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Atlas HO scale Alco C-424 diesel locomotive

Read this review from Model Railroader magazine

Atlas HO scale Alco C-424 diesel locomotive
The Alco C-424 has been a part of the Atlas line since 1986, when the firm imported a model produced by Kato. Today, the C-424 is now part of the Atlas Classics line. The ready-to-run model uses an Atlas drive and features an eight-pin plug for a Digital Command Control decoder, factory installed and painted handrails and grab irons, and upgraded trucks with separately applied brake cylinders.

Prototype history. The Alco C-424 was produced from April 1963 to May 1967. During this time, 190 locomotives were manufactured for railroads in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The 2,400 hp road unit was designed to compete with General Electric’s U25B and Electro-Motive Division’s GP35.

Our sample is decorated for Minnesota Commercial, a belt railroad in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The model has an
injection-molded plastic shell with a separate cab and sill. The C-424 features evenly applied red paint and opaque white lettering and stripes. I was impressed that risers leading to the cab were painted white and have Step in red lettering as on the full-size counterpart. The model closely matches dimensions in the 1966 Simmons-Boardman Car and Locomotive Cyclopedia.

When comparing the model to prototype photos of no. 313, I noticed some detail differences. The sand fill box and access doors were omitted on the back of the long hood; the air horn is the wrong style and should be centered over the headlights on the cab; there are three dynamic brake air-intake screens per side instead of one; and the fuel tank should have slab sides, not round.
The C-424 has factory-installed wire grab irons and separate class light lenses. The trim around the front and back cab windows is painted black to simulate rubber gaskets, and the side windows are trimmed with aluminum paint.

Mechanism. Following the instructions, I removed the frame-mounted coupler boxes and gently squeezed the shell above the body-mounted plastic tabs to release it from the die-cast metal chassis. Under the hood is a five-pole skew-wound motor with a printed-circuit (PC) board seated on top.

Blackened nickel silver wheels are mounted on metal stub axles that press fit into plastic gear hubs. Brass wipers hidden in the sideframes pick up current from all eight wheels.
HO scale Alco C-424
Performance. The C-424 is a smooth-running model. The locomotive started moving at a scale 3 mph at 1.2 volts DC. It achieved a top speed of 96 scale mph, which is 9 mph faster than the prototype’s top speed.

Despite the few detail discrepancies, the Atlas HO scale C-424 is a fine looking model that runs well.
Atlas Alco C424 HO scale
The model's motor and two brass flywheels are in the center of the chassis. There are two die-cast metal weights on each end
Price: $124.95

Atlas Model Railroad Co.
378 Florence Ave.
Hillside, NJ 07205

Road names: Arkansas & Missouri (phase 3), Erie Lackawanna (phase 1), Green Bay & Western (phase 3), Norfolk & Western (phase 2), Minnesota Commercial (phases 2 and 3)

Era: April 1963 to present

  • Accumate magnetic knuckle couplers at correct height
  • Directional golden-white light-
  • emitting diodes
  • Eight-pin plug for Digital Command Control decoder
  • Five-pole skew-wound motor with dual flywheels
  • Two painted crew figures
  • Weight: 14.5 ounces

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