A Blast From The Past, Part 1

Way back in 1996, MTH brought out a scale model of the EMD GP-20 diesel.  Advanced for its time, it had the original Protosound system which provided realistic sound and rudimentary engine control.  Though not a fan of diesels, I got one (the EMD demonstrator colors appealed to me) and have had it all this time though I seldom run it, the original PS1 being a lot less fun than the current PS2 system with it's far more varied sounds and remote control capabilities.  I've upgraded most of my PS1 steamers to PS2 and will upgrade the diesels in the coming year, so thought that perhaps as a change of pace I'd show a few of them before their conversion.  This is a locomotive, an entire train actually, that I've never before shown on video.  Here's some background on the GP-20.  In the late 1950s, railroads were looking for locomotives with high-horsepower output.  General Electric and Alco obliged by releasing units with 2,400 and 2,500 HP capability.  General Motor's ElectroMotive Division (EMD), at first was reluctant to chime in.  They figured that turbocharging their 567 diesel engine would drive up maintenance costs and that was to be avoided.  Yet in 1959, EMD outshopped the GP20, a 16-cylinder, 2,000 HP road switcher with a turbocharged 567D2 engine.  Union Pacific fostered EMD's change of heart.  It was only after the road experimented with and found success with turbocharging EMD's 567 engine in the GP9s on their roster that EMD recognized the engine's potential.  GP20's closely resembled earlier Geeps, such as the GP7, GP9 and GP18.  The increased power made the difference.  As a result of that power, one feature of the GP20 that distinguished it from prior Geeps was its short exhaust stack, located just behind of the first fan behind the cab.  These units were produced until 1962.  In this True HD 1080p video, you can see the PS1 GP-20 hauling a train of double-stack cars.  It bears a striking resemblance to what I see at some local railroad crossings, though those trains can be 100 cars long!

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2 Responses to A Blast From The Past, Part 1

  1. How did you change the ps1 to ps2 i would like to do the the same with my 4-6-0 New York Central. I also have a berkshire and was wandering if it could be upgraded as well .

  2. ToyTrains1 says:

    Funny you should ask! 🙂 I just upgraded this locomotive from PS1 to PS2 and will soon be posting a new video of the PS2 version. If you’re not comfortable working with electronics, you pay an authorized upgrade tech to do the work for you. If you’re handy and can work with electronics, you get the upgrade kit (MTH club members get a discount), open up the locomotive, gut out the old PS1 electronics, and put in the new parts from the PS2 upgrade kit. While it’s tedious work, it’s not terribly hard and the instructions that come with the kit are quite good. Having done a dozen steamers (and the old GG1), doing the diesels, for me, isn’t hard at all.

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