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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:
The Soo Line and the Delaware and Hudson Railway, the CP's other major subsidiary (before the 2008 DM&E acquisition), presently do business as the Canadian Pacific Railway, and most equipment has been repainted into the CP's scheme, but the U.S. Surface Transportation Board groups all CP's U.S. subsidiaries under the Soo Line name for reporting purposes.
It was founded in the 1950s by a company that pioneered extruded foam ice chests under the Lifoam trademark. Because ice chests are a summer seasonal item, the company needed a way to keep the factory operating year round. As model railroading was becoming popular in the post-war years, they saw this as an opportunity and so manufactured extruded foam tunnels for model trains. Over the years, Life-Like expanded into other scenery items, finally manufacturing rolling stock beginning in the late 1960s. At some point in the early 1970s, Life-Like purchased Varney Inc. and began to produce the former Varney line as its own.
The Canadian distributor for Life-Like products, Canadian Hobbycraft, saw a missing segment in market for Canadian model prototypes, and started producing a few Canadian models that were later, with a few modifications, offered in the US market with US roadnames.
In 2005, the company, now known as Lifoam Industries, LLC, decided to concentrate on their core products of extruded foam and sold their model railroad operations to Wm. K. Walthers.
Read more on Wikipedia and The Train Collectors Association.
Item created by: Alain LM on 2017-05-23 17:50:33. Last edited by gdm on 2018-03-06 19:50:45
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