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Model Information: This model was first release by Life-Like in 1988. It has also been manufactured by Life-Like for Bev-Bel in the early 1990's. 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)
The GP38-2 differs externally from the earlier GP38 only in minor details. Its most distinctive identifying feature is the cooling water level sight glass on the right side of the long hood. The battery box covers of the Dash 2s are bolted down instead of hinged. It can be distinguished from the contemporary GP39-2 and GP40-2 in that its Roots blown engine had two exhaust stacks, one on each side of the dynamic brake fan, if equipped, while the turbocharged GP39-2 and GP40-2 has a single stack. The GP39-2 has two radiator fans on the rear of the long hood like the GP38-2, while the GP40-2 has three. It was also available with either a high-short-hood, common on Norfolk Southern units, or a low-short-hood, which is found on most other railroads.
Road Name History:
According to corporate press releases, the BNSF Railway is among the top transporters of intermodal freight in North America. It also hauls bulk cargo. For instance, the railroad hauls enough coal to generate roughly ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States.
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, the railroad is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The creation of BNSF started with the formation of a holding company, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation on September 22, 1995. This new holding company then purchased the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (often called the "Santa Fe") and Burlington Northern Railroad, and formally merged the railways into the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway on December 31, 1996. On January 24, 2005, the railroad's name was officially changed to "BNSF Railway," using the initials of its original name.
In 1999, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the Canadian National Railway announced their intention to merge and form a new corporation entitled North American Railways to be headquartered in Montreal, Canada. The United States' Surface Transportation Board (STB) placed a 15-month moratorium on all rail mergers, which ended this merger.
On November 3, 2009, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced it would acquire the remaining 77.4 percent of BNSF it did not already own for $100 per share in cash and stock - a deal valued at $44 billion. The company is investing an estimated $34 billion in BNSF and acquiring $10 billion in debt. On February 12, 2010, shareholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation voted in favor of the acquisition.
Read more on Wikipedia. A very nice booklet "History and Legacy" is available on BNSF official website.
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: Steve German on 2016-04-02 09:52:53. Last edited by gdm on 2018-03-06 19:50:45
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