Something very different today - a short model train review.
This is my first post of this type, so it may not be as detailed as it could be, but I'll try to explain my opinions clearly.
As the title says, it's and EMD (Electro-Motive Diesel) SD50 for UP. UP did not purchase any SD50 locomotives new, but acquired them through the purchase of Missouri Pacific (who had 60) and Chicago & North Western (who had 35). Judging by the number, I believe the one being reviewed was originally MP.
The SD50 was EMD's response to General Electric's Dash 7 lineup. EMD had the highly successful SD40-2, but GE's new lineup had more horsepower (3600), modern electronics, and very tempting finance and maintenance offers. EMD had offered 3600 hp locomotives before in their "45" series (SD45, SD45-2, SD45-T2), but these locos had huge 20 cylinder engines, which resulted in extremely high fuel consumption, and they also suffered from reliability issues.
After the fuel crisis of the 70's, the 45 series orders plummeted.
EMD's response was to take the V-16 645 from the SD40-2, which was dependable and trusted, and uprate it from 3,000 hp at 900 rpm to 3,600 hp at 950 rpm.
This proved too much for the 645, and the SD50 series would be plagued with engine and electrical issues, which damaged EMD's reputation and sales. In all, 431 SD50 locos were built.
UP, and most other Class 1 railroads, have cleared their rosters of the SD50, with only CSX possibly having a couple (likely rebuilt as SD50-2). As a result, there are few SD50s in service currently.
Anyway, here's the end of the box, specifying what locomotive I purchased.
Note - I run a DCC equipped layout, so all my locos are DCC and sound equipped (I'll eventually try to make videos to showcase the DCC capabilities, operational characteristics, and sound functions).
Front of the box.
And the loco out of the box.
And on my (very bare bones) layout.
Now, my opinions.
Note - I'm by no means an expert on trains, real or model, but I'm giving my opinion based on my experiences and preferences as a railfan and modeler.
Operation is very smooth
The DCC functions operate as they should
Good weight - important for pulling loads and not derailing
Build quality is absolutely great - pieces all there, none falling off, and doesn't feel fragile. Paint looks good, very crisp and clean.
The only issue I found, actually - the horn. It gives you several options on type of horn, but you can't adjust the volume! You can adjust the master volume, but not the horn separately. This may seem minor, but the horn is so quiet, even with engine sound at idle, and sitting less than 3 feet from the loco, the horn is barely audible. Under no circumstances is that prototypical - a train horn should be extremely loud - that's kinda the point. I've had this issue on other locos, but they allowed the adjustment of horn/whistle volume, which I did, and it greatly improves the realism and enjoyment. I will probably try changing the master volume just to see (or hear), but I expect it'll be the same issue with all sounds being louder, but still in sync with each other in terms of relative volume (engine volume will increase as well horn, resulting in the same issue, just with unreasonably loud engine noise and maybe improved horn volume).
Anyway, that's it for this review, but I'm expecting more models over the next days/weeks/months, so stay tuned. I may also review some locomotives I've had slightly longer (a few months in most cases).