GEC's Layout Progress
Chris, I love seeing your trains, and now, even better, you may be the one that helps turn Cancer Care Centers into Cancer Cure Centers.
Charlie
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Chris,
There is an ALCO Models E44 on ebay at this time.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Alco-Models-Bra...4902.l9144

Paul
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Thanks for the heads up!

Unfortunately though, the Alco models ones aren't so great.  They are definitely not to scale, believe it or not.   The Alpha E44As are the goal as far as E44s go.  They are harder to come by and afford, however.
Modeling New Jersey Under the Wire 1978-1979.  
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I can now add a SEPTA ACS-64 "Sprinter" engine to my roster. I figure there will be plenty of Amtrak units, but my understanding is that the SEPTA ones are cleared out. It will definitely be a nice change of pace from the usual AEM-7s and Silverliners.

On the other hand, I suppose Silverliners are a rare sight on model railroad layouts, and so maybe I should run them more often!

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Speaking of AEM-7s, now that Atlas has put out a second run, I have managed to collect all of the first run AEM-7s. Amtrak 901 and MARC 4902 were the only ones I did not have, and now they are in my collection. Its to bad now I will have to spend a decade acquiring the rest of the new run, of which I only have ALP44 #4409.

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Modeling New Jersey Under the Wire 1978-1979.  
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I've been trying to get rolling on my modeling projects again.   This summer has been fairly disappointing, with several projects (CNJ GP7s, Conrail RS11s) being announced as fancy Genesis and Rapido models.  I'm glad they are being made, and I'll buy a few,  but its a little disheartening when I put a lot of work and effort in, and right before I finish,  a fancy RTR version gets made. 

Not only do I feel like I wasted my time, money, and effort,  but I have so many other projects that sit on the shelves.   I'm barely closer to finishing any of my Arrow and Silverliner EMU commuter car kits than I was a few years ago.    The main hold up is appropriate drives,  but  nothing is really stopping me from just putting the body shells together or something.   I could assemble and even paint everything right up to the part where the drives would need to be installed,  and  I could at least put them on  display or tow them around with an engine. 

On the other hand,  I have had fairly limited time lately.   There is a lot I want to do with my time and no matter what I choose, I feel like I'm missing out.   In the end, I've been sticking to quick projects, though I did try a risky one. 


Conrail U33B 2931

I managed to pick up one of new Atlas U33Bs in the Penn Central scheme pretty cheaply.  These are nice since the latest run has the "correct" early phase radiator intakes, which are just just flat screens similar to prior U-boat diesels.  Previous runs had corrugated radiator intake screens.  While these would be accurate for later U33Bs and the U36B,  they wouldn't be right for the U33Bs used by Conrail, which were early purchases by New York Central/Penn Central. 

It was necessary for me to change the road number on this as well.   Much of Conrail's "early" second generation power was purchased on a 15 year lease.  Many of these units would not be repainted,  since Conrail did not intend to renew their lease.   However, for some reason, nearly every U33B got the full Conrail treatment, many of them early on  (I'm holding out for Atlas to release a Conrail Blue version, which I will definitely need).  There were only a few that kept their PC paint (some as far as resale to the Boston & Maine at the end of their original lease).  Of those, 2931 had a few photos on different dates around Morrisville PA and Trenton NJ, so it would have been a local engine that probably ran in trains that I model.  

I used solvaset to remove the numbering.  After waiting a few moments, the numbers came off effortlessly with a small brush, leaving the paint below totally intact.     I then used a brush to patch out the PC lettering and logos using gloss black.   I used my Alclad base coat for some insane reason, and that was a tad runny.  I hit it again later with tru-color black, which is still glossy enough to represent a fresh patch, while being more readily brushable.  

I have recently begun experimenting with Pan Pastels for weathering.  I notice they don't stick so well to gloss, so I may be able to weather this unit without masking it, which would be nice. 

This unit was also a good opportunity to use the Mount Vernon Shops  Conrail patches.   The "CR" patches on 2931 had a small line through them from the stencil that had not been filled in.   

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Conrail GP40 3153

I found this GP40 in a pile of damaged locomotives and got it cheaply.  It turns out that much of the unit was intact, and alot of the "damage" turned out to be some sort of sticky glue that peeled off harmlessly after some coaxing. The worst damage was on the front pilot, which was missing its pilot beam and MU hoses.  Unfortunately, its stock number, #3050,  was still very much a black PC patch out during the era I model.   I gave this unit a similar solvaset treatment, and changed it to 3153, which was a blue Conrail GP40 that appeared on my Amtrak New York Division Dispatcher Sheet.  

I also added the cab signal box and moved the nose grab irons to the other side of the nose, since the cab signal box was an "as built" feature on ex-PC units (EMD units from other Conrail components didn't always have these grab irons changed when Cab signal boxes were applied).   Though not photographed, i used a Details West pilot beam to fill in for the lost one, and I'm looking into new MU hoses for it. 

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Conrail U28C 6833, and potential U33C

Another project I'm working on is the U28C.  Though Athearn did make a blue-box version of this locomotive, it is "wide bodied" and hasn't aged well.   Instead, I found that certain versions of Atlas's later phase U30C can be converted to a U28C by swapping the radiator section from a P2K U28B.   I found a cheap donor Undecorated U28B (I'll used its electrical guts to repair an old stock Conrail U28B I already own. Conraily only had 2 such units),  and performed some surgery. 

The roof contours aren't an exact match but they are  close enough, and under black PC paint, it won't be an issue.   

Conrail 6833 will be a neat unit.   Starting as a PRR unit, it was numbered 6533 on the Penn Central.  It had kept this number until the SD40-2s were ordered, which would occupy some of the 6500s block.  In early 1979, these were renumbered into the 6800 series (as were the U25Cs),  and so this unit became 6833.   The neat part, is that it still had full Penn Central lettering up to this point.   The only way you can tell its after 1979 is that there is a "conrail" style 8 in the between the the PC style 6 - 33.    This unit did get CR patches eventually,  but photos close to june 1979 show the PC lettering intact with the new number.  

While there definitely were units with full PC (or other predecessor) marks by mid 1979,  they start to get rarer.    Once one begins researching these early conrail units,  you find that many at least got CR patches by this point, and alot more stuff is "blue" than the photos in the morning sun books would imply!


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As it turns out though,  the radiator screens on the U30C were very similar to those found on the U33C.   Atlas sells and markets a U36C as a U33/U36,  but in reality it is just a U36C (maybe late U33C in some cases?).   Conrail had plenty of U33Cs, and I believe the U33Cs were the first new diesel delivered to the Penn Central.   Though the silhouette of the  U33C is identical the the U36C,  the radiator intakes share more in common with the U33C.  

Since I have an orphaned U30C radiator section,  and a spare undecorated U36C, it might be a good opportunity to try this modification.  

Below is U33C.   Note the flat screen radiator intake, and the "high mounted" vent  under the radiator.   This is the same pattern on the Atlas U30C radiator, except with "wings". 

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This U36C, #6594, will be a topic in a future post, since I resurrected a Conrail U36C from the junk box as well and gave it this number.   Here though, you can see radiator is the more new "corrugated screen",  and the other vent is now located towards the deck.    These 3,600 HP units were the GE equivalents of the SD45, and were all Erie Lackawanna in heritage.

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The only hard part will be picking a unit.   There are several interesting paint variations,  since the Erie Lackawanna also fielded these on top of the PC.  


Metroliners

The Metroliners are finally being discontinued, and the bargain prices for them couldn't be ignored.   A friend of mine now offers the "roof hump" for the rebuilt Metroliner EMUs.  This modification was done in an attempt to improve reliability.   Walthers offers cars in the "Phase II" paint scheme, which is very attractive compared to the PC Stripes, but with the exception of two cars, was only applied to the rebuilt units. 

I don't have picks at the moment, but I picked up one new PC club car (to replace one I had that I found was rebuilt during the era I model),  and a set of 4 Phase II cars,  which will eventually get roof humps.   Alclad paint will help me match the walthers metal finish, but the real struggle will be moving the train phone antennas up on the Club and snack bars.    the underbody won't be perfect, and there are still inaccurate body vents on the cars, but it will be close enough. 

Some other projects

Can't post everything, but an SW1001 and exPRSL GP38 are on deck, should be fun.
Modeling New Jersey Under the Wire 1978-1979.  
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