As a result of having an operational layout, I find that I’m splitting my time between modelling and operating now. This is good because I’ve been able to test out my operating scheme and work out some problems. However, all of this playing with trains has slowed down the pace of building a fleet of rolling stock. It’s nice to have options now.
I’ve made it a priority to try to populate the switching layout with the appropriate pieces of rolling stock. To that end, I’m pushing to finish a caboose project that stalled when I ran out of the numeral “2” from my decal sheets. A recent package in the mail solved that problem.
Penn Central’s fleet of former N5B cabooses were apparently ubiquitous on the Niagara Branch during the ’70s. The most common arrangement for the local switchers working from North Tonawanda yard appears to have been a pair of Alco S-2s, each with an N5B caboose, though sometimes an RS-1 or SW-1 appears to have been rotated into the mix. Knowing that I’d need at least two N5Bs (and thinking I’d add one just for good measure), I bought three undecorated models when I visited the Bowser company store last August.
I’ve nearly finished lettering one side of all three N5Bs. I’ve decided to letter one of the three for the Canada Division, which means it will be seen on CASO St. Thomas trains running across the Niagara Branch. The proud and independent shop crew at the St. Thomas shops had the luxury of working in the company’s colonial outpost, far from the watchful eye of upper management, and they took advantage of the fact by exercising some creative license with the corporate image. I’m not sure, but it seems to me that this was the case with the N5B cabooses that showed up to replace the old NYC wooden cabooses some time in the very late 60s. My model on the far left in the photo above is lettered following a photo of a Canada Division caboose. A different font size and spacing was used for the name, and the numerals were placed differently.
I’ll put up some better photos when I finish these models, which hopefully won’t be too much longer. I’m currently running an N8 caboose into the paper plant. These were newer cars, and were not likely relegated to branch line and industrial/transfer assignments. I should be able to correct that soon.