General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division achieved success pretty early on, having developed and marketed a variety of 4-axle road switchers beginning with the GP7. By the mid-Sixties, EMD unveiled the latest “Geep” – the 2000 horsepower GP38, a lower horsepower companion to the 3000 hp GP40 that went into production the year before.


This was a non-turbocharged locomotive, similar in appearance to the earlier GP35. The GP38 had two radiator fans and paired exhaust stacks. The GP38 was longer than the GP35 and featured a new style radiator grille and a straighter sill and redesigned fuel tank. As with other locomotives, GP38s could be ordered with, or without, dynamic brakes, as well as a variety of other options (a few had dual control stands, steam generators for passenger service, some railroads specified their own lighting options and short hood options).



The GP38, first built in January 1966, was constructed with 16-645 prime mover and a D32 direct current (DC) generator, similar to all the other locomotives produced previously by EMD. The push to higher horsepower, however, necessitated larger DC generators and in 1971 EMD introduced a new option for the GP38 – an AR10 alternating current (AC) alternator in place of the generator. This was a solution to the space problems encountered by the large generator, because alternators were smaller, yet offered the same electrical capacity. And thus was born the GP38AC, which are externally identical to the GP38.


The GP38 was a popular engine, filling a niche for railroads requiring a locomotive for lighter duty and for use on trackage that was often not for high-speed mainline trains. As such it was purchased for a number of shortlines and a small number of industrial users. As a number of Class I railroads operate a lot of branch lines, the GP38 was also popular with these larger railroads as well.


Rapido Trains is pleased to be adding this versatile locomotive to our line. Along with the usual variations, such as with or without dynamic brakes, oil bath or paper air filters, low short hoods or high short hoods with lighted class lights, truck sideframe variations, control stand location and quantity (some were constructed with two control stands and featured extensions to the cab), as well as many road-specific details (lights, air horns, air conditioners, exhaust stacks and many other details). Our goal is to offer the most detailed GP38 models ever offered, as well as variations that have never before been offered.


LED lighting, cab interiors, and many other previously overlooked details will be included as well – as you would expect from us! The high-quality sound you have come to expect from us will be included, too, of course … or you can order your GP38s without sound ifyou prefer.


The Rapido Trains HO scale EMD GP38 locomotive features:

  • A variety of low- & high-short hoods
  • Lots o’ dynamic-brake/non-dynamic hatches
  • Several paper air filter options
  • A plethora of battery box door styles
  • Roadname-specific exhaust stacks (and even the unique dynamic brake vent with a stack in it for one road’s units)
  • Incredible underframe detail including traction motor cables, air filters and an absurd number of separately-applied parts
  • Separate grab irons and handrails installed at the factory
  • Operating headlights, rear lights, working white class lights AND ditch lights and beacons (where appropriate)
  • Highly detailed cab interior
  • Appropriate cab or nose headlights
  • Multiple Blomberg truck sideframe options
  • Working inspection lights
  • Different sizes of fuel tanks
  • Rapido’s innovative dead-straight metal side handrails with plastic stanchions
  • Road-specific details for each model
  • Available as DCC-ready or with ESU LokSound V sound equipped from the factory!
  • And much, much more!

Become a Master

The EMD GP38 Master Class showcases the history, detailing variations of and the changes to the complete roster of locomotives over the course of their service lives.

EMD GP38 Master Class

Order your EMD GP38 now!

Order direct or through your favorite dealer.

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