NYC ALCO FA / FB Units

NYC ALCO FA / FB Units
Custom Painted P-2000 units

Monday, May 22, 2017

N.Y.C.T.L. Back in Operation!

Greetings All,

Good news to report today. The N.Y.C.T.L. is back in operation! After a two week hiatus the layout is back together and trains are running on a limited basis. But they are running!

The new main water pipe into the house can be seen in the upper left. The white access panel hides the water pressure reducing valve and the valves for turning off the main and front hose bib. Much neater than having them hanging from the ceiling.
Terminal Yard is now empty of all the boxes, structures and 'stuff' that was being temporarily stored here. Oops, I just remembered I still need to vacuum this portion of the yard.
After the plumbing project I vacuumed the stripped down layout and then vacuumed the individual buildings before placing them back on the layout.
Neat and clean, but eerily bare of 1/87th scale life.
My next assignment is to replace the 1/87th scale figures, vehicles and most importantly the trains. I'll need to consult with the Dispatch Sheet to help remember what is supposed to be where for the Penn Central Car Movements aka the virtual ops.
The greening of the mountain can now resume. Need to get my artist here asap!
Vehicles and more vehicles! 1/87th scale people, cars, trucks and construction equipment fill these boxes. 
At the end of the day with the Mets game in the books the first train ran on the layout.
Well how do you like that?! The layout is not even in operation for ten minutes and already we see someone has been whacked. Not sure what happened here yet but the investigation has just begun.
The ceremonial Empire City viaduct publicity photo.
And to those modelers with duplicate numbers on some of their rolling stock I offer this as proof that it is prototypical.

Thanks for reading!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Real World Invades the N.Y.C.T.L.!

Greetings All,

Like the headline says the real world has invaded the N.Y.C.T.L. and the layout is currently on hiatus for about two weeks. The real world issue is plumbing. Seems our house like several million others in the USA has plumbing pipe called Polybutylene Pipe.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polybutylene . 



The pipe was used in the 1970s thru the 1990s and is no longer accepted by U.S. building codes. Problems with leaks led to a class action suit, Cox vs Shell Oil, that was settled for 1 Billion Dollars. It seems the PB pipe's chemical composition reacts negatively with chlorinated water supplies causing stress cracks inside the pipe which leads to the leaks. And of  course the class action suit fund has no more funds.

So how does this affect the N.Y.C.T.L.? Over the past few years many of our friends and neighbors have started getting plumbing leaks from this pipe. The most recent was our next door neighbor who while on vacation had a PB pipe fitting burst inside an upstairs wall while they were on vacation. The water damage was catastrophic. The house a mess. The garage ceiling collapsed on their cars. All three levels of their house had water damage.

That was enough for us! We already had one small leak in the basement that I was able to quickly repair. So we decided to be proactive and get the pipes replaced before they can do any damage. Thankfully there are companies in our area that specialize in this work and we interviewed three. The re piping starts this coming Monday. 

Let's take a look at basement and the effect of the project on the N.Y.C.T.L.

The PB pipe enters the house just above the expanding Terminal Yard bench work. Terminal Yard is to the right in this room. From the beginning I was always very leery of putting anything railroad related under these pipes on this side of the room.
The Terminal Yard expansion has been halted and the area cleared of model railroading supplies.
The PB pipe heads to the main layout room. In time the Terminal Yard expansion will be against this wall and under new and improved plumbing pipes. What about the costs and mess of the plumbing project? Frankly, I don't give a damn. Better to change now on our terms than later after a pipe bursts. The Terminal Yard expansion project will obviously be delayed but not abandoned.
Some overview photos of the layout so I can get it back in order when the project is over.
 All buildings that can be removed will be removed.
 All rolling stock will be removed
All motor vehicles and people that can be removed will be removed.
 Trees that can be removed will be and those that remain covered.
 Going to be a  lot of work getting everything back in order.
But it shouldn't be that long to get the layout up and running once the plumbing job is complete. 
At least I hope not! 
  Here is the current status of the N.Y.C.T.L. and the basement.
The wall to the left is the wall behind Hudson Coal and that improvement project has been suspended until the work is completed.
Terminal Yard protected with plastic sheathing 
Empire City, Bedford and Bedford Park covered.
The High Line and Cornelius Vanderbilt Memorial Bridge under cover
Look Familiar? Empire City buildings sit in what is hopefully a safe and out of the way corner.

So stay tuned, the N.Y.C.T.L. will be up and running shortly. As my wife asked when I brought up the pipe replacement 'can we afford to do it?' The answer 'can we afford not to?'


Thanks for reading!



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Penn Central Covered Hopper Project

Greetings All,

Another joint project of the N.Y.C.T.L. & A.P.R.R. is in the books! 

Looking to add some PC cars to his fleet and for use in the virtual ops 1:1 Sir Neal of the A.P.R.R. came across some undecorated Atlas 6 bay covered hoppers at a local train show. The Purchasing Department of the A.P.R.R. quickly authorized the purchase and the wheels were set in motion.

The N.Y.C.T.L. submitted a sealed bid to the A.P.R.R. when their Request For Proposals were filed and was awarded the contract.

The A.P.R.R provided some nice looking Penn Central Covered Hopper decals from High Ball Graphics for use in the project. https://highballgraphics.com/F-277.htm

Rivet counters and nit pickers should stop reading now. 

Both the cars and decals arrived at the N.Y.C.T.L. Paint Shop in mid April. The decal sheet has decals for ex PRR H44, H44A and ex NYC 915-H 3 bay cylindrical covered hoppers. Since the PC did not have any six bay covered hoppers we took some liberties with the paint color using Sea Glass green for all cars. 

Let's take a look at the project and some of the modelers license that was used to get these cars painted and lettered.


Krylon rattle can sea glass green, decals, covered hoppers and Testors Gloss Coat used for the project. The Atlas cars are actually kits with the parts inside of the car body.  
Getting started I chose two cars to build, paint and decal. Here's the guide decals and the first 'sample' car.
After building, painting and lettering the first two cars I took on the other four. I try to do these type of projects assembly line fashion. I've cut out the decals needed for the cars and have them sorted in the little trays.
The covered hopper conga line! The cars await their turn for decals with their respective decals in the tray holding them off the bench work.
The work bench used for the project has the two 'sample' cars, the guide and car #3 is ready for decals.
The two sample cars were brought over to North Side Yard for 1/87th scale Sir Neal to check out along with some of the usual 1/87th scale suspects. 
PC 885226 just released from the paint shop. Yes the black lettering should be on a very light gray covered hopper but the paint shop could not find such rattle can paint that was suitable for this project. The car does look good though! 
 PC 885265 just released from the paint shop. 
As the rest of the newly painted covered hoppers are released from the N.Y.C.T.L. Paint Shop at Terminal Yard a passing of the torch moment occurs. Senior N.Y.C.T.L. Engineer 1/87th scale Sir Neal tosses the keys to AP GP38-2 #358 to newly minted engineer 1/87th scale PC Ralph with a "here you go kid, go get em'
 With 1/87th scale Sir Neal on the ground signaling 1/87th scale PC Ralph backs #358 to the covered hoppers and couples up nice and easy. Over on track #9 we see conductor John checking his watch while it looks like 1/87th scale Engineer Ed has either fainted or fallen over laughing. 
1/87th scale PC Ralph pulls the string of hoppers from the Paint Shop while 1/87th Scale Sir Neal does a roll by inspection.
1/87th scale Engineer Ed is back on his feet and has hooked up the air hoses to the caboose and turned the control valve. 1/87th scale Conductor John is checking his watch and 1/87th scale Sir Neal receives the 'keys' back from 1/87th scale PC Ralph.
 Next stop Rock Ridge Yard!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 5, 2017

P.C.C.M. 34B

Greetings All,

Today we'll wrap up the P.C.C.M. 34 series with installment #34B.

To:         Rock Ridge Yard / West Mill Yard
From:    North Side Yard
Subject: Disposition of of freight cars forwarded to North Side                       Yard by the Atlantic Pacific Railroad

Penn Central #9942 and #9881 are the yard power for this installment. Below they are working train VN-4 that arrived at 7:00. VN-4 brought in seven cars from the AP's Rock Ridge Yard that were interchanged into the PC at Weehawken. After traveling up the River Line in train WV-2 the cars ended up in Selkirk where they were were cut into train VN-4 a Selkirk to Empire City train.   

Let's get to work!  
The Empire City cut has been cut from VN-4 and rolls thru the West Side as Train # Extra 9942.
 Extra 9942 makes its way over the Empire City viaduct.
First stop is dropping this Railbox car from Marcal Paper Products at Moore & Co.
 Heading towards the East Side on the industrial running track.
Two AP 50' RBLs are consigned to Neal's Lumber & Hardware with specially cut lumber from Mikes's Lumber Distributors. However we only have space for one!
No problem. We'll set the other AP car here until we hear from Neal's Lumber. This car is placed in "Constructive Placement' status and the demurrage clock is ticking. 
Now it's time to work the Gervais Pipe and Ralph's Grocery lead. The tail end of SV-1 can be seen to the left
We're pulling four loads of pipe from Gervais and three 50' reefers from Ralph's.
Now we can spot two 50' Railbox cars loaded with paper products from Marcal and one Tropicana RBL loaded with Tropicana products.
With Terminal Yard out of service the North Side Yard yardmaster has directed the Extra 9942 to use the West Side auxiliary track and reverse track for temporary car storage. Below Extra 9942 is back on the West Side and the needed storage tracks are to the right.  
Empty reefers are spotted and the flatcars are shoved into the reverse track. The empties can sit here until we can get them out of town as they are home road cars. The four flatcars of pipe will need to be moved out on the next available train to Selkirk.
Extra 9942 heads back to Terminal yard under it's new name, Extra 9881
There's still more work to be done as the crew needs to get this covered hopper car over to the Hostess / Wonder bread Plant in Bedford NY
Once again known as Extra 9942 this short train heads over the High Line
Heading towards the Cornelius Vanderbilt Memorial Bridge and Bedford NY
Rolling thru Bedford Station
And we have some work to do to get this car spotted. Freight cars are sitting on track 2 waiting to get into Terminal Yard and I think the Coal Job is sitting on track 1, I can see the top of it's old cupola caboose in the lower right.
The Wonder Bread covered hopper is now spotted at Wonder Bread. The empty PC hopper will stay put for now as there is no way to get it out of town right now and North Side Yard cannot handle any more cars. But don't worry it's also a home road car and there will be no per diem charges.  
With it's work at Bedford completed Extra 9881 heads back to Empire City and North Side Yard. 
 Thanks for reading!