MODELING: Classic New Haven by Lee Turner

Lee Turner was kind enough to share one of his recent projects done for a client.  He was commissioned to paint and weather a pair of Overland FA-1 Alco cab units.  The New Haven has a real fondness for those Alco beasts.  Lee also is a real fan learning from his professional railroader dad.

Lee has represented two different paint schemes used by the railroad in the later years of Alco operations.   The black and orange with a smal NH an the older version with white and large initials.   These units in the twenty years on the road wore four different paint schemes with the black and orange on 0426 being the last. Unit 0421 wears the next to the last scheme with white trim but only from the cab door to the rear of the unit. From the cab windows forward it wears the last black and orange scheme. It may have had damage to the nose and was only touched up with the new arrangement. As far as I could find I believe it to be one of a kind on the railroad. Telling the historical story of the railroad is part of modeling and besides the unique paint scheme the two units tell other stories. Number 0426 was one of eight units returned to Alco for rebuilding in 1959-60 until the program ran out of money.

At that time in history the railroads and builders were questioning what was the life expectancy for diesel locomotives and would they be rebuilt and improved like steam locomotives for 30 years or more? The idea of trading in locomotives on a fifteen year cycle was beginning to be tried by EMD but were often termed as rebuilt from existing locomotives. EMD would only take their own products for “rebuilding” but would repower and rebuild other manufacturers locomotives of which used EMD prime movers and generators with existing trucks. Few of the EMD’s repowered units were successful and many were “dogs”. So what was the New Haven to do with an almost exclusively Alco roster? They chose the path of rebuilding and updating RS-3’s and FA-1’s by returning them to Alco for rebuilding. Eight FA-1’s were rebuilt before the money ran out along with a number of RS-3’s The upgraded units had standard 27 point jumpers and updated control wiring for the new standards for compatability with future units along with rebuilt prime mover and electrical systems, nose MU was added as well. The remaining units like 0421 were overhauled by the railroad and rewired but without multiple unit controls on the nose. Some of the Alco rebuilds survived the New Haven and went on to serve Penn Central with one of the cabs turned into one of the control cabs and head end power units for the Long Island. A little known tidbit is that the first digit in the road number is not a zero but the letter “O” it dated back to early electric locomotives having the “O” prefix representing “Other” than steam power. That quirk lasted into the diesel age..

Lee was kind enough to provide the words with the music on the posting.  I have looked at New Haven power for years in books and in real life when visiting relatives in New York.   As always, I have learned something by sharing his work with you all.   Thank you Lee for the education and the wonderful images.



6 thoughts on “MODELING: Classic New Haven by Lee Turner

  1. Lee’s work is always outstanding and makes any model that much better. He’s a master weathering artist without peer and I’m very sorry he’s only able to finish up jobs in his queue.

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