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  Weekly Photo Fun 1/22 - 1/28/21
Posted by: bdw9535 - 01-22-2021, 05:21 PM - Forum: Shutterbug area - Replies (3)

Shore River spotting cryo cars loaded with frozen french fries at Garden State Freezer.



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  Vintage HO Trains.
Posted by: toptrain - 01-19-2021, 06:29 AM - Forum: HO Modeling - Replies (7)

Being 90% of what I have is vintage trains, I'll share them here.

I'll start with a small freight train. A little NYC 0-4-0t shuttles a couple of freight cars on a short local run.
This is actually a 1956 train set as it would be seen in an old catalog. Even the road names are the same on the loco and cars.


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  Amtrak New York Division/Conrail Atlantic Region
Posted by: Green_Elite_Cab - 01-18-2021, 11:28 AM - Forum: Layouts - Replies (3)

Alright, new layout, new thread.   Its actually been a struggle to plan a new layout though.

As far back as I can remember, I've wanted to model the Northeast Corridor. 

That is not an easy prototype, there are challenges beyond the catenary.  The Northeast Corridor is by its nature, more of a "heavy mainline operation".    4-6 track mainline,  frequent passenger and commuter trains,  and "distinctive" NEC pieces of equipment like the Jersey Arrow commuter cars and the E44s are EXTREMELY rare items.  You might find one or two Arrow III kits,  but you'd need many to actually start making a representative model of operations.

However,  I think I have actually overcome that obstacle.  I have enough Amtrak and Commuter equipment (including 34 Arrow IIIs) to the point where I think I could keep up with the "flow"  of the Northeast Corridor and still have larger, more prototypical consists.  I've managed to snag some of the more rare distinctive pieces like a GP40P and 4 pairs of Arrow IIs,  and I have 4 E44As to supplement the more readily available E33s and GG1s in freight service.  

I have manage to match the volume of the prototype, which is still unreal to me.  

The real problem, is building a satisfying layout to run it all on. 

I definitely have my braindead days after work, so I would totally appreciate just "watching the trains go",  but I also do like operations,  especially after having gotten a taste of them at my local train club.  Unfortunately, the "mainline running" nature of the NEC isn't very conducive to that. 

There are areas that DO have freight switching,  but they have some limitations.  

Through central NJ, in the towns of Deans, Adams, and New Brunswick,  there were "ought" tracks that ran along side the NEC that had switching at some point.  You can still see them when you ride up today, but many of these spurs are clearly abandoned, and its not clear even if the ought track itself is in service, or when they were last served, though they are present on a 1987 Conrail ZTS chart.  These were apparently the last bastion of cabooses on Conrail, since they had no "run around", and so the trains switched the line in one long back up move.  Pictures of any of this operation as basically non-existent, probably due to accessibility and the fact that the whole area could be considered "boring".   It would however, be the easiest to do, since the NEC is only 4 tracks wide,  and any extra depth for the ought tracks wouldn't be too painful to do.


Farther north, the first freight yard you hit would be Metuchen, which supported the nearby Ford Metuchen Assembly plant.   There are tons of local industries in this area,  but the yard is the only thing near the NEC.   You could easily make a whole "industrial shortline" layout based on these tracks,  and I actually have an article published in November 1980 that discusses in detail the movement of freight between Metuchen's yard and its local industries.  As the diagram below shows however, the majority of all of this is out of sight of the Northeast Corridor itself.  This wouldn't be so bad if I had more space for a peninsula to work with.    The other "concern" is that this area south of  "Union interlocking" where the Jersey Shore trains would diverge from the NEC.  This means that the only common NJ DOT trains would be Arrow IIIs, and the GP40Ps and the GG1s in commuter service would not normally stray this far south.  


The next best location is Stiles Street Yard in Linden NJ.   This is ideal, since there is a large yard, with lots of industries around it.    You could basically make an entire layout around the operations here.  Present is the GM Assembly plant,  Merck Pharmaceuticals, and a few odds and ends that appear to take general freight.  It is also north of Union Interlocking,  so it would be realistic to have Jersey Shore trains passing by.  I also own a New York Division dispatcher sheet that details some of the activity as far as trains entering and leaving the yard. 

The main limitation is that the area is thick.   The Northeast Corridor is not only 6 tracks here,  but there is some big space between Track 1 and Track 2 for reasons I don't understand.   Stiles Street yard and its associated running tracks are also  parallel and large,  and while only a few of the yard's tracks are electrified,  it would mean that all of that would be towards the back of a shelf style layout.    The orientation of the GM plant and the size of the auto-parts cars means that  it will require longer, broader curves, that mean the assembly plant might need to jut out on its own peninsula.   

There is just a lot going on, and while any of these prototypes would require selective compression, this one would DEFINITELY need to be cut down.  


So you can see why I am struggling a bit.  

Givens and Druthers

Amtrak New York Division/Conrail Atlantic Region (NJ Division?)
Scale: HO
Gauge: Standard

Prototype: Conrail,  Amtrak, NJ DOT

   Region: Northern NJ
   Railroad: Northeast Corridor


Essentially, I have space for something similar to a semi-dog bone layout that is 40' long, ~11' wide on the ends, and ~5' wide in the middle.   The previous owners partially finished the basement, so one room is nice (and I'll probably store my trains and work tables in there) but the rest of the basement is unfinished.  There are a pair of unfinished walls where one only has partial drywall and some electrical switches installed, and the other is just the 2x4s. Both look easy to remove.  I can't invade the entire basement since we need room for other things,  but if I needed to extend the curve of the dog bones a few feet beyond the 11' boundary, I can. 

The only concern I have is in the back corner, there is my sump pump, which I would like to be accessible.   The breaker cabinet is technically just beyond the edge of the partial wall on the bottom right, and though I don't intend to block it, it is there.  

There are no overhead limitations.


Governing Rolling Stock: 89' TOFC/Autoracks,  86' Hi-cube Boxcars, 85' passenger cars.  

Relative Emphasis:

I would like to keep operations and scenic realism somewhat balanced.  That said, despite the NEC being a largely "mainline running" kind of railroad,  I would like to focus on areas where there is switching.  

Track/Operation .................................................. ..Scenic realism
Mainline Running .................................................. ........ Switching

Operation Priorities: (rearrange as required)

  1. Local Freight Operations
  2. Main-Line Passenger Train Operation
  3. Long Freight Train Operations
  4. Passenger Train Switching 
  5. Engine Terminal Movements
  6. Helper District Operations

Typical operating Crew: 2-3

Eye Level (Owner)- I'm 6'2",  so my eyes are probably somewhere just below that.

Other considerations:

Considerations for catenary are a must.  This means I need the vertical clearance, but it also means keeping the track in the electrified areas relatively simple.

I would like to have a multi-deck layout where the lower level is staging for longer passenger trains and mainline freights. 

Trackplan attempt.

I did attempt to make a "Stiles Street Yard" trackplan in my space, but it strikes me as being a bit "much".  To start, the GM plant tracks (and to a lesser extent, the Merck tracks) stick out very far.   I am considering making these spurs be detachable modules so they can be stored when not in opreation.     Next, even with just the yard in place, it will be very deep going back to the mainline.  There are no switches back there (and I'm not crazy enough to model the industries on the westbound side of the tracks) but that could still be an issue to reach that far.    My train club has a special "platform" that can sit on its station tracks and support my weight for when work needs to be done in the city out of reach,  so I might need to do something similar.   There would also need to be a "duck" under and pit in the top right corner, so that  operators could more readily switch the "B" Yard and industries. 

Almost all the mainline switches are just "place holders",  the big gray circles are helixes where the outside radius is I believe 42", to accomadate a 4 track broad helix.    The switches are long enough to accomodate the 86' boxcars and 89' autoracks where necessary, though on shorter stub tracks I've employed tighter curves and switches. 

I am proud of getting many of the tracks in, even though I know I will cut a few of them in the end.    Its just a shame there isn't more depth in my space.   If i was able to build the layout slightly away from the wall, i could make pop-ups from behind to access it.


Welp, thats all I've got for now.   Very much open to ideas and suggestions, because I am far from satisfied.

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  Goodby Pete, "sumpter250"
Posted by: ezdays - 01-17-2021, 03:28 PM - Forum: Hobo's Camp - Replies (14)

Our good friend and longtime member and moderator, Pete passed away this morning. I got this from his daughter just a few minutes ago:

Quote:I wanted you to know that my father passed away earlier today from complications due to COVid. He became ill early last week, was hospitalized this past Monday,and went under hospice care Friday morning.

Please share the news with anyone you might know that I wouldn't have contact info for. He is being cremated, then a navy ship will scatter his ashes in the Atlantic along with a standard ceremony on board the carrier. We won't be having any kind of in person memorial or viewing.

Thank you both for the friendship you showed my father over the years. He had a hard time with relationships, but deep down he was a fundamentally nice person who just wanted to do right for people.


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Posted by: jim currie - 01-15-2021, 10:23 PM - Forum: Lower Berth - Replies (3)

i just got through downloading and installing windows 10 20n4 at 18 gigs it took over three hours to download  and 3.5 hours to install , so if you don't have good internet speeds this is a warning your in for a long haul .

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  Weekly Photo Fun 1/15 - 1/21/21
Posted by: bdw9535 - 01-15-2021, 04:31 PM - Forum: Shutterbug area - Replies (17)

A worker from Oisin Sand shoves a car away from the loader.



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  Weekly Photo Fun 1/8/2021 - 1/14/2021
Posted by: tompm - 01-09-2021, 10:31 PM - Forum: Shutterbug area - Replies (6)

Since last weekend I posted my B&O passenger power I figured I would show my B&O freight power.

Atlas RS-1’s

[Image: Cvjp9zo.jpg]

Atlas Master Series GP-40’s

[Image: zirfzsm.jpg]

Proto 1000 F3A and F3B

[Image: 57dVmsD.jpg]

Proto 2000 SD-7

[Image: XUBl0n4.jpg]

I have a run by, but I have to download the photos and video. Thus far this weekend is proving to be challenging as far as getting on the computer. If I have time I will post it hopefully tomorrow. If not next weekend.

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  Metal Tank cars by Mantua Athearn Globe, Silvine, Thomas and other
Posted by: toptrain - 01-09-2021, 01:06 PM - Forum: HO Modeling - Replies (12)

Well, I typed in the thread title, now I got to put some info in it. 

Annnnn I'LL start with an Athearn about 40 ' tank car. Roller Bearings of the old Athearn Metal Line..


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  It's our January chat time
Posted by: ezdays - 01-06-2021, 12:59 PM - Forum: The Video Camp - Replies (26)

The holidays are behind us, we should have all the decorations packed and put away, leftovers are all gone, we might have time to sit down and chat. Anyone want to try for later next week? Like maybe Thursday? Just a feeler, I'm good Wed, Thurs or Friday...

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  "fantasy" paint schemes
Posted by: nachoman - 01-05-2021, 05:23 PM - Forum: HO Modeling - Replies (3)

I get it when manufacturers paint their items with prototypical road names.  For example, there may be a model of a 40 foot boxcar that is specific to a particular railroad that the model manufacturer decides to sell in a dozen different road names.  Usually, they choose an appropriate paint/lettering scheme of a car that is similar to the model they are selling, so in this case they will use the same paint scheme for similar boxcars of that railroad.  The idea is to make their model appeal to a wider market.  Unless you do research, you would never know that the PRR did not have that particular kind of boxcar, because the paint an lettering look believable.  

But the "trainset" cars always baffled me.  Why paint a hopper car yellow?  I have never seen a yellow hopper car.  It finally dawned on me - they too are trying to make their products more colorful to appeal to kids (and parents) who appreciate variety.  If they painted all in prototypical paint schemes, most of the cars would be black or oxide red.  My kids like to see the different colors.  A trainset that has a black tank car instead of a red tank car, or a brown boxcar instead of a boxcar that advertises Kellogg's cereal probably isn't going to sell as well.  

I have a box of old Bachmann and Tyco cars from when I was a kid.  I decided I am going to upgrade the couplers and wheelsets and use them when I set up tracks on the floor for my kids.  Some of them I am just leaving painted as-is, such as the green Burlington Northern boxcars.  But the yellow and blue hopper cars?  Egad!  they are getting painted black!

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