USA SD40-2

    USA Trains has come out with another well-done Second Generation
Diesel, in it's model of the SD40-2.  This EMD locomotive produced 3000
HP and rode on six-wheel trucks.  It is an evolutiuon of the original
SD-7, and is a road switcher found on many railroads across the United
States.  The SD38, SD40, and SD45 ride on the same frame, which results
in the SD38 and SD40 having large platform areas extending at each end.
The SD40 has three large radiator roof fans, and USA has reproduced them
faithfully in their model. The SD40 was produced from 1966 through
1971.  There was a passenger version made which included an extended
hood to house a steam generator.  The USA model is strictly the freight
    I managed to try one of these units on my home layout. The unit I
tested was a Union Pacific loco, and the paint and graphics were crisp
and prototypical.  This model is an impressive 26 3/4 inches long, and
has quite a bit of heft to it which means excellent traction.  It runs
on dual six wheel motorized trucks, comes with reversing headlights,
reversing markers and illuminated number boards.  There is also a yellow
roof flasher that models modern prototype practice for many roads .  The
cab doors open, and the cab interior is detailed.  Unfortunately, the
same engineer clone that USA and Aristo use for all their diesels sits
in the cab.  A repaint job would greatly improve his appearance.  The
locomotive also has opearting smoke, and comes with USA knuckle
couplers.  The platform and steps are highly detailed, and the diesel
has some nice add on's like a multi-chime horn and "firecracker"  radio
    The unit has all-wheel power pickup, and of course the USA sliders.
I always remove these sliders on my USA models because they pick the
frog on turnouts, snag crossovers, and do not do well with built up
grade crossings, uncoupler magnets, or magnets placed for horn/ bell
activation.  I have found no problems with power pickup without these
sliders.  If you want to retain them, you can replace them with LGB
sliders which are wider and do not interfere with operation.  This unit
starts smoothly, and crawls down the track well at low throttle.  These
is the usual USA gear noise, but I have found that this diminishes with
more running time.  Traction is good, and there should be no problem
pulling long freight trains with this loco.
    Sound can easily be installed in this loco.  Phoenix makes a
"generic" turbo sound system which would work in this diesel.  It comes
with a multi-chime horn and sounds great.  Sierra has two systems for
the SD40; one sytem has the Nathan K3 horn and one has the Nathan M3
horn.  Any of these system would bring this diesel to life.
    In all, this is an excellent model that would be at home on any late
60's early 70's pike.