The GP39-2 was offered by EMD as a fuel-efficient alternative to their very popular GP38-2 model. This efficiency resulted from the use of a turbocharged 12-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine, as opposed to the non-turbocharged 16-cylinder prime mover in the GP38-2. The use of a turbocharger increased the horsepower output from 2,000 to 2,300hp with four fewer cylinders. One other benefit of the turbocharger is improved operation at higher altitudes where thin air causes normally-aspirated diesels to lose power and produce excess smoke. The largest original fleet of GP39-2s was assembled by the Santa Fe who, over the course of seven years, acquired a total of 106 units.
This model represents a “phase 1” GP39-2 locomotive which was produced between 1974 and late 1976. The overall appearance of a phase 1 model is similar to that of a GP38-2 except for the presence of a single turbocharged exhaust stack. There were only four original owners of the phase 1 GP39-2 including Santa Fe, Reading, Delaware & Hudson and a single-unit order for Kennecott Copper. Many of these units had interesting careers and nearly all are still in service today operating for BNSF, Union Pacific, CSX, and Pacific Northwest shortline Portland & Western.
This first production run represents a “then and now” of sorts. Delaware & Hudson amassed a fleet of forty units, purchasing twenty new and receiving Reading’s twenty units after the formation of Conrail. The former Reading units were only 14 months old at the time and were re-numbered as D&H 7401-7420 (those built new for D&H were numbered 7601-7620). The ex-Reading units were then acquired by CSX in 1990 and continue to operate for that carrier today. Several Santa Fe phase 1 GP39-2s were sold in 1993 to shortline Willamette & Pacific which (as of December 2000) is now operated as the Portland & Western. The Portland & Western units we are offering wear an orange & black paint scheme that reflects Genesee & Wyoming’s corporate ownership of that line.
- NMRA 8-pin plug for DCC
- The same drive as our basic Master Series™, in an affordable locomotive
- Five-pole skewed armature motor with dual flywheels
- Separately applied hand rails and end railings
- Locating dimples for grab irons
- True scale dimensions with accurate details
- Realistic die-cast underframes
- Equipped with AccuMate® Couplers