A busy evening (below) at Fillmore Avenue Roundhouse, Monday September 16th 1940…


Here’s how operations would work with EMC 103/103A on tour with the New York Central System:

Fillmore can easily be back-dated to September of 1940.  Just in time, though, because in the summer of 1940 the New York Central changed the font style for the lettering on their locomotives from Roman to Gothic (sans serifs).  This change was made very quickly in railroading terms.  Whereas in most railroads a mix of old and new lettering could be seen for many years, repainted when shopped, the NYCS re-paint seemed like it was over night.  I have seen only about three or four photographs of New York Central power in 1941 with the Roman lettering and they were far away from the famous mainlines, and absolutely none after that time.  As Fillmore is set in June of 1942, all of my completed locomotives are Gothic lettered.

For September 1940 though, I would not run any of my L3 4-8-2 Mohawks as the first of these arrived in October of 1940. Also, of course, my streamlined J3 Hudson 5426, an Empire State Express engine, would not be appropriate as it was introduced (as streamlined) in December of 1941.  Everything else is fair game.

Below we see our glamour girls in staging on the upper level of my two-level staging elevator.


EMC 103/103A was found on New York Central rails on September 15th, 1940 at Rotterdam Junction, NY.  She had just finished dazzling the “suits” on the B&M for the previous ten days.  Now she would be working the New York Central’s Mohawk Division (from Albany west to Kirkwood, just east of Syracuse) and probably the Syracuse Division as well.  Her long tour would soon be over, returning to La Grange in October for a thorough inspection, refurbishing, and to be then sold to the Southern Railway subsidiary Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific as 6100A/6100B/6100C/6100D.

On the evening of September 16th, the 5400 hp Demonstrator entered the roundhouse lead of New York Central’s, Buffalo NY, Fillmore Avenue Roundhouse – or would have if Fillmore had existed 🙂 and halted over the steam locomotive inspection pits.



EMC 103 was then separated so as to be accommodated on Fillmore’s 130’ turntable.  The model was mu’d using the Digitrax command station in staging (called UniVersal Consisting).  This was very easy to do.  Then, over the pits, the DCC mu was broken, 103 slightly backed into 103A to bunch slack.  The Sergent Engineering passenger uncoupling tool was then held over the couplers, they open, and engine 103 moves forward…


…and she makes her way to the roundhouse…


…nonchalantly passing the 300 ton Fillmore coaling tower…


…and cheekily strutting past Hudson 5366.  The elegant lady doesn’t even take notice.


Sister 103A follows at a safe distance.


EMC 103 has her running gear steam cleaned as well as her still-glossy bodywork at the ash/wash pits.



Soon, as darkness descends, she carefully rolls onto the Fillmore turntable for assignment to stall #7.  103A is assigned to stall #6.  EMC representatives and technicians are already awaiting their arrival.




103A receives a wash and then backs onto the turntable.



Interlopers!  The EMC crew give our ladies a thorough going over; the pressure is on to have this 5400 hp combo in top condition for the morning and yet another test train…


…6:15 AM September 17th, with bells ringing, our divas emerge…


They make for Fillmore’s temporary fuelling pad just as the local SOCONY dealer arrives with a tanker to top them up.



Time is money…103 and 103A are again united as they prepare for another days work…



…and the New York Central “suits” have arrived.  They are impressed already.  The Demonstrator’s reputation has preceded their arrival well in advance.  They know 103/103A are the future.  But the New York Central is in a tough spot.  Their steam locomotive fleet is quite modern, especially so when the 50 J3a 4-6-4 “Super Hudsons” (of 1937-38) and the pending arrival of 50 modern L3a & L3b 4-8-2 Mohawks are considered.  Call it bad timing.  In early 1944, however, a small Model F sampling was ordered from EMD with two four-unit sets being delivered in June of that year (classed as DFA-1a and DFB-1a).  New York Central System mainline freight dieselization had begun with this modest pair.


Time to go!  Two long blasts of the horn and they’re off.



One last thing….

The distinctive number board character decals arrived from Rail Graphics and so I applied them.  Ron did a great job and I appreciate his help.  He has been ramping down for a planned retirement at the end of this year.  I wish him all the best.  The now completed 103/103A is shown below.


FT Tidbit: EMD wrote finis to FT production in November 1945 with four A-B-A sets for the CRI&P, capping 1096 total production.