HO — Athearn’s recent announcement of a six-axle SD70ACU presents an interesting contemporary prototype for future delivery from the hobby company’s Genesis series.
Coming as a Genesis 2.0 offering, the model will accurately reproduce Canadian Pacific (CP) and Norfolk Southern (NS) roster members. For Norfolk Southern, the road’s SD70ACUs started life as a collection of 100 Union Pacific SD90MAC locomotives. NS purchased the group from Progress Rail in 2014 and two years later the units underwent a capital rebuild program that saw the 710G3C prime mover overhauled, major components received overhaul or replacement, and the front end (cab and nose) were swapped out for an ACe-style isolated cab. This provides a look at a newer ACe up front with a long hood retaining the appearance of the older SD90MAC.
ABOVE: The starting point of an SD70ACU is a 1990s-built SD90MAC. This view of the long hood end of Canadian Pacific 7009 shows the familiar flat-face end with flared radiator section found on SD90MAC units. — Aaron Adams photo
Canadian Pacific’s path to SD70ACU ownership was similar with a purchase from Progress Rail for 30 units which took in stored SD90MAC units from the road’s roster. After the 2018 launch of Progress Rail’s program to rebuild SD90MACs into SD70ACUs for CP, the road expanded its plan to 60 units. In 2019, a pair of ex-Union Pacific SD90MACs went into CP’s SD70ACU program.
In fall 2019, a pair of striking heritage units debuted wearing Canadian Pacific’s maroon and gray scheme. CP 7010 wore this throwback livery with script presentation of Canadian Pacific on its long hood, while CP 7015 presented the same scheme but the road’s name on the long hood appear in Railroad Roman typeface. This collection consists today of five of each lettering style. By late 2019, five more special livery Canadian Pacific SD70ACU diesel locomotives were catching railfan attention. This group commemorates military branches and includes a camouflaged unit and a roster member wearing Allied invasion stripes from the D-Day invasion of 1944 during World War II.
For its debut release (planned for November 2021 delivery), Athearn will produce Canadian Pacific’s System Red livery with white lettering and golden beaver emblem with two road numbers (7000 and 7006). The script version of the road’s maroon and gray heritage scheme will be offered with two road numbers (7010 and 7013). Two military-themed CP SD70ACUs will be in the production. One will be CP 7021 “Army Arid Regions” in a Desert Sand paint job with black markings; the other will be CP 7022 “Navy” featuring a body painted in Royal Canadian Navy’s Shipside Gray hue with Oxide Red below the sill. Details on Athearn’s Genesis 2.0 CP models will include raised walkways for snow management, air line bracket on lead truck, nose-mounted headlight, rear ditch lights, dual trainlines, accuate front snow plow, and more. The first run Norfolk Southern offerings will include four road numbers (7230, 7257, 7293, and 7312) all wearing the road’s current look with white background surrounding the number boards above the windshields and “horsehead” logo. The models will accurately depict NS’ rebuilt Union Pacific units produced at the Juniata facility and will come with rear ditch lights, correct air horn and PTC antenna array on the cab roof, and high headlight located between the number boards over the windshield. As you would expect from a Genesis-level offering, Athearn will produce all these SD70ACU models with accurate details.
ABOVE: Athearn shares an advanced look at its coming Genesis 2.0 HO-scale SD70ACU diesel locomotive model. This pre-production sample (subject to changes and revisions) presents the look of Norfolk Southern’s prototypes with headlight mounted over the windshield.
This high-quality HO release will arrived fully assembled possessing details that will include flexible MU and trainline hoses, cab interior, separately wire grab irons, lift rings, and more. The Genesis drive will come with the buyer’s choice of Digital Command Control electronics with Tsunami 2 audio or as a standard DC setup with a 21-pin socket for easy conversion to digital operation. The model will ride on a heavy die-cast metal frame, will feature all-wheel drive and electrical pickup, and will include directional LED lighting. Check with your hobby dealer or visit Athearn’s website to find out more about this all-new addition to the company’s Genesis 2.0 line of HO-scale releases.