CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Roster Review: D&H high-nose RS11s in 1984

(November 03, 1984)
My research on the D&H's roster in 1984 is constantly evolving but there are times when I think I have a pretty good handle on it. Take their Alco RS11 engines, for instance. I love high-nose units. My first train set had an Erie Lackawanna high-nose GP50 by Bachmann. Not very prototypical, but I loved it and didn't know any better. I would usually run it long-nose forward for some reason (pulling my silver Amtrak cars which seemed a good color match), and when you do that high-nose units don't look as strange as with low-nose ones. So, I first focused my roster on the D&H high-nose RS11s.

(November 03, 1984)
The six high-nose units were originally built and delivered to the New York Central (#8009-8014) in March 1960, but they were never accepted by the NYC. Apparently, the NYC had made a verbal commitment to Alco but after delivery NYC management could not get the authority to pay for them. So, they were sent back and in January of 1961 they were sold to the D&H. Later purchases of Alco RS11 engines had short noses, which the D&H preferred. In 1973, the #5004 was involved in an accident and during repairs its nose hood was replaced with a cut-down tall hood. Since in 1984 it wasn't a high-nose engine and would require some kitbashing to model, I am disregarding it for now.

(August 21, 1984)
I own three models in HO scale already but hope to have every one of their high-nose units someday. It shouldn't be too tough, as there were only six (#5000-5005) and Atlas has been doing an excellent job of releasing them in HO and N scales. The three I own (#5001, #5002, #5005) all came in the correct factory paint and with DCC and sound; two are weathered so far. Once thing I didn't do was dent the corner of the short hood of #5002 as can be seen in the picture, though that would have made for an interesting detail. However, the other weathering patterns were copied from pictures.

(sometime in 1984)
The #5000 should be an easy one to model, as several different manufacturers have offered it over the years. It is available from Atlas with large numbers and that matches what the engine had through at least November 1983. Slides from 1984 shows the engine with the words "Delaware & Hudson" and small numbers on the hood that are in very good shape, which would indicate that it was probably repainted sometime in late 1983 or early 1984. However, you can see ghost images of the large numbers above the word "Hudson" on the side of the hood. Either the new paint over the large "5000" was applied so poorly that it wore off in a matter of months, or else the D&H didn't even bother to paint over it when they added the "Delaware & Hudson" lettering and small numbers to the engine.

(August 16, 1984)
Atlas also sold a factory painted #5000 with road name and no numbers, which could be useful as long as I added decals (small numbers below the lettering, and blotchy large numbers above it) to match the pictures I have. Finally, Like Like P2K offered an engine with small the lettering and small numbers, and I could save a step and just add the ghosting large numbers above the lettering. I suppose it is better to have lots of options than no options. But, I am still on the hunt for more information and until I find out what it looked like on both sides in May of 1984 I will wait. 

(August 26, 1984)
That only leaves one other high-nose engine, the #5003. While for years I thought that the yellow nosed #5001 was my favorite D&H engine, my opinions have changed and I think I like this one better. There is something about the yellow chevrons that is really classy. So far, no manufacturer has offered a model of the engine in this paint scheme, and I would be surprised if someone ever did. Most modelers don't focus on the 1980s. There are pictures online from 1983 showing on the engineer's side extensive fading and the gray from the earlier lightning stripe coming through, and another from 1985 showing the fireman's side still dark blue with little fading. Did the engine fade on only one side? Did they repaint it sometime between '83 and '85? Is one of the pictures dated incorrectly? The model will likely need to be custom painted, but until I figure out its correct appearance on both sides I will continue to search for more information. 

(March 1986)
Some might question why I would want six of the same engines for such a small layout as mine, but the answer isn't easy. Unlike some railroads that owned dozens of the same diesel engines (and where they all looked the same), the six RS11 engines in 1984 carried what looked like five different paint schemes. Any and all of them would frequently find themselves running on the Colonie Main, so their appearance on my layout wouldn't be unusual. And, it is sort of like collecting baseball cards (or Pokemon) I guess. I gotta catch them all!

(December 1987)
Part of getting the models ready for my layout is to weather them. And I don't own an airbrush, and I don't feel comfortable using spray cans on expensive engines, so I have Elgin Car Shops do it for me. Frankly, if you don't weather an Alco engine it won't look realistic! Before I send any of my engines to him, I look for pictures of what they looked like in 1984. Because the D&H occasionally repainted or washed its engines, the weathering would change on the same engine over the years. And while weathering patterns seemed consistent within the same class of engine, little subtle differences jump out.

1 comment:

  1. There comes a point in weathering that I would call "repainting". And some of the D&H's locos would almost need a whole new paint job. ;) great job on the research.