. Excellent work!!

    1. Thank you 1:1 Sir Neal! The N.Y.C.T.L. shops are ready to assist if and when needed.

  2. Nice tutorial for how to convert this loco both inside and out, John! The hard wiring and awareness of the contact points on the trucks are key to getting those old Athearns to behave well. And, your work in turning the former Santa Fe unit into PC #2875 is very faithful to the prototype! I admire your steady hand in applying the Selkirk maintenance base decal! I've never bothered trying to do that! They are so small! A sweet addition to the N.Y.C.T.L. roster. Looking forward to seeing it run more in the future!

    1. Thank you for the compliments Ralph! It was a nice project all the way around and actually being able to add the Selkirk decal was the icing on the cake.

  3. Agree, very well done mechanical upgrades and sharp looking paint job and decals. I bought the Yanosey book back when it was new and I still use it as my number one PC locomotive resource. Someday I would like to do #2855 with its unique nose herald and NYC road numbers.