Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

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!


  1. Well, best of luck! There's exposed piping in the basement above my layout, and from time to time work has had to be done, but nothing that drastic. Here's hoping things will soon be back better than eve!

    1. Thank You John!!! From your lips to God's ears!

  2. Best wishes of a good and quick resolution to your plumbing project. It will be work now, but will give you piece of mind for the future.

    1. Thank You Brian! We're hoping for that quick resolution!

  3. Whew! Glad you decided to take action before becoming another sad story in your neighborhood! Is sad to see the N.Y.C.T.L. temporarily shut down but you're doing the right thing. Nice job with all of the protective measures to minimize any accidental impact from the plumbing job. It will be great when its done! Best wishes!!!

    1. Thank You Ralph! I've been worrying more about the layout than the rest of the house! Not looking forward to all the holes in the ceilings and walls but they say I'll never know they were here. Let's hope that is the case!

  4. Good luck with the pipe work. I'm sure it will go smooth and nothing will happen to the layout. Interesting thought. Once you start to put things back on the layout, you may get ideas on how to change or relocate something on the layout like a building or industry. You get a different perspective when you see track and nothing else. Good luck!

    1. Thank You Sir Neal! You are certainly right on getting a different perspective of the layout now that it is stripped so to speak. We'll see how it all goes back together!