So if you move the clock up to 1977 and you imagine that the Elmira Branch survived Huricane Agnus, it would have been just another redundant north-south Conrail route through the center of New York and Pennsylvania. Enter the Delaware And Hudson to save the branch from further demise. Sound like a crazy dream? Ya never know.
I recently acquired a Lionel American Flyer U33C painted in D&H colors. If your not familiar with the new S scale offerings from Lionel, I must admit that they are not your father's American Flyer. With the exception of the high rail wheels and truck mounted pilots, the U33C is an accurate representation of this high horsepower U boat. Fortunately Lionel offers scale drive wheels free of charge when you purchase the locomotive and the changeout is rather simple. Frame mounting the pilots is not an easy task but certainly doable.
The biggest challenge is that the unit comes with the Lionel Legacy control system which is not DCC compatible. To make it compatible requires gutting the Legacy system and replacing it with an appropriate decoder. I chose to replace the electronics with a Tsunami sound decoder and kept the original speaker, which is rather large and sounds great (though it is located under the cab). I also changed out the headlight LEDs. The the original LEDs were too blue in color and didn't look too realistic. The above video shows No. 761 on a shakedown run heading south out of Southport Yard.
In the above video, I haven't installed the front coupler or filled the massive opening in front pilot, but the unit runs as well as it sounds, and the like the real thing has plenty of pulling power.
Here's a photo of the rear end of the U33C after I installed the coupler and filled the opening with styrene. I also built a new buffer plate around the coupler pocket. I think that it turned out well though the paint mismatch clearly shows where the pilot was added to the frame. That will be corrected with the appropriate shade of D&H gray and some needed weathering. The only other modification that needs fixing is the handrails. They need to be extended downward a bit to the correct location. The new yellow glow headlights can be seen here as well.
I don't know how far I will take the D&H fantasy, but I'm impressed with the new motive power. This era on D&H is tough to model in S Scale. There is definitely a lack of second generation power is S, but recently some new offerings have made that more achievable. In addition to the U33C, American Models offers an RS-11 in S scale decorated for the D&H, and a brass U23B is also planned to be released soon by Gilmaur Models.