Ibertren (Spain) Alco DL500-C

Introduced: circa 1980

Here's an interesting model from Ibertren (Spain). The prototype is an Alco "World Series" export model, similar in many respects to North American FA locos. In addition to the DL500-C designation, I have also seen them variously referred to as FDP-7's and 1800's. I'm told that Ibertren released these models in a number of different countries (representing the different users of the World Series locomotive). Also, at least two versions were painted in North American prototype schemes (Amtrak and CN), although these were never actually sold in the US (not that I'm aware of, anyway). These models vanished circa 1992 when Ibertren went out of business. As of this writing (2008) Ibertren has reopened its doors (HO only) and is apparently also looking to get back into N scale. So, who knows? These models may yet reappear.

These have a pretty strange mechanism - pretty much unlike anything I've ever seen before. The frame consists of one piece of cast metal (contoured to follow the shape of the shell). The motor is attached to the rear truck and swivels right along with it on curves. All of the wheels on the rear truck are equipped with traction tires, so consequently all pick-up comes from the six wheels on the forward truck (with current ferried around via wires). The headlight is, amazingly enough, directional. Rapido-style couplers are mounted to the trucks. Performance is not great. It's quite loud and pickup is iffy (not surprising, given all the traction tires).

These things are really hard to find, particularly in the US. I spent years looking before I finally tracked one down on eBay-Spain. And frankly, apart from allowing me to complete this entry, it probably wasn't worth all the effort.

Grade: C

Here's the CN version:

Here's a picture from the 1983 Ibertren catalog:

Here's the prototype:

Around the same time, Ibertren also marketed another Alco export locomotive, the FPD-9 aka 321 or 2100 (pictured below). I don't believe Ibertren ever marketed these in any North American paint schemes.

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