Better the Second Time Around.....
Today there was not a cloud in the sky so I decided to get the shot that I did not get last Wednesday. I took my son Jacob with me and off to the bridge just south of Highway 114 we went. Right on time the Heartland Flyer zipped across, Heritage Unit AMTK 156 bringing up the rear as expected! The building visible under the bridge is part of the new GE Texas Locomotive Factory.
In several months, this bridge will not be seeing any rail traffic once the new main aligned several miles to the west is cut in. The rails on this main will be severed allowing for expansion of the Alliance Airport runway.
Alliance, TX Photos - 3-25-2015
While working the day shift Fort Worth Terminal Dispatcher position, I noticed in the cameras that the lead unit on the Southbound Amtrak Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City was the red-nosed heritage unit No. 156. It had been a while since I had photographed trains. In fact, I have not taken a train picture since last summer. With the impending relocation of Main 2 between South Haslet and Lambert two miles to the west, motivation struck me and I decided it was time to dust off the cameras and get back into the sport!
The day was sunny and perfect for photography. I thought I would go for a shot of the heritage unit rolling over the bridge just south of Highway 114 with classic "Santa Fe" lettering painted in white on the black steel girder.
At train time, a line of clouds had rolled in and the brilliantly lit shot I had in mind was not so brilliant. So I did a little exploring and decided to photograph the northbound Heartland Flyer, train No. 822, in the curve at North Haslet just north of the Intermodal Parkway grade crossing.
By the end of the summer the rails on main two will be cut forever to allow expansion of the runway at Alliance Airport. The new main currently under construction is located about two miles to the west of this location...on the other side of Alliance Yard.
Leading the train was the gutted carcass of what was formerly Amtrak F40PH 222. Reincarnated as NPCU (Non-Powered Control Unit) No. 90222, the little cab-control car sure made plenty of noise at the grade crossing announcing the train's passage!
As was anticipated, Amtrak P42DC No. 156 wearing the "Phase I" heritage paint scheme was powering the train from the rear. Today's train had the standard three-car Superliner consist between the NPCU and the locomotive. For more information about the Amtrak heritage units, visit the Amtrak History Page on their website.
While scouting for a location to photograph Amtrak No. 822, I noticed three brand new BNSF ES44C4 locomotives at the gate by the switch to Main Two. Earlier in the day I had dispatched the BNSF GE test job K-ALTALT1-25 from GE to Valley View and back with two new C4's. They had made the trip with enough time to make an evening delivery of new locomotives from GE to the BNSF Alliance Yard and the three units at the gate looked like they were poised for action after the passage of Amtrak.
Once train No. 822 had passed by my lens, I headed up to the GE Texas plant to see if they were coming out. Not seeing any evidence of movement right away, I circled the plant to see a few C4's randomly littering the facility. One more crossing of Main 2 at Eagle Parkway revealed a BNSF employee walking out to the Main 2 switch. Bingo! New GE's were going to be delivered from the factory and I would get the shot...
I had failed to get the shot of Amtrak 156 next to the large American Airlines logo on the side of the hangar. The shot still being in my mind, I decided to get ahead of this slow moving consist and try again. Back at the Intermodal Parkway grade crossing at North Haslet, I got the following sequence of photos of the three new GE's heading home. Once this main is severed at the new runway, new GE deliveries will have to run north from the GE plant to Lambert and then back towards Alliance on Main 1 or the new main from there.
There was still enough light for one more sequence. The power would continue south to South Haslet where it would then travel northward into Alliance Yard on Main 1 which is on a completely different alignment. There is a small park with a jogging trail and a disk frisbee course next to the tracks just south of the small town of Haslet, TX. The below scenes were taken from this location.
Paint Experiment....Floquil to Badger Conversion
Referencing the dilemma mentioned previously about the demise of Floquil Paint, I have decided to search for a match to the green paint already used on T&GN and NT&O locomotives. The pros and cons of looking for a new scheme vs. maintaining the same have been considered and I have decided that practicing due diligence to find a match is best.
Today I made a trip to Discount Model Trains in Addison, TX. Scalecoat II is my current brand of choice, however, Scalecoat II failed to obtain license for sale in the state of Texas and thus is not available for sale in local hobby shops. And that is too bad.
The largest selection at Discount Model Trains is Badger Precision Design Model Flex brand. Several months earlier I had purchased a bottle of their Katy-Green (16-80) and Olive Drab-FSC (16-96) and had experimented with different mixes of the two. As it turns out the Katy Green by itself is not that far off from the original Floquil formula which was a 50/50 mix of MKT Green and Depot Olive.
Determined that the right formula had to be somewhere in the bottles on the shelves in this store, I purchased about a dozen bottles of greens as well as a few other basic colors to experiment with. It is time to jump out of my comfort zone and learn to use a different brand and base of paint....
GP7u Markings Removed
As part of the preparation for the painting process of my two Athearn Genesis GP7u locomotives, I have decided not to strip the paint off of them. Athearn Genesis has done a wonderful job of applying the paint in very thin layers. Fully decorated, the finest details are still very well defined. There is some relief around the color separations, however, that may show through the Y&MV paint. Some of them are acceptable and others not.
I chose to leave the "Santa Fe" lettering on the long hood alone as well as the main blue/yellow color separations behind the cab and on the battery box. After all these are intended to represent former Santa Fe locomotives so if upon close inspection of the finished Y&MV locomotives traces of Santa Fe are visible, it is OK.
What I did choose to remove were the cab and rear numbers as well as the classic Santa Fe "Cigar Band" logo on the noses. Recently I saw a YouTube video by Josh Clark, a.k.a. NSmodeler24, which introduced me to a new method of removing painted-on locomotive numbers. That video is linked below in this posting for reference.
I tried this method on these locomotives and it worked like a charm! For some areas a second or third pass was required, but really minimal time was required. In addition to the link to Josh Clark's YouTube video, there is a slide show below depicting this process as applied to the Y&MV 200 and Y&MV 201.
These locomotives are now getting close to being ready for primer and paint!
Meridian Speedway Library Addition
Paulsen Spence and the Louisiana Eastern story complete in library!
Many thanks to Louis Saillard who allowed me to display his article on the Louisiana Eastern in my Meridian Speedway library. Truly a fascinating prototype story of one man's railroad, this article also has relevance to my Proto-Freelanced model railroad network. This story plays a key role in the story of my Proto-Freelanced Mississippi Central Railroad. That story will be written soon.
Also, thanks to both Louis Saillard and J. Parker Lamb for providing the accompanying photographs.
Enjoy the read!
An ExactRail Addition - Louisiana Midland BoxCar
A much smaller freight car delivery arrived today, just one car. This one is one of six numbers ExactRail makes for its Early Evans 5277 Single Door Box Cars decorated for shortline Louisiana Midland. I already had LOAM 88002 and I picked up this one as it is on the low stock list at ExactRail.
These are very pretty cars decorated for a fallen flag railroad near and dear to the territory of the Meridian Speedway. I believe I will end up with all six of them before long....
First Buggardine, Australia Operating Session - Notes and photos have been added to my Ops Session Library!
This operating session write-up is now complete in my Library. For many of you, as well as for myself, this is an introduction to model railroading Aussie Style! Blair Kooistra is building an excellent Proto-Freelanced Australian-Based model railroad.
Chris Atkins and myself were invited to participate in a dry-run test session to see how moves would play out. This was the first operating session on this railroad.
The stars were three brand-new TrainOrama models of New South Wales Government Railway's 48-Class locomotives. Blair had done an excellent job installing sound on these units.
Click the link below to see the ops session notes.....Be sure to check out the slide show at the bottom of the page!
Tips and Methodology for Painting Model Trains
Paint Shop Page Completed!
I am often asked to paint models for others, however, that is not something I really have the time to engage in. I was fortunate to have Lenny DiMartino as my painting mentor early on. The pointers and guidelines he taught me have made quality painting easy and fun. Truly, with just a little practice and discipline, anyone can become skilled at painting models.
These pointers and guidelines are available for reference on the Paint Shop Page of my Meridian Speedway website. Many thanks to Lenny who proofread this page and reminded me of a couple of steps that were not addressed in the original draft.
I would also like to thank Mick Nussbaum who answered my call for a photo of a freshly painted MidSouth locomotive at the Permathane Paint Shop in Meridian, MS. He provided an image of freshly painted MSRC GP10 1001 taken immediately after it had run through a commemorative banner outside of the paint shop. The man in the photo is the engineer who ran it out of the paint shop. He is also Mick's father. This image can be seen in the header slideshow on the Paint Shop Page.