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!
Three Locomotives Arrive Today
Two packages containing a total of three HO scale locomotives arrived today. I placed these locomotives on my display case and noticed that for the first time it was completely full - 16 shelves each hosting five locomotives for a total displayed stable of 80 locomotives. This fixture is as captivating to me as any work of art you can find in a museum.
I stopped posing every new equipment delivery in this blog some time ago. This was mostly due to time limitations. Since I have mentioned today's delivery I will share the details. Two locomotives came from ScaleTrains.com and one came from Toy Train Heaven. Direct from ScaleTrains.com came two SD40-2s from their latest release: Conrail SD40-2 6482 and EMD Leasing SD40-2 6312. The Toy Train Heaven Shipment was an Athearn Genesis GP38-2 that I had pre-ordered a while ago and I had forgotten about! This would be a model of Illinois Central GP38-2 9619.
Conrail 6482 arrived with a little damage to the front handrails. It looks like I can repair them with little effort. It is a gorgeous model as expected.
EMD 6312 adds another splash of blue to the wall of power! These lease units were all over the railroad scene in the mid 1990's and so this locomotive will fit nicely in a number of locomotive consists. This is a beautiful locomotive!
IC 9619 is my first Illinois Central model sporting the Operation Lifesaver logo. These logos were quite common on IC power by 1996 so needless to say I need more! Unfortunately the front handrails on this engine are badly damaged. I will reach out to Athearn and get a replacement.
All three models are welcome additions to the Meridian Speedway fleet!
Well it has been almost a year since my last post here on the Meridian Speedway blog. There have been many distractions and time seems to fly by faster than ever! You may notice the website now has a newer format. Though it is a bit nicer, all of the individual page headings and slideshows were deleted with the upgrade. I have spent a great amount of time trying to replace some of the lost data. That project continues.
That being said, the good news is that I have finally decided on the scheme for my third proto-freelanced model railroad. My version of the Mississippi Central (MCRR) has been in development for the last two years. This railroad compliments my Yazoo and Mississippi Valley and is the other half of the IC regional spin-off property in Mississippi in the Meridian Speedway storybook.
The paint schemes I experimented with numbered approximately two-dozen. The above image represents the final version. I sent my specifications to Circus City Decals and was pleasantly surprised with a very quick turnaround on artwork and printed decals. The first sheet arrived yesterday!
The above artwork was the final version provided by Circus City before we went to press. Though the MCRR does not roster any EMD locomotives, the GP38 used for design purposes does look sharp!
The Y&MV pays tribute to its Illinois Central heritage with a paint scheme inspired by the classic black scheme worn by Illinois Central freight locomotives which displayed the famous "Green Diamond" logo. The Y&MV rosters only EMD locomotive.
In contrast the MCRR rosters no EMD locomotives and the paint scheme is inspired by the Illinois Central "Chocolate-and-Orange" passenger scheme. Intentionally the colors are not the exact Illinois Central shades of orange, brown, and yellow. I have decided to go with Scalecoat II 2014 "PRR Caboose Red" for the long hood and running gear, Scalecoat II 2015 "Reefer Yellow" for the cab, and Scalecoat II 2016 "Reefer Orange" for the nose and hood band. The yellow band and frame stripes will be from the decal set.
Last week the first locomotive destined for the MCRR roster arrived in the form of a LokSound-equipped Atlas Alco C425 model decorated as Delaware Lackawanna 2457. The paints also arrived directly from Minuteman Scale Models.
This decal sheet is my first ever order from Circus City. They do look nice! I am looking forward to getting this project underway!
More to come....
Intermountain LokSound Equipped IC 8394
I am pretty excited about today's equipment delivery. This includes my first InterMountain locomotive. LokSound equipped IC GP10 8394 is now a member of the Meridian Speedway fleet! Overall a great looking locomotive though I would prefer that the number board numbers be less transparent. There will be many more GP10's added to the Meridian Speedway stable in the future!
I found a couple of images of the prototype IC 8394 on-line. The most recent image captures the IC 8394 as the second unit on an Illinois Central coal train. Is photographed is creddited to Tom Golden and can be found in the Sam Beck collection on rrpicturearchives.net.
The next image was take by Ralph Hawkins at a place I visited often in my childhood--Covington, Louisiana! In this January 1985 view we see the same locomotive wearing orange-and-white dress as ICG 8394. What a great photograph!
Today's shipment also included a couple of freight cars. I got Broadway-Limited cryogenic tank car UTLX 80074 decorated for Liquid Air Corp.
Athearn RTR 50' FMC 5347 Box Car SRN 5281 completes this new equipment delivery. The Sabine River and Northern ranks among my top-ten favorite shortline railroads. I recall seeing the distinctive red box cars quite a bit in the 1980's and 1990's.
My First Bowser Locomotive Arrives Today - 8-14-2017
I have a few Canadian grain hoppers over the years. Canadian Pacific grain trains made their way to export terminals via the Illinois Central with some regularity in the 1990's. CP grain trains have always had a place in my Meridian Speedway playbook, though until now I have not purchased any power for these trains.
The latest offering from Bowser I found to be irresistible! Nothing says Canadian quite like a "Red Barn" SD40-2F! I ordered their version of CP 9017 factory-equipped with LokSound. This is a beautiful locomotive! Now I will have to order a couple of regular CP SD40-2s from Bowser to complete the consist....
GP7Us Visit the Paint Booth
It has been a long time coming. The ex-Santa Fe GP7Us acquired to become Y&MV 200 and Y&MV 201 have recently been primed and painted white on the cabs and frames. Today I masked the white parts and painted them black. Y&MV 200 and 201 are closer to completion.
AL&M NRHS Passenger Special
Here are some video clips from a trip made in 1994 to an AL&M passenger train excursion. The train ride would be a round trip between Crossett, AR and Monroe, LA on Georgia Pacific;s newly acquired Arkansas Louisiana and Mississippi.
First is a quick video clip taken of a five-unit locomotive consist laying over at the KCS Vicksburg Yard on September 30, 1994 - KCS GP40 4759, KCS GP40 4763, KCS GP40 4781, KCS GP40 4760, and MSRC GP10 1043 idle away - Video by C.M.Palmieri.
Next we catch KCS Train No. 30 as it hustles through Mound, LA - KCS GP40-2 4799, KCS GP40 4749, HATX GP38-2 202, and KCS GP38-2 4014 lead 117 cars - Video by Patricia Palmieri - 9-30-1994.
On Saturday October 1, 1994 Russell Tedder and the AL&M railroad hosted a passenger special powered by two spotless green-and-white GP28 locomotives. This was a round trip from Crossett, AR to Monroe, LA and back. Three freight cars were picked up at Bastrop, LA on the return trip making it a mixed train at the end of the day! There were several photo run-bys and cab ride opportunities. Video by Patricia Palmieri and Christopher Palmieri.
On Sunday October 2, 1994 the KCS (Former MidSouth Rail) Freight Yard in Vicksburg, MS was a busy place! There were 19 locomotives on the property with hostlers and yard jobs keeping busy! Video by Patricia Palmieri.
KCS train No. 29 climbs out of Vicksburg, MS - KCS GP40 4755, KCS GP40 4770, KCS GP40-2 4798, KCS GP40 4753, and MSRC GP10 1048 blast out of the tunnel and into the famous Kudzu-lined cut with 137 cars on Sunday, October 2, 1994 - Video by Patricia Palmieri.
The final video of the trip was during a stop on the way home to catch southbound Illinois Central Memphis, TN to Baton Rouge, LA train MEBR as it rolls through McComb, MS with IC SD40-2 6129, IC SD40-2 6148, and 64 cars - 10-02-1994 - Video by Patricia Palmieri.