Athearn HO RTR SD50 w/DCC & Sound, C&NW/Zito Yellow #7003
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Manufacturer: Athearn


  • Ex-Missouri Pacific
  • Firecracker antenna
  • Timken roller bearings
  • Long hood mounted Leslie 3-chime air horn
  • Small EMD snow plow
  • Sunshades
  • Cab side mirrors
  • Rear spare knuckles

As the merger between the Missouri Pacific and Union Pacific was finalized in 1982, the “Jenks Blue” scheme was incrementally phased out with UP’s “canary yellow” over any remaining MoPac owned engines. However the SD50s were delivered in the “Canary” , UP yellow scheme with “Missouri Pacific” lettering. Gradually throughout the mid-late 1980s, these locomotives had the “Missouri Pacific” lettering removed, in favor of Union Pacific’s own name/lettering.


  • Sinclair antenna
  • Hyatt roller bearings
  • Cab mounted Leslie 3-chime air horn
  • Small EMD snow plow
  • Sunshades
  • Illuminated Xenon strobe beacon
  • Lighting effect DCC/sound model
  • Rear spare knuckles

As a result of the search for a higher visibility paint scheme, The Chicago & North Western introduced a new paint scheme featuring a much brighter yellow, often referred to as “Zito Yellow”. The new scheme included new scotchlight vinyl was much more reflective in low light conditions then previous reflective solutions. The most notable addition is the C&NW emblem applied to the nose of some locomotives such as #7003. Engines could still be found in this scheme for some time after the C&NW was merged into the Union Pacific


  • Large EMD snow plow
  • Timken roller bearings
  • “Mail slot” battery box doors
  • Cab mounted Nathan K-5 5-chime air horn
  • Whip antenna
  • Small sunshades
  • Wind deflectors
  • Patches and sublettering per prototype

Shortly before and during the time of the CSX merger, the railroad utilized their fleets of ex-Chessie(C&O) SD50 locomotives as helpers in the Cumberland, Maryland mountains. Heavy coal trains and steep grades required extra tractive effort to successfully ascend the mountain passes. The locomotives were hastily patched or sublettered for CSX and released into service, and were repainted at a later time.


  • Large EMD snow plow
  • Timken roller bearings
  • “Mail slot” battery box doors
  • Cab mounted Nathan K-5 5-chime air horn
  • Whip antenna
  • Small sunshades
  • Wind deflectors
  • Rear spare knuckles

The most modern power to prototypically wear the Chessie System paint scheme was EMD’s SD50. Chessie took delivery of its SD50 fleet over the course of three orders in 1984 and 1985. The first and last group carried C&O ownership markings, while the middle group was lettered for B&O.


  • Long hood forward
  • Firecracker antenna
  • Timken roller bearings
  • Long hood mounted Leslie 5-chime air horn
  • Small EMD snow plow
  • Sunshades
  • Wind deflectors


  • Erie-Lackawanna
  • Northern Pacific


  • Fully assembled and ready-to-run
  • Separately applied wire grab irons
  • Separately applied air tanks
  • MU hoses
  • Separately applied coupler cut levers (not shown)
  • Fine scale handrails molded in engineering plastic
  • Etched metal windshield wipers (Not illustrated)
  • Standard twin sealed-beam headlight with anti-glare shields (unless noted)
  • See-through dynamic brake and radiator fans
  • Curved radiator fan grab iron
  • Exhaust stack
  • Hood or frame mounted bell per prototype
  • Detailed 4300 gallon fuel tank (unless different capacity is noted)
  • HTC trucks Hyatt or Timken roller bearings (per prototype)
  • McHenry scale knuckle spring couplers
  • Highly-detailed, injection molded body featuring new tooling
  • Painted and printed for realistic decoration
  • See through cab windows
  • Bi-directional constant lighting so headlight brightness remains consistent
  • With Sound version features Econami Sound by Soundtraxx
  • All-wheel drive with precision gears for smooth and quiet operation
  • All-wheel electrical pickup
  • 5-pole motor with flywheels and multi-link drivetrain for trouble-free operation
  • Wheels with RP25 contours operate on all popular brands of track
  • Window packaging for easy viewing
  • Interior plastic blister safely holds the model for convenient storage
  • Minimum radius: 18”
  • Recommended radius: 22”


  • Onboard Econami Sound by SoundTraxx
  • Sound units operate in both DC and DCC
  • Full DCC functions available when operated in DCC mode
  • Engine, horn, and bell sounds work in DC
  • All functions NMRA compatible in DCC mode
  • Excellent Slow speed control
  • Effect lighting (if applicable) using F5 and/or F6
  • Program a multiple unit (MU) lashup with lead unit only horn, bell, and lights
  • Many functions can be altered via Configuration Value (CV) changes


  • Duplicated look and feel of “In Service” equipment; “Tattered and Torn” just like the real thing
  • Faded base colors matched to the prototype
  • Patches applied and shaped per road number matching each corresponding side to the prototype
  • Perfect starting point for adding grime and rust


The SD50 was produced in response to increasingly tough competition from GE Transportation Systems, whose Dash 7 line was proving quite successful with railroads. While EMD’s SD40-2 was a reliable and trusted product, GE’s line included locomotives up to 3,600 hp (2,685 kW) with more modern technology, as well as very competitive finance and maintenance deals. EMD responded throughout the SD50 program by offering discounts on large orders.

GM-EMD had previously produced 3,600 hp (2,685 kW) locomotives, the SD45 and later SD45-2, but these used huge, 20-cylinder engines with high fuel consumption, and had reliability problems when first introduced. Demand for the 45 series dropped sharply after the 1970s fuel crisis. The SD50 used an updated version of the V16 645 used in the SD40-2, uprated to 3,500 hp (2,600 kW)- and later 3,600 hp (2,685 kW) - at 950 rpm from 3,000 hp (2,240 kW) at 900 rpm. This proved to be a step too far. Due to this, many SD50s were rebuilt and/or derated to 3000hp, and gave reliable service for many years. Rebuilt versions can still be found in service today.

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article “EMD SD50”; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.


Minimum Age Recommendation:14 years
Is Assembly Required:No

Search Terms: Ready to Roll, SD-50, SD50Loco, decoder, soundtraxx, Econami, ATH_0717


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Athearn HO RTR SD50 w/DCC & Sound, C&NW/Zito Yellow #7003 Reviews

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