CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Friday, April 29, 2022

Then and Now - North Albany (1992)

This is a shot from April 1992 showing D&H #7312 leading a couple of lease engines over the North Lawrence Street crossing in North Albany. In the background is the Central Warehouse with the blue lettering still legible on the sides. I don't know if was still in operation at this time. Some similar shots of northbound trains photographed from the other side of the tracks can be seen here.

Here is the same perspective taken thirty years later (April 2022). Not much has changed. Without the train in the way you can see the former Albany Tomato Company (the tan colored building in the front). The Central Warehouse's paint has by now faded and peeled off.

Also, directly south of the road crossing the mainline begins double-track, which was reinstalled in the mid-2010s. These tracks go all the way to Kenwood Yard and allow the yard crews to build longer trains on one track without blocking arriving/departing trains on the other track.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Barilla pasta and the LA&L (Avon, NY)

Who doesn't love pasta? As an Italian American, I know I do. And the fact that the world's number-one pasta manufacturer decided to build a pasta plant right near my hometown of Rochester, NY, was pretty exciting. It opened on October 19, 2007, and is still in operation. You can't miss it... it is painted bright blue! 

I never got a chance to see when it first opened because that was around the time I was getting married, studying for the bar exam, and looking for my first job. In fact, my first encounter was when I visited the area in 2021 and happened to drive pass it while driving around. But while at a restaurant with my inlaws that afternoon, I met a Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad conductor who frequently works the plant and we got to talk for a while.

The image above from my collection was taken September 02, 2009. I like it most because it shows LA&L #420, my favorite engine. I used to see it and #425 pairded up for their road trains while attending nearby RIT University, and I love high-nose engines. Atlas even made a model of it, but it is tough to find nowadays. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Leased ex-Conrail U33B #2922 (Sept. 1984)

In 1984 the D&H leased six Conrail G.E. U33B engines which were patched-painted and lettered "D&H" on the nose. It was minimalist to the extreme, but compared to other patch-paint jobs that were to come from Guilford they didn't look too bad. It helped that the D&H's Altschul blue dip paint and Conrail blue paint were pretty similar. It's ironic the D&H leased U-boats engines because they had a bunch of them (U23B #2301 - #2316) on their roster until June of 1983 when they were traded to the Maine Central. (And those are examples of bad patch paint jobs).

I have considered painting a model for my layout, which is set in May of 1984. Sadly, I have yet to find photographic evidence that the engines were delivered by that time. They certainly were on D&H property by the fall. I asked on the D&H Facebook group but they weren't able to confirm it either. 

This picture shows one of them, #2922, in Binghamton's Conklin Yard on September 05, 1984. Just a little more than three months after my layout's time frame.

The second picture shows the same engine in November 1984. Note the dried leaves stuck in the radiator along the rear, which is common for G.E. engines.

If anyone has any photographs of the engines on the D&H in May of 1984, I would love to see them!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

TOFC and Cows (1983)

I like Trailer-on-Flat-Car (TOFC) trains. I also like cows too, as I find them interesting animals. I sometimes see model railroads featuring cow pastures close to railroad tracks, and wish I could model something like that on my Colonie Main layout. However, that wouldn't be very realistic. 

However, here is a shot from the D&H's Penn Division taken in 1983 showing both interests together.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

U23B #2312 in first blue dip scheme (January 1978)

Here is a shot of G.E. U23B #2312 in the first version of the blue dip scheme. The lack of yellow nose and silver trucks are the giveaway. Even though the slide is only dated "January," the year has to be 1978 because it is shown in the first version of the scheme in 1977 and by mid-1978 it was repainted in the second version with yellow side sills and yellow nose.

Very few D&H engines survived into 1984 wearing the first, original blue dip scheme. Most were either spruced up with the second (yellow nose) or third (yellow chevron) schemes or else repainted into lightning stripes. The only two that come to mind are RS11s #5002 and #5007.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

D&H #7325 in first blue dip scheme (December 1977)

This shot of GP38-2 from December 26, 1977 shows her in the first "blue dip" scheme. Though it looks simple, the D&H did add some class with the silver trucks. Engine #7325 was the first GP38-2 to receive the scheme, and it was later repainted into the second blue dip scheme with a yellow nose. 

Look at all of that engine oil that has leaked out and collected on the running board and spilled onto the gas tank!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

D&H RS3 #4075 (two versions of "blue dip")

The D&H rostered a fleet of Alco RS3 engines, and four lasted into 1984 when I model. I wrote about them previously here. Engine #4075 has always been my favorite of the class, perhaps because of its striking blue scheme. What was once applied as a cost-cutting measure (the Altschul "blue dip") featured my favorite color and reminded me of Conrail... a childhood favorite railroad. 

Engine #4075 was one of the first engines to receive the all blue scheme in 1977. However, it was a bit too plain and it also faded badly. Look at the picture below dated October 08, 1978. While it had probably been only a year since it was painted, the blue has faded badly, the sides are covered in black oil and smoke residue, and the yellow handrails are grubby. Also note the whitened appearance of the once-yellow lettering.

The D&H decided to modify their paint scheme a bit and introduced the "yellow nose" revision in late 1977. This included adding yellow side sills, yellow noses (including the high-nose RS11 #5002), and black underbody. Compared to the shot above, the picture below taken November 26, 1978 looks like a completely different engine! This is the #4075 that I love. Note that despite being only six weeks between pictures there are already black oil and dirt streaks along the yellow side sills of an otherwise pristine engine! You can dress up an Alco, but you still can't take it out...

Models of this engine area available in HO scale, but the finally-released Bowser HO scale RS3 engine doesn't feature the blue dip. That is sad, because I think most D&H fans instantly recognize this specific engine. I lobbied Lee English of Bowser several years ago for it, and their current model actually has the details on it which trace back to its B&M heritage. So, perhaps in the future one will be available. 

Finally, I would be remiss without referencing Hal Reiser's excellent book: Bridge Line Blues. It contains an excellent section on D&H motive power that details specific engine paint schemes during the time frame I am interested in.

Friday, April 1, 2022

D&H caboose mishap (1972)

Happy April Fool's Day! 

Here are two shots showing the D&H suffering from an April 1st, 1972 (exactly 50 years ago), mishap. I would guess that it involved a pusher engine bumping the caboose (#35711) a little too hard from behind. 

I would hate to have been riding this caboose during the scary event. It is a good reminder that railroading is hard work and not the romantic notion that we think it is.