Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Friday, September 30, 2016

Rescue Attempts Part 2

Greetings All,

Last entry we looked at the first part of the "purgatory box" rescue attempts. The projects covered in the prior installment were three gondolas and a flatcar that I was happy to get on the layout and in revenue service. An outstanding project that was introduced was a Model Power Gulf Gasoline flat car. Today we'll take a look at that car and another flat car that has come out of the purgatory box and joined the fleet.

The blue Model Power Gulf Gasoline flat car awaiting a new start. The car has received a new brake wheel and assembly and is ready for repainting. 

A fresh coat of rattle can jade green, flat black trucks and weathered wheels has the car off to a good start.

I plan to use this car mainly in yard service as a shoving platform. Note the car is spanning the insulated rail joiners from the yard lead to the yard track. With a DC layout and Terminal Yard being a stub yard all yard tracks are isolated from the yard lead. An arriving train has it's locomotives at the far end of the track. Using this flatcar allows me to pull the cars from the arriving train while maintaining electric isolation on the yard track.

I/87th scale Sir Neal and PC Ralph test the newly numbered NYC 506787 under the watchful eye of 1/87th scale Engineer Ed to the right. 

The crew are hooked up to 1/87th scale Dir Neal's private observation car, Nassau County.

The second flat car project is this Bachmann depressed center flatcar. Originally armed with a missile, whereabouts unknown, the car has no identity and rarely if ever was called into revenue service.

Using the Fallen Flags Penn Central website I happened onto car #766053 which looked pretty close to the Bachmann car.  http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/pc/pc766053swa.jpg Another candidate was PC 766055
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/pc/pc766055akg.jpg So with that information and some modelers license I present my 1/87th scale PC 766053.

The newly painted PC depressed flatcar sits on Terminal Yard track 9. 
The car was painted with Krylon rattle can sea glass green. Decals from Microscale

Freshly painted and in revenue service. Note the new brake wheel.

Some road dirt weathering from Doc O'Brien's Weathering Powders and the car is showing some miles and more importantly some earnings.

NYC 506787 has had it's deck painted and has been weathered. It is now earning revenue with the Caterpillar bulldozer load. This car will mostly be found in and around Terminal Yard in switching service.

Three of the new flatcars from the 'purgatory box' pose here in Bedford NY 

A TYCO cement pipe load is looking pretty cool on this car. 

And there you have it. Two new cars added to the fleet from the 'purgatory box' These cars have been transformed from flatcars that languished unused for years and years into decent working models for the New York Central Train Layout. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rescue Attempts

Greetings All,

As a long time model railroad I've collected trains from many sources and different manufacturers. Some were purchased, some were gifts and some were much better than others. In my early days the old Kaybee Toys was selling Bachmann freight cars at 5 for $10.00. This was before the EZ mate couplers and the Bachmann Silver Series. I bought a bunch. All cars had talgo mounted X2F (horn hook) couplers and plastic wheels of dubious quality.

As time went on a lot of these cars were upgraded with body mounted knuckle couplers and metal wheels. Some of the cars however went into what I call the purgatory box. Some were stored serviceable and some were waiting for divine intervention to help them join their peers on the layout. One of these cars was NYC 499043, the A.H.M. heavy duty flatcar that I recently covered in this blog entry. http://newyorkcentrallayout.blogspot.com/2016/09/ahm-nyc-499043-heavy-duty-flatcar.html

Based on the success of that project I dug into the purgatory box to look for other freight cars I could return to revenue service. I also expanded the search to other rolling stock that was being largely ignored for whatever reasons. Let's take a look at some of the my most recent rescue attempts

Two Bachmann gondolas from the Kabee Toys days. Both need to receive body mounted couplers and better wheels. Both have been weathered to some degree in a prior attempt to get these cars into service. 

Two more gondolas from Bachmann and a Recycled Steel gondola which I believe is a Model Power product. I painted the inside of the P&LE and CBQ gondolas awhile ago. These two come under the category of largely ignored. Probably because of their bright colors they just never seemed to get the call when gondolas were needed.

A Model Power Gulf Gasoline flatcar and the P&LE gondola from the above picture 

A TYCO A.T.S.F. flat car that has had it's wood deck painted. Both the Gulf car the A.T.S.F. car have received new brake wheels and assemblies courtesy of leftover Athearn parts.

Disappointing steel coil loads from Walthers that I purchased a few years ago. Put them together and put them into a box where they seldom if ever saw the inside of a gondola. Below I'm spray painting them at 
the N.Y.C.T.L.'s outdoor Paint Shop known as the Patti-O to try and improve their appearance.

P&LE car has been weathered with Doc O'Brien's weathering powders from Micro-Mark to tone down the green and give it a more realistic appearance. This looks promising when compared to the CBQ car. Both cars already have body mounted knuckle couplers and metal wheels. These two cars were featured in a prior blog entry in 2013;

Weathered P&LE car with with painted and weathered steel coils. 
CBQ car has painted steel coils. Banding colored black with a Sharpie Marker.

The weathering powder was flying and all three cars are now done. The SR gondola received body mounted knuckle couplers and some better wheels.

CB&Q gondola is looking much better to me

One SR gondola is now in revenue service

The N.Y.C.T.L. has added three decent looking gondolas. The improved steel coils fit into the cars nicely  

TYCO A.T.S.F. flatcar with new brake wheel and slightly weathered now in revenue service.

The second Southern gondola and the Gulf Gasoline flatcar are still in the N.Y.C.T.L. shop. Management is hopeful they can be returned to revenue service in the near future.

Thanks for Reading!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

ALCO FA Issues Continue

Greetings All,

Penn Central subsidiary the Lehigh Valley RR recently sent an FA-FB-FA set of engines to the New York Central Train Layout Locomotive shop for evaluation and possible repair. The N.Y.C.T.L. Shop Foreman inspected the units and found 1 FA unit with no defects noted. 1 FA and the FB unit were found to have severe structural frame cracks and outer shell damage. These two units were immediately removed from service and brought into the shop. After several days the FA unit emerged from the shop and was put back into service. The FB unit however could not be repaired it's frame is damaged beyond repair.

So what exactly is going on? Zinc-pest or zinc-rot as it is commonly known.
This issue has been plaguing these Walthers models for years. This is the second time I have addressed the issue of expanding and cracking frames with these specific units. I contacted Walthers earlier this year to see if I could purchase new frames but was informed there were none available and none expected. I also have a couple of A.T.S.F. units that suffered from the same issues and needed to be replaced.

In 2012 I posted here about the problem with these engines;
Check the link. It has a lot of pictures of the issues that won't go away.

Lehigh Valley FB #531 showing stress cracks in shell   

FB #531 with it's expanding frame is forcing both ends outward 

Lehigh Valley 538 shows a large cracks where the frame has pushed out the back of the shell

The only available solution for the FA unit was to cut the back of the frame off with a hacksaw.
I needed to drill and install a new coupler box but the repair worked (for now)

The newly repaired FA couples up to the other FA that is not affected by the zinc rot. 

The FA units were tested extensively on the Empire Belt Railroad 
Empire Belt train, the Terminal Yard Transfer, from North Side Yard passes Bedford Tower and gets orders from tower operator 1/87th scale John B.

The next day Train NB-3 (Terminal Yard to Selkirk) has departed Terminal Yard and is passing thru Bedford NY behind a U30C and the two FA units that will be given back to the Lehigh Valley. The LV FB awaits an uncertain fate. 

Thanks for reading!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Guest Appearances on the Layout

Greetings Gang,

About two weeks ago while enjoying the cool of the basement I took the opportunity to run some of my lesser used model trains to make this blog entry. It was nice blowing the dust off some of the stuff and watching it run. Will definitely do this again.

First out of the gate was this Bachmann Plus F7 A-B-A lash up. The set and the B&O cars belong to my youngest son who is a U.S. Marine and on deployment overseas. I purchased the lead unit just recently for his birthday and finally got it layout ready. 

Hohman Ave Tower Operator 1/87th scale Larry D. has come out to check out the foreign power and give the engineer the high ball.

Passing Bedford Tower and Tower Operator 1/87th scale John B who gives the green signal to proceed.

The engine crew check out the tower and the small loading platform

Three New York Central Train Layout Trainmen have made their way to Bedford Station to enjoy a day of rail fanning. 1/87th scale PC Ralph, 1/87th scale Engineer Ed and 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself check out the foreign road power.

The B&O train holds on track #3 as it awaits clearance to enter Terminal Yard

A local freight lead by a NYC GP7 in the classy lightning stripe scheme heads towards Bedford Tower and North Side Yard

The 1/87th scale rail fans enjoy the rare glimpse of a NYC GP7 with dynamic brakes

The 5694 did indeed have dynamic brakes as did a few others in service for the West Virginia mines the NYC had access to. Early in the railroading game the Commodore made sure that his NYC would not be held hostage for the coal needed to power his locomotives. See here for a prototype photo;

Coming round the bend passing Hohman Ave and entering North Side Yard

1/87th scale PC Ralph, Engineer Ed and Sir Neal Himself check out the latest government attempt to help the Northeastern Railroads. Amtrak, born in 1971.

At this juncture the Mail and Express traffic at Bedford Station is almost non existent  

An Amtrak F40PH is today's power. The 209 was built in March 1976. Click here for some prototype shots;  http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locopicture.aspx?id=41892

1/87 scale John B has come down from the tower to check out the new engine

Seeing the F40PH means that Conrail is now the big Northeast rail carrier. The gang check out the new 'Big Blue' GP38-2 #8276 with the can opener logo. The 8276 was built for CR in 1979. See here for further info: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/LocoPicture.aspx?id=73915

Conrail engines pass Hohman Ave and the Empire City Police Dept at a crime scene. Also prototypical for this time period 

The CR units get a wave from 1/87th scale Larry D. The later Conrail Quality logo is on the trailing unit, GP40-2 #3297. For some prototype photos of the 3297 click here;
At this time if I remember correctly parts of the Northeast did not yet have clearance for double stack trains 

CR 3297 in the lead past Bedford Tower and tower operator 1/87th scale John B has come down to hand up some train orders.  

HLCX SD40-2 #6773 a former BN unit poses at Bedford Station behind 1/87th scale Engineer Ed's big Cadillac Eldorado

1/87th scale Engineer Ed and Sir Neal look over NS GP60 #7140 with the Operation Lifesaver painted on the side. PC Ralph admires the green on the HLCX engine and thinks to himself... not bad. But he decides he'd rather be 1/87th scale PC Ralph than 1/87th scale HLCX Ralph..

A Leased Engine and an NS Operation Life Saver Engine signal that time continues to march on at Bedford
The NS60 is a 1991 EMD graduate. See here for more photos;

Time has indeed marched on and the 1/87th scale rail fans check out CSX C40-8W #7664. This engine was built for the CSX in 1991 and is still in service today in this paint scheme. See here for most recent photo 
You can almost here 1/87th scale Engineer Ed giving 1/87th scale Sir Neal the business saying "CSX! What a funny name for a railroad! Heck it's not even a name it's just some letters!' And you can also almost hear CSX rail fan 1/87th scale Sir Neal's reply "It's how tomorrow moves..."

The CSX train passes Bedford Tower under the watchful eye of 1/87th scale Tower Operator John B.

 CSX 7664 now in the lead leaves North Side Yard and gets a wave from Hohman Ave Tower Operator 1/87th Scale Larry D. Note the double stacks coming out of the yard. 

Thanks for Reading