Atlas HO General Electric 8-40B dashboard



Atlas is back with its General Electric Dash 8-40B, originally released in 2001. The new model is now available with a LokSound Electronic Solutions Ulm (ESU) dual-mode decoder.

General Electric (GE) built 151 Dash 8-40B locomotives in 1988 and 1989 for Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe; Conrail; New York, Susquehanna and Western; St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt); the US Department of Energy; and one kept by GE as a demonstrator. Used owners include CSX, which acquired engines from Conrail and Susquehanna; BNSF Ry., All ex-ATSF; Union Pacific, of Southern Pacific via SSW (Cotton Belt); Providence & Worcester from Susquehanna; and Albany & Eastern, which originated from CSX.

These locomotives still work for some of their second (or third) owners, but they have essentially disappeared from Class 1 service. The Illinois Railway Museum has UP no. 1848, ex-Cotton belt no. 8049.

These 4000 hp locomotives used GE’s 16-cylinder FDL diesel engine and microprocessor control for improved efficiency over previous locomotives. The four-axle locomotives were driven on GE floating sleeper (FB) trucks. Class 1 customers bought these high horsepower locomotives to efficiently move fast intermodal traffic, and four-axle locomotives were the best solution in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the units were replaced by six-axle engines. The Dash 8-40 range would be the last four-axle model offered by GE.

Our sample is decorated as Santa Fe no. 7417, one of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe’s initial orders for 20 Dash 8-40Bs, built in June 1988. 20 more were built in April 1989. (Santa Fe eventually purchased 83 more Dash 8-40BW locomotives with the North American security booth.)

Comparing the model to dimensions published in the April 1989 Model Railroader, the truck’s center-to-center spacing is almost 1 foot in scale. The overall length of the locomotive is on the inch scale of these drawings, meaning the trucks are approximately 6 inches further from the ends of the model than on the prototype.

Atlas HO General Electric Dash 8-40B interior
Here is a glimpse under the shell of the Atlas HO General Electric Dash 8-40B scale. The ESU sound decoder speaker is located above the rear truck.

There are a few other discrepancies between the model and the Santa Fe prototype. The Santa Fe ordered smaller fuel tanks, 3,250 gallons compared to 3,900 on orders from other railroads. Additionally, Santa Fe opted for headlights mounted in the front of the low hood rather than between the number box above the cabin windows. And in addition to the cabin, Santa Fe ordered air conditioners, which are absent from the model.

General Electric tackled the headlight locations at the top of the cabin on Santa Fe’s controls, so model builders could do the same with a bit of bilge brass. Air conditioner castings are available from parts suppliers, and the fuel tank is molded into two separate plastic halves, so they can be removed and reworked to simulate the smaller versions of Santa Fe.

If you don’t model the Santa Fe, that’s okay. Other road names have specific details appropriate to their paint schemes (including air conditioners). None of the others have shorter fuel tanks, which also appears to be the case with the prototypes.

There is a lot to appreciate about these models. Separately applied painted wire clamps and handrails adorn the bodywork. Photo-etched metal grilles add depth to the radiators. Decoupling levers, mu cables and hoses, brake lines and support irons add interest to the riders, and at the front there is a snow plow.

The cabin is equipped with an amber beacon and aerials on its roof and sun visors installed on the side windows. The painted crew members take their places inside the cabin.

FB trucks have shock absorbers, brake cylinders and brake chain applied separately on the engineer side of the locomotive. The die-cast metal frame features proper flange and piping details, as well as air line and sand details.

The paint is smooth and opaque with sharp separations between the blue and yellow sections of the war bonnet diagram, and the Santa Fe billboard lettering is crisp and opaque against the blue surrounding it. Yellow paint is always an adventure on the models.

Atlas HO General Electric Dash 8-40B front
Factory installed details include wire clamps, windshield wipers and a snow plow on the front rider.

General Electric nameplates adorn the sides of the gangways in front of the cabin, and almost all of the long hood doors appear to have a warning label. The chassis side members have labels showing fuel, lubricating and draining oil locations, locomotive ownership details and even an emergency fuel cut off label on the chassis above the tank. front air. Well done!

Under the hood is a die-cast metal frame. To separate the body, first remove the coupling housings. Then carefully detach the brake chain from the small plastic hook under the cab on the mechanic’s side.

Mounted in the middle of the frame is an obliquely wound five-pole box motor with brass flywheels. Die-cast metal weights are attached above the front and rear trucks and drivetrain. All the wheels are driven and harness the power of the track.

A printed circuit board (PC) motherboard is attached with screws to the weights above the motor, and the ESU LokSound V5 decoder is plugged into the motherboard with a 21 pin socket. A downward facing speaker is mounted in an enclosure above the rear truck. A single light emitting diode (LED) illuminates the headlight and digital boxes. As on the prototype, the number boxes are repainted on the back of the Santa Fe locomotive.

I started to test my home switching setup using my NCE PowerCab. The ESU LokSound V5 decoder didn’t have a lot of surprises in store, starting the locomotive smoothly, but in speed step 2 instead of step 1. I adjusted configuration variable (CV) 2 to increase the starting voltage. I changed the value to 6 (default 3). After this adjustment, the locomotive recorded 1.76 mph on the speed scale 1. The top speed was 71 mph on the 28 scale, similar to the top speed of the prototype. All typical features are available with this decoder, with headlights at function 0 (F0), buzzer at F1, horn at F2 and engine starting at F8. Testing at home I use the CV63 to greatly reduce the overall volume. A decor of around 50 people met with the approval of the other occupants of the living room.

I tested the locomotive with my trusty Model Rectifier Corp. Tech II Railmaster 2400 with the pulse power turned off. The sound started at around 8.5V with an engine starting sequence. The locomotive started moving at nearly 10 V at a 2 mph scale and hit 76 mph at the maximum output of 13 V. The four-axle highway switch was perfectly happy to negotiate. Atlas no. 4 turnouts and push and pull cars on my switching network.

This is another in a long line of quality Atlas locomotives. The detail meets current standards, despite some specific differences in the name of the road; paintwork and performance are top notch; and the sound system is fun and easy to use. If you need to haul urgent freight on your ’90s network, be sure to check out these models.

Facts and characteristics

Price: $ 289.95 (DCC, sound), $ 179.95 (DC, no sound)
Atlas Model Railroad Co. Inc.
378, avenue Florence
Hillside, NJ 07205
Time: 1989 to approximately 1999 (as decorated)
Road names: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe; Albania and East; Conrail; CSX (ex-NS); New York, Susquehanna and Western; Providence and Worcester; St. Louis Sud-Ouest (Cotton belt); Pacific Union; and undecorated
• Precise articulation couplers, mounted at the correct height
• Detailed trucks
• Die-cast metal base
• Directional lighting
• Five-pole asymmetric armature motor with two flywheels
• Painted crew figures
• Separate factory installed scale wipers, metal handles and fine scale handrails
• Snow plow
• Weight: 1 pound, 0.4 ounce


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