Monday, October 17, 2022

Another Heritage Unit...NJ TRANSIT 41O1

Heritage has long since caught the imagination of railroad photographers, and thanks to a combination of good fortune, opportunity, timing and ambition I am pleased to report that we have completed another heritage unit - on the 1:1 railroad.   NJ Transit GP40PH-2 41O1 is now in service!  

The engine was in the shop for paint, and based on our success in 2019 I approached management with the idea to do another project for the fleet.  Many others jumped in and handled major parts of the project, notably Rich Wisneski and Russell Sullivan along with the NJT mechanical forces who performed the work and organized the activity.  The results are quite stunning.

The locomotive was cleaned and sandblasted, then received body work and primer.  Paint colors were painstakingly matched with extensive help from the United Railway Historical Society, and applied in-house by NJT crews.  All of this came together in a matter of weeks. 

 I helped locate the stripe, discussing details and measurements, and we got a great result.

This was when Russell Sullivan suddenly came upon an emergency.  Paint was finished on Wednesday September 28th ahead of Saturday October 1 unveiling.  The cab numbers and warning stencils were delivered as decals, but the 4101 (and any Conrail in-house paint job) didn't use a '0' - instead, Conrail's Futura Bold font used a capital O instead of the digit 0.  Our decals came as 4101, not 41O1, due to a typo at the factory.

36 hours to go and we had the wrong font.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, the factory is in central PA, and Reidler Decal answered our desperate call at 7 p.m.  Our rep talked to her boss and sure enough, they could help - as long as we could pick it up.   And so I volunteered to drive out to the factory Friday morning, pick up new decals, and drive them back to NJ to Rich, who would then take them down to the shop for a Friday night install ahead of the Saturday show.  WHEW!

Both photos above by Russell Sullivan.

We did it!

The next day, the annual NJT Rail Operations Family Day celebration, was the unveiling and despite the rain, it was a career highlight, much like 4109 was in 2019.

Me, Rich Wisneski, Russell Sullivan - the team that worked with mechanical to get this one over the hump.
Me again, this time with the Deputy GM-Mechanical Fred Chidester, President Kevin Corbitt, Rich Wisneski, and Kevin's wife who came to see the freshly-painted locomotive as well.

For an infrastructure guy like me to have career highlights in mechanical with heritage units is a dream come true.  41O1 will join the fleet and bring smiles where it goes, honoring men and women who made the company work from the start against all odds.  

And my family was there to see this again - the home where my life starts and is sustained with Kristen and DemClams was able to be here for this too.  And Russell got a great photo of us with the 4109 on October 1, still looking great after 3 years:  4109 was my original goal with the program, image thanks again to Russell.

Stuff like this is a firm reminder of how things can still get better, and how we can come together if we choose to focus on things that bring us together!

Monday, October 10, 2022

New HVAC for the OC

Multiple projects ongoing, and plenty of work leads to a variety of improvements.    

First, a major systems upgrade is complete in working ductless HVAC on the house, including the layout space. The Onondaga Cutoff will finally be more comfortable mid summer! And in addition, the ductless AC also works as a heat pump meaning that we will not be as chilly mid-winter. Major thanks to go Tom Schmieder for all his generous help during such a busy time.

Tom is skilled with all things mechanical, also carpentry, electrical, plumbing...all the sorts of things I can slide by with Tom does better, with patience and confidence.  First we built a frame to block the window, and support the new HVAC unit over the layout.  The poor Island Yard has been under a lot of construction!

Careful measurement and Tom's talents gave us a near perfect fit.  We put it up, I gave it a coat of paint, and we were set for installation.

Major change!  And now time for the contractors to do their thing:

Just like that, the OC is now permanently climate controlled.  No more space heaters, or window units.  We did the whole house - what a major, monumental upgrade.  And, this was one of four or five huge activities in the last few weeks!

More to come!