Switch engines

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Anachron, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. Anachron

    Anachron Member

    I need your guys expertise on this one :D
    I am currently building an N scale Timesaver module for my layout and I would like som info on what type of engines I can use as switchers.
    I know of all the Alcos engines, and the SW1200 type engines.
    But what can I use more than those?
    Can I use a GP7 or an GP9 as an switch engine?

    this is an Atlas GP-9 Phase 2... :p

    Attached Files:

  2. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    most switchers arnt in service anymore.. yards now.. mostly, use GP30's or 2 , 2axel engines..

    the local yard near my house.. uses two of them yellow\blue santa fe Gp30s with a red ATSF caboose =)

    I would say its all up to you in what you want to use... if you check out ebay, they have a twin concor COW and CALF switcher set for about 40bux buy it now.. they are SW1200's I think.. the powered unit has a cab and the 2nd non powered is cabless..
  3. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    Hi Anachron,

    At my local yard here in Dartmouth NS, and in Truro where I work, they use either
    GP38-2 or GP40-2Ws singly and in pairs (in fact a single GP38 just passed behind my
    office with a short string of hoppers and yes thats right a caboose! (in 2004!))

  4. alphanumeric

    alphanumeric Member

    cool.. looks like alot of companys are going with rebuild old Gp30s or around there.. I live in southern california incase u wanted a location =)

    on another note.. the place I lived at before this one.. they used the SW1200 looking switcher, they had cool sounding engines too.. kind of like a muscle cars v8.. they were switching cars in the middle of an intersection so I am guessing they ran them full blast to hurry and get out of the way..

    here is a picture of a set of switches I bought off ebay.. im going with these as switchers.. just because everyone knows its a "switcher" and not just some mainline engine parked..

  5. Anachron

    Anachron Member

    thx guys :)
    2, 2axel engines sounds probable
    il look around for some gp engines then :)
  6. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Most railroads use an older model loco to local switch with than what they use for mainline service. This gets the last of the life out of the old units and keep them close to home so when they give up the ghost it's not far to the scrapyard. LOL Bigger yards will have special engines like SW1500s to build trains, but you rarely see them out of the yard limit. Now back to John Allen's Timesaver, it's an industrial switching puzzle, so you prob wouldn't see SW1500s. You would see the local units doing this work. So depending on the era you model you will be using different locos, say 1970's you would see CF7, GP7,9, stuff like that. Today you would see GP38-2, sd40, stuff like that. Tommorow you will see sd50, and dash 8s. That help? Of course there are exceptions, this is just a simple rule of thumb answer. FRED
  7. Anachron

    Anachron Member

    That’s some great info Fred!! exactly what I was looking for. :D
    I’m not very good at the real prototype, and it’s not very easy either when I live in Sweden. ;)
    But modern mainline engines include dash 8’s and later SD engines? But when did they appear and what is the average lifetime of a mainline engine? And aren’t there engines that can’t handle small industrial tracks?

    And last one:
    Model locos that can run slow? I have an SD40-2 from Kato that flies away when I just nudge the throttle a little...
    How are Atlas engines?
    And I don’t have the privilege of DCC yet…
  8. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I'm not a historian by any means. I just report what I see and remember. It Use to be some industrial sidings were rather limited to sizes allowed on them. Today there are a lot less sidings and the ones left see heavy traffic and are, as a rule, in very good condition. Another thing to remember is a GP38-2 and an SD 40 weigh aprox. the same overall, so the extra axles of the SD mean the wheels actually have a lower load per wheel than the GPs . Try google and search "history dash 8" or "history sd-40" for accurate data. Don't see many dash 8s anymore on the BNSF mains, mostly their big brother AC4400CW and sd 60s up. Lots of the locals are sd40ish gp38ish units. I do HO so can't help on N power. FRED
  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Sure,you can use any type of a geep unit from a GP7 to a GP60..After all the GP is a general service unit. Of course you could use a Alco RS2,3 or 11 as well.
    Many of todays short lines uses Geeps as their only motive power.
  10. Anachron

    Anachron Member

    thx guys! :)
  11. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    In Calgary, CP Rail uses GP-9's and GP38-2's for thier yard switchers and local frieght engines. The hump units are ex Rio Grande SD45's that have been rebuilt to SD40M-2's, they still have the flared rediators, but are only 3000hp. On heavier local trains, they will use SD40-2's. The mainline engines are usually AC4400's and SD90's, but there are still quite a few SD40-2's used in road service.
  12. WM-N-fan

    WM-N-fan Member

    Out here on CSX GP30/35 slugs with GP40-2....GP38-2 also....Sometimes Sd50 and Sd40-2 are on locals/switching.....On NS its GP38, GP38AC, GP38-2, GP40-2, GP50 and GP60 as well as SD40-2 and even Dash 9's (Which always are on one 5 car local)...Sometimes B32-8 or even B40-8 are switchers and a few years back there were B23-7 and B36-7.
  13. Gavin Miller

    Gavin Miller Member

    Way out here in Western Australia the dedicated "switcher" (or "shunter" to use the local term) has long gone (along with mixed freight trains).

    As Fred said, older mainline locomotives are now relegated to yard duties. I often see SD40 style 6-axle ex-mainline locos moving cars around in our local yard.

    Nevertheless, on my layout, I will continue to keep a couple of Life Like SW1200s around simply 'cos I like 'em. I have to say though, that my heavier Kato SD40s do a better job - longer wheelbase and more wheels contacting the rail means more consistent operation through the many points inevitably found around yards.

  14. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    In Toronto, CP uses pairs of SD40-2's on the hump and single GP7U's and GP9U's with a slug on the pull-down. Outlying yards seem to use single GP9U's or GP9-Slug sets. In Havelock, Ontario on CP's KLR internal shortline, they use the road power (GP9's and GP38-2's) to switch their train in the yard, and an SW1200RS is assigned to Peterborough to switch Quaker Oats.

    CN uses GP38-2-slug-slug-GP38-2 sets on the hump and GP9RM-Slug sets in the pull down. Outlying yards usually have a GP9, GP9-slug set, or GP38-2. CN's yard in Port Robinson, Ontario (Niagara Penninsula) doesn't have an assigned switcher, but rather the local freights and the road freights do their own switching... sometimes rather involved switching too! CN's SW1200RS fleet appears to be almost or entirely dead... might be a few 7300 series SW1200RSu's still kicking around. They have some SW's from IC and some SW1500's from the WC. And I guess now they have the switcher fleet from the Union RR.

    I guess the moral is, anything that is available is used as a switcher except in the large yards where there is usually assigned power. I personally use Life-Like/Hobbycraft GP9 chopnoses as switchers, but then again, they are pretty accurate for my CN and CP modeling.

  15. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Don't know what era you're doing, but Atlas has a VO 1000 out in N scale.

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