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N Scale - Micro-Trains - 986 00 080 - Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW1500 - NASA - 3

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Brand Micro-Trains
Stock Number 986 00 080
Secondary Stock Number 986 00 080
Original Retail Price $194.95
Manufacturer Micro-Trains Line
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Micro Trains Diesel Engine SW1500
Prototype Vehicle Locomotive, Diesel, EMD SW1500 (Details)
Road or Company Name NASA (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 3
Paint Color(s) Blue and White
Print Color(s) Red
Coupler Type MT Magne-Matic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Series Name Nasa
Release Date 2018-01-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype EMD
Model Variety SW1500
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Years Produced 1966-1974
Scale 1/160
EAN/JAN/GTIN13 Number xx



Specific Item Information: This SW1500 powered locomotive is blue with white band and NASA logo and runs on Flexicoil trucks. Built in 1970 for TP&W Railway as #306. NASA bought the locomotive in 1984 along with two sister units to replace their aging Alco S2 switchers. Originally painted red, grey and white, it was repainted in 2008 in blue, white and red as part of a 15-month corrosion repair project.

Model Information: Micro-Trains introduced this model in 2014. It is MTL's first new locomotive model since their 2002 EMD FT release. The mechanism is very similar to the Life-Like mechanism they had previously used with several important upgrades including DCC-friendliness. The chassis is manufactured by Walthers/Life-Like in China. Apparently, Micro-Trains had finally run through the thousands of undecorated Life-Like SW9/1200's they had purchased for use in their train sets and needed a similar engine to serve the same purpose in their frequent new train-set releases. In response, Walthers (the current owner of Life-Like) was able to update the venerable mechanisms to modern standards. Micro-Trains makes and decorates the shells in their Oregon factory and combines them with the Walthers-supplied mechanisms. The new Micro-Trains/Walthers SW1500 is a solid upgrade from the original Life-Like switcher.

We asked Eric Smith from Micro-Trains why they elected to not use the same manufacturer for the Switchers as had made their FT units. He explained that the manufacturer of the FTs was no longer in business and that it was more efficient to use a revised version of the Life-Like switcher than to contract a complete new tooling from scratch.

The most important feature of the new mechanism is that it routes the power through a lightboard prior to sending it to the motor. This permits a drop-in DCC decoder upgrade. The motor performs similarly to the predecessor in that it can pull 15 or more cars on level track. The engine operation is similarly smooth and quiet.

The Walthers rep at the 2017 NSE convention stated that Walthers would also be releasing this locomotive with their own branding and shells "sometime in the future".

DCC Information: Newer (2017+?) releases accept TCS MT 1500 and Digitrax DN-126M2 decoders

Prototype History:
The EMD SW1500 was a 1,500 hp (1,119 kW) Diesel-electric locomotive intended for switching service and built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division between June 1966 and January 1974. 808 examples were constructed. It was closely related to the less powerful EMD SW1000 model, forming a line of switchers powered by the new EMD 645 engine. The SW1500 replaced the SW1200 in the EMD product line, and was in turn replaced by the MP15DC.

The SW1500 was a substantially bulkier locomotive than the SW1200, with a much bulkier frame, larger cab and bigger hood. In many respects it was approaching a road switcher in abilities. While the SW1500 came as standard with AAR switcher trucks, the majority of them were delivered with the optional Flexicoil trucks which permitted speeds up to 60 mph (100 km/h). The SW1500 was, in fact, often operated as a road-switcher for branchline service, and continues in this role today.

From Wikipedia

Road Name History:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower established NASA in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

Since that time, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.

From Wikipedia

The NASA Railroad operates 38 miles of track connecting the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida to a connection with the Florida East Coast Railroad. Traffic includes fuel, rocket components and other equipment switched in recent years with a trio of ex-TP&W SW1500’s. Traffic fell off considerably with the cancellation of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. NASA’s fleet of liquid helium and liquid oxygen tank cars were loaned to SpaceX in Texas and California. The railroad was inactive between 2013 and 2020 but limited service has resumed as private space launch companies have begun to use the Kennedy Space Center again.

Brand/Importer Information: Micro-Trains is the brand name used by both Kadee Quality Products and Micro-Trains Line. For a history of the relationship between the brand and the two companies, please consult our Micro-Trains Collector's Guide.

Manufacturer Information:
Micro-Trains Line split off from Kadee Quality Products in 1990. Kadee Quality Products originally got involved in N-Scale by producing a scaled-down version of their successful HO Magne-Matic knuckle coupler system. This coupler was superior to the ubiquitous 'Rapido' style coupler due to two primary factors: superior realistic appearance and the ability to automatically uncouple when stopped over a magnet embedded in a section of track. The success of these couplers in N-Scale quickly translated to the production of trucks, wheels and in 1972 a release of ready-to-run box cars.

Micro-Trains Line Co. split off from Kadee in 1990 to form a completely independent company. For this reason, products from this company can appear with labels from both enterprises. Due to the nature of production idiosyncrasies and various random factors, the rolling stock from Micro-Trains can have all sorts of interesting variations in both their packaging as well as the products themselves. When acquiring an MTL product it is very important to understand these important production variations that can greatly enhance (or decrease) the value of your purchase.

Please consult our Micro-Trains Collector's Guide

Item created by: gdm on 2017-06-17 10:34:57. Last edited by gdm on 2018-01-02 13:08:10

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