Kato SD38-2's or Atlas GP38's????

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Hello, I'm planning on having a small "local" on my layout. It's going to be about 8-10 cars long and I'm wondering which engines I should choose to pull it: 2 Kato Union Pacific Yard SD38-2's or 2 Atlas Union Pacific GP38's, or one of each??? Any advice is appreciated.



Entrepreneurial Teen
Welcome to the forums Sean! Sorry I can't help you out with your question, as I don't have any experience with either engine, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly that can help you out! I'm sure you'll enjoy the forums, as there is a plethera of knowledge here. I'll also encourage you to post some pictures of your layout for us to drool over :) . You can upload images directly into a thread, or you can add them to the Model Photo Gallery, which can be accessed via the link at the top of the page.


Registered Member
Staff member
Hi Sean! and Welcome to the forums. Sorry I can't help you on that one either, but there are lots of experienced modelers here who can. Some one will be by shortly that can help you out.


Coal Shoveler
I would say the GP-38s; I think you would mainly see those working locals and branch traffic. I don't think a local would need a SD-38, besides, the "Y" means Yard, mainly.

But, if you were going to do a transfer run (from one yard to another), then the SDs might get out some....



I'd use the GP38's myself. Unless your local is iron ore or something very heavy. The SD's are just too much power, you could use a single SD38-2 if you wanted, but two would be over kill. If GP38's are too old for you, Proto makes a very nice GP38-2 you could pair together.
That's just my 2 cents. You could always do like the railroads and use whats handy, and rotate the power for "maintenance".


I like TYCO!
The few UP locals I have seen rated one or 2 GP38 types. Those having more cars rated a second engine.
For reference, I have seen UP locals around Spokane and Kennewick, WA. Not a whole lot of business in those areas that I was fanning.

For what you plan, one GP38 would be fine. BUT, run what you want or like. It is YOUR railroad. :)


Central Phoenix Railroad
Hi Amtrk14,
Welcome to the forum. I'd have to say thats a pretty cool layout you have going there. Just wondering, what did you make your river out of?
Keep up the good work,
Chris Moore


Coal Shoveler
As an afterthought, if you're really set on using SD38s, you could have one in combo with the GP38; it's possible that one of the 38s is bad-ordered, and they need another loco to replace it. And, the only one they had around was the SD-38. Can't say this never happened; it's not likely in real life, but it's your layout....

The other thing is that the SD-38 is the six-axle version of the GP-30, so the HP rating is the same. The extra axle spreads out the load on the rails, but that's offset some by the extra weight....



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