Laurentian information wanted

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Laurentian information wanted

Postby mr. mick » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:19 am

A friend has asked me to paint his plain observation car to suit his HO model of the Laurentian consist. He thinks that the D & H borrowed obs cars from the NYC, and he is not sure if it was painted ( he rode the train as a boy) Can anyone post a side view of an obs car in Laurentian blue. gold and grey , if it existed? Or provide information to accurately detail a leased/nyc obs car if that is what the D & H used?
Thanks,
Mr. Mick
York ME.
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Re: Laurentian information wanted

Postby Steve Wagner » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:16 pm

The observations used on the Laurentian were all New York Central cars that were unpainted stainless steel. They were taken off the train sometime after 1962, when I saw one in Whitehall, and 1967. At least two NYC stainless observations went to the Kansas City Southern; several went to the National Railways of Mexico. Model Railroader ran an article, I think by Andy Sperandeo, about kitbashing one of the KCS (and thus also NYC) observations in HO. The observation cars assigned to the Laurentian were numbered in the 60's -- that's right, just two digits each.

The blue, gray and yellow colors were first applied to D&H passenger cars in 1967, when half-fluted cars were bought from the Denver & Rio Grande Western. There were no observations in that group.

The D&H did, however, have some heavyweight business cars that had open rear observation platforms. At least two of them w ere eventually painted blue, yellow and silver and/or gray. Athearn's standard (heavyweight) observation car could be used as a somewhat shortened (in length) approximation of the one of the two business cars that had a regular clerestory roof, not an arched one.

Probably the best reference book for this sort of question is the D&H Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, prepared by four members of the Bridge Line Historical Society and published by Morning Sun Books. There is also an excellent book on D&H passenger service in its final decade by Doug Lezette; it's almost entirely devoted to the period from 1967 on; and, unfortunately, it's out of print.
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Re: Laurentian information wanted

Postby mr. mick » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:16 pm

Thanks for the information...I looked at a couple of NYC Obs cars on the Fallen Flags site, so I have a good idea what they were like. Out of curiosity, dId the D&H leave the "New York Central" on the letterboard, or did they apply their own identification/name?

Mr.Mick
York, Maine
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Re: Laurentian information wanted

Postby bill8106 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:44 pm

The letterboards on the NYC observation cars and coaches stayed "New York Central". I'm not 100% sure of what the arrangement was between the railroads, but I believe that the Laurentian was a jointly-operated train by the D&H and the NYC, with both railroads providing equipment, versus the D&H outright leasing the cars from the NYC. Nevertheless, the NYC passenger cars had the NYC name and numbers.

The Morning Sun book "The Delaware & Hudson in Color, Volume 1" has many good shots of the Laurentian in the late 50s/60's period. The typical consist appeared to be a D&H baggage car and coach or two on the head end, and one or two NYC coaches along with the obs car on the tail. And for all I know, one (or two) of the "coaches" may have been a diner.

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Re: Laurentian information wanted

Postby Champlain Division » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:50 am

Mr. Mick,

The Laurentian was a joint D&H - New York Central operation. There was no lease of cars by the D&H. In fact, on many occasions I remember as a youth in the early to mid sixties, the train consisted of entirely New York Central cars, the only D&H car being the baggage car. D&H coaches did make it into the train's consist from time to time. These would have been the two tone grey ACF cars and, rarely, one of the former heavyweight gloss olive drab commuter cars.

In those years, the Laurentian was tacked on to the back of a NYC < > Buffalo Empire Service train south of Albany. Northbounds would simply swap power D&H for NYC and vice-versa southbound.

In the really lean years 65 to 67, I remember the train being just three cars - - D&H baggage, NYC lounge and NYC coach. Very dismal for this young railfan who remembered eight and ten car trains just 5 years earlier when the bullet obs cars were still being used. Thank God for Expo 67 and D&H Prez Buck Dumaine's PAs and ex-Rio Grande Prospector cars. Without them I don't think we would have ever seen passenger service on the D&H again after April 1971. They brought a pizazz that lasted just long enough and that New Yorkers wanted back by 1974 with the advent of the Adirondack.

The five Prospector coaches were sold to Venezuela. I sure would like to know whatever happened to them. For that matter what happened to the Baggage and Baggage RPO cars also?
Richard E. "Rick" Shivik
HO D&H Champlain Division
Piedmont Division NMRA
Conyers,GA
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Re: Laurentian information wanted

Postby Champlain Division » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:04 pm

To add to my previous post, a good candidate for that NYC Observation is the Walthers' model. Its detail is excellent, though I would highly recommend heavily modifying it and other Walthers cars on the bottom of the car to allow for smooth rotation on curves and body mounting Kadee couplers.

One of he best sources I've ever found for making model passenger cars operate reliably is the passengercarlist yahoo group. Andy Sperandeo of MRM is a significant contributor and consumate passenger car modeler and he has a method I have adopted that I call "Sperandeoing a Passenger Car." I highly recommend joining and learning.
Richard E. "Rick" Shivik
HO D&H Champlain Division
Piedmont Division NMRA
Conyers,GA
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