NYC Modeling a small NYC switching yard circa 1967

zaulden Nov 6, 2018

  1. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all! I am looking to model a New York Central switching yard. (Inglenook puzzle) in HO.

    It will run a GP35 and 40' cars.

    As I plan my freight, I've read that NYC system would often carry cars from every US railway. Can anyone back this up?

    Here is where I found it mentioned:

    http://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/pacemaker-freight-service.20497/

    Anyone have any other facts or resources about NYC? Any book recommendation?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    That is correct, the NYC regularly hauled freight cars from all railroads in North America, including Canadian railroads.

    I have this very nice all color book on the NYC (c. 1983) and it's still widely available. There are a number of NYC fans here who can recommend others.

    [​IMG]

    Good luck with your layout!
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    In the USA, a large percentage of freight moved in non-home railroad cars. It is still that way today. No railroad alone serves every station in the country, so shippers could not use just NYC cars. A load originating in California stood a good chance of being in UP, SP or AT&SF car. That all started changing when the era of "per diem" cars came along.
     
  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    This photo doesn't show as many cars as I had hoped, but the first two cars are not NYC. The second appears to be MoPac. I can't make out the first, but definitely not NYC.
    This shows that an originating road will use whatever car is available to send freight to a destination, regardless of how many different roads are transited along the way.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    Great replies so far! Thank you guys a bunch!

    The fact that 40' freight cars from anywhere in America and Canada would find their way onto NYC makes my job in finding appropriate 40' boxcars much easier.

    I am also assuming NYC would switch all sorts of different railways' boxcars in NYC yards. Correct?

    Does anyone have a good resource to look up if a particular piece of freight model would have existed in the time of my layout? (GP35 years right before NYC ended).
     
  6. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    GP35s existed in large quantities in 1967, but they were seldom used as switchers (shunters) when they were that new. Usually those chores are reserved for small engines designed for the purpose, or older road engines closer to retirement. I'd be inclined to use an ALCO RS-2. But if you already have your geep 35, don't fret. It isn't impossible.

    As for freight cars, yes, yes, American railroads haul, switch, load, unload, and even repair cars from every other railroad. They developed a system for doing it during World War I when their cars were used as warehouses at Atlantic ports due to early U boats causing a shortage of ships; this in turn caused car shortages, and a system more efficiently utilizing the nation's freight car fleet was desperately needed. The only U.S. or Canadian freight cars in operation in 1967 that were never found in NYC yards were narrow gauge.

    When you buy U.S. freight cars, you will find a date (month and year) among the numbers painted on the side next to the legend "BLT" (built) or "NEW". Anything from 1946 to 1967 is a good choice for you. Admittedly, using that to choose freight cars worked better in a hobby shop than on line, but some vendors post photos good enough that one can read those tiny markings.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    To keep it easy, most any 40' steel car of any type would be suitable. For simplicity's sake you'd want to avoid road names like NS, CSX, BN, BNSF, PC, ICG and some others which came to be after '67. Exacting modelers would hone things down further to reject certain car paint schemes that came to be post '67; it all depends on how much time you want to invest in procuring rolling stock. I'd suggest not driving yourself crazy with this. Have fun. I'm not the kind of guy who's going to visit and scoff upon seeing a CNJ PS-1 boxcar in the "Coast Guard" scheme on a circa 1967 layout. It's all good. (y)
     
  8. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting. Thanks. Wikipedia calls the GP35 a road-switcher, designed to perform both hauling and switching. Kato's website claims it saw service from everything from mainline service, to switching, to branchline operations. But I guess you're saying GP35s didn't see a whole lot of switching use until it got older. 70s? 80s? At that point, NYC would be gone.

    I was hoping I could use the GP35 as a versatile locomotive (could run trains and also switch them) with a single initial purchase.

    If I want to do that, maybe I should look at modeling a later era. I might have to move from NYC then.
     
  9. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Road switchers were developed for local trains, though they took over every over the road service. They were designed for switching along the road. Most shunting gets done in yards, but there are still, and used to be a very great many, U.S. manufacturers, warehouses, silos, refrigerated houses, metal scrappers, brewers, distribution centers, and all manner of other businesses all along the line where cars were parked for loading or unloading. Road switchers, with visibility front and rear and end platforms for the brakeman, were good at picking up and dropping off at all those businesses.

    Your GP-35 is still fairly new power in 1967, and most likely to be found on "through trains" (local trains worked those businesses along the line, and seldom went farther than the next rail yard; through trains seldom stopped between yards). But it could certainly be used on such a local. Most switching layouts such as yours model areas with groups of such industries, not actual railroad yards. So your GP-35 is a much better choice than an actual shunter, as such switch engines rarely left the yard.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  10. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    That is great information! I'm learning a lot in this thread!

    Yes, I already have a NYC Kato GP35. I want to be somewhat accurate in my layout, though, if at all possible.

    I think modeling a piece of a local line with some kind of industry filling boxcars to be sent out sounds like a really interesting thing to model. If a NYC GP35 could have been used for that in 1967, that sounds pretty cool!

    And being able to use boxcars from anywhere in the country would make the layout even more visually interesting.
     
  11. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    You already have the GP-35? A GP-35 is perfect! Nothing could be better!

    Seriously. It was more than possible to find one doing local duty in 1967. I guarantee it happened--maybe almost every day. A fine choice. Remember, the NYC routes covered over 15,000 km and they ran hundreds and hundreds of local trains daily. A GP-35 got used for at least a few if them in 1967!

    And, yes, the variety of cars and paint schemes on U.S. freight trains does indeed make them interesting and colorful! Enjoy!

    My only advice is, don't limit yourself to boxcar industries. Covered hoppers and tank cars, for example, add visual interest too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  12. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    Fascinating stuff. So, on a local line, would a road switcher pretty much just pick up a line of train cars already arranged? Or might it be expected to rearrange (switch) cars at a particular industry before heading back to the main line, train of arranged cars in tow?

    Are there any YouTube videos of a road switcher working some local industry?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  13. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    The local would often replace cars on a siding. It would pick up full cars and set out empties at a wheat silo or metal scrapper, and set out loads and pick up empties at a distributor, for example. At a factory, the cars received might be full of parts or raw materials, and those picked up full of finished product. Occasionally it might rearrange cars on company sidings. But that wasn't so common as railroads charged a lot for the service, and only came around to do it once a day or so. Industries that needed a bunch of that bought tiny locomotives of their own.

    Locals didn't rearrange their own cars much out on the road. That's what rail yards are for. They'd get rearranged in the yard, then added to a through train.
     
  14. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    Good facts to get. Since I'm interested in beginning this layout with the classic Inglenook, I don't think it matters if company switching on a local was common or not, since a constrained Inglenook puzzle itself would have not really been encountered at all.

    I think I read it was inspired by some particular really constrained industry yard in England. But those situations are very uncommon.

    I can just, for my purposes, claim that a particular fictious local industry wanted some rearranging before sending the train out.

    Or at least I'll tell myself that's ok :)
     
  15. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Great photo! The first boxcar is N.C.&St.L (Nashville, Chattanooga, & St Louis Railway. Later, part of the L&N). The script on the right side of the door says "To and From Dixieland". Not a lot of pictures of those cars to be found but did manage to locate one in color. I think Atlas has actually done this paint scheme and Lionel did it in O for sure.

    https://www.westernrailimages.com/N...uis/Nashville-Chattanooga-and-Stl/i-GdNZXNd/A
     
  16. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Sure it is! And a little bit of shuffling was not uncommon.

    As for concentrations of industries, those were common here. I think it was the Santa Fe that pioneered buying large tracts of land along their line just outside cities--farms that the farmer wanted to sell, for example. They'd divide it into large plots and lay down sidings, and get companies to build to suit. Sort of planned neighborhoods for industries.

    The U.S. is full of wide open spaces, but some of those industrial parks did have some interesting, constrained trackwork. Especially back east in NYC territory.
     
  17. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    This is cool stuff to learn about! I'm excited to begin playing around with the track.
     
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  18. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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  19. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    This is helpful, but I have a question so I can become more knowledgeable. Why is the cutoff 1946? Why would 1945 stock not be seen on NYC trains in 1967? I assume this date might have something to do with WWII and how it affected railways?
     
  20. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    It isn't a cutoff date, it's a rough guideline. And I picked the date partly because the technology of the time had trouble engineering rail cars that could last a whole lot longer than a few decades. Also, fewer cars were built during the Depression and during the material shortages of the war. Furthermore, rubber and gasoline shortages during the war saw U.S. railroads over-utilized, so existing equipment was used long and hard.

    So, circa 1967, cars from the 1920s would be worn out and retired, and cars from the 1930s and early 1940s were never common.
     
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