The Santa Fe amassed the largest original fleet (106 units) of this turbocharged
12-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
On October 4, 2017, Atlas announced that it will produce a completely new engine model, the GP39-2 Locomotive, a fuel-efficient alternative to the popular GP38-2. Until now, this model has never before been made in plastic. Similar to other engine product announcements from the Hillside, New Jersey-based company, this loco will be available with and without built-in DCC-Sound functionality.
Produced under Atlas' Master® Line Locomotives brand, this release will include both Atlas Master Silver (MSRP $139.95) and Atlas Master Gold (MSRP $249.95) versions with a pre-order date of Wednesday, November 1, 2017 and an estimated delivery of 2nd Quarter 2018.
More Sound-Enabled Locos
This announcement marks the fifth Atlas engine release to include factory-installed sound capabilities. In recent months, the company has announced a number of loco re-releases, all with built-in sound functionality. In September 2017, Atlas announced a re-release of its N SD-35 Locomotive, with and without built-in DCC-Sound functionality, in a new paint scheme and with new road numbers.
Back in May 2017, Atlas also announced a re-release of its GP38-2 locomotives in new paint schemes / road numbers with and without built-in DCC-Sound functionality.
In the spring in March 2017, Atlas announced the re-release of C-628 and C-630 locos. Please see our blog, Atlas Continues to Embrace DCC-Sound: C-628/630 Locomotive.
Previously it produced S2 switchers -- all sound-enabled.
Road names and Road Numbers
This engine will be available undecorated and come in 6 road names /paint schemes and 12 road numbers.
Some engine features include: golden-white LEDs, directional lighting, scale speed motor and Atlas Master® Gold version features ESU LokSound Decoder. For the first time ever, the Atlas Master® Silver version is Sound Ready and equipped with speaker for easy conversion to DCC sound.
Standardized sound/DCC modules?
Clearly Atlas and other model train manufacturers are wholeheartedly embracing the industry trend of offering sound-enabled locos. But according to our talks with Atlas (Paul Graf) and InterMountain (Doug Dollof) at the June N Scale Enthusiast Pittsburgh Convention, we learned that these companies are also working with sound-component manufacturers to come up with a standardized form factor (sound/DCC module) similar to the European NEM651 that would work in both of their engine models. The NEM651 works across a variety of engines and makes it possible for modelers to use a standardized DCC module in different locos from different manufacturers. Currently, most DCC-ready locos each require a different, unique decoder.
As of the writing of this blog, we put a call out to Atlas to learn more about this and will keep you posted. Update: we heard back from Atlas who explained that "The decoder that will be used in our GP39-2 is to be the exact same as used in the InterMountain SD40-2 (with appropriate sound file)." In September, 2017 InterMountain announced plans to re-release SD40-2 as Bicentennial NSE Special Run.
Here is a link to the Atlas website.