How I Made the MoPac/Virginian Locomotive Consist
Two years ago today an extraordinary Heritage Locomotive consist departed Lincoln, NE on train H-LINKCK1-29. I updated the photo essay in the Meridian Speedway Library with a slideshow complete with some images from this day not previously released.
To celebrate this special occasion I have shared this updated photo essay on Social Media. I do not think a two-railroad heritage consist has appeared in regular freight service since!
The image above is linked to the updated Photo Essay.
NS Mechanical Specifications for GP60s 7101-7143
I have added the Norfolk Southern diesel stat pages for GP60s 7101-7143 to the NS 7107 page:
New Page with Slide Show - NS 7107
I have indexed a new page under "Models" for my new Fox Valley Models NS 7107. This page includes a slideshow with a number of different angles of this beautiful model! Click on the image below to view this page.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - New Additions
The last few days have passed in a flurry! We hosted the family Christmas dinner at the house and a good time was had by all. Hopefully your Holidays were filled with peace and joy as well!
Yes, it was another successful Christmas - Saint Nick did not disappoint. Jacob got his paintball gun and Kate got her guitar...among other things.
I was fortunate enough to receive gifts as well - two of them ready to add to the Meridian Speedway roster!
My parents added 3800 horsepower to the Meridian Speedway stable in the form of Fox Valley Models GP60 NS 7107. This unit comes with a factory installed LokSound decoder so it is ready to go! Rumor has it there may be a few more of these in the pipeline! This locomotive is extremely well done and brings back some fond memories.
My uncle was kind enough to wrap up a pair of Athearn Genesis TankTrain end units - GATX 28239 and GATX 28250. These cars are also highly detailed, impressive models. Though I was under the impression that these cars were only used on the Southern Pacific's legendary "Oil Can" in California, I am learning that smaller sets of these cars could be found all over the country. In fact, there are records of them being loaded at refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast and travelling via New Orleans to eastern destinations. Boy, I sure don't ever remember seeing them passing through New Orleans though.
Negotiations are underway among the Y&MV, NT&O, NS, and MCIS (Michigan Interstate) for TankTrain through service between Baton Rouge, LA and Michigan destinations. I look forward to an exciting agreement moving forward!
Once again, Happy Holidays to you from the Meridian Speedway!
New Video Uploaded to YouTube
The latest of my Meridian Speedway Productions videos to be uploaded to YouTube is a 24-minute trip down Memory Lane from 1992. This video was taken on a 3-day road trip from New Orleans, LA to Monroe, LA via Vicksburg, MS to ride an NRHS excursion train on the former Arkansas and Louisiana Missouri Railroad from Monroe, LA to Crossett, AR and back.
The Arkansas and Louisiana Missouri (A&LM) railroad was taken over by Georgia Pacific in September 1991. Georgia Pacific renamed the railroad the Arkansas Louisiana and Mississippi (A&LM). This change occurred prior to the shooting of this video, however, both the NW2 locomotive and the caboose retained their original A&LM markings at the time of the video so they are referred to as A&LM in the video captions.
This video contains footage along the route of my Proto-Freelanced Meridian Speedway and contains some scenes taken in Vicksburg, MS which is going to be the setting of the Model Railroad I will be building soon. I am very excited to have found this footage and now have it available on-line for viewing!
Meridian Speedway Productions Introduction Clip - 8 Seconds
I put some effort into creating a decent introduction to every Meridian Speedway Productions YouTube video post. Using the few features of Adobe Premiere Elements 11 that I have taught myself, I think it packs a punch!
After making the Meridian Speedway Productions introduction. I was disappointed to discover that the .prel files used by Adobe Premier Elements cannot be brought directly into future .prel projects. This means that the saved .mpeg of the intro has to be introduced to future Adobe Premier Elements projects as the .mpeg which, once saved as part of the next project, loses considerable quality. Shame on you Adobe!
This post is intended to serve as a reference for myself to quickly rebuild the intro for future video projects. Perhaps some of you may find it to be of interest a well.
Below is an .mpeg of the basic intro:
The intro contains eight main elements, seven video and one audio, to blend what is basically two frames. The first frame is the image that I used for the Channel Art on my YouTube channel. The second image is the Black-and-White brushed image which I had previously used for the simple introduction on my past YouTube uploads.
The below image shows how the layout for the above intro looks in Adobe Premiere Elements.
For the below reference guide, I will start at the bottom of the above image with the "Audio 1" line and work my way up through "Video 1" through "Video 4".
The Audio for this introduction is from the video I posted in my last New Orleans Trains video upload of Amtrak F40PH 207 on train No. 58 at Central Avenue. This was recorded on August 3, 1991. I believe I will be able to import this adjusted sound file from the above .mpeg without any noticeable loss in sound quality. The audio file will serve as the foundation for rebuilding the introduction with each video. In subequend videos I plan to substitute this file with a sound bite from each respective video.
There is only one audio file which extends for the entire duration of the intro from 00;00 to 08;04.
If needed the audio keys are as follows:
The "Video 1" layer consists of two elements. First is the 2560x1440 full Channel Art .jpg file. The second element is the .jpg black-and-white image I had been using for my video intro.
The Channel Art image begins at 00;00 and ends at 02;02 with no key frame edits. The second image begins at 02;02 and ends at 08;04, also with no key frame edits.
The "Video 2" layer also consists of two elements. First is a T&GN logo .png file. Second is the narrow Channel Art file. Both of these items will be animated across the screen.
The T&GN logo, like the Channel Art image in the Video 1 layer, begins at 00;00 and ends at 02;02. This logo provides animation at the very beginning of the each video, immediately alterting the viewer that the video is playing. The animation is a straight line movement from left to right across the top of the introduction Channel Art image. As the logo moves across the screen it also increases in size, symbolizing an approaching locomotive headlight. This effect fits nicely with a locomotive horn in the accompanying audio track.
There are two key frames for the T&GN logo element:
The Narrow Channel Art file serves to blend the two elements of the Video 1 layer. As those two elements transition, the narrow channel art file maintains the location of the same graphics in the first element and then quickly becomes animated in a "Check-Mark" pattern, getting smaller and more translucent as it moves toward disappearing from the top of the screen. This element extends from 02;02 to 04;06.
There are nine key frames for the Narrow Channel Art image:
"Video 3" contains two elements. Both are text elements. The first one is not animated, the second one is.
The first element in the Video 3 layer is the video classification. This will either read "Prototype Railroad Video" or "Model Railroad Video" and will remain constant from 00;00 to 02;02. Additional categories may be added going forward. In addition the following definitions apply:
Font: Myriad Pro
Style: Myriad Water 30
Red: 245 Green: 245 Blue: 45
The second element in the Video 3 layer is the text "MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS:" which has an animated arrival coinciding with the departure of the Narrow Channel Art on the Video 2 layer. This element runs from 03;04 to 08;04.
Font: Myriad Pro
Style: Myriad Water 30
Red: 245 Green: 245 Blue: 45
There are also eight key frames in this text element:
The "Video 4" layer only contains one element - an animated text component:
This element compliments the above text box, but has a different position coordinate and font size. The position of this element is fixed. This feature runs from 03;13 to 08;04
Font: Myriad Pro
Style: Myriad Water 30
Red: 245 Green: 245 Blue: 45
Yes, all of this goes into the first eight seconds of each Meridian Speedway Productions video! It does seem tedious, however, with these notes and some level of proficiency with Adobe Premiere Elements the process does go very quickly...
Mississippi Railway & Transportation Museum Excursion - 1989
The twelfth Meridian Speedway Production video has been uploaded to YouTube today. This video I took when I was 13! Perhaps the experience in my youth played a role in my fascination with railroading among southern pine trees!
Enjoy a ride on a Mississippi Railway and Transportation Museum excursion train north out of Columbia, MS on long-abandoned Columbia and Sliver Creek rails. This train consists of MRTM Alco S-2 No. 7, IC Baggage/RPO 1879, Southern coach 1002, and L&N Coach/Observation 1880 (originally L&N 42345).
The MRTM equipment arrived in Columbia, MS on 6-4-1989 with the 2-8-0 and the Alco each pulling separate trains of MRTM equipment. It is believed this was the only time the 2-8-0 steamed in Columbia because the flue time expired a few days after arrival. The Alco pulled excursions that summer until the membership "voted" to sell the equipment to the Waccamaw Coast Line Railroad at a meeting held in one of the coaches at Columbia on 4-28-90. It was also announced that the steamer had already been sold "to pay debts."
The equipment was indeed sold to Waccama except the Southern coach 1002 which is now displayed in disrepair at the museum next to the old L&A depot at Winnfield, LA.
MRTM's first activity was a publicity excursion on the Port Bienville RR behind the PBRR 45-ton GE held on 4-28-84. This was reportedly the first passenger train on the PBRR, ever. The steamer arrived (purchased from Birmingham Rail) and was dedicated on 6-16-84. A special guest was Tom Moore, retired president of the Clinchfield RR, who had promoted the restoration of the little 4-6-0 used for excursions on that road in the early 1970s. The 2-8-0 #203 powered the excursion trains until the organization decided to move to Meridian where greater things were hoped for. The 2-8-0 left Port Bienville on 6-3-1989 with all equipment and a loaned Mississippi Export RR caboose. The trip was slow because of the heavy train and poor coal. The train spent the night in Mobile and (with better coal) proceeded up the Gulf & Mississippi to Meridian, where it arrived in the middle of the night 6-4-89. Most of the equipment was left at the old GM&O Whistler shops, just north of Mobile, and the train consisted of the steamer and two or so coaches on the G&M.
The equipment went into storage in downtown Meridian and some work was done on the cars. The hoped-for new home (and track to run on) fell through and a new home was located in Columbia. The equipment went via MidSouth and ICGRR to the CLSL connection at Silver Creek, as mentioned above. The rods were taken off the 2-8-0 for the trip, then re-installed at Silver Creek so the train could be pulled into Columbia with a live engine. This was about the only time that the steamer was hot in Columbia.
The north end of the Columbia & Silver Creek was Silver Creek. The CLSL connected with the Mississippi Central. The track (at the time of this excursion) continued east from Silver Creek into Hattiesburg. Some or all of this is now a hiking trail. The track still exists to the west, to the papermill at Ferguson, Miss. and ultimately to the CN main line at Brookhaven. The MSC track still exists from Brookhaven to Natchez, now the Natchez Railway. I believe all of the CLSL track is gone.
Busy Week - Update
Since my last posting on Friday much has happened. Determined to get some NTO gondolas created I managed to push the painting process for four more Gunderson 2420 gondolas into the routine. Friday night while watching A Christmas Story with the family I multi-tasked, using the Solvaset and Scotch-Tape method to remove the logos and numbers from four gondolas: 1 MP, 1 CNW, and 2 SSW cars. The process worked very well.
Then on Saturday, after work and before attending an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at a co-worker's house I prepared the cars for painting, applying shop trucks and couplers to all four. Additionally I have decided to go with brown for the truck color on the rock gon fleet, so I removed the trucks from the two cars already painted, TGN 403056 and TGN 403222.
The wheelsets were removed from all of the truck frames and the inner parts were masked. I had recently purchased a Bluecell Alligator Clip Stick set off Amazon for painting small parts. I used these for the first time, mounting them in a block of Styrofoam from an old Walthers kit to hold the truck frames for painting. The clips were very cheap, about $5.00 for 25. The wooden sticks are pointed at one end and can double as uncoupling sticks for Kadee couplers as well!
I also nailed one more snap-track panel to a scrap MDF strip for car handling in the paint booth. This brings the number of these done to four. They are very convenient for placing and removing rolling stock on the turntable in the paint booth.
After work on Sunday the cars got painted. A bottle of 50/50 mix of Scalecoat II Bocxar Red and Boxcar Red #2 was made. One small bottle was more than enough to paint all four cars with a little left over.
First I painted all four cars upside-down with the shop trucks removed. Once all four cars were painted this way I reapplied the shop trucks and painted the cars right-side up. This allows for even coverage of all of the detailed surfaces of the cars.
By the time Monday evening rolled around, the paint had cured enough to apply decals. On Monday cars NTO 403305, NTO 403472, TGN 403110, and TGN 403129 had identities and were added to the equipment database!
Now sporting matching brown trucks, the two cars done earlier also posed for new builders' photos:
So six down...18 to go! Then I should have the start of a respectable unit rock train.
Also on Monday a small package arrived from Internet Trains. I had ordered some paint to keep the paint shop in business. While looking though their website I was a bit disappointed to see that some of the colors I was looking for were out of stock. There seems to be a consensus that MinuteMan Scale Models will be a reliable steward of the Scalecoat line of paint which it purchased from Weaver Models which went out of business this summer. Therefore I am not too concerned about the out of stock colors. Paint can also be ordered directly from MinuteMan Scale Models. The button below will take you to their site:
The order received from Internet Trains on Monday 12-7-2014 included 4 bottles of Scalecoat II Paint: 1 x S2002 Oxide Red, 2 x S2027 IC Orange, and 1 x S2087 Boxcar Red #2. Since IC Orange makes up 75% of my Y&MV freight car mix I ordered the two bottles to keep my bottle of Tuscan Red going. I see many more Y&MV freight cars in the future! The Oxide Red is a new color for me to experiment with. And the Boxcar Red #2 is of course part of the TGN/NTO brown formula. The Boxcar Red that goes with it was out of stock.
I also made my first Tru-Color Paint purchase - 1 x TCP-017 flat and 1 x TCP-018 gloss. This is part of my effort to find a replacement for the "Floquil Weathering Trinity" discussed in an earlier blog post. Give the endorsement of Tru-Color Paint by new model manufacturer ScaleTrains I figured it is time to become familiar with their products.
On 9-17-2015 I received two of the three numbers of the Atlas DOWX 23500 gallon tank cars--DOWX 40033 and DOWX 40040. I had noticed that the third number, DOWX 40037, was available at Internet Trains so I did add that single car to this order. I really like the appearance of these cars.
Well I guess this is enough for a week in review!
ABOX 51052 and More Gunderson 2420 Gondolas Arrive
To compliment the ten ExactRail Gunderson 2420 Cuft gondolas received on 11-16-2015, 14 more were ordered and received today--12-4-2015.
This order was placed at the end of November, taking advantage of the $12.95 price. This brings the fleet up to an even two-dozen--a respectable start to a unit rock train.
In addition, I did spring for a model of an FMC 5277 Combination Door boxcar decorated as ABOX 51052. This car is one from the latest ExactRail release. I never did get one of these Combo Door boxcars from the first release and regretted it. They went fast and did not pop up on eBay very often. So now I have one!
This model of ABOX 51052 is just a beautiful car all around! I am very glad to have it in the fleet.
Back to the rock cars, as discussed in the earlier blog with the first batch delivered, I intended to split the fleet up 50/50 between NT&O and T&GN cars. I purchased five-each of the ExactRail MP and CNW cars with similar plate design for this split. As it turned out the small NT&O logos I have on-hand are just a smidge too long to fit on the plate placed over one of the corrugated panels for logo placement.
The solution: I decided that all of the MP and CNW versions would be used to model T&GN cars and I decided to introduce the ExactRail Cotton Belt (SSW) version to the fleet for the NT&O cars. These cars have a larger smooth plate placed over the center two corrugated panels. This arrangement will easily accommodate the NT&O logo.
ExactRail offerd the SSW cars in three numbers, but the first number SSW 72557 was sold out. I decided that I wanted to start my first Meridian Speedway rock train consist with a dozen NT&O cars and a dozen T&GN cars. So I split the NT&O cars among the remaining SSW offerings, ordering six copies of SSW 72591 and six copies of SSW 72634. I would have preferred the panel placement on the ExactRail CSX version, however all of those were sold out.
To bring my T&GN fleet up to a dozen I ordered one more CNW 89152 and one more MP 640203.
Below are a couple of close-up images of the SSW cars:
And for comparison, here is an earlier image of the CNW/MP cars:
Now aired up, the paint booth in the man cave is up to the challenge of painting this fleet of gondolas!
Anderson-Tully Company of Vicksburg, MS
In an earlier blog post focusing on some HO scale Thrall All-Door boxcars I have painted for my Proto-Freelanced Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad, there were images of a stock Walthers All-Door boxcar lettered for the Anderson-Tully Company. This car was purchased by me to be repainted into my Y&MV scheme. The image below is linked to the Walthers executive summary of the model.
My father asked me if I had purchased this car intentionally because the Anderson-Tully Company was headquartered in Vicksburg, MS. In fact, an industry next to the railroad yard on Levee Street in Vicksburg, MS that I have seen loading GM&O and ICG woodchip hoppers belongs to Anderson-Tully. This significance of the car purchase was completely coincidental as I had no recollection of the name Anderson-Tully being associated with Vicksburg.
The above images were sent to me by my father - Vicksburg exactly as I remember it. The detail of the faded Anderson-Tully Co. Mill "D" sign above the cars being loaded escaped me however. The above image is linked to a larger file posted on rrpicturearchives.net.
I have no recollection of having ever seen a red Anderson-Tully Co. Thrall All-Door boxcar nor can I find any images of these cars easily on the Internet. I have to imagine there is a prototype for it since Walthers produced the model. It is very interesting that the car has Roscoe Snyder & Pacific (RSP) reporting marks. A search of RSP cars on rrpicturearchives.net yields very few results, and no Thrall-Door boxcars. The button below will take you to the RSP freight car index on that site.
While searching the Internet for clues about these cars I came across a wonderful image as part of an 'Urban Decay" blogspot posting. This image below credited to Andrew Morang is linked to that urban decay blog article. The article is actually focused on the brick railroad shop building in the yard adjacent to the Anderson-Tully Co. Mill "D". There are a number of really great photos of the once proud and busy Vicksburg shop in this blog post and is worth checking out!
So I will share this post to a number of Facebook and Google groups looking for anyone who might have images of a prototype Anderson-Tully Company Thrall-Door Boxcar. Does anyone know how many, if any, were decorated for Anderson-Tully Company? Did they operate much in Mississippi? Does anyone have more detailed images of Mill "D".
I suppose, given the circumstances, this model of RSP 20277 will be removed from the stock of cars to be repainted and will be allowed to operated on my Vicksburg Terminal railroad decorated as is!
Thanks Dad for bringing this to my attention.
Compressed Air Routed Through the Floor
As my air compressor is rather large and noisy, it belongs in the garage...at all times! My newly confiscated man-cave room that will house my first serious HO scale railroad (Meridian Speedway Vicksburg Terminal) sits directly above the garage. I used my vacation time this week to take advantage of that positioning and drill a hole. A simple task...or so I thought.
A 20-foot reinforced 3/4-inch diameter water hose from Home Depot was my conveyor-of-choice to transfer air from the compressor in the garage to the air tank in the train room. Again I enlisted the assistance of my uncle, Joseph Scorsone, for the project. We figured we should have this done in about an hour.....not!
As it turned out there is about 18 inches between the floor of the train room and the ceiling of the garage which meant a second trip to Home Depot for a LONG bit and then a third trip for a bit extension. I do feel better about the house knowing how much insulation there is around the garage!
Also it seems that the width of the wall of the garage is wider that the width of the wall of the train room. The first hole, and the second hole we drilled down from the train room ended up in the wall of the garage. At last, the third hole drilled about six inches from the side wall of the train room landed in the garage! The hose fit snugly to the bit extension and was easily pulled through the floor into the garage. Success at last!
A metal file cabinet used to store indexed photographs fits nicely over the hose's entrance through the floor, both protecting and camouflaging it at the same time. The 15-foot hose from the tank to the airbrush will allow me to not only easily paint items in the paint booth, but also paint items on the railroad as it takes shape.
The entrance in the garage ceiling is nothing spectacular. It is directly over some wall-mounted shelves, also camouflaging the air line's entrance into the garage. This hose was fitted with male Quick-Connect fittings at both ends. The air tank valve and the air compressor hose are now both fitted with female Quick-Connect fittings so that when disconnected, the air in both the air tank and the compressor will be bottled.
And the timing of this project while my wife was out of town on a business trip...strictly coincidence!
Moving Forward - First Meridian Speedway Railroad to be Built
Yesterday I noticed that one of the two light bulbs in the Paint Booth had burned out rather prematurely. After opening the package I noticed that the fine print said that the bulbs should not be oriented upside-down. Perhaps that had something to do with it.
After dropping the kids off at school this morning, a quick visit to the Home Depot yielded a pair of new GE LED bulbs. Man they are nice! Great light and no heat! A bit pricy, $15 for the pair; but, given the proximity of the bulbs to where I am working, having no heat is a great thing.
Onto bigger and better things, I have decided to build a railroad in my current house. I had originally planned to wait until we moved into our next home with a bigger space by design, however, my wife is not quite ready to move yet. Some nonsense about the kids and high school and blah, blah, blah!
It has been nearly two years since I moved back to Fort Worth, TX from Lincoln, NE and I have the itch to build something. Today I evicted my kids from the spare bedroom that has become their playroom. Really superfluous as the kids live on the xBox anyway.
I have big plans for the room - my Man Cave. This will be the test bed for me to learn some modeling, scenery, and electrical skills. I spent a good portion of the day clearing out all of their stuff. It is nearly a clean palette for me to start. There will be updates coming soon!
The room is 10'X12' and will house my office with several work stations, including the paint booth. Sitting directly over the garage, the room is positioned perfectly to run an airline from the compressor. That will be tomorrow's primary task...