Atlas (China) GE B23-7 / B30-7 / B36-7


B23-7

B30-7 / B36-7

Introduced: 2001 ("fast motor" version) and 2005 ("slow motor" version)

Apart from minor variations in shell detailing, these models are all pretty much identical. In fact, the B30-7's and the B36-7's are identical (the two prototypes having no visible external differences). Basically it's just the road/number that determines whether a given model is a 30 or 36.

These were the first Atlas diesel models to come with sunshades. They're also available with an impressive array of prototype-driven variations - fat or thin anticlimber, knuckle or button battery boxes, FB-2, AAR or Blomberg trucks, low or high nose, flat or protruding headlight, and 2 or 4 window cab.

The mechanism sports all the features one normally associates with "modern" Atlas diesels - IE, split-frame / all-metal chassis, 5-pole / skew-wound motor with dual flywheels, low-friction drive, bi-directional LED lighting, all-wheel drive and pickup (no traction tires), blackened / low-profile wheels, shell-mounted Accumate couplers, all-plastic gearing, etc. The chassis is fully DCC-Ready (and, in fact, available with factory-installed decoders). Starting with the 2005 production run, these models were upgraded to include "scale speed" motors and golden-white lighting.

Performance on these models is perfect in every way - smooth, quiet, flawless pickup and throttle response, exceptional pulling power, etc.

Prototype information -

General Electric's "Dash 7" locomotive line was introduced as a replacement for the older "Universal-Series" of the 60s and early 70s. Dash 7 series improvements included increased fuel efficiency, tractive effort and reliability. The B23-7 was a direct replacement for the 2,250HP U23B model. The first units were produced for Conrail in September, 1977 (ironically, 3 months after the last U23B was delivered to Conrail). Production continued through 1984, with a total of 535 units built. Conrail was the largest purchaser of the model, with a total fleet of 141 units.

Several features distinguished B23-7s from predecessor models. The long hood stepped outward in the area of the exhaust stack to accommodate a relocated oil cooler. In addition, the frame was 2 feet longer than that of the U23B. An FB-2 style truck was offered as standard equipment on B23-7s, but some railroads opted to use trade-in trucks. Therefore, AAR type B and Blomberg trucks could be found on some models. The six power assembly doors (located near the center of the long hood) indicated that the B23-7 was powered by a 12-cylinder GE FDL engine.

Shell removal on these models is pretty simple, just take hold of the fuel tank with one hand and the shell with the other, then just sort of wiggle it up and off.

Grade: A (all)

B23-7 reviewed: 05/2001 Model Railroader ("Seems like every time Atlas comes out with a new N scale locomotive it raises the bar a little higher, and the firm has certainly done so again with this fine rendition of a GE B23-7 diesel. The B23-7 comes in flavors mixing three different kinds of trucks (AAR, FB-2, and EMD GP "Blomberg"), low or high hoods, two rear headlight styles (flat and protruding), two styles of anti-climbers (fat and thin), two varieties of battery box (knuckle or button), and cabs with two or four windows per side. Undecorated models come five different ways and the painted models have features to match each road name. Atlas chose a good prototype for this model, one that hasn't been offered in N before yet enjoyed considerable popularity with big-time railroads...

"The all-new model was made in China and features the vertically split metal frame we've become used to in Atlas and Kato production. The heart of the locomotive is a five-pole, skewed-armature, double-ended open-frame motor that's isolated from the frame except for tabs from the brush holders making contact. Flywheels help smooth out the motion and plastic universal joints ensure good drivetrain alignment. Brass worms transfer the motor's motion to the typical arrangement of plastic gears incorporated in the trucks. The frame halves are energized by springy phosphor bronze strips that contact tabs atop metal places that also provide bearing surfaces for the axle ends... The wheels are chemically darkened and in gauge... Flange depth was also on target. Atlas offers the engine with or without a factory-installed Digitrax DCC decoder... The body-mounted Acuumate couplers are compatible with Micro-Trains and similar couplers...

"Heaven is in the details, starting with all those tiny stickers along the hood doors, on the ends, and below the cab which are clearly readable under a magnifying glass. And then we have the painted handrails with white and yellow ends where appropriate, numbers on the number boards, cab sunshades, red-painted fuel filler caps, and snowplows. The painting and lettering are for the most part very well done. I was quite favorably impressed by the rich yellow on my Santa Fe unit, as often this is pallid on N scale models. The white lettering and numbers on the SP model weren't quite as opaque as I'd like, however... This is an engine that runs as good as it looks, although it did strike me as a little noisy. It should pull about 16 free-rolling cars on straight, level track. I ran the decoder-equipped SF engine on my modules at home with my SystemOne and the performance was remarkable, the best I've seen for a engine straight out of the box. Our art director, Tom Danneman, an avid N scaler, said "this is the best N scale locomotive to date," and I'd have to say that if it isn't, it's certainly among 'em. ATSF, BNSF, Conrail, CSX, NS, Southern, SP, UP, Undec. $114")

B30-7/B36-7 reviewed: 03/2002 Model Railroader- "The latest in Atlas' line of N scale General Electric Dash 7 locomotives is a superb model of a B30-7 featuring the new slower-speed motor introduced in last year's GP38... Atlas' model comes in versions mixing AAR-B or FB-2 trucks, thin or fat anticlimbers, flat or protruding rear headlight, four-window (early version) or the later two-window cab, two battery box styles, and fat or thin exhaust stack. Undecorated models come in four versions while painted ones match features of the specific road name...

"This all-new model is made in China and uses the same vertically split frame as the B23-7. A five-pole, skew-wound, double-ended, open-frame motor is isolated from the frame except for the brush holder tabs that make contact. Power from the rails is conducted from the wheels through brass bearing plates holding the axle ends. Phosphor bronze pickups inserted into the frame contact metal tabs atop the plates and energize the frame halves. Turned brass flywheels smooth out the motion and help provide mass. The drive train is made of plastic and metal parts, and a brass worm transfers the motor's motion to the wheels through plastic gears in the trucks. The wheels are chemically darkened and met NMRA standards for gauge and flange depth. Atlas offers this model with or without factory-installed Lenz DCC decoder. Ones without decoders can be converted to DCC by replacing the light board with Lenz LE063 or Digitrax DN146A decoder. The light board features a first for Atlas in N scale - white LEDs which better approximate prototype headlights than did the yellow LEDs used previously. The body-mounted Accumate couplers are compatible with MT and similar types. The couplers on our samples are at the correct height.

"Our samples' dimensions closely matched (prototype) drawings... The model has painted handrails, numbers in the number boards, cab sunshades and snowplows. The brake wheel, exhaust hatch, handrails, horn, and radiator hatch are applied separately. The body shell is well molded with sharp definition; the plastic trucks have good relief detail. The paint on our Frisco unit was evenly applied with sharp separation lines between the red and the broad white band. Ditto for the yellow and blue on our Chessie sample. Atlas gets high marks for excellent paint jobs - white and yellow can be two of the most difficult colors when it comes to good paint coverage. Lettering on our samples is crisp; even the minute "Danger 600 Volts" decals are legible with a magnifying glass. This model's performance is excellent and rivals Atlas' smooth-running B23-7. However, with the new slow-speed motor, the B30-7 has much more usable speed range between 3 and 9 volts... Our samples were a little noisy at all speeds, although this should lessen with use. Drawbar pull is .64 ounces, same as the B23-7, and is good for about 15 cars on level, straight track. We're running out of superlatives to describe Atlas' N scale Dash 7 line. Suffice it to say that its B30-7 performs as well as it looks, and it looks outstanding. $99.99 (no decoder), $134.95 (with decoder). BN, Chessie, Cotton Belt, CSX, Frisco, Undec"


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