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Atlas Model Railroad Co. HO scale National Raiway Equipment GenSet II diesel locomotive

Read this review from Model Railroader magazine
Atlas Model Railroad Co. HO scale GenSet II diesel locomotive
Following the success of its National Railway Equipment (NRE) GenSet I, Atlas has added the NRE GenSet II to its HO scale Trainman Plus line. The ready-to-run locomotive features a newly tooled shell, thinner-profile handrails, and cab roof details.

The National Railway Equipment 3GS21B-DE (GenSet II) made its debut in 2008. The locomotive, like the 3GS21B from 2006, was designed with the environment and fuel savings in mind. National Railway Equipment’s website notes the GenSet design has reduced emissions, noise, fuel consumption, and maintenance costs compared to traditional locomotives.

Unlike a typical locomotive that has one engine, the GenSet II has three Cummins QSK19C 700hp 6-cylinder
prime movers. One remains running when the locomotive is idling or performing light duties. When an
onboard computer detects an increased load, the other engines are brought on line, each at equal horsepower.

At first glance, the Atlas Trainman Plus GenSet II may look a lot like the firm’s GenSet I we reviewed in the March 2011 Model Railroader, but there are substantial differences. The newly tooled GenSet II shell features a redesigned long hood; a shorter, lower nose; and accommodations for dynamic brakes. In addition, the cab has been moved forward. The chassis, trucks, fuel tank, and battery boxes appear to be the same as those used on the GenSet I.

The model’s overall dimensions closely follow prototype drawings. However, there are detail discrepancies between the model and the BNSF Ry. prototype. The full-size no. 1293 features a vertical nose-mounted headlight (the area on the cab where the headlight could go is plated over), ditch lights on top of the anticlimber on both ends, and blanked out horizontal windows on the back of the cab. In addition, the battery boxes (between the front truck and fuel tank on the model) are recessed too far. They should be even with the edge of the sill.

In fairness to Atlas, though, the prototype GenSets are built to railroad specifications. This model’s details are more accurately matched to the Belt Ry. of Chicago, CSX, Indiana Harbor Belt, and NRE demonstrator prototypes.

Our sample is decorated for BNSF Ry. in the road’s orange and black scheme. The paint is smooth and evenly applied. There are a few small voids where the yellow stripe passes over the louvers for the air compressor/filter blower compartment doors near the rear of the long hood. This could easily be fixed with yellow paint and a fine brush. Some of the warning stickers in the step wells and on the nose and fuel tank are absent, but they could be added with decals.
The printed-circuit board is mounted on top of the motor and flywheels. SoundTraxx makes a Digital Command Control (DCC) sound decoder that replaces this board.
Mechanism and performance.

After removing the coupler boxes, I could easily lift off the plastic shell. The motor and flywheels are mounted in the center of the die-cast metal frame. The printed-circuit (PC) board is screwed onto the front and rear die-cast metal weights. Wire leads run from the PC board to the headlights in the body shell and the ditch lights on the chassis.

There’s an eight-pin socket on the PC board for a DCC decoder. SoundTraxx also makes a board-replacement decoder for modelers who wish to add sound. See the accompanying review.
I tested the direct-current model with a Model Rectifier Corp. Tech 7 DC power pack. The locomotive started moving at 2.5 volts. As I increased the throttle, I heard a small amount of motor noise, but the GenSet ran smoothly throughout its speed range.

The Atlas GenSet didn’t have any difficulty rounding 18" radius curves. The model’s heavy frame and all-wheel drive gave the four-axle switcher impressive pulling power.

Atlas has done a commendable job capturing the unique lines of National Railway Equipment’s GenSet II. The HO scale locomotive would look right at home working a yard or hauling a transfer run on a modern-day layout
Price: $144.95

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

Era: 2008 to present

Road names (two numbers each): BNSF Ry., Belt Ry. of Chicago, Canadian Pacific, CSX, Indiana Harbor Belt, NRE demonstrator (no. 2020 only). Undecorated version also available.

  • Accumate couplers at correct height
  • All-wheel drive and electrical pickup
  • Can motor with dual brass flywheels
  • Die-cast metal underframe
  • Eight-pin DCC socket (SoundTraxx board-replacement sound decoder also available)
  • Light-emitting diode (LED) headlights and ditch lights
  • Metal RP-25 wheels in gauge
  • Weight: 15 ounces

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Freight yard design and operation.

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