Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pool Power Opens The Summer Action

Greetings All,

With the New York Central Train Layout back up and ready for action I had a sort of modeler's block on what engines and cars I wanted to take out of their boxes and put on the layout. While I contemplated this I was also thinking about the Memorial Day Weekend and the recent opening of our neighborhood pool. Pool? Hmm...Pool Power? Hmmm... And there was the inspiration for getting the first actual revenue train into Empire City. 

What is Pool Power among railroads? It simply allows for two or more railroads to run an entire train with diesel locomotives thru congested terminals with minimum delays. The railroads kept accounts of locomotive mileage on foreign roads and any imbalances were reconciled by agreement, with either a fixed cost per mile charge or a loaned diesel to run off the owed mileage. The whole process became known as motive power pooling and the New York Central was an early participant in motive power pools and run through trains.

For today's action I concentrated on using two loaner diesels from the CB&Q. The choice of which road name was cemented by recent conversations with a fellow modeler known here as ATJOE1972. The NYC and CB&Q used end terminal and routing thru Elkhart - Omaha Nebraska, via Chicago for their motive power pooling agreements. 

From the New York Central Railroad Color History by Brian Solomon with Mike Schafer. Page 54 covers the NYC's involvement.
 A close up of the connecting railroads and terminals
With the story set let's take a look at the action;

CB&Q F3As running off owed miles leave Terminal Yard with train EC-3 destined for North Side Yard.
Rolling thru Bedford we can see University Milling in need of rail cars to get back into operation. The P&E boxcar spotted at Berk Enterprises is being loaded for use in the next P.C.C.M.
 If we're going to run CB&Q engines we might as well get the CB&Q rolling stock into the mix. This is a Proto 2000 kit. The small lettering near the door says "Do not load with Lime, Soda Ash, Bulk Cement, Hides, Oil Tar and Creosote Products or any commodity that will render it unfit for Flour Grain Loading" This car has the 'Everywhere West' slogan on one side and the 'Way of the Zephyrs' on the other side.
Burlington Refrigerator Express cars with both wood and steel sides. Models are Athearn BB.
1/87th scale John B is back on duty at Bedford Tower and gives the high ball to EC-3. 1:1 John B was a proponent of using 'Pool Power' to get my pair of Mopac B23-7s on the N.Y.C.T.L. Looking at photo #2 above he was right as the Mopac and NYC had pool power agreements in place. 
EC-3 on the High Line. The boxcar with the yellow door is a Missouri, Kansas and Quincy 50'er that older modelers will recognize as belonging to NMRA Master Modeler Gary Hoover. It is an Accurail product.
EC-3 heads thru midtown. The lady on the left  better get her nose out of her pocketbook and look up! 
 A CB&Q wood sides boxcar and double door boxcar.
CB&Q F3As, 1/87th scale Larry D and a chain gang clearing the mess at Hohman Ave. let us know that EC-3 is arriving at North Side Yard. 
 EC-3 arrives at Terminal Yard. 
Extended vision CB&Q Athearn RTR caboose #13635  brings up the markers. I believe the CB&Q actually had this style of caboose.
Behind the caboose we can see the investigation is under way on this possible mob hit.
The 1/87th scale trainmen of the N.Y.C.T.L. gather at North Side Yard to check out the foreign power. Keep an eye on 1/87th scale PC Ralph. He looks like he's ready to head out and where's his car?
What's this?! Seems 1/87th scale PC Ralph took advantage of the N.Y.C.T.L. hiatus and has purchased two promotional vehicles for his Ralph's Grocery empire.
Here's a close up of 1/87th scale PC Ralph burning up the asphalt with this over sized custom make hot rod shopping cart. And it's a business write off. Way to go Ralph!
Meanwhile the foreign power runs caboose lite back to Terminal Yard
Now it's time to get the Empire City businesses back in business. Four 40' reefers are spotted at Ralph's Grocery warehouse under the watchful eye of 1/87th scale Hot Rod Shopping Cart Ralph.
The North Side Yard power today are the old reliable and turbocharged NYC EMD GP20s. 
I really like the way these GP20s look in mainline service and even more so in local service. Their short wheel base makes them very nimble, their weight gives them excellent pulling power and they run extremely well at slow speeds. Both GP20s are Life Like Proto 2000 models. 

That's it for today. Keep an eye out for the next P.C.C.M. installment. 1:1 scale PC Ralph's Kings Port Division will be originating the action. http://kingsportdivision.blogspot.com/ and I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with the virtual ops.

I'll also be meeting this Saturday with 1:1 Engineer Ed at our L.H.S., Trainmaster Models in Buford GA for a swap meet. I'm hoping to score some rib sided cover hoppers for a joint project with 1:1 PC Ralph and Engineer Ed. More on that in future posts.

Thanks for reading!

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!