HO Scale GE B36-7 Locomotive

HO Scale GE B36-7 Locomotive

First pre-production samples of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific B36-7. There a still a few parts missing from these samples but it’s clear there has never been a 1970-80s GE locomotive in HO scale with this level of road-specific detail.

 
Rapido Trains Inc. is very pleased to reveal the General Electric B36-7, never before released in ready-to-run HO Scale! This is Rapido’s first modern-ish US freight locomotive and we’re super enthusiastic about it.

The four-axle GE B36-7 was a high-horsepower speed racer built to appeal to railroads in the early 1980s looking to turbocharge their growing intermodal business. There were few drag freights or slow-moving manifests for these thoroughbreds in their early years. They could be found in multiples at the head of piggyback and autorack services and the new double-stack container trains.

Three Seaboard B36-7s doing what they were designed for, moving pigs …and fast!
Pictured at Callahan, Florida, on September 3, 1986. Photo courtesy of John Eull

Most of the CSX fleet was still in service well into the 2000s, usually in yard or manifest freight service. This ex-Seaboard System example was recorded leading a train out of Boyle Yard in Birmingham, Alabama, with a B30-7 partner in October 2005.

Replacing the “Universal Series” U36B in the GE catalogue, the first prototypes were built at Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1980 for the St Louis SouthWestern, otherwise known as the Cotton Belt. Initial orders were hampered by the recession of 1981-2; however, by the last year of production in 1985 some 222 locomotives had been constructed for US railroads with a further eight for export. We were surprised to find that this wasn’t that far off the total of GP50s ever built, yet we’ve seen three HO scale models of that so far!

The design found customers in several of the larger Class 1s of the period: Santa Fe, Conrail, Seaboard System, Southern and Southern Pacific. With the mergers of the mid-1980s and the Conrail split of 1999 the bulk of the fleet ended up with CSX and Norfolk Southern. Circa 2000 the CSX roster was overflowing with B36-7s, with around 140 former Conrail and Seaboard units operating all over the eastern half of the US. The ex-Seaboard fleet was officially retired towards the end of 2009, but examples were still working into 2011. They even still have some on the property. If your’re a Seaboard or CSX modeler you need at least ten of these things!

The Santa Fe B36-7 has the early body style, unique anticlimber and battery box louvers, air-conditioning unit, EOTD and Sinclair antenna, flashing amber beacon, front class lights only, nose with plated headlight, ATSF-specific fuel tank with accurate filler and gauge locations, optional snubbers, and the additional large louver on the fireman’s side. The model will also come with the distinctive noise baffles (etched metal) and brass Leslie RS-3L horn factory installed.

There’s a similar range of road-specific detail on the SP units, with late body (with additional grilles), dual Oscitrol warning lights and red emergency Gyralites at both ends, original bell location (rear fireman’s side), large plough, air-con unit, sinclair antenna, access boxes on the nose, nose-mounted headlights, equipment box on walkway, large Salem air-dryer unit, and so on. The model will also have correct fixed drop step at both ends and either dual brass Nathan K5H or single Nathan P3 horns.

The turbocharged 16-cylinder 7FDL prime mover rated at 3,600hp (later examples could create up to 3,750hp) and upgraded alternator and traction motors proved to be a reliable combination. However, with all that power on tap and with just eight wheels to lay it all down they gained a reputation for shaking the fillings out of teeth and marrow from bones. They were well liked by railfans though and were among the last of the Dash 7s in Class 1 service, outliving the six-axle variants by a number of years.

The increased power also meant increased noise. As well as the larger silencer (introduced in 1979), GE attempted to mitigate this with a pair of sound baffles either side of the radiator section. These were installed on all the Cotton Belt, Santa Fe and Southern locomotives and the first 15 Conrail units. By 1983 GE had replaced the twin radiator fans with a single large fan to reduce noise – three additional grilles in the doors in the radiator section made this upgrade obvious – and only Southern retained the baffles beyond 1986, and even then only the lower of the two on each side. The Rapido model correctly replicates ALL of these details as appropriate.

 

The Santa Fe units were the first production B36-7s and they were delivered with the large double noise baffles mounted at the rear of the locomotive either side of the radiator section. Six years after rolling off GE’s Erie, PA, production line ATSF 7496 still wears its baffles with pride. Photographed by Chuck Zeiler at Corwith Yard in Chicago, Illinois on September 27, 1986.

Southern’s six B36-7s were all delivered with both baffles, but these were quickly reduced to one each side, possibly for visibility reasons (the radiator is at the Front of the locomotive of course). Wearing the gorgeous “tuxedo” scheme, SOU 3818 awaits its next duty at the former Norfolk & Western yard in Winston Salem, Nother Carolina, on July 5, 1986. Photo by Bob Graham.

For the first time in HO Scale, the Rapido HO B36-7 reproduces all of the incredible features of the prototype to precision. How do we know that? Because thanks to the kind folks at Transkentucky Transportation (now the largest operator of B36-7s in North America) we made a 3D laser scan of a real B36-7 – number 5815! In addition, Minnesota Commercial allowed us to make extensive measurements of their huge and eclectic collection of Dash 7s in St Paul so we could ensure that our model detail variations match the prototypes!

Transkentucky Transportation B36-7 5815, a former Seaboard and CSX unit of the same number, is a real looker. We scanned this locomotive back in the summer of 2016, braving 104 degree F heat and 300% humidity to get the data. We’re making two versions of the TTI paint scheme because many of you asked for it. They are conditional announcements so please support them!

 
Our HO scale B36-7 comes in the following paint schemes:

  • Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe
    Early body – Factory installed noise baffles – ATSF anticlimber – A/C unit – Flashing amber beacon – battery box louvers, nose louver, blanked nose headlight position – brass Leslie RS-3L horn – optional snubbers on truck – optional large salem air dryer – ATSF fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – EOTD antenna – class lights at front only – ATSF specific pilot with small plow.
  • British Columbia Railway red/white/blue “lightning stripe”
    Ex-Santa Fe units with late body – ATSF anticlimber – BCOL rebuilt numberboards with cab-mounted bell – battery box louvers – nose louver – additional truck snubbers – large Salem air dryer – no class lights – nose-mounted headlights – working BCOL style ditch and rock lights at both ends – ATSF fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – unique BCOL front handrails – ATSF specific pilot with small plow at both ends – brass K5L horn (all bells forward). CONDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT
  • Conrail as delivered
    Late body with additional grills – optional large noise baffles – CR anticlimber – unique CR built out class lights – CR cab signal box on walkway behind fireman’s side of cab – CR fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations with optional spare knuckles – CR specific pilot with small plow – Leslie RS-3L horn mounted on long hood – no ditch lights and front pilot-mounted ditch lights versions – also available with CSX or NS patched numbers.
  • CSX Transportation YN2 “Bright Future”
    Ex-Seaboard units with late body – no anticlimber – plated class lights – large Salem air dryer – CSX/SBD fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – hinged drop step – CSX specific pilot with large plow – brass K5LR24 horn – CSX/SBD sunshade brackets – no ditch lights and front frame-mounted ditch lights versions available – also available with white-painted cab roof for post 2000s operations.
  • Minnesota Commercial Railway
    Ex-Southern Pacific unit with late body – no anticlimber – plated class lights – fixed drop step – large Salem air dryer – SP fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – SP specific pilot with small plow – pilot-mounted ditch lights both ends – brass Nathan P3 horn – large equipment box on fireman’s side behind cab – nose-mounted headlights – plated cab headlight – plated SP light package. CONDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT
  • Norfolk Southern
    Ex-Southern unit with early body and high short hood – no anticlimber – class lights both ends – hinged low mounted drop step – SOU/NS fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – SOU/NS specific pilot with large plow both ends – bell at long hood end – brass Nathan P5 horns at each end – walkway light castings (not operational) – firecracker antennas – optional single noise baffles – correctly oriented cab interior – NS/SOU sunshade.
  • Seaboard System as delivered
    Late body – no anticlimber – class lights – small air dryer – CSX/SBD fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – hinged drop step – SBD specific pilot with large plow – brass KL5R24 horn – SBD/CSX sunshade brackets.
  • Southern Railway “Tuxedo”
    Early body and high short hood – no anticlimber – class lights both ends – hinged low mounted drop step – SOU/NS fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – large plow both ends – bell at long hood end – brass Nathan P5 horns at each end – walkway light castings (not operational) – firecracker antennas – single noise baffle with optional double baffles – correctly oriented cab interior – NS/SOU sunshade.
  • Southern Pacific as delivered
    Late body with additional grills – no anticlimber – no class lights – fixed drop step – correct horn location SP fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – SP specific pilot with large plow – single brass Nathan P3 horn or dual K5H horn versions – large equipment box on fireman’s side behind cab – nose-mounted headlights – dual-beam clear lens Oscitrol warning lights at both ends – Red “emergency” Gyralite.
  • Transkentucky Transportation (ex-CSXT)
    Ex-Seaboard/CSX units with late body – no anticlimber – plated class lights – large Salem air dryer – CSX/SBD fuel tank with correct filler/gauge locations – hinged drop step – CSX specific pilot with large plow – brass horn – CSX/SBD sunshade brackets – frame-mounted ditch lights. CONDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT
  • Undecorated
    Six versions available: ATSF, BCOL, CR, SBD/CSXT, SOU/NS and SP.

Please note that the BCOL, MNNR and TTI units are conditional announcements. If these don’t make our minimum quantities then they will not be made, which would be a terrible shame as they would be the highlight of any Minnesota, British Columbia or Kentucky-based layout!

 
There are no unnumbered listed but we’re prepared to make these for any customers, historical societies, modelling groups and hobby stores that want them. The minimum is six units and they must be ordered in multiples of six. They can only be purchased direct from us. Drop us a line if you’re interested.

This view shows Rapido’s latest innovation – combined plastic/metal wire handrails. Yes, wave goodbye to wobbly and translucent engineering plastic handrails that a difficult to bend back to shape and flake paint. Also, note the SP light package at the rear, late style body with additional radiator grills, large Salem air dryer, “bathtub” exhaust silencer, and those beautiful trucks.

We also went to town on the cab interior. We now provide illuminated cab interiors as standard on our new locomotives so there’s no point in holding back! You almost feel you could jump in this cab and start it up. Front and backhead detail is equally well rendered.

The Rapido HO B36-7 features:

  • 3D scanned from an ex-CSX B36-7 for 100% accurate shape and dimensions
  • Incredible underframe detail including piping and a ridiculous number of separately-applied parts
  • Full cab interior, with correct orientation for standard or Southern locomotives
  • Dead straight metal side handrails with plastic stanchions
  • A crazy level of road-specific detail options, with different pilots, anticlimbers, plows, fuel tanks, air dryers, antennas, bell location, wind deflectors, headlight locations, air-conditioning units, beacons, different bodies, multiple nose and rear end styles, three versions of drop step, and so on.
  • With or without class lights (as appropriate)
  • Conrail locomotives have unique ‘built out’ style class lights
  • ATSF, Conrail and Southern locomotives have single or double baffles appropriate to era and road number
  • Three styles of operating, flashing ditch lights, front and rear (as appropriate)
  • Working headlights in correct location, switchable number boads at both ends and cab interior headlight
  • SP locomotive has single P3 horn or dual K5H horn and dual-beam clear lens Oscitrol warning lights at both ends plus red “emergency” Gyralite.
  • DC/Silent (21-pin DCC Ready) or DC/DCC/Sound (ESU LokSound) options
  • Accurate sounds recorded from an actual Minnesota Commercial B36-7 under load
  • Rapido’s proven 5-pole skew-wound motor with dual flywheels and silky-smooth drive

The MSRP is $339.95 DC/DCC/Sound and $229.95 DC/Silent in the US.
In Canada the MSRP is $399.95 DC/DCC/Sound and $279.95 DC/Silent.

The order deadline is September 17, 2018.
Delivery in early 2019.

 

A closer view of the front and rear FB-2 trucks, which are just missing the metal piping from the rear of the brake cylinder. We can’t get enough of that traction motor cabling that is a perfect representation of the real thing. Note also that the large air cylinders next to the fuel tank are correctly sloped towards the engineer’s side to assist with the drainage of moisture.

Traction motor cabling, air piping, large air cylinders, small air dryers, framing with truck bolsters, fuel cut off switch, and general all round attention to detail. With kind thanks to the Minnesota Commercial for allowing me to crawl all over (and under) their locomotive!

More variety – Southern/Norfolk Southern high short hood (ignore the wrong cab) and the rear of the Conrail unit showing the built out red class lights.

 




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