Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Unit Coal Train

Greetings All,

A Unit Coal Train, UND-1 (Williams Yard - Terminal Yard) made it's way past a very busy Bedford tower recently. It was a couple of hours of heavy rail traffic and some great rail fanning. Let's take a look at the action.

1/87th scale Engineer Ed and his train of empty auto parts cars from Ford are held at Bedford Tower by
Tower Operator 1/87th scale John B due to heavy rail traffic in and out of Terminal Yard . This is a rare occurrence for E.E. and he has come out of the engine to find out why.

 Track 2 is occupied by a set of RDCs at Bedford Station

Empty Unit Coal Train UND-1 has arrived and gets clearance to cross over to track 3 much to
Engineer Ed's consternation. 'They're empty coal hoppers, it's a coal drag for crying out loud!'
'These empty coal hoppers are like gold right now so hold your horses!'

UND-1 takes the crossover while the RDCs still lettered for the New Haven exchanges passengers and express packages at the station  

FP7 #4348 and two sister F7s leads the long string of empties towards Terminal Yard

The empties are returning from Kings Port Steel 

The train rolls past Hostess / Wonder Bread

Now? Not yet. What! Just stand by!

The RDCs have left Bedford Station and head towards Empire City while 1/87th scale Engineer Ed continues to hold at Bedford Tower.

The cause of the current congestion is now visible. UND-1 has been held on track 3 to await clearance into
Terminal Yard for Train SLX-1 which has departed Terminal Yard and heads to Selkirk behind a U30B  

 Can I go now? No. Why not? 
UND-1 is climbing the grade to Terminal Yard and the approach track is not yet clear.

1/87th scale Engineer Ed and John B give SLX a roll by inspection

Meanwhile UND-1 is climbing the grade into Terminal Yard.
Hudson Coal Mgt is quite pleased to see the long string of empty hoppers
as there is a division shortage due to an upturn in coal traffic 

UND-1 behind FP7 #4348 arrives at Terminal Yard

F-7 #1644 still in NYC paint waits on the departure track for UND-1 to take track 2

The much needed empties roll in

And continue to roll in

 The more the better says the Mineral Traffic Bureau! 

 And finally caboose #21698 brings up the markers

 Now? Highball it!

Thanks For Reading!


  1. Great story! I'm noticing the Athearn bay window caboose is actually closer to P&LE. Do you know if Athearn ever did it in P&LE?

    1. Thanks John! Glad to see your 1/87th self is doing a great job holding down the tower operator position. Sometimes it can be a thankless job! Athearn did release a BB jade green bay window P&LE caboose. I
      have two. One still lettered for the P&LE one changed to a NYC caboose.

  2. Thanks for the great update! Looks like management of the N.Y.C.T.L. has to be happy with the resurgence in coal, as we know it's been on the decline. Not sure why 1:87 Ed is upset with the delay. He's on the clock and getting paid. If the job runs past his shift, I'm sure the OT pay will make the frustration go away, as well as a cold brew when it's all said and done. Nice to see the RDC unit as well. Always liked them.

    1. Thanks 1:1 Sir Neal! Hudson Coal has picked up two big supply contracts and the N.Y.C.T.L. is profiting nicely. If they can convince RMO Electric to take their coal we'll really be in the black! As for 1/87 scale E.E. he is paid for the day. His seniority allows to bid on any job that strikes his fancy. The switcher job starts and ends at Terminal Yard and has the early leave benefit. When you're done you're done and you go home with the full days pay. This was actually prototypical at one time for yard crews.

    2. I would have the N.Y.C.T.L. Senior management call the Executive Grand Poobah of the A.P.R.R. to see what enticements can be made to have coal delivered to R.M.O. Electric in time for the fall as it should be online by then.

    3. I'll notify the Hudson Coal 1/87th scale people to call the R.M.O. 1/87th scale people to see what can be done. I'll have the N.Y.C.T.L.'s Sales Department push the benefits of a unit train jointly operated by the N.Y.C.T.L. and the A.P.R.R.

  3. Great stuff! Model Railroader magazine authors used to write more stories like that when I was a young reader in the late 60's early 70s. They made the layouts come alive that way. Looks like E.E. was the Rodney Dangerfield of the line that day! His pair of NYC switchers are such fine looking units! Nice variety of power rolling by Bedford Tower!

    1. Thanks Ralph, For me adding the 1/87th scale figures into the mix makes running the layout and photographing the action much more interesting. I remember one MR author in particular that modeled a railroad called the Coal Belt and had a character named the Brass Hat I believe. I always enjoyed reading his articles. 1/87th scale E.E. may have gotten no respect this day but it was a rare occurrence so I don't think there will be any repercussions at this time. He has latched onto those Switchers.