Locomotives Conrail 7563 (to be renumbered GNRR 7562) and undecorated 9706 prior to going to the paint shop.
My latest project involved custom painting and decaling two more locomotives for my fleet. Both of these locomotives already had ESU LokSound decoders installed from the factory, but I needed to install ditch lights which created a problem with the Atlas unit. Each of these units presented challenges, but in the end it was worth the effort. Follow along as I describe the steps I took for each unit.
Georgia Northeastern #7562 is a rebuilt GP10. The prototype locomotive was originally manufactured for the PRR as a GP9 in 1956 and was later rebuilt as a GP10. I chose the InterMountain Paducah GP10 as the starting point for this model. I could not locate an undecorated GP10, so I selected the Conrail unit which was the closest to the prototype GNRR locomotive with its air filter configuration and other details. The most difficult part of the project was removing all the factory installed details to paint the locomotive. Of course I broke the mounting pins off the handrails and totally mangled the windshield wipers and number boards trying to get them off the model. Fortunately, I called InterMountain and they were able to supply the replacement parts I needed at a reasonable cost. I owe a huge thanks to the very helpful staff at InterMountain with locating the parts that are in very short supply. Once I had the model disassembled, I used Strip Magic to remove the numbers and factory painted graphics from the model, while not removing the base coat of paint. Next I primed and then painted the unit, masking as necessary for the two colors. I noticed in photos that GNRR 7562 had a white cab roof, which has now bleached out and is almost faded to a rusty red. I decided to paint the cab roof white and weather it slightly like it was several years ago in prototype photos. With the locomotive painted, I then installed the ditch lights following the same procedures I used when I installed them in the GP9 unit #6576 (see the Locomotive # 6576 blog for more information on the ditch lights). The decoder board from Intermountain had provisions to add the ditch lights to auxiliary function outputs on the board so hooking up the ditch lights was relatively easy. I reassembled the locomotive and it looked and sounded awesome.
Georgia Northeastern #9706 is a GP38 originally manufactured for the Penn Central in 1969. I selected and ordered the new Atlas GP38 as an undecorated unit from Tony’s Train Xchange as the starting point for this unit. I preferred the Atlas locomotive as it came factory equipped with an ESU LokSound decoder, my standard decoder now in all my locomotives. Unfortunately, the Atlas decoder board did not have the function outputs activated so I could connect the ditch lights to the decoder. I found out from a good friend that the InterMountain board is a direct drop in replacement for the Atlas board and they do have the auxiliary function outputs connected to the decoder. Once I received the replacement board, I unplugged the decoder from the original board, installed the new board, plugged the ESU decoder into the board and connected the wires in the appropriate locations. I installed pilot mounted ditch lights to match the ones on the prototype. I connected the ditch light wires to the board and it worked perfectly. Success! The painting and decaling was much the same as the InterMountain unit except that I did not have to strip any paint before priming. Once I had the unit painted and the shell reassembled, I encountered the most difficult part of this specific locomotive project, getting the shell back on the frame. It is such a tight fit and trying to keep the wires from getting pinched was almost impossible. After a few hours I was finally successful. I am never taking the shell off that locomotive ever again!
Both locomotives are very smooth runners and the detail is exceptional. They perform flawlessly with the ProtoThrottle and sound excellent. While not the easiest of projects, I really like having models of prototype GNRR locomotives 7562 and 9706 on my layout. Be sure to check out my February 2019 Layout Update video, which can be found under the Videos tab at the top of the page, to see the new locomotives in action.