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The New York Central’s Revival in Miniature.

May 26, 2008

The Second railroad to be featured in our “Reborn Railroads” series (The Rock Island was the first) the New York Central System! This well-planned, perfectly executed revival of one of the greatest of the North East railroads in history really does seem almost real in all the following photographs taken by the owner of the NYCS, Matthew Faruolo.

Make sure to visit his EXCELLENT, professional looking website for the NYCS here: http://www.nycsystem.com/

Was it you who came up with the idea for resurrecting the New York Central?

I’m not sure I can claim to be the first to conceptualize a modern-day
New York Central, but – as far as I’m aware – I have certainly taken
this concept further than anyone else. I have invested a lot of time
into not only painting up locomotives and rolling stock, but developing
the company’s continued history and progression after the prototype’s
1968 demise.

 

-Why the New York Central?

The New York Central was a household name in my family. My late father
got me into trains, and he had an affinity for the NYC. My father had a
vast Lionel collection, which included numerous New York Central
locomotives including three impressive Hudsons. When I began my HO scale
model railroading career in the early 1990s, I started out modeling
Conrail and couldn’t imagine modeling anything else. After Big Blue was
split by CSX and Norfolk Southern, I just didn’t see myself modeling
those southern railroads as the next phase of my prototype modeling. The
quandary I had on my hands was that I wanted to continue modeling in the
current day and age, but Conrail was no longer a part of the current day
and age. On top of that, none of the major Class 1 railroads captured my
imagination or inspired me. The only way forward, I concluded, was to
free-lance a fictional Class 1 railroad. Then I remembered the New York
Central…

-Do you plan to keep it up-to-date, like Eric B’s UTAH BELT?

As of now, the NYCS is completely up-to-date, representing the current
year. However, I am considering freezing my modeling period in the year
2014. We’ll see if that ever happens, as it all depends on how I feel
about the character and personality of railroading in the future. Stay
tuned.

-How did you develop your paint scheme? It’s striking.

The paint scheme was inspired by the historic New York Central’s
“lightning stripe” scheme that could be seen on their locomotives prior
to the spartan “cigar band” scheme. In my fantasy world, the old cigar
band lasted into the early 1990s when it was replaced by the much
classier – and much more elegant – lightning stripe. The new scheme was
introduced on the NYCS’ first order of widecab diesels, SD60Ms.

-Do you believe that you have more or less freedom as a proto-freelancer?

Definitely more freedom. In this world, I can do whatever I please. I
make all of the decisions regarding locomotive purchases, operating
alliances, company policies, paint schemes, rolling stock, etc. The
concept is mine to mold however I see fit. What’s more, I am backed up
by the history and identity of a real fallen flag railroad, the mighty
New York Central System. Honestly – and I say this with no offense to
those who model a prototype – I believe that sticking to modeling a real
railroad, say CSX or NS, inhibits the model railroader’s freedom and
creativity. What if the railroad you “faithfully” model doesn’t purchase
a new locomotive that you like? What if they change paint schemes? What
if they merge and their identity changes? Guess what, you’ve got to
follow along with everything they do, whether you agree with their
decisions or not.

-How do you plan to incorporate the previous (actual) history into your
alternate scale modeled world?

It has already been incorporated, and can be seen in detail on the
“History” page of our website. In a nutshell, the modern-day NYCS was
strengthened by the merger of all of the bankrupt northeastern railroads
of the late 1960s and early 1970s into the NYCS, basically all of the
railroads that were merged into Conrail. In fact, the modern NYCS is
almost a carbon copy of Conrail in many ways.

-What clues of the past from the (actual) company exist on your layout
that hint or solidify the new alternate reality of this great company?

First, to clarify, there is no layout for the NYCS concept; it operates
on several club layouts in the Denver area. To answer your question,
however, the NYCS is a completely modernized and transformed company,
for it is no longer the New York Central of the late 1960s. Some clues
to our past still exist, and they include the occasional jade green
boxcar or coil car, and some older locomotives still sporting the cigar
band paint scheme. Additionally, the NYCS was wise enough to have
preserved some of its steam power; we saved and restored three Hudson
locomotives that are used for seasonal steam excursions.

-Your Website is very well done, and to the untrained eye, can easily
fool somebody into thinking this is an actual company. (More so when you
first launched it) This was obviously intentional, what gave you the idea?

I can’t say that I intentionally tried to make the website look
professional, it’s just how I do things. You see, for the last ten years
I have been a graphic designer and web developer, so the NYCS website is
simply my natural approach to how I design websites. That being said, I
did attempt to make it appear as if the NYCS were a real railroad. Why
not strive for that goal? If I want to perfect this concept, why not
have a website to match? The website is my concept’s presentation to the
world, so it must look professional.

-What’s your favorite section of the site?

The page detailing the NYCS corporate headquarters, a skyscraper in
Manhattan known as 4 Times Square. The tower – in real life – was
constructed in the mid 1990s and represented the resurgence of New York
City’s once-seedy Times Square district. In much the same way, in my
fictional world, the skyscraper represents the resurgence of the once
ailing New York Central System into a mean, lean, competitive, and
highly-profitable Class 1 railroad.

-Any plans for website expansion?

Not right now, although I’m considering a “press release” section to
keep website viewers up to date on the latest news at the NYCS.

-What trends are you seeing in the real roads that you plan to
incorporate into your NYCS?

Obviously intermodal is becoming more and more present on the system,
and we have worked out operating agreements with the western railroads
in our shared “fantasy world” to bring in massive quantities of Powder
River Basin coal to northeastern markets.

-To the trained observer, what details from the past come forth into
today? (A good example would be the SP light packages and how long they
survived)

The red oval NYC herald and the lightning stripe paint scheme are
dead-ringers, although I must admit that more hints of Conrail can be
seen in the modern-day NYCS concept than the original NYC. My theory is
that the same people who ran Conrail in real life would have managed the
NYCS, and many of the same decisions would have been made regarding the
company’s direction. The NYCS would have been remarkably similar to
Conrail, as it would have dealt with the similar circumstances such as
regional economics in the northeast, traffic patterns, political
decisions, etc.

-Does your railroad have plans to invest in passenger service either for
commuter or intercity routes?

No, all passenger service is handled by Amtrak and local commuter
agencies. After  industry deregulation, the NYCS immediately discontinued all passenger routes and became instrumental in the creation of Amtrak.

 That being said, the NYCS does boast an executive train made up of sleek
Pullman Standard coaches, and we do have some Heavyweight coaches for
the steam excursions pulled by our preserved 4-6-4 Hudsons.

-What is your favorite thing about your new, revitalized railroad?

Where do I start? I love the fact that I have allowed one of the
greatest names in railroad history to have survived into the modern era,
completely transformed into a stronger, more profitable company. I’m
happy to share the same “fantasy world” with other modelers and their
modern-day concepts, including a modern Rock Island , modeled by my
friend Eric, and a modern DT&I, modeled by my friend Shaun. More and
more people have expressed interest in modeling an old historic “fallen
flag” in the current era, and once they become a member of our
simulation game, our railroads can work together, negotiate contracts,
discuss trackage rights, operating agreements, and even virtual
interchange cars with each other. What we do is not simply about
modeling trains in 1:87 scale, it’s about simulating an actual
corporation as if we were in the world’s most enjoyable role-playing
game. We most certainly are in that game, and I couldn’t imagine having
it any other way.

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