Intermountain (China) EMD SD40-2W

Introduced: 2010 (SD40-2W)

Mechanically, these models employ a design very much in keeping with the conventions employed by Atlas in their diesels. In fact, Intermountain and Atlas diesels appear to actually share many of the same internal components (motor, etc). Just speculating here, but I assume this means that they were made at the same Chinese factory that Atlas uses.

This particular model appears to employ a slightly modified version of the chassis/mech used by Intermountain in their 2008 SD45-2 model - in fact, modified to the point of looking like some sort of "one off" experiment on Intermountain's part. The frame has clearly been ground at the back end (presumably to accommodate the slightly shorter SD40-2W shell), and the lighting is, wow, quite interesting. The forward LED (originally used to illuminate the numberboards on the SD45-2) has been removed from the lightboard entirely; replaced instead by a small LED board screwed to the front of the chassis (and with wires running back to the main lightboard where they are globbily affixed with solder). On the plus side, this does serve to light up the nose headlight. Unfortunately, it also means that the numberboards are unlit. The rear lighting is similarly modified - with the lightboard LED removed and replaced by a mini-LED mounted to a small plastic arm (and once again, with wires globbily soldered to the main PC board). I'm assuming (once again) that this was all done to acccommodate the shorter shell. Unfortunately, Intermountain did not figure out a way to get light to the ditchlights (IE, they are non-functional).

The rest of the mechanism sports all the features one normally associates with "modern" diesel models - IE, DCC-Ready / split-frame / all-metal chassis, 5-pole / skew-wound / "slow speed" motor, dual flywheels, low-friction drive, all-wheel drive and pickup (no traction tires), blackened / low-profile wheels, shell-mounted Micro-Trains couplers, all-plastic gearing, etc. Shells are available with or without dynamic brakes (as per the prototype). Sunshades (to be installed by the modeler) are included in the box.

Performance-wise, this locomotive is perfect. Smooth, quiet, responsive and powerful. Excellent slow speed creep and reasonable top-end. Like other Intermountain EMD SD-XX diesels, all of the various shell pieces are glued together. So disassembly (for painting purposes) is not as easy it could/should be. Fortunately, they don't appear to be as flimsy and prone to falling apart as the earlier Intermountain "Tunnel Motor" models (although the handrail stanchions aren't fixed as tightly to the sidesills as they could be). Paint and detailing are nicely done - certainly better than I've seen on previous Intermountain diesels. Given all the wiring kludges vis'a'vis the lighting, decoder installation looks like it could be a bit difficult. Overall though, these are fine looking and nice running models.

Prototype information -

The EMD SD40-2W is a Canadian-market version of the SD40-2 diesel-electric locomotive, built for the Canadian National Railway by the Diesel Division of General Motors of Canada Ltd. (formerly General Motors Diesel) of London, Ontario; 123 were constructed between May 1975 and December 1980. The major difference between the SD40-2W and a regular SD40-2 is the fitment of a wide-nose Canadian comfort cab, denoted by the 'W' in the model name.

Trivia - SD40-2W shells will fit on IMRC's SD40-2 chassis (a quick and easy way to add DCC-Sound to your SD40-2W).

Shell removal is blessedly 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

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