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N Scale - Walthers - 929-50312 - Engine, Diesel, GP38-2 - Union Pacific - 791

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N Scale - Walthers - 929-50312 - Engine, Diesel, GP38-2 - Union Pacific - 791 Image courtesy of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.


N Scale - Walthers - 929-50312 - Engine, Diesel, GP38-2 - Union Pacific - 791 An image of the prototype.


Brand Walthers
Stock Number 929-50312
Original Retail Price $99.98
Manufacturer Walthers
Image Credit Link
Body Style Life-Like Diesel Engine GP38-2
Road or Company Name Union Pacific (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 791
Paint Color(s) Yellow and Gray
Print Color(s) Red
Body Construction Injection Molded Plastic
Coupler Type MT Magne-Matic Knuckle
Wheel Type Chemically Blackened Metal
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
DCC Readiness Ready
Announcement Date 2014-07-18
Release Date 2015-01-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype EMD
Model Variety GP38-2
Prototype Engine, Diesel, GP38-2
Region North America
Era/Epoch Era IV: 1958 - 1978


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Body Style Information: This model was first release by Life-Like in 1988. It was overhauled in 2006. After the acquisition by Walthers, it was again updated in 2015 and sold under the Walthers N brand. This has always been an economy model that runs well and doesn't cost as much as the Kato and Atlas equivalents.

The original design was a simple open-sided 5-pole motor with weights and truck-mounted rapido couplers. The 2006 version went to a split frame design with flywheels, LED lights and body mounted Accumate couplers. The motor is NOT isolated from the frame so this version is not DCC-Ready. The 2015 version does accept a drop-in decoder and is DCC-Ready. This most recent Walthers version has Micro-Trains couplers.

DCC Information: The early 1988 version is not DCC anything.
The 2006 redo is marginally DCC-Friendly. A DCC decoder installation for this version can be found on Brad Myers' N-scale DCC decoder installs blog and in this article. Using a drop-in decoder for Atlas locos is also possible, pending some modification of the chassis and some soldering, as shown on the same article.

The 2015 version is fully DCC-Ready, and will accept the following drop-in decoders:
- Digitrax DN163L0A: 1 Amp N Scale Mobile Decoder for Walthers/life-Like Proto GP20 and similar locos
- TCS L1D4 (Installation in Life-Like GP20, very similar to this GP38-2)

Prototype Information: The Dash 2 locomotive series, unveiled by EMD in 1972, featured significant changes, such as a solid-state, modular electrical control system and improved engine components designed to increase traction and reduce exhaust emissions. A reliable work-horse, the GP38-2 remains one of the most successful locomotives ever built. Most are still in service today.

Road/Company Information:
The Union Pacific Railroad (reporting mark UP) is a freight hauling railroad that operates 8,500 locomotives over 32,100 route-miles in 23 states west of Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. The Union Pacific Railroad network is the largest in the United States and employs 42,600 people. It is also one of the world's largest transportation companies.

Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP); both are headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Over the years Union Pacific Corporation has grown by acquiring other railroads, notably the Missouri Pacific, Chicago & North Western, Western Pacific, Missouri-Kansas-Texas, and the Southern Pacific (including the Denver & Rio Grande Western).

Union Pacific Corporation's main competitor is the BNSF Railway, the nation's second largest freight railroad, which also primarily services the Continental U.S. west of the Mississippi River. Together, the two railroads have a duopoly on all transcontinental freight rail lines in the U.S.

Read more on Wikipedia and on Union Pacific official website.

Brand/Importer Information:
Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., was founded in Milwaukee in 1932 -- but really, it started years earlier, when seven-year-old Bill Walthers got his first taste of the hobby with a small, wind-up toy train for Christmas. He continued with the hobby and eventually had an attic layout comprised primarily of his own scratch-built creations. After he wrote a series of articles on building train control and signaling systems, he got so many letters from other modelers that he began manufacturing them. The first ad (in the May issue of The Model Maker) offered a 24-page, 15c catalog that listed rail, couplers, and electrical supplies. Sales were over $500.00 for the first year, and the fledgling company was off to a strong start.

Within five years, Walthers had grown so much that larger quarters were needed. Space was found on Erie Street, where everything -- from milled wood parts to metal castings to decals -- was made in-house. 1937 also saw a new line in HO Scale, featured in its own catalog. Bill brought operating layouts to the 1939 World's Fair, which gave the hobby a big boost. Soon, though, the growing possibility of war overshadowed these successes, and supplies were becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

During the war, model manufacturers were ordered to stop production in order to conserve critical metal supplies. Walthers produced what it could from nonessential materials. A series of ads in 1943 saw Bill literally scraping the bottom of a barrel! The postwar boom meant rapid growth for the hobby; however, small homes and new families left no room for O scale layouts, and many modelers moved to HO Scale.

The next twenty years brought great change. In 1958, Bill retired and his son Bruce took over. Just as full-size railroads were being hard-hit by new technology, so too were model railroads. Leisure time was spent in front of the TV set, not the train set. In 1960, Walthers became a full-line distributor of other manufacturers' products while continuing expansion of the Walthers lines. By the start of the 1970's, business was booming again, and Bruce's son Phil joined the company.

Expansion and diversification continue under Phil's tenure. The establishment of the Walthers Importing Division added several international lines. The manufacturing plant was modernized. Code 83 track was introduced in 1985, giving layouts more realistic proportions. In 1990, the Cornerstone Series buildings were unveiled. Combining a freight car with a related industry, the Cornerstone Series makes it possible for modelers to duplicate authentic operations, enhancing layout realism. The Train Line Deluxe Sets and locomotives debuted in 1994. These sets feature the detailing of serious models and an affordable price -- allowing newcomers to get started, and then build-on to their first set, rather than replacing it.

In 2005, Walthers purchased Life-Like from Lifoam Industries. With this purchase Walthers acquired the Proto Lines that have become the backbone of their locomotive and rolling stock segments.

Today, Walthers continues to expand, improve and develop a wide range of products. Their latest selection can be found throughout Walthers.com and their printed catalogs, along with items from over 300 other manufacturers.


Item created by: Chance on 2016-08-31 04:13:41. Last edited by Alain LM on 2017-05-23 11:17:59

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