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Body Style Information: The Atlas GP38 is made in China and has always been made in China. These mechanisms run fine but the first releases (1996) do not support drop in decoders. Both versions use a dual-flywheel, split frame chassis with a 5-Pole skew-wound motor.
DCC Information: Early Chinese versions are DCC-friendly requiring a complicated split-board DCC install. Later versions are DCC-Ready accepting a 1 Amp N Scale Mobile Decoder for Atlas N-Scale GP40-2, U25B, SD35, Trainmaster, B23-7 and others (DN163A0) from digitrax.com. Unfortunately, the only way to tell which kind you have is to remove the shell and check the chassis. If it has two small lightboards, you have an old one in your hand. A single long lightboard indicates a DCC-Ready chassis.
Prototype Information: The EMD GP38 is a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division between January 1966 and December 1971. The locomotive's power was provided by an EMD 645 16-cylinder engine which generated 2,000 horsepower (1.49 MW). The company built 706 GP38s for North American railroads. In 1972, it was replaced by an updated model, the GP38-2.
In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.
Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30, 1949, the Atlas Tool Company was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.
In 1985, Steve was honored posthumously for his inventions by the Model Railroad Industry Association and was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Steve was nominated and entered into the National Model Railroad Association Pioneers of Model Railroading in 1995.
In the early 1990s, the Atlas Tool Company changed its name to Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc.
Item created by: gdm on 2016-09-06 08:29:47
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