The Ubiquitous Geep….

This pretty much sums up EMD’s first GP series models, the GP7, GP7B, GP9, and GP9B. In EMD’s nomenclature, GP stands for general purpose. These series of EMD locomotives were very popular with railroads large and small. They certainly were popular on the railroads that became Penn Central, all except the GP7B, which none of the merger partners had on their rosters.

EMD started producing the 1,500 horsepower GP7 in October 1949 and May 1954, with a 567B 16 cylinder engine. GMD of Canada also produced these early GP units. Total production number of GP7’s was 2,734.  If my roster and research figures are correct, PC had 301 GP7’s on the railroad. Below is my GP7 model on the layout.

Next in line following the GP7 models was the GP9 and GP9B models, produced between January 1954 and August 1963. The last two were built by GMD in August 1963. The GP9 was again a four axle locomotive, this time with a 567C 16 cylinder engine generating 1,750 horsepower. Production totaled 4,112 units, including the GP9B’s. Below is a freight with a GP7 as lead unit, with a GP9 trailing.

Penn Central rostered 377 GP9’s plus 40 GP9B’s, all ex-PRR. Again, if my calculations are correct, Penn Central rostered 718 of these models. Quite popular to say the least. Of course, Penn Central inherited or purchased just about every diesel locomotive produced, up to the time of its demise and folding into ConRail. As well, many of these GP models lasted into CR, being rebuilt into GP8’s. Below are photos of the prototype GP9B 3806, and my model #3839 on the layout.

Along with other four axle power, including later GP models, the geeps were ideal for lighter rail found on many lines throughout the system. Early, and later geeps for that matter were used on the Secondary, and the Hitop branch, due to lighter, less maintained rail, as well as the tight curves on the branch itself. As I’ve posted elsewhere, six axle power was eventually banned on the Secondary due to just plain worn out rail.

Of course, geeps are pretty much the mainstay on the layout. As with the prototype I worked on, these early geeps had a sound of their own being cranked up to notch 8. Same on the layout today. There is nothing quite like the sound of an early GP locomotive.

Real coal on the Hitop….

Several years ago I received a box from a friend who still lives in West Virginia, who is aware, and was aware of my layout, and the area it was based. In the box was a present of a bag of coal, that had been somewhat pulverized. A note said, ” add this to your hoppers”. Well, I did just that! I had to again pulverize the bag to get it down to scale size, but the result is realistic to say the least, not to mention dirty! I can actually say I’m running real West Virginia coal on my layout as shown below. In the second photo, you’ll see however some hoppers have resin coal loads from Motrak, as I discovered during a derailment (yes, I had a derailment near Blue Creek), just how dirty and messy a cleanup of real coal can be! The closeup of the two hoppers under the tipple at Hitop have the real coal.

Hey, I know that guy!

Awhile back, a major model railroad magazine had an article by a contributor on his layout where the modeler named all the people on the layout. I had to chuckle at this, as I did this 5 years ago when I finished my layout. Yes, I have names for everyone on the layout, including myself. Yes, I’m on the layout too! The names I used were all family, friends, or those I have worked with, especially from my days on the railroad. Perhaps I should have done on article on this five years ago….lol. Anyway, here I am below in the blue shirt and overalls coming from Sam and Mickey’s grill headed for Dickinson yard and work:

A T&OC Shirt?

During the most recent train show out here in Denver, I had the privilege to meet two great guys from North Carolina who were there with Mohawk Designs at: selling all sorts of railroad apparel from railroads all over the US, both current and fallen flags. Of course what caught my attention immediately was the NYC/PRR/PC selection!

However, even more so than the roads mentioned, there was a selection of TO&C shirts for sale. T&OC btw stands for Toledo and Ohio Central, which was a railroad which gained control of the line I model. Here is a short history on the T&OC from my website page on the history of the secondary: In 1900, the Toledo & Ohio Central gained control of the K&M and the Kanawha & West Virginia Railroad. The K&WV ran 34 miles from Charleston up the Elk River to Blue Creek and then east to Kellys Creek. For many years it carried a significant amount of timber and coal. In 1910, the New York Central gained control of the Toledo & Ohio Central, into which it merged the K&M, the K&WV, and several other railroads in 1938. The Toledo & Ohio Central was finally merged into the New York Central System in 1952.

Needless to say, what an unusual but appropriate shirt to find! I had to have this shirt, which soon wound up being worn by me the second day of the show. I even had a former Ohioan come up to me while running my PC train and recognize the name of the T&OC. This gentleman was a retired railroader from Ohio who recently moved to Colorado. A current railroader from Ohio who was here on vacation also commented on my shirt and on running Penn Central trains, as did several of the public from New York state and other eastern states. I have to say the shirt will be a permanent feature at train shows from now on!

Of course, these guys at Mohawk Designs also had quite a bit of PC apparel as well, including a cool weathered looking sweatshirt. If you’re looking for great railroad apparel, be sure to check out these guys at the link above….


The Hitop Branch Trains at the Show….

This past weekend here in Denver the Rocky Mountain TCA held their annual train show at a venue on the north side of town. This show always seems to be a crowd pleaser with lots of layouts, vendors, and a lot of the leading manufacturers. Our Colorado Great Western Modular Club layout was in attendance with quite a few trains running. One of these was the equipment used on the Hitop branch of the Penn Central. Below is one video from the show. The train is passing Hobo Jct., where a wye and tower is located at the exit of the yard: