Saturday, April 20, 2013

Athearn Announces New HO Scale Locomotive at Calgary Supertrain Show

Athearn announced its newest HO scale locomotive today at Supertrain in Calgary—an all-new Genesis GP40-2, in CN and GO Transit comfort cab "L" versions.

The units come DCC-ready or with SoundTraxx Tsunami sound pre-installed.

Other roadnames being released include Chessie System, Seaboard Coast Line, and Western Pacific. The models are slated for delivery this December.

While happy to see the two new Canadian items, what is also of interest is where Athearn chose to make the announcement: In Canada.

On the face of it, it only makes sense since two of the version are Canadian. But as has been noted in this blog before, more manufacturers are looking north to Canada when considering what new models to make.

And why is that? As "Deep Throat" told the two Washington Post reporters during the Watergate investigation: "Follow the money."

Time are tough all over the world, but Canada has been doing better than the U.S. economically (although the U.S. economy is beginning to pick up of late). This includes in model railroading, where the market for models seems to be strong.

At last year's Supertrain show, I asked Bowser Project Manager Scott Davis why the company was bringing out new Canadian models. His response: Since the Canadian economy is doing much better than the U.S.economy, so why not go where the market is strong?

All of this is pretty remarkable when you consider that there are only 8,000 to 10,000 serious Canadian model railroaders—about five to seven percent of the North American model railroad market, according to one informed estimate.

But hey—I'm not complaining, even if I don't model CN and GO Transit. But if sure would be nice if someone decided to bring out a CP Rail Red Barn . . . . 


  1. Build a couple of the Kaslo models. I've built several M420's and they aren't hard to assemble at all. They are as good as plastic. Keep your eyes open and you can find them cheaper than the list price all the time. A red barn will be the first CP model I build if the day comes

  2. Perhaps it could also be considered that CN and CP have huge interests in the US and are seen from coast to coast and from the border to the Gulf. Whilst the mergers of the 80s and 90s saw many old American roads disappear (SP, DRGW, Santa Fe) the purchase of others by Canadian companies has brought new liveries to the states and now will be more prevalent on American model rails.
    Andrew Kerr
    Sydney, Australia

  3. While I am not suprised by Athearn bringing out a GP40-2 safety cab model following the GP38-2 release, nce again we have an overlap of models from 2 manufacturers, as Atlas has done the GP40-2 as well.

    James Kirkman