Atlas 33,000 Gallon LPG Tank Cars Painted
The first two Atlas 33,000 Whale Belly LPG tank cars that I have custom painted received their final decals today. Using Islington Station decal set 150-212 C (AMOX and TGPX LPG Tanks), I made both cars represent Tamak Transportation Corporation TGPX cars. I chose numbers 33508 because that is the one ready to go on the decal set and 33510 because I have taken a photograph of that car in New Orleans.
17 Tangent Scale Models PS-4750 Covered Hoppers
Recently the Meridian Speedway placed its largest single order of cars from Tangent Scale Models. The latest release of PS-4750 covered hopper cars is awesome! This order included nine cars to keep in their factory paint schemes and eight cars to repaint.
The keepers are:
ITC 1942 - Classic Illinois Terminal
NAHX 54361 - Data Only
NAHX 54380 - Data Only
NAHX 54463 - BENSON-QUINN CO.
PTLX 34002 - FGDA
PTLX 34013 - FGDA
PTLX 34048 - FGDA
PTLX 34091 - FGDA
PTLX 34891 - UNITED CO-OP - Webster City, IA
In addition to the above cars, four-each of the data-only NAHX 54361 and NAHX 54380 were purchased to repaint. Immediately three copies of NAHX 54361 were removed of their markings in preparation for painting.
What will these become? Stay tuned!
NS 8772 - NS 8835 - NS 8840 - NS 8888 Delivered
The announcement by ScaleTrains.com that they would be recreating the unique NS C40-9 "Top Hat" locomotives was one of the most exciting announcements ever...for me. Nicknamed for the prominent appearance of the air conditioner on the spartan cab of these units, the Top Hats were some mean looking machines that were fun to photograph nearly new in 1996, the year I model.
Today, 4-29-2020, the four versions I ordered arrived! NS 8772, NS 8835, NS 8840, and NS 8888 are now on the Meridian Speedway roster.
Simply put - they are beautiful models! No disappointment with this ScaleTrains.com release.
A second package arrived today as well. This was an eBay score from seller emd710. Atlas 20,700 gallon tank car DOWX 4743 is from the original release of this model in May 2007. This acquisition is part of my effort to increase the number of generic "data only" tank cars and hopper cars to the fleet. I am pleased with this find.
First Installation of Metal Plano Walkways
As I have been researching available Islington Station Products decals, I managed to find a number of sets to decal Atlas "whalebelly" LPG Tank Cars. Plano Model Products makes a metal roofwalk set for this car and I decided to give it a try. Smaller details are not important form me to upgrade, however the roofwalks on this car are quite conspicuous. I had not worked with Plano Model Products roofwalks before.
The image below is the instruction sheet that comes with the product:
I learned much through the process, specifically how to take apart the ladder assembly on the Atlas tank cars. I made a few mistakes along the way and am more prepared for the next ones. This one will do, however. It will fit in just fine with the "Meat-and-Potatoes" fleet of cars I am bolstering.
Reynolds Materials P-S 4750 Hoppers
Still equipped with shop trucks and shop couplers, the three Tangent P-S 7450 covered hoppers painted in the last blog post now have decals and identities!
Though many years old, I had no issues using the Islington Station Decals. They performed flawlessly! Decals still wet in the above photo, RMCX 2080, RMCX 2118, and RMCX 2145 are now part of the fleet!
4-11-2020 - Paint Booth Action - "Meat and Potatoes"
As you have probably noticed, posts on this blog have been few and far between for the last several years. My children are at the age where parenting their activities is a never-ending feat. This dynamic has driven hobby interests, modeling and photography, to the back burner.
Enter COVID-19. The Coronavirus pandemic has swiftly and single-handedly put an end to all of the school, athletic, and other social activities that have been racking up miles on our vehicles and consuming many hours of every day. As it turns out, Model Railroading is an amazing hobby that can be shelved when time does not allow, but is there when you need or want it.
That being said, I have spent the last several weeks focusing on the Man-Cave. Some deep-cleaning, inventory activity, and rearranging the paint booth work area to provide more usable space has paid off.
On the other hand, when you peruse the freight cars being sold by most model train manufacturers the makeup seems to be just the opposite. The fancy cars attract attention and sell. As a result model railroad fleets seem to be just the opposite of real-world composition with generic cars being the exception rather than the rule.
I was able to pull two prototype photos I had taken in the 1990's of RMCX PS-4750 hoppers. RMCX 2080 was captured painted almost white with the small logo and RMCX 2098 was captured painted a slightly darker grey and without the logo.
Perfect I thought! This will be my first new project. I do remember the RMCX cars and am pleased to have them in my fleet.
I reached out to Dave Lehlbach of Tangent Scale Models and purchased the last two remaining undecorated PS-4750 covered hoppers in his inventory and I also purchased a Penn Central PS-4750.
I removed the trucks and couplers and replaced them with my own "shop" trucks and couples to use during the paint process. My shop trucks have one axle glued in place so the cars do not roll around. My shop couplers are old horn-hook couplers that I use to handle and reposition cars during the painting process.
Using the Solvaset and Scotch-Tape method of letter removal mentioned previously I was able to effortlessly remove the Penn Central lettering from the green PC car.
Yesterday, 4-10-2020, the three Tangent PS-4750's took a bath. The usual dish soap soak and rinse took place with a light scrubbing from an old toothbrush. This washes off any dirt and oil from handling that might affect the adhesion of paint to the surface.
After washing, the cars were set aside for 24 hours to dry.
Today, 4-11-2020, magic happened. Three cars were flawlessly painted in the paint-booth. These three cars were painted ScaleCoat II S2011 White with just a touch of ScaleCoat II S2020 MOW Gray. I have had a number of questions about how I paint cars so I decided to try something new and video the process.
I took videos of all three cars, however, the painting of the undecoated cars is less visual than the green car so that is the one I chose to share. Enjoy the un-narrated glimpse of my paint boot in use below:
I am quite pleased with the results of this effort and am glad to be participating again in the World's Greatest Hobby!
Once the paint is dry it will be on to the next steps of weathering, decaling, and sealing. Updates to come!
CSX and SP B36-7 Models From Rapido!
So the Meridian Speedway has taken delivery of quite a few freight cars and locomotives this year that did not make the blog. My first four Rapido B36-7's showed up today, however, and they are noteworthy! CSXT 5809, CSXT 5895, and CSXT 5923 along with SP 7756 made up this shipment from TrainWorld. I made it home just in time from my daughter's soccer tournament in Granbury to sign for the package from Fedex....
The pictures speak for themselves...these models are fine!
After the disappointment from my recent delivery of four ScaleTrains Santa Fe C44-9W's (the colors match nothing previously out and running) I thought I'd put four model manufacturers products side-by-side to see how the SP Scarlet Red compares. Left-to-right are Fox Valley Models, Rapido, Atlas, and Athearn Genesis models:
While there is some difference, they are all compatible. With minimal weathering no one will notice. Contrast this with the difference between four ScaleTrains Santa Fe C44-9W's and an Atlas Santa Fe C40-8W below. These are not compatible under any circumstances! I have boxed up the ScaleTrains C44-9W's and have tabled them for NT&O repaints in the future.
A day of Great Weather and Trains....
Had a great day today railfanning the BNSF Fort Worth Subdivision with Michael Palmieri and Joe Bohannon! Steven Palmieri even drove out to Crowley to join us for lunch!
The former Santa Fe shop complex is alive and well being owned and operated as a car shop by Greenbrier Rail Services. The Santa Fe logo near the top of the smokestack is a local landmark and a testament to a bygone era. Cleburne, Texas - 4-9-2019 - C.M.Palmieri Photo.
DRGW 5387, DRGW 5394, and SP 8558 Join the Fleet
Today a shipment from ScaleTrains.com arrived with the three Tunnel Motors I reserved from their first release. All I can say is "Wow!" These models are stunning! Modeling 1996, Rio Grande motors were pretty well integrated into the EsPee fleet, so I ordered two. There are the first Rio Grand locomotives I have purchased. I also ordered the most modern SP version. SP 8558 is the only unit offered in this run with the white step stripes and other later mods. Hopefully future runs will include ditch lights and removed Mars lights. All three units are factory equipped with LokSound decoders. Enjoy the images!
Some Shots from Arkansas - 3-12-2019
Spring Break for our schools was this week. I was not able to get time off other than my rest days of Monday and Tuesday so my wife and I picked a close destination to go with our kids. Hot Springs, Arkansas it was! We drove there after my shift on Sunday and spent all day Monday in town looking around. Jacob and Kate had a blast! There were several hikes, tours of bath houses, hot springs, and great food. I even had a double Templeton Rye Whiskey neat at the Ohio Club, both favorites of Al Capone....
Tuesday was a leisurely departure from downtown Hot Springs. After lunch we went to the Garvan Woodland Gardens and spent quite a bit of time walking around. We would definitely go back! Of course I had made a list of railroad photo locations to see and managed to check two of them off the list on the way back home.
The above photos were taken at the Arkansas Midland (AKMD) shop and transload facility in Jones Mills, AR. Originally built as the Hot Springs Railroad in 1875, this line would become part of the Rock Island before becoming the Arkansas Midland which would incorporate seven isolated branch lines in Arkansas. One of these branches runs from the Union Pacific at Malvern, AR to Hot Springs and Mountain Pine. The AKMD was acquired by shortline giant Genesee and Wyoming in 2014.
It just so happens that the drive to Hot Springs follows this line! There are many photo locations that caught my eye. We stopped briefly at Jones Mills. There we found AKMD GP35s 2503 and 2504 along with recently painted LRWN GP38-3 2150. The Little Rock and Western (LRWN) is a separate Arkansas short line railroad that was picked up by Genesee and Wyoming in 2005. This place has great character!
Then it was onto the next stop--Malvern, Arkansas.
Still standing in Malvern is the 1887 roundhouse that was built by the Hot Springs Railroad. This 132-year-old structure was built as a five-stall narrow gauge roundhouse to service the locomotives of this railroad which branched off from the Iron Mountain (Missouri Pacific and later Union Pacific) and connected Hot Springs with the modern world!
It is simply amazing that this structure is still standing. From the looks of it, I would say its days are numbered. The button below will take you to a web page on the Arkansas Railroad History site with more information about the Malvern Roundhouse.
While I was photographing the roundhouse, eastbound Union Pacific Laredo, Texas to Yard Center, Illinois intermodal train ILDYC-10 passed by. Today the Arkansas Midland operates the branch and interchanges with the Union Pacific in Malvern. I took a few more shots around the yard before heading back home.
Orange Paint and Decals Applied Today - 3-6-2019
The first coat of Solva-Set is still wet on the first locomotive of my proto-freelanced Mississippi Central Railroad. Alco C425 MCRR 2425 wears my Illinois Central "inspired" color scheme. The decals are by Matthew Welke of Circus City decals and they look great!
On the drawing board this bold color scheme received quite a bit of criticism. Perhaps it is a face only its creator can love, however, having seen it materialize in person I could not be more pleased with it! More to come....
Club-Lounge Rio Bravo Takes Shape
Today the window tinting I ordered from Amazon arrived in the mail. It was a long trip from China via Los Angeles, Houston, and Detroit before being delivered to my home in Fort Worth.....go figure. I am not 100% satisfied with the tint finish, however I think it looks much better than without the tint. I applied it this evening, reassembled the car, and applied the decals I had made by Circus City.
I had considered several ways to decorate the business cars. Two things were important: 1 - they need to look good and 2 - they need to look unique. My initial thought was to have them all silver, but many railroads did that and the BNSF business cars are all silver. I have fond memories from my younger days of Southern Railway lightweight cars that were aluminum with black roofs with the classic Southern Logo on the right end. For the TGN businees car fleet I decided to go that route, but instead the car roofs, trucks, and under-bodies will be painted a dark green.
Also seen in the paint shop this evening is what will become TGN 8051 - dome car Pelican Vista. The Rio Bravo is a Walthers Proto 85' Budd 1 Drawing Room 29-Seat Lounge. On the upside with the Walthers car, the roof comes off, making it easy to paint the separate colors. On the downside the windows are glued in and need to be masked if the car is going to be painted.
For the Pelican View I purchased an undecorated Rapido Trains Budd Dome. This car came with the windows not installed which is great, however the roof is molded into the one-piece carbody shell. So I traded having to mask the windows for having to mask the roof. At least the window tinting will be easier to apply on the Rapido car!
These are the first models I have painted with Badger Model-Flex paint. I am not sure that I am comfortable with it yet... I decided to go with a darker green than the shade on my locomotives. The green is Badger Model-Flex 16-192 Western Pacific Green. The silver is a mixture of Model-Flex 16-32 Santa Fe Silver and 16-193 CB&Q Imitation Aluminum. The mixture is approximately 75% Santa Fe Silver and 25% CB&Q Imitation Aluminum.
For the Rio Bravo, I will have to mask the windows again before I clear coat the car. Not looking forward to that; however, I am excited to get a few business cars in service!
Drone Images - Cleburne, TX - 2-25-2019
The weather forecast for this evening was perfect, so I decided to head south to Cleburne to do some photography.
Southbound train H-KCKTPL1-25 provided some action on arrival. The train was on the mainline and had cut away with a few cars to set out one hopper car in 9-Track. The train also changed crews before departing. This was all done near the historic former Santa Fe shop facility which once built the famous "CF7" fleet of locomotives. The weather was great to take some images of the shops!
Next, northbound Amtrak train No. 22, the Texas Eagle, pulled into town and detrained all of its passengers into two buses due to a derailment at Joshua. The train then wyed to run south as No. 21. After backing north of the depot to take on fuel from a truck, the train would be ready for the run to San Antonio once the passengers and crew arrived from Fort Worth.
Alvarado to Clark empty rock train U-VRDCAK0-01 was tied down at North Cleburne with four units on the head end. And the evening was rounded out with a few shots of the Fort Worth Western Job No. 501 working the FWWR Cleburne branch.
All in all...not a bad day!
UP SD60 2166 and UP SD40N 1859
Usually the Roanoke, Texas local power sports a lone UP SD40N, however UP SD60 2166 has recently been added to the consist. To my recollection this is the first SD60 we have had in local service here. This evening I was able to take advantage of the evening light to record the consist and get some detail shots of the PTC antenna arrangement on UP SD40N 1859.
New essay added to the Meridian Speedway Library
I recently came across a link to an essay written by Danny Johnson and published in The Trackside Photographer. Titled "A World Apart, A World Within" this work details his personal experience exploring the North Louisiana Delta Region served by the KCS Meridian Speedway.
Of course the photography that accompanies the text is excellent!
The insight in this work is very relevant to the Meridian Speedway concept that my website serves to share. I asked Danny if he would mind if I added this article to my Meridian Speedway Library and he graciously agreed. He is in the company of some great authors.
I had not before heard of The Trackside Photographer. This website is a collection of photo-essays contributed by a wide range of authors on a variety of railroad related topics. I recommend highly that you take a look. The button below will take you to the home page of The Trackside Photographer.
Linked to the following button is the article "A World Apart, A World Within" in the Meridian Speedway Library.
TGN 8021 - RIO BRAVO - Arrives on the Property
Having decided to make the TGN business car fleet a reality, a roster was made, decals comissioned, and the first car purchased. A Walthers Proto Rock Island 85' Budd 1-Drawing Room 29-Seat Lounge arrived today. This car will be one of two club lounge cars in the fleet - TGN 8021 the RIO BRAVO.
I think I have finalized the paint scheme. The fleet will primarily be stainless steel Budd cars. The roofs and underbodys will be painted a dark green and the sides and ends will be stainless steel. This is inspired by Southern Railway lightweight cars which sported a black roof. I believe this scheme will be unique and not confused with other passenger car owners.
An Unlikely 2019 Locomotive Consist - 2-12-2019
Thanks to some friends in Kansas City who tipped me off that BNSF Kansas City, KS to Temple, TX train H-KCKTPL1-10 was headed south with three SD40-2s for power. This is very uncommon these days on any Class I railroad. I looked at the weather and saw a forecast of clear skies all day. I decided it would be a great day to try out my new Mavic Air drone that my wife got me for Christmas!
So northward I went on I-35...Oklahoma-bound to intercept the H-KCKTPL1-10. The below slideshow is the result!
Decal Specification Submitted for TGN OCS
TGN 527193 - NTO 527565 - NTO 527748
In addition to the E&C Shops car belonging to Greg McComas, this batch included two ExactRail Gunderson 6269 cars. Both were purchased as model EE-1452-1 decorated for BNSF. I chose this model because they were brown and would not need a coat of primer. The lettering was also pretty sparse and looked easy to remove.
I created a rather detailed spec-sheet for the decals and submitted it to Circus City decals. They (Matthew Welke) did an amazing job on the decal sheet, and it was done very quickly!
Next I made a quick revision to the roster. These cars were in the 527000 series, with the first 500 being T&GN and the second 500 being NT&O. I divided the numbers further, designating the E&C Shops cars as TGN 527000-527099 and NTO 527500-527599. The ExactRail cars would fill the rest of the numbers, TGN 527100-527499 and NTO 527600-NTO 527999.
The BNSF markings came off easily using Solvaset-Soaked paper towel patches to soften the letters. Scotch-Tape then removed them cleanly! I mixed a 50/50 batch of Scalecoat II Boxcar Red and Boxcar Red #2 which is standard for these cars. The paint went on smoothly with my Iwata Revolution airbrush.
The Circus City decals were a pleasure to work with. Each car has a total of 58 individual decals!
Today the cars received dull coat to seal the decals. On the advise of Eric Goodman I used an aerosol can of Krylon ColorMaster Flat Crystal Clear. I picked up a can at WalMart! Being careful to just spray a very thin and even layer of the product on the cars, the result is very good! I do miss the Floquil flat finish however....
NTO 527565 will be interchanged to the MCIS soon. As Greg models a later time period than I do, this car will be updated with yellow FRA conspicuity stripes.
A shipment from ExactRail arrived on Monday. Included were four more copies of BNSF 726653... Batch 2 will be making its way to the paint booth soon!