Engine Terminal

Engine Terminal
CX 351 westbound at Summit Springs. August 1976

Friday, April 24, 2020

LV 640

Along with finishing up a number of freight car projects and some miscellaneous items, I've also been working on some new power for the railroad. Lehigh Valley C628 640 has been weathered and placed in service. This unit has been leased from Conrail in order to alleviate the power shortage that has resulted from the tremendous increase in demand for coal.

I purchased this unit on sale a number of years ago with the intent of repainting it for the home road. But as I was getting rid of a number of old magazines recently, I came across the two-page color photo of 633 and 628 followed by two snowbirds in the June 2002 issue of Trains magazine which is shown below. The photo was taken in March of 1976- just five months before my time period. So not only did I have a period photo for weathering, but I also had both sides of the C628's. A little additional researched showed that 640 was an ex-Monon unit that was repainted into the Cornell Red scheme in 1974. And other than the end handrails, all of the details were correct. So the back story of leasing this unit was quickly developed and I went searching for additional photos.

About this time I remembered that Mike Confalone had done a Cornell Red LV unit in one of his weathering videos. Once I found that in my library, it was off the races. I used a number of the techniques that he covered in the video and also added a few of my own.

The unit was weathered with a combination of Pan Pastels, oils, acrylics and even a lead pencil. The weathering is the combination of the various effects I found on five different photos of LV C628's.

The weathering process involved a number of different applications of Pan Pastels followed by Dullcote followed by more Pan Pastels followed by... well, you get the point.

The last step was to scrape a #2 pencil along a small section of the upper front and rear handrails. In studying the photo, you could see where the crews had worn the paint off and what was showing was bare metal. From somewhere out of the blue, it occurred to me that I could represent this with pencil lead.

This unit will be teamed up with a home road C628 and SD45 in the not too distant future.


  1. The weathering is outstanding. I can smell the oil and diesel soot from here...

  2. Wow...that weathering is amazing. I can smell the oil and diesel soot from here.

  3. Great work Tom. Can't wait to see it.

  4. If the Monon had kept their C-628s before the L&N merger, they probably would've ended up down in the coalfields just like their C-420s did. I know L&N leased almost anything with wheels during the 70s, but didn't think that LV C-628s were part of that eclectic mix. Anyways, great weathering and a prototypical reason to have foreign road power around (maybe I need to do that for my railroad too)