With a wave of consolidation behind it, North American railroading is once again a good business to be in. Freight traffic is booming. Locomotive orders are coming in at a record pace from the Big Six roads that dominate rail transportation on the continent: Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific. And the two remaining diesel builders are locked in a battle to become the locomotive supplier for the 21st century. EMD, newly independent and no longer a division of General Motors, is represented by the AC-traction-motored SD70ACe and its DC-traction sibling, the SD70M-2. General Electric's standard bearers are the EVOs, the Evolution Series ES44AC and ES44DC.
At the heart of the Evolution Series is a brand new prime mover, the four-cycle, 12-cylinder GEVO-12. While producing the same 4400 horsepower as its 16-cylinder FDL-series predecessor, the GEVO-12 uses less fuel and spits out 40% fewer emissions. GE claims the EVOs are "the most fuel-efficient, most environmentally friendly diesel locomotives in history." Everything about these locomotives has been examined, questioned, and re-thought, generating 25 new U.S. patents in the process. And every Big Six railroad has ponied up to buy them, with the BNSF currently rostering the largest EVO fleet.
Like all Premier locomotives, the new ES44AC offers O scale's finest combination of detail, realism, and performance. Listen to the chant of an authentic GEVO-12 motor, and throttle down as low as three scale miles per hour so you can admire the details as the Evolution Series glides by: see-through fans and grilles, walkways with safety tread, opening doors with working door handles, and a host of other separately applied metal details.
Did You Know? Fully loaded, an Evolution Series diesel carries 5000 gallons of diesel fuel, 450 gallons of lube oil, and 400 gallons of cooling water.