Looking for a good operating rr choice

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by forton, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. forton

    forton New Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I am assembling an HO, DCC 4x8 layout, and could use an opinion or two. I want to model freight operations and yards including at least one mainline dogbone. I will not be modeling any passenger service (small radius). Enough about the track. I have narrowed down the choices to Conrail, NS and or the CSX merger or as individuals railways. How can I narrow down this list? What factors to take into consideration?

    All opinions welcome :)
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    I say go freelance. You will have the freedom of running the motive power and rolling stock YOU want. :thumb:
  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    I went with nostalgia and my own experience watching trains as a kid to choose Penn Central. I suppose the availablilty of equipment in each of the roads colors is one factor....which road has HO equipment that might best fit the radii of a 4 X 8 layout might be another...otherwise I guerss it comes down to your preferences regarding era and other personal choices regarding what pleases you to see roll by.
    Ralph
  4. Illus

    Illus Member

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    When was the last time you saw a train pulling one road name? As for the pullers, pick the paint scheme you like the best. Buy the stuff you like:)

    I personally am working on modeling CSX, NS, and Union Pacific, with a smattering of CN and BNSF, because thats what I see on the rails at the end of the block...
  5. Wildcatfootball

    Wildcatfootball Member

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    Personally, I like the idea of having one RR on the line. You'd be real limited in cars though. Diffently branch out for rolling stock. Theres a REALLY good soft cover book I got awhile back on creating a shortline RR in a 4x8 space. Its from Model Railroader mag and its called "HO Railroad from start to finish." If you're interested, it should be at your LHS.
  6. kokoracer

    kokoracer Member

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    I am going freelance with a New England theme. Since the RRs are low buck operators, most of the equipment would be either second hand or on lease and in the original colors.
    That gives me a bit of freedom. The second premise is that I am at the Penn Central/Conrail transition. It leaves the doors open for anything from the Northeast to hit my rails. Photos coming soon!

    The Ames Ridge System, DBA "The Ware River Line" and "The Ames RidgeRailroad".
  7. forton

    forton New Member

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    Thanks,
    all for your ideas. Your opinions have helped me to decide what I like best... ta da Conrail, love that blue scheme.
  8. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    There ya go! :thumb:
    Ralph
  9. Illus

    Illus Member

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    I was just looking at some Conrail rolling stock yesterday. Gotta wait til after Christmas though...
  10. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    This year I scored some great Conrail stuff.. Picked up two Atlas B40-8's, plus assorted rolling stock, from MB Klein for cheap. Those Conrail B40-8's looked great in a consist with the Susquehanna B40-8 I already have on hand, hauling a string of double-stack containers. :thumb:

    Those Conrail B40-8s cost only $60 at MB Klein. No DCC decoder on-board, but it does have the 8-pin plug so you can drop in a decoder readily.

    The 4-axle B40-8 is perfect for sharp 18" curves on typical 4x8 layouts too.
  11. kokoracer

    kokoracer Member

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    One of the reasons I like the PC/Conrail transition is the wide variety of power that Conrail had to deal with. From an operational stand point it must have been a pain, from a modeler's standpoint it is a blast. I have several Geeps form Conrail, A GP40-2 from the B&M and the RS3s from Atlas in Vermont and P&W colors. I plan on adding more Alcos.
    I also want to add EL,and PC power to the roster.
    John
    The Ames Ridge Rail System
    dba The Ware River Line and
    the Ames Ridge Railroad.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Congrats on your choice of ConRail. I model Santa Fe, but I think deciding wha you want to model is a great start. For anyone in a similar quandry, one thing to consider is a freelanced shortline. I'll give you a real shortline as an example. The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad is a 130 mile long shortline running between Ft Smith & St Joseph. They are a 100% Alco fleet because the owners discovered early on that they could buy 3 used Alco locomotives for the price of 1 used Gp9. The result is that at various times in their history, particularly in the early 1980's a consist on the A & M would include paint schemes from virtually every railroad that ever ran an Alco Century 430. If you model a freelanced shortline, you can run any model in any paint scheme you like. Another example is a local shortline here in Southern California. The Pacific Harbor Line used to be named the Harbor Belt Line. They service industries in the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors. When it was the Harbor Belt Line all of their locomotives were painted a light blue with Harbor Belt Line on the side. I think maybe it was big sky blue, but it was so faded out and weathered when I've seen them that it is hard to tell. I don't know if they got a new owner, or if the owner just decided to do something different, but the owner is a railfan who likes classic railroad liveries. The name was change to Pacific Harbor Line. They have an ex-Santa Fe Sd24 in fresh black & silver zebra stripe. They have an ex-S.P. gp9 in a fresh black widow scheme. They have a bunch of other paint schemes that I think are East Coast short line schemes, but I don't recognise them. There is an ex-S.P. sd40-2t that was left in it's bloody nose scheme. All of these locomotives have Pacific Harbor Line in large block letters on the side of the long hood, and PHL under the numbers on the side of the cab. The point being that short line railroading is a great way to have a bunch of different color paint schemes on your railroad.
  13. forton

    forton New Member

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    Thank you everyone for your thoughts.
    I would like to know if anyone has any information or links to details of the city of Erie, PA where I live. In particular the Port of Erie which in the past was a significant Great Lakes port with many sidings and industries located nearby (GE) for example. Or any links to rail in the city of Erie.
  14. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    Hi,
    Try googling port of Erie. There's a LOTof info out there...!!!
    Good luck!
  15. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Heck, since you live there, I figure you probably know more about Erie that most of us! :D

    Anyway, for your layout most likely you can model your interchange traffic coming off of the former NYC (then Conrail, and now CSX) mainline running along the shores of Lake Erie, and arrange your switching industries from there. A 4x8 is probably too small to replicate the General Electric locomotive plant there though.

    It's a shame you won't be running any passenger traffic. Famous passenger trains like the 20th Century Limited ran on that former NYC mainline. Nowadays it's Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited I think, and it still looks nice with a Gennie (P42s and sometimes P32AC-DMs) on point and a string of gleaming Amfleets behind it.
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    You can't really model very much on a 4 x 8 board. You will lose 1/2 of your layout 2 the curves on each end, so you are limited to what can be fitted into the corners to the outside of the curves or to the middle of the board. You might foind the information you are looking for locally at the Erie Pa Historical Society if there is one.