Custom Painted P-2000 units

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A.C.I. Label Blitz

Greetings All,

The recent installation of Kar Trak ACI readers at Terminal Yard and North Side Yard have led to this relatively simple project that I undertook while listening to an afternoon ballgame and hiding out from a pollen count of over 2,200. 

The Kar Trak ACI readers were scratch built by my friend and partner in virtual ops Ralph V of Kings Port Division. Ralph detailed the build process and the resulting ACI label project it created for him.

Due to Ralph's generosity I now have Kar Trak ACI readers that need something to read so I piggybacked his project with one of my own. What is Kar Trak you ask. Here's a link that's a quick read to get you up to speed.

For a cool video with some more details check this out:

Using my Penn Central Power and Color Guide to Penn Central Freight and Passenger Equipment books as guidelines I set out to add the ACI labels.

1/87th scale PC 229036 is compared to PC 229216 in the Color Guide to PC Freight and Passenger book. The 229216 was part of the same order of cars as 229036 so I'll add an ACI label under the PC herald.
1/87th scale PC boxcar 167338 is compared to 1:1 scale PC 167335. Another ACI label to add. 

PC covered hopper 892041 with an ACI label added is compared to PC 892023 for confirmation

PC 892043 will be getting an ACI label from the batch below. These covered hoppers are from IHC and are some of my first PC car purchases.
With the freight cars labeled the guys check them out at the Terminal Yard throat track. The Kar-Trak reader is recording the cars movements as it was designed to.
A string of newly labeled freight cars are pulled from the shop and will be set out ready for revenue service.
Two of the three ACF covered hoppers make their way from the shop. A third ACF hopper needed some mechanical work so it remained in the shop.
Switching the ACI label blitz over to motive power I am using the Penn Central Power Book for guidance. PC 2232 with Red P did in fact have an ACI label so I added one to the 1/87th scale unit.
A collection of newly labeled PC power units. All of these units were painted in the N.Y.C.T.L. Paint Shop over the past few years. Engine numbers and schemes are accurate for these units as are the newly added ACI labels.
1/87th scale Sir Neal checks out his namesake with it's newly added ACI label
1/87th scale PC Ralph confers with the engineer on PC GP30 2228 sporting a newly added ACI label. We can thank 1:1 PC Ralph for being the catalyst for this project!
The newly labeled PC power is on track #9 and the newly labeled PC freight cars are on track #4 ready for assignment. PC 6024 is an Atlas SD35 
PC 7692 is a GP38-2 and that Orange C is on PC GP40 3175.
1/87th scale Larry D gives 1/87th scale John B a high five. That GP-38 #7675, is teh first GP38 purchased by the PC and is known here as the Sir Larry. 1/87th scale John B is a professed fan of the ACI labels so it's no wonder the two tower men are in a festive mood upon completion of this project.
Helpful Hints from the N.Y.C.T..L Paint Shop: 
Since this was a post build project for the freight cars and engines all but one of the 24 had been coated with dullcote. What to do?

After applying the decal allow to dry and apply a decal setting solution live Walthers Solvaset. Allow to dry thoroughly. More than one application may be need.

You may notice a residue around the decal after the setting solution has dried. Use a damp (not wet) paint brush and lightly brush around the decal. This removed the residue.

When dry you can either spray the whole car / engine with dull coat to protect the decals. For all but the one car that had not been dull coated I brushed on a clear flat finish from Floquil. If you choose the brush finish use the rib lines on the freight cars if applicable and apply to the entire panel where the ACI label was added. 
Note the rib lines on either side of the ACI label. Brush the entire panel from top to bottom for a nice smooth finish. 

 Thanks for reading!


  1. A monumental undertaking for the N.Y.C.T.L. and the results show it! What a great little detail that makes the cars stand out. They look superb and add realism to any layout and railroad. Maybe if the PC took better care of their cars and engines, they may have lasted longer?

    1. Thanks 1:1 Sir Neal! It was a fun project that paid instant dividends. Sadly I think the PC was doomed from the start. Too much track, too much capacity, too much regulation and too few car loads in a changing world.

  2. ACI labels are a small detail that pays off big in enhancing the appearance of Penn Central era cars and making them more realistic! Nice work all around! I admire your use of resources for finding the appropriate locations for the ACI labels on various rolling stock. We should be able to keep better track of the equipment now!

    1. Thanks Ralph!, I almost titled this entry "Blame it on Ralph!" as you were the catalyst behind the project. As you noted in your blog adding the ACI labels was a neat project that added another element of realism to our rolling stock and motive power.

  3. These turned up in 1968, a couple of years after I started seriously railfanning, so I noticed them right away. The COTS stencils, which started in the early to mid 1970s, were the next big item. There are various sub questions: it looks like some railroads were slower to adopt them and quicker to get rid of them, so photo reference is important. (For that matter, some private operations still use them, and in fact some European private owners also used them.) After the program was discontinued, ACI labels stayed on cars that had them -- sometimes they were painted over, but you can see paint chipping off them again or the shadows under the paint. Some cars running around still have them. The yellow conspicuity stripes are the next big thing, and I like them just as much!

    1. Hi John, I remember you commenting way back when about ACI labels and thought you would appreciate the efforts to add them to a portion of my fleet. From you blog I see you have done the same with the conspicuity stripes!