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First Look Review
N scale
N GP-30 Phase 2 Locomotive
N GP-30 Phase 2 Locomotive ICG 2267
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Atlas has released this N scale GP-30 Phase 2 Locomotive in their Master Line series. This sample is Illinois Central Gulf 2267, item 40 002 451. Although this sample is of the DCC-ready Silver Master Line series, it is also available with a DCC decoder.

About the GP30 Atlas writes
    Built in the 1960s by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, the GP-30 Locomotives were four-wheel truck road switchers that were used in heavy-haul freight services throughout the country.

EMD's GP30 was a reaction to the suprise of General Electric's higher power "U-Boats". GP30 has a unique look with a long cowl over the cab and body to keep debris out of the newly introduced dynamic brake and other internal components. You can enjoy a more detailed history of the GP30 at the end of this review.

Illinois Central Gulf did not buy GP30s. They inherited 31 from Gulf Mobile & Ohio when the railroads merged in 1972.

The Model
This chunky diesel loco is securely packed in a plastic jewel case and ensconced in foam and bubble wrap. Custom cut foam inserts protect the factory attached handrails. No documentation/parts list is supplied. The foam backing pulled a bit of paint off the cab. I can not see the area on the engine.

The model has a metal frame for weight and an injection body. Knuckle couplers equip the model. It boasts bi-directional constant lighting. Plastic trucks and metal wheels support the loco. Atlas boasts the features of these models as:
    Golden-White LEDs
    Directional lighting
    Dual brass flywheels
    Low-friction mechanism
    Factory-installed AccuMate® magnetic knuckle couplers
    Accurate painting and lettering

Atlas' N GP30 is molded without visible flaws - no flash, seams, ejection marks nor sink marks. These appear to be of styrene instead of more flexible slick plastics that have become popular as railings over the years. Use care when handling the model.

The model appears accurate with the prototype in profile and dimensions. Doors and panels along the hoods look correct. Atlas offers two body styles, with and without nose headlights.

The first things I noticed are the open screens for the air intakes, dynamic brake exhaust, and radiator cooling fans. Then I noticed the horn cluster is also separately attached.

Surface detail is sharp although a bit oversized, although it would be hard to see in 1/160. That goes for the handrails, too, although making them to-scale, they would be fragile. Fuel and sand filler spouts are included. So is hinge detail on the battery box. Above the trucks are jack pads. It appears the brake cylinders on the trucks were separately attached. (I didn't try to pry them off!) The wheel flanges did not hit the spikes of code 80 rail. Knuckle couplers have become the standard and this model has them.

Fans of the GP30 may notice the trucks on this model. ICG's GP30s came from GM&O. Some GM&O GP30s rode on ARR type B trucks instead of the standard Blomberg Bs because some GM&O GP30s were acquired with some ALCo trade-ins.

I did not remove the body to examine the motor and mechanism.

paint and printing
First rate paint and printing graces this model. It is opaque without obscuring detail. Lettering and stenciling is sharply printed. An EMD placard is printed below the cab, and other service stenciling is present. Some is legible such as by the fuel oil filler. Two or three road numbers are available per road name. This release has seven railroads to choose from:

Undecorated w/ Nose Headlight
Undecorated w/o Nose Headlight
BNSF (Orange/Black/Yellow)
Chesapeake & Ohio (Blue/Yellow)
Chicago & North Western (Yellow/Green)
Cotton Belt (Grey/Red)
Gulf, Mobile, & Ohio (Black/White)
Illinois Central Gulf (White/Orange)
Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern (Green/Yellow)

GM&O acquired 31 of these locomotives in 1962-63, numbered 500-530. ICG renumbered them. ICG 2267 was built as GM&O 517 in April 1963, with Serial Number 27925 and Frame Number 7635-18. When ICG sloughed off routes and equipment in the 1980s, ICG 2267 was sold to Paducah & Louisville (PAL) and retained the road number as 2267 **

Atlas has released another fine model of the GP30. Quality paint and printing enhances the detailed molding.

Fans of GP30s and ICG power should appreciate this GP30. Happily recommend it!

Please remember to tell Atlas and retailers that you saw this locomotive here - on Railroad Modeling.

GP30 History
The Electro-Motive Division's GP30 was one of the first second-generation models unveiled by the builder (behind the GP20). The locomotive improved on some of the features of the GP20, notably an upgraded prime mover but also retained new advances first found on the earlier model like equipment to help keep the engine compartment even cleaner. In many ways the GP30 offered an updated carbody to the earlier model such as the bulge over the cab and a more flush nose design ahead of the crew compartment. Aside from the model's design and carbody features it was an answer to General Electric's new U25B that surprised the industry when it was released in April, 1959. For being somewhat of a reactionary design, EMD again found big success with its latest model, selling nearly 1,000 examples to dozens of Class I systems. Today, the GP30 is very well preserved with numerous examples at museums in operation on tourist lines. Additionally, others remain in service on short lines.

The GP30, which debuted in 1961 and was built through 1963, was one of the EMD’s first models of what is commonly referred today as second-generation power, or those diesel locomotives that are clearly defined from early models with less horsepower and fewer other technological features. While the common low, short hoods on EMD's diesel locomotives began to appear as early as the GP9s, the GP30 was one of the first models to include it as a standard design feature along with the earlier GP20 (until the FRA mandated that the wide "safety" cab design be employed on every new locomotive in the 1990s for added safety, the low, short hood design became common with all EMD models after the GP30). The GP30's prime mover was EMD’s new, 16 cylinder, 567D3 engine (a slight upgrade from the GP20's 567D2), which significantly increased horsepower from early Geep models.

Much improved over early models like the GP7 and GP9 the GP30 boasted 2,250 horsepower (250 more horsepower than the GP20, which is said to have been achieved through the use of a different turbocharger, since the bore, stroke, compression ratios and RPMs of the two engines were identical), was equipped with the recently developed dynamic brake (a system for temporarily employing traction motors as generators and using the resulting electromotive force to slow the train), and featured an airtight hood that kept out dust, dirt and other particles from reaching internal components (to cool these critical components the GP30 featured a single air intake for electrical cooling, with a pressurized cooling system).

While the GP30 was not as successful as its later counterparts like the GP40, GP40-2, and SD40/SD40-2, it nonetheless sold quite well at just fewer than 1,000 units (906 to be exact). When the model debuted it could be found from coast to coast on roads like the Baltimore & Ohio, Union Pacific, and Southern Railway and was beloved by railfans for its unmistakable bulge behind and above the cab along the roof-line where the dynamic braking was housed over the engine (the bulge itself was only a cosmetic-only feature to give a clean look of the roofline from the engine compartment to the cab, and was not used on any other model).

It should also be noted that nearly all future EMD models after the GP30 offered turbocharging thanks to the experimental test Union Pacific did with a few of its GP9s. In truth, turbocharging was not a new novelty in diesel locomotive development. The American Locomotive Company (Alco) pioneered its use in its early road switcher models which dated back to the early 1940s. Interestingly, there was a cabless GP30B design built but only for UP, which purchased 40, numbered 700B–739B with four equipped with steam generators for use in passenger service.

Once again, Canadian lines took no orders on the GP30 as all buyers of the locomotive were located in the U.S. The largest orders for the model came from Union Pacific (111), Southern (120), and the Santa Fe (85). Time and wear have naturally taken their toll on the GP30s' ranks but one can still find several roaming around on short lines, regionals, tourist railroads and even some Class Is (mostly, though, as either rebuilds or slug units on Class Is). Like almost all EMD locomotives the GP30 was built to last and it has certainly lived up to this reputation!

* American-Rails.com. The EMD GP30, Second Generation Power. [Web.] n.d.

** Rrpicturearchives.net. Pictures of ICG 2267. [Web.] Multiple contributors. 26 Feb. 2015.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Open screens for intakes, exhaust and cooling fans. Sharp body details and crisp paint and printing.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: Fans of GP30s and ICG power should appreciate this GP30.
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 40 002 451
  PUBLISHED: Jan 20, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Atlas Model Railroad!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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