CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Monday, April 24, 2017

HO Roster: D&H engines

Who doesn't love buying trains? I know I do. And there are few things more exciting than a new engine. I hadn't bought any D&H engines by the time I selected 1984 to model, which helped me to avoid any anachronistic purchases. In a previous post I described in exhausting detail all the different D&H paint schemes that existed in 1984. Thankfully, manufacturers have stepped up to offer models in nearly every engine and scheme appropriate for my layout (except RS-3ms, though Bowser may fix that in the future).

Based on internet research, I think I found most of what is or was commercially available ready-to-run that would fit my layout based solely on their paint schemes. However, if the louvers were for a phase 2 and the D&H had a phase 3, I am not sweating it. Also, I am not in the mood to strip paint or numbers and re-decal but in the rare cases where a model came with lightning stripes and no numbers but I could just add the small number decals, I included it. In the case of D&H patch-paint jobs I included some of the engines painted for their original owners.

Here is the list (and I will update this over time, most recently on 6/09/2017), with the yellow highlighted ones representing engines I currently own:

#4103 - Lightning stripe with small numbers (Bachmann #63901)

#5000 - Lightning stripe with small numbers (Life Like P2K #30320)
             (Atlas #8791 has no road number at all on hood).
#5001 - Blue Dip with full yellow nose, large numbers (Atlas #8781)
#5002 - Blue Dip with large numbers (Atlas #8782)

#5016 - Lightning stripe with large numbers (Atlas #10 000 396)
#5018 - Lightning stripe with large numbers (Atlas #0040 Trainman set)
#5020 - Lightning stripe with small numbers (Atlas #10 0001 514)
#5022 - Lightning stripe with small blue numbers on hood
#5023 - Lightning stripe with large numbers (Atlas #10 000 304)
             (Atlas #8385B has no road number at all on hood).

#401 - L&HR colors / patch outs (Atlas #10000013; #10000014; #10000055; #10000056)
#405 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Atlas #10000011)
#409 - LV red with patch-outs (Atlas #10001113; 10000307; 10000308; 10000309)
#411 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Atlas #10000012)
#413 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" on nose. (Atlas #10000111)
#414 - LV red with patch-outs (Atlas #10001113; 10000307; 10000308; 10000309) 
#415 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Atlas #10000112)
#452 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Atlas #9339)
#455 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Atlas #9340)

#760 - Lightning stripe with small numbers (Atlas #8514)

#7316 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Athearn RTR #79978)
#7322 - Lightning stripe with large numbers (Athearn RTR #79977)
#7323 - Blue Dip with yellow nose, large numbers (Athearn RTR #79977)

#7401 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Atlas #10000480A)
           - "                 "                         " (Athearn #ATHG64513)
#7402 - Blue Dip with yellow nose, large numbers (Atlas #10000496)
           - "                 "                         " (Athearn #ATHG64515)
#7406 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Atlas #10000481A)
#7408 - Blue Dip with "zebra stripes" (Athean #ATHG64514)
#7411 - Lightning stripe with large numbers (Athearn #ATHG40797)
#7413 - Blue Dip with yellow nose, large numbers (Athearn #ATHG64516)
#7414 - Lightning stripe with large numbers (Athearn #ATHG40798)
#7410/7418 - Reading green with patch-outs (Athearn #G40953)

If I moved the year up to 1983 I would get flooded with even more Geeps as well as the U23B class by Atlas and Athearn. However, considering I can at most run two trains on my layout and most likely only a single engine pulling the local will be needed, I am sure the list above will be enough. In a way, it is refreshing as the limitations help me to focus on more important areas. And, you can see that there are a lot of options out there. I already have seven engines. 

I expect my local jobs will probably be pulled by RS-36s or RS-11s, as both classes seemed to perform most of the transfer and switching runs in the area. The four RS-3s sometimes also ran solo on the locals but they seemed more frequently to be found in the yards. As for RS-3u engines, they could be found anywhere and if they were easier to acquire I would have some by now. I have a pair of GP38-2s for through trains, as well as the Alco C-424. I would love a couple of C-420s but Atlas has seen fit to release outstanding models loaded in detail but also over $100 each. At that price, I can wait.

Also, I admit that I did purchase a few other things that aren't quite correct. For example, I have a pair of Bachmann's Baldwin Sharks (#1205/#1216) which I found at a great price with DCC installed. And, when I joined a modular club and needed engines (a pair is better than one to push the other over dirty track) to run and wanted some with only a few details to break (like handrails), the sharks fit in perfectly. I am sure they will eventually see limited use on my layout "for fun." Also, when Atlas released the RS-36 in the limited edition experimental #5015 scheme of blue and yellow I wanted it bad. A train store had it in its inventory forever and it didn't sell, so we made a deal. Finally, a Like-Like Proto-2000 PA #16 engine fell into my lap at a great price so it had to come home with me.

However, I still cannot purchase any engine I feel like. Besides the cost of the engine itself, there is DCC to add. Every one of my engines is sent to Empire Train and Hobby (link) for decoder installation, and I have been going them to him for over 14 years. Thanks Tim! His work is excellent and his prices reasonable. He has done all of my HO engines, plus many of my N scale engines too... at least a dozen total. I do plan to run DC trains on my layout by first removing any DCC engines and then flipping a switch so that a regular DC power pack is controlling the layout. However, I would prefer to have decoders installed in as many engines as possible.

Then, there is sound and weathering. I don't own an airbrush and D&H engines need lots of soot and smoke residue so I send my engines to Elgin Car Shops (link) for custom weathering services. Thanks Pierre! He also installed the sound decoders in my two Atlas RS-11 engines, though I haven't explored sound much. Once I can actually run my trains on my layout I may want more. He also has weathered them to match pictures I send of the engines as they appeared in 1984. Sadly, it looks like my entire roster will appear decrepit because so many of the engine they were dirty.

Athearn has been going crazy in the past couple of years releasing D&H Geeps. In December 2014, they had announced four GP39-2 engines in the lightning stripe scheme and #7322 was perfect for my layout. Then, in August 2015 they announced four more lightning stripe GP39-2s were coming, though only #7414 fit in my time frame. Recently, in April 2017 they announced four GP39-2s in the solid blue scheme, with some having yellow chevrons and some have yellow noses. All four fit in my era. However, I just don't need that many Geeps. I already have two older ones from Athearn.

Just as exciting, Bowser recently announced that they would be producing RS-3 engines in various paint schemes with railroad-specific details. The "Phase 3" engine they selected for D&H paint was the only Phase 3 the D&H owned, #1508, which was acquired for use on The Adirondack passenger train while the PA units were being rebuilt. But, it lingered on to become #4075, which in its solid blue scheme was seen all over the Colonie Main through the 1980s. Though Bowser is only releasing it in the Lightning Stripe scheme, I hope to buy an undecorated model and I likely can handle giving it the blue dip treatment (or hiring someone who can). If I were to pick one RS-3 to model, it would be venerable #4075.

Do I need more engines? Probably not, but I sure like them! I have serious gaps in my collection (not a single RS-3 or RS-3u, patch-paint engine, or small hood numbered engine) and I hope to rectify that in the future. 

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