Produced from 1972 to 1986, the GP38-2 helped inaugurate Electro-Motive’s “Dash-2” series of locomotives and became one of EMD’s all-time best sellers. With over 2200 engines sold throughout North America, rare was the railroad that did not roster these reliable, second-generation EMD workhorses.
Building on the success of the GP38 introduced in 1966, the Dash-2 model looked almost identical on the outside but incorporated a host of internal upgrades that lowered exhaust emissions and improved reliability, ease of maintenance, and tractive effort. Most significant was the replacement of the maze of hard-wired circuits, switches, interlocks, and relays — which had characterized first-generation diesels and had been the source of many of their service issues — with modular, solid-state electronics. Other improvements toughened the pistons, rings, and bearings of the 2000-horsepower, non-turbocharged model 645 prime mover.
The result was an engine so hard working and dependable that it became as common on American railroads as the F-unit was in the 1950s and ‘60s. Trains magazine recognized this in 1982 by designating B&O GP38 (a pre-Dash-2 model) as the All American Diesel; the engine resides today in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, repainted in its 1982 Chessie System colors. Many GP38-2s have soldiered on for more than three decades and remain in service today on short lines and regional railroads.
While our Premier model is not the only O gauge version of this second-generation stalwart, it offers the best combination of detail, realism, and performance of any 1/48 scale GP38-2. Added-on detail parts include windshield wipers, metal see-thru body grilles, lift rings, metal grab irons and handrails, and see-thru rooftop fan housings, as well as brake cylinders, air pipes, and swing hangers on our super-detailed Blomberg trucks.
And in command mode with the DCS system, you can create a lashup combining one or more GP38-2s with other Proto-Sound 2.0 and 3.0 first- or second-generation power — and run them all from a single throttle, just like the prototype.