UP 3773: Modernizing a Scale Trains SD40-2

slemp_UP3773_20180430_092I think it’s reasonable to argue that the SD40-2 was the defining example of 2nd generation diesel locomotives in North America. They were purchased in huge numbers by most Class 1 railroads and have developed a reputation for reliability over decades of operation.  Today they’re less common on Class 1’s, but many are being rebuilt to extend their lives and quite a few are well into second careers on regional and short lines.  It has therefore been rather unfortunate that HO scale modelers have never had a really good plastic model of the SD40-2 (I’d argue that there’s never been a really good brass model either, because, well.  Brass.)  Many companies have made an attempt at the SD40-2, but most have gotten stuff wrong (Athearn, Intermountain) and no one has made a stab at the huge amount of variations that occurred over the twelve year production run (Kato).  Athearn could and should have put an SD40-2 in their Genesis line to go along with the GP models they’ve been releasing but they never did.

Therefore, it was no small thing when I cam home from work about a year ago to find a box from Scale Trains sitting on the stoop.  Inside, I hoped, was the SD40-2 so many of us have been waiting for.

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Washington State – June 2015

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A northbound Union Pacific stack train with marine containers from APL, K-Line, Hapag-Lloyd and others rolls through Sunnyside Park on June 07, 2015.

I attended a work conference in Texas last spring and since I was already halfway across the country I decided that I’d might as well just keep heading west and spend some time visiting family and traipsing about the Pacific Northwest.

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Railfanning the Moffat Route

Union Pacific GE AC44CWCTE leads a loaded coal train downgrade towards Denver

On July 11 I flew to Colorado to spend a few days visiting a friend who lives in Denver.  While not strictly a railfan trip, I did manage to spend a day scouting out the eastern side of the Moffat Route.  To my surprise I even managed to shoot a few trains.

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Washington State Railfanning Trip – July 2011

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Union Pacific SD70ACe #8574 leads a southbound K-Line train through Vancouver, WA on July 12, 2011

I went home for a family wedding in July and was able to take some extra time to do a circuit through the state on a railfanning junket.  I spent a little time around Steilacoom, then headed south to meet up with my friend Tom in Vancouver.  Next we drove east through the gorge for 2 days before booking it north to Leavenworth and spending 2 days on Stevens Pass.  Saw lots of trains, and had some pretty terrific weather.  The full gallery of images can be found on my new! PBase site: http://www.pbase.com/cslemp/washington_state__july_2011.

– Chris

Pacific Northwest Expedition 2008

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BNSF C44-9W #5285 leads a motley assortment of power at Scenic, WA as it approaches the Cascade Tunnel.

Last September, for the first time in nearly two years, I was finally able to make my first trip back home to Washington State.  My time was primarily spent visiting friends and relatives, but I did manage to get in a couple of days on Stevens Pass and a few afternoons along the tracks in Steilacoom. The shot above is the only train I managed to catch on the pass, but as trains go, it was a rather impressive one. Continue reading