With 2017 coming to a close it's time for me to recap what's happened on the New York Central Train Layout this year. One of the rewards of keeping the blog is that it serves as an historical record for the N.Y.C.T.L. and allows me to measure any progress made, new additions, projects etc.
First and foremost my friendships and camaraderie with 1:1 Sir Neal, Ralph V or PC Ralph, Engineer Ed, Sir Larry of Flemington, John B and ATJOE aka Brian from Denver have been a large part of my hobby enjoyment. These fellow modelers add much inspiration and the success of my modeling and the improvements to the N.Y.C.T.L. can be attributed to them. I've learned much from them and enjoyed countless emails back and forth. Thanks Guys!!
The Penn Central Car Movements also known as the virtual ops again played a big part in my efforts to improve the layout, the rolling stock, motive power and add additional operational opportunities. Founded by 1:1 Ralph V. and myself rail traffic continued at a nice pace between PC Ralph's Kings Port Division and the N.Y.C.T.L. to the tune of 13 PC.C.M.s plus some Unit Train moves and at least one Special Train movement. The Virtual Ops Catalyst was again the driving force for much of the work. Thanks Ralph!
The P.C.C.M.s also made big strides this year as 1:1 Sir Neal's A.P.R.R. came on board and John Bruce's L.F.&N.W. joined in the fun.
The new Empire Belt, a subsidiary of the New York Central and later Penn Central took over North Side Yard in Empire City and the switching duties for all industries located in Empire City proper. E.B.R.R. motive power was procured on the used market and as of this writing totals six engines. A pair of Walthers GP9ms, a pair of Bachmann Spectrum GP30s and a pair of Athearn BB GE U30Cs power the E.B.R.R. freight trains. The E.B.R.R. runs 2 daily transfer freights to and from parent road NYC / PC's Terminal Yard.
Newly painted Empire Belt GP30s roll out of the shop.
Rounding out the E.B.R.R.locomotive fleet is this pair of U30Cs.
E.B.R.R. rolling stock takes it paint cues from parent road the New York Central.
A trio of Athearn BB Ex Penn Central cabooses were sold off to the Empire Belt and make up the E.B.R.R. caboose fleet.
Next on the list is the upgrading of Terminal Yard. The ballasting of the yard and adding removable facades to cover the train boxes in the background has paid HUGE dividends in my model railroading enjoyment. The facades were inspired by PC Ralph who to me is the facade industry king. Everything just looks so much better now. Thanks Ralph!
The facades have made the turn towards the Yard expansion finishing off this part of the layout.
The upgrading of my coal hopper fleet was another project that I was determined to complete this year. 1:1 PC Ralph of the Kings Port Division was the original catalyst for this ambitious project when he typed the phrase "There's nothing that says train like a coal train". Shortly thereafter 1:1 Engineer Ed of the Hoschton Railway uttered the same phrase during an ops session on the N.Y.C.T.L.
Trying to put together a decent unit coal train for the virtual ops I realized my coal hopper fleet was not up to snuff and made a point to do something about it. Summer 2017 was my summer of the coal hopper! My purgatory box came thru big time with plenty of bright multi colored hoppers to convert.
After; No more coal hopper envy for me!
Double E donated a nice number of PRR H21 coal hoppers to the cause later in the year giving me a very respectable number of coal cars available to handle the increased coal production I envision for 2018's virtual ops. Thanks Ed!! The Empire Belt coal hopper fleet is now the dominant fleet on the layout followed by the Penn Central, New York Central and Pennsylvania.
Bedford Park also got a well needed face lift this year. The pocket Bedford Park Yard that serves American Hardware Supply, All City Storage and the sprawling Ford Plant was a part of the layout that had been neglected for years because of indecision. The amount and variety of rail traffic for the virtual ops was hard to ignore and the virtual ops catalyst put this project on the completed list.
A small yard office, some railroad workers and other odds and ends add some life to the scene.
The Ford Plant. The steel unloading track is on the right.
Another scenery upgrade this year was North Side Yard. North Side Yard construction started in 2013 with 1:1 Sir Neal of the Atlantic Pacific RR playing a big part as consultant offering much needed advice and encouragement. Prior to this operations on the N.Y.C.T.L. were next to none. Thanks Sir Neal!
N.S.Y. remained basically unchanged after the track was laid and the yard became operational.
Add in the virtual ops catalyst and some virtual ops sessions with 1:1 Engineer Ed some better scenery was added with a team track and fence to keep any errant trains off the floor.
Look for some of the greenery to give way to ballast in 2018.
The Market Street makeover was a nice project that tidied up this corner of the layout.
The Market Street mob at their Ace Cafe headquarters.
The N.Y.C.T.L. Patti-O Paint Shop seemed to be working overtime this year. Engines and rolling stock for the Empire Belt were churned out throughout the summer and fall. New York Central and Penn Central equipment came thru and joint painting projects with 1:1 Sir Neal's Atlantic Pacific RR were plentiful and rewarding. Thanks Sir Neal!!
The first paint project of the year posted in January was this A.P.R.R. Paint Project that started in December 2016.
Following the A.P.R.R. project the Paint Shop was once again in full production releasing these models in late January 2017:
Ex Conrail Athearn BB dummy calf unit is now a NYC unit equipped with a track cleaning pad.
Cigar band F7A 1645 rolls out of the shop
Former NYC GP38-2 was repainted as PC #8038 in April 2017
In May 2017 Penn Central covered hoppers were released from the paint shop as part of another joint A.P.R.R. / N.Y.C.T.L. project.
In July 2017 my painting focus was on the new Empire Belt Railroad described above. The N.Y.C.T.L. Patti-O Paint Shop was humming along with E.B.R.R. projects for most of the summer.
This Accurail 40' RBL boxcar was one of the first Empire Belt boxcars to be added to the roster.
Many of the repainted E.B.R.R. cars like these coal hoppers came from what I termed as my purgatory box. Train set quality hoppers with talgo mounted couplers and plastic wheels in bright colors that languished in the purgatory box for decades. New body mounted Kadees and metal wheels have these cars operating beautifully.
Some repainted boxcars that came from the bottom of the 50' boxcar box. Old Bachmann cars that's I've had for over 20 years and hadn't been on the layout in years.
Another big joint A.P.R.R. / E.B.R.R. paint project came out of the Patti O Paint Shop in November.
The project consisted of 2 bay offset hoppers, 50' double door boxcars in A.P.R.R. and E.B.R.R. liveries and 86' A.P.R.R. Auto Parts Boxcars
One of the last paint projects to come out of the shop in December was this Penn Central SD45 #6190 that was a gift from 1:1 John Bruce. Thanks John!!
This New York Central F7B was one of the last paint projects competed in 2017.
Last but not least for 2017 was this 86' Auto Parts Boxcar
Some late rolling stock additions for 2017 were a pair of Penn Central G43A gondolas and a 50' Penn Central 935B boxcar that came via Santa Claus from 1:1 PC Ralph for future virtual ops usage. I'll post more on these cars in 2018.
Here they are going thru Bedford NY in late 2017. That PC 360063 looks great and ran great right out of the box. Thanks Ralph!!!