By Matthew Dowd
Imported summer 2022 was a replica of a truly unique locomotive. Division Point worked with the team of designers and artists at Ajin Train Model, as well as other subcontractors, to create both the as-delivered and renumbered versions of this special one-of-a-kind Union Pacific coal-fired turbine locomotive. Division Point imported 60 sets (18 of them coming with the later “8080” number). Preceding this most recent import were multiple brass replicas from Alco Models and Overland Models. While both previously offered replicas were very good models for their respective eras of import, neither featured the technology package that today’s model railroaders expect from a factory-built model. Division Point has brought this model into the 21st century with inclusion of Digital Command Control (DCC) and a full suite of sound functions. This brass replica, like the prototype, consists of three separate units: control and hostling locomotive, coal turbine unit, and a fuel tender.
From nose to tail, the hostling locomotive shows its roots as an Alco PA-series diesel locomotive. The model features a fully detailed cab interior, numerous rooftop details, and a high degree of fidelity in the representation of the compound curvature of its nose. Window glazing, clear number board inserts, and etched-metal windshield wipers round out the leading edge of the first unit in this three-unit set. The model is powered, and control is achieved through an ESU LokSound V5 decoder. Working headlight, mars light, classification lights, and lit number boards are all executed very well. We were pleasantly surprised to see a warm glow to the LEDs used to illuminate these features giving them a very realistic appearance. The sound of Alco’s 244-type prime mover is very good, in addition to the appropriate brass bell sound effect and the iconic single chime air horns.
The coal turbine unit is one of the most striking pieces of locomotive engineering in model form. The most notable feature is immediately obvious — a replica of the turbine unit and its support workings in full broadside view. Additional detail is hidden behind etched-metal grilles including cooling fans, holding tanks, and additional piping. This unit is also powered by all eight driving axles, delivering solid tractive effort. A second ESU LokSound V5 decoder provides a truly unique set of sounds for this unit. This includes the startup and shutdown sequence for the coal turbine power plant and the sound of the rear-facing Leslie S5-T air horn mounted on the roof.
Bringing up the rear of the massive locomotive is the fuel tender. While its previous life as a steam locomotive tender is obvious, the unique design of this locomotive required many modifications. These are most obviously represented in model form with the addition of side access doors and a completely unique rooftop arrangement. The full-length auger used to move the coal forward within the bunker can be seen at the rear of the tender. A functional backup light is installed and controlled through a single wire plug going to the DCC decoder in the coal turbine unit.
While each unit of this locomotive has appropriate and unique details applied, a few common parts can be found across the models; these include trainline air hose and multiple unit (MU) hoses located on all to mate up the units. Also common on all replicas are coupler cut levers, control plug receptacles, and fuel and water connections. Rooftop details include see-through fan grilles, countless scale feet of piping in various diameters, and etched-metal walkways throughout the locomotive.
Can’t get enough of unique steam turbine locomotives? Division Point is planning a General Electric Steam Turbine 1 and 2 project for mid- to late 2023 delivery. This import will feature a special two-unit sets, the first time that such an offering has ever been made available. Reservations for models in Great Northern, New York Central, and Union Pacific paint schemes are still being accepted from all Division Point dealers.
The Division Point
Read the complete review in January 2023’s Model Railroad News!