As the ties are getting glued down to the benchwork on my switching layout, I’ve been thinking ahead to the day that I will actually be able to operate. I’ve made relatively few investments into locomotives and rolling stock for the layout, so to begin, I’ll be drawing on the equipment I already own.
The benefit of building such a small layout is that I won’t need to invest in a massive fleet of rolling stock. That’s not to say I won’t do that over time. But it won’t be required in order to start up.
I’ve been researching the location I’m modelling, and according to Doug Kroll (an important source of historical information for me), Penn Central kept at least a pair of switcher+caboose combos at the small yard in North Tonawanda because two jobs operated from there. One job was responsible for switching the paper plant and industries in town, and the other went up to branch line to Lockport and back. Photos have revealed that the typical power for these assignments included Alco S2, S4, and RS1, all maintained out of Buffalo.
I bought a P2K S3 decorated in Penn Central at the Springfield show. It’s a very nice model, but I have no photographic proof of an S3 having been assigned to North Tonawanda. Still, I have no issues with using it on my layout. It will likely be repainted at some point in time because I’m not pleased with the lettering font. In addition to the P2K S3, I already owned an Atlas S2 and S4 from the original run of these models that was offered some time in the late Medieval period. These are a bit crude by the standard of today’s models, but at a time when I’m spending a great deal of money on other things pertaining to the layout, it’s convenient for me repaint these and convert them to DCC. They’ll serve as stand-in models until such time as I decide to flea-market them to help fund upgrades.
Here’s a photo of Penn Central 9741, an Alco S4 that was assigned to Buffalo. At the time this photo was taken, I’d invested about 90 minutes of my time and maybe 30 bucks for a decoder and other consumable supplies, including Tamiya paint Microscale decals. I’ll do some weathering prior to reassembling it. I’m waiting on another decoder so that I can do the same treatment to the S2.