This review is
from Model Railroader, June 2001. Reprinted with
permission of Kalmbach Publishing Company
O Scale SD35,
SDP35 from Atlas O
The new Atlas O SD35 and
SDP35 are excellent models with outstanding pulling power thanks
to their heavy weight and dual-motor drive systems.
the 2,500-hp SD35 in 1964 as the successor to the earlier 2,500-hp
SD24. It was the first SD with an angled cab roof, and it can be
distinguished from later SDs by its rear rooftop radiator fan
arrangement of two large (48”-diameter) fans with a small
(36”) fan in between. It was moderately successful, with 360
sold until production ended in January 1966.
Major SD35 buyers included
Southern Ry. (100), Norfolk & Western (80), Pennsylvania RR
(40), Southern Pacific (29), Baltimore & Ohio (24), Atlantic
Coast Line (24), and Louisville & Nashville (22). The N&W,
Southern, and ten Central of Georgia engines had high noses; the
rest had the low noses that had then become standard for EMD. All
SD35s and SDP35s had dynamic brakes.
The SDP35, designed for
use in either passenger or freight service, was a standard SD35
geared for higher speeds and with a distinctive extension at the
rear of the long hood for a steam generator. A total of 35 were
built for Seaboard Air Line (20), Union Pacific (10), Louisville
& Nashville (4), and Atlantic Coast Line (1).
Atlas O offers this model
with a high or low nose to match the different prototypes. We
tested the two-rail DC scale version, but a hi-rail AC version
with Lionel Train Master command control and RailSounds is also
The model has an
injection-molded styrene shell made up of three main pieces: the
long hood, cab, and nose. Separate details include fan housings
and fan blades (which rotate), horn, grab irons, cab sunshades,
lift rings, sand filler hatches, uncoupling lever, m.u. hoses and
stands, drop steps, handrail chains, and (on the SDP) steam
generator details. The shell detail is sharp, with good definition
and texture in the grills and other areas. The truck sideframes
are decent with separate cylinders and airlines.
There’s no cab interior,
but there’s a painted figure in a seat on each side of the cab.
A black plastic shield hides the head-end motor from view.
Six screws hold the shell
to a heavy die-cast frame, which includes the walkways, fuel tank,
pilots, and wire handrails and stanchions.
The model’s dimensions
are all within an inch or two of drawings published in the
December 1964 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. However,
there’s a noticeable gap (almost a scale foot) between the
trucks and body, which makes the model appear to ride quite high.
Each model is powered by
two can motors which are mounted vertically atop each truck. A
series of gears transfers motion to all axles, and all wheels pick
up electricity. I tested the Conrail SD35 for the performance
evaluation, and it ran smoothly through its speed range. The
pulling qualities are excellent (it took some muscle to do the
stall test), and the SD35’s 1 pound, 6 ounce drawbar pull should
be good for about 66 cars on straight, level track.
Plastic knuckle couplers
are mounted on each pilot, and the couplers are at the correct
height. The wheelsets on our samples are all in gauge.
The electronics are all
located on a printed-circuit board located under the hood and
fastened to the middle of the frame. The board includes an
eight-pin socket for a DCC decoder, and there’s plenty of room
for a decoder.
The headlight LEDs are
secured inside the shell, but not hard-wired to circuit board.
Instead, four springs inside the shell press down on a PC board
pad on the frame when the shell is in place. The headlights begin
to flicker at about 4 volts and reach full (constant) brightness
at just over 5 volts.
The paint and lettering on
our Conrail SD35 and Seaboard SDP35 samples were nicely done. The
small label lettering is sharp and legible, and all of the
striping separations on the SAL engine are sharp.
Atlas had again expanded
options for O scale modelers with this excellent early
second-generation diesel. – Jeff Wilson, associate editor
O scale SD35 and
Atlas O LLC
603 Sweetland Ave.
Hillside, NJ 07205
headlights and marker lights
Drawbar pull: 1 pound, 6
Dual can motors
Engine weight: 5 pound, 9
Minimum radius: 27”
Minimum, midrange, and
maximum speeds on filtered DC, straight track:
Central of New Jersey
Norfolk & Western
Seaboard Air Line