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N Scale - Life-Like - 7598 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW8 - Penn Central - 8642

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N Scale - Life-Like - 7598 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW8 - Penn Central - 8642


N Scale - Life-Like - 7598 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW8 - Penn Central - 8642


Production Type Regular Production
Stock Number 7598
Original Retail Price $79.98
Brand Life-Like
Manufacturer Life-Like
Body Style Life-Like Diesel Switcher SW8/600/900
Prototype Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW8 (Details)
Road or Company Name Penn Central (Details)
Reporting Marks PC
Road or Reporting Number 8642
Paint Color(s) Black
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Coupler Mount Body-Mount
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
DCC Readiness No
Release Date 2005-11-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype EMD
Model Variety SW8
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Years Produced 1950–1954
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Life-Like introduced the SW9/1200 model in 1997. In 2003, they added the SW8/600/900 which is a very similar model which uses the same mechanism. It is fairly high quality and runs well when it can get good pickup. It is prone to stalling, however, whenever it has slightly dirty wheels, encounters slightly dirty track or runs over a turnout. For this reason, they are best run in pairs or at high speeds. That being said, the revised versions run better and the most recent releases that started in 2017 run quite well.

The reason for the stalling is due to the fact that it is simply a small, lightweight engine. Even though the chassis is all-metal and split-frame with a free-floating weight inside the cab, it just doesn't weigh all that much. Without enough heft, it is hard to keep conductivity with the track. The motor is s 5-pole skew-wound job. All eight wheels provide pickup and drive. Directional lighting is provided by an LED-equipped PC board mounted to the front of the chassis. The model uses chemically blackened wheels. Early runs used body-mounted Rapido couplers. Later versions feature Accumate or MTL couplers. The couplers are held in place with a plastic clip to permit easy swapping with the couplers of your choice.

Walthers also supplies the mechanisms for the latest 2017 DCC-Ready version to Micro-Trains which uses its own shell for their switchers.

DCC Information: There is no specific support for DCC on these models, but installing a decoder in the cab is a usual solution.

A wired DCC decoder installation for this model can be found on the following:
- Brad Myers' N-scale DCC decoder installs blog.
- André Kritzinger's Chessie System in N scale website.

Prototype History:
An EMD SW8 is a diesel shunting/switching locomotive manufactured by General Motors Electro-Motive Division and General Motors Diesel between September 1950 and February 1954. Power is supplied by an EMD 567B 8-cylinder engine, for a total of 800 hp (600 kW). A total of 309 of this model were built for United States railroads and 65 for Canadian railroads. Starting in October 1953 a number of SW8s were built with either the 567BC or 567C engine, they are noted in the roster below.

Road Name History:
The Penn Central Transportation Company, commonly abbreviated to Penn Central, was an American Class I railroad headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that operated from 1968 until 1976. It was created by the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads. The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad was added to the merger in 1969; by 1970, the company had filed for what was, at that time, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The Penn Central was created as a response to challenges faced by all three railroads in the late 1960s. The northeastern quarter of the United States, these railroads' service area, was the most densely populated region of the U.S. While railroads elsewhere in North America drew a high percentage of their revenues from the long-distance shipment of commodities such as coal, lumber, paper and iron ore, Northeastern railroads traditionally depended on a mix of services.

As it turned out, the merged Penn Central was little better off than its constituent roads were before. A merger implementation plan was drawn up, but not carried out. Attempts to integrate operations, personnel and equipment were not very successful, due to clashing corporate cultures, incompatible computer systems and union contracts. Track conditions deteriorated (some of these conditions were inherited from the three merged railroads) and trains had to be run at reduced speeds. This meant delayed shipments and personnel working a lot of overtime. As a result, operating costs soared. Derailments and wrecks became frequent, particularly in the midwest.

The American financial system was shocked when after only two years of operations, the Penn Central Transportation company was put into bankruptcy on June 21, 1970. It was the largest corporate bankruptcy in American history at that time. Although the Penn Central Transportation Company was put into bankruptcy, its parent Penn Central Company was able to survive.

The Penn Central continued to operate freight service under bankruptcy court protection. After private-sector reorganization efforts failed, Congress nationalized the Penn Central under the terms of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. The new law folded six northeastern railroads, the Penn Central and five smaller, failed lines, into the Consolidated Rail Corporation, commonly known as Conrail. The act took effect on April 1, 1976.

Read more on Wikipedia.

Brand/Importer Information:
Life-Like Products LLC (now Life-Like Toy and Hobby division of Wm. K. Walthers) was a manufacturer of model railroad products and was based in Baltimore, Maryland.

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.

In June 2018, Atlas and Walthers announced to have reached an agreement under which all Walthers N scale rolling stock tooling, including the former Life-Like tooling, will be purchased by Atlas.

Read more on Wikipedia and The Train Collectors Association.

Item created by: Alain LM on 2019-03-14 18:42:48

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