Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Old Line Corridor Horsetrade

Fussy pans that made my
catenary building better
Loyal Up Dunes Junction readers probably have picked up on my penchant for pretty much any pantograph-equipped North American locomotive or car, in addition to my professed favorite prototype Chicago, South Shore, and South Bend RR equipment. As a result, I accumulated a fair bit of HO Northeast Corridor equipment over the years, including a beautiful GG1 and a stunning FL9 (very tiny pantograph), not to mention examples of Bachmann's and Atlas' occasional heavy electric offerings.

That vestigial micro pan worked
like buttah!
The question that has nagged at me over the years of accumulating these gems has been, 'when or where will I ever run them?' All of these models were part of my regime for testing my catenary, so I can honestly say that they have run under wire (which was pretty easy for the FL9).

Excellent runner and captain of
the catenary testing team
But running them as they were intended, followed by strings of passenger or freight cars, under Pennsy H-bridges or even New Haven triangle catenary did not appear to be in the cards. I had even given thought to joining up with a group of heavy electric module modelers up in Philadelphia, but alas that is hundreds of miles away and my new work travel schedule has dampened my desire to spend whole weekends away from hearth and home.

This guy was a growler
An unsung hero of a model: excellent
runner done right, but apparently
Bachmann couldn't give 'em away. 
So when I started thinking about the N scale display layout that I am now calling the Old Line Corridor, it didn't take me long to figure out that a major horse trade of my modest HO NEC fleet could net me the core of a new N scale NEC fleet.

So I put all of my HO NEC gear up on eBay. I also liquidated my collection of unbuilt rare Star Wars kits also destined for closet glory. The result was a tidy PayPal nut that covered not only new a N scale Pennsy/NEC fleet but also a supply of Peco code 55 track and turnouts.
Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria: N scale Northeast Corridor equipment, living side by side with my HO South Shore and Chicagoland equipment. The Kato ACS-64 and the GG-1s are especially fine models, but the Acela will be an, ahem, project. Bonus points if you can identify the sci-fi subjects on the edges of the photo.
Most of the N scale gear I picked up is Kato. Kato's N GG-1 caught my eye when it was first introduced a few years ago, and a photo from one of Kato's ads showed up here once. I mentioned Kato's ACS-64 here in a recent post, but is currently only available in a set with some beautifully done Amfleet I passenger cars. I'm already looking forward to seeing this locomotive offered with new road numbers and in the special new Veterans paint scheme.  Bachmann's HHP-7s and Acela round out the modern fleet--they look great but require some tinkering to get running smoothly. The 'Hippos' came with DCC, and decoder installations for the Kato gear were easy with Digitrax drop-in decoders.

Tinkering with these models--installing DCC, couplers, and the like--was intimidating at first, but it didn't take long to get accustomed to the smallness, nay, the tininess of it all. The power and appeal of these models really came across during test runs and programming. I am now looking forward to building the layout on which to run these models.