An Article by Christopher Bamberg
The story behind me getting a pair of ScaleTrains.com’s SD40T-2s isn’t as simple as having a liking for the prototype. Rather, it’s a more personal and deeper connection. Years before I got back into HO Scale, I was modeling G Scale. One of my mentors was an old, retired US Navy Aviation Ordinance Officer who was part of our local G Scale club. This man quickly became my surrogate grandfather (later surrogate father).
He was also a HUGE Rio Grande fan. Before he started getting into G Scale, he had been a serious old-school HO Scale modeler who did quite a bit of fine-scale modeling of DRGW and had a sizable layout. His personal favorite machine DRGW owned was the SD40T-2 and he had several models of both Rio Grande and Southern Pacific varieties. This man eventually became more a father to me than my biological father and his passing in 2014 affected me deeply.
When ScaleTrains first announced the SD40T-2, I was intrigued as I wanted an SP version as run-through power to use with my L&N models. However, I kept looking at the Rio Grande versions, recollecting my close relationship with my friend. Plus, I am a self-described “closet” Rio Grande fan – despite being an avid L&N modeler. Eventually, after looking closely at the Rio Grande pre-production samples on ScaleTrains.com, I decided to cancel my preorder for an SP version and preordered two late Rio Grande versions as a tribute to my late surrogate father. Having seen other ScaleTrains Rivet Counter™ locomotives owned by friends, I knew these “Tunnel Motors” would be the ultimate example produced in HO Scale. I also knew that they would have been right up my surrogate father’s alley.
In the meantime, while waiting for these two beautiful models to arrive, I also purchased a Rivet Counter SD40-2 to go with my two Tunnel Motors. I went with the EMDX version. I was so impressed with the SD40-2 that I couldn’t wait for the Tunnel Motors to arrive. These Tunnel Motors are beyond impressive! The detail level of the models is incredible for being produced in plastic – and the fact that each unit has specific details to its road number is mind-blowing to me. After I added DCC to each unit, I was blown away again by the lighting effects and precise performance these locomotives possessed.
When ScaleTrains.com announced a third run of the Tunnel Motors, I picked up another late DRGW unit to have a trio. I wished I had gotten two instead of one, as these are such fantastic models! I recently ran all three together for the first time and needless to say, I get a little emotional seeing them consisted together. I have to tip my hat to ScaleTrains.com for producing these impressive models and giving me a way to pay tribute to someone near and dear to me in my life.
So thank you, ScaleTrains.com.
Christopher Bamberg is an HO Scale modeler from the Nashville, Tennessee area. In addition to his passion for model railroading, Bamberg is studying to become an airline pilot and plans to make flying his career.