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Athearn™ GP40X - Norfolk Southern Diesel Locomotive

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In 1977, Electro-Motive introduced its GP40X diesel locomotive. Powered by a turbocharged 16 cylinder 645F prime mover, the unit was rated at 3,500 horsepower, making it the most powerful four motor unit catalogued by EMD at the time of its inception. The GP40X actually served as test unit for technologies in development which would later be incorporated into EMD’s 50 series locomotives. The locomotive’s long hood featured flared radiators, an imposing trait it shared with the six motor SD45. Only 23 GP40X’s were delivered to original purchasers as follows:


-Santa Fe……10

-Southern Pacific……4

-Southern Railway……3

-Union Pacific……6


Given the limited distribution of the prototype GP40X, it seems illogical to think a model manufacturer would catalog a mass produced plastic reproduction of the locomotive; however, Athearn has chosen to do just that. Athearn’s HO scale GP40X is a well detailed, smooth running miniature version of its big brother. Utilizing a shell formerly manufactured as an after market component by Rail Power Products, additional enhancements in the form of grab irons and road name specific details have been applied. My units are the three high nose variants which were originally delivered to Southern Railway and conveyed to Norfolk Southern when Southern merged with Norfolk & Western. Each of my models features a bell mounted at the end of the long hood and two sets of air horns positioned at opposite ends of the locomotive as SOU units were configured to run in either direction. The long hood was officially designated as the engine’s front and a small “F” is printed in the appropriate place on the frame reflecting this unique characteristic. The cab features sliding windows and the painting is absolutely flawless. My units are numbered 7000, 7001 and 7002 as per the NS prototypes. The locomotives operate as well as they look featuring smooth running, powerful motors and directional lighting.


The list price for the GP40X is $89.98. A link to the official Athearn photograph of the Norfolk Southern model for illustrative purposes is provided as follows:




Follow the HO scale tab at the main page if the link does not bring you directly to the photograph and look for GP40X under locomotives to be taken to the appropriate page.


In summary, the Athearn GP40X is a well executed model of an unusual prototype which would make a fine addition to any railfan’s collection.


Best regards,



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