New Product Spotlight – LEGACY DD35A Diesels

9 01 2012

In the 1960s, America’s locomotive builders were in a horsepower race to satisfy a seemingly unending appetite for more powerful motive power from the big railroads. When the demand for horsepower exceeded the capacity of its diesel engine, the Electro Motive Division of General Motors (EMD) took the next logical step – use two!

Prototype History


Union Pacific No. 80 is ready to takle Sherman Hill with any train you give it!

The DD35 was the first of several designs which put a pair of locomotives on one frame. Essentially two GP35 locomotives on one platform, the GP35 offered up 5,000 horsepower. Riding on a pair of 4-axle trucks (hence the “DD” designation), the two 567-16 prime movers powered eight electric traction motors. The first units were intended to be boosters, placed between conventional locomotives, and lacked cabs.

The DD35 found only two buyers: Southern Pacific and Union Pacific. The Union Pacific was happy enough with the design to go back to EMD in 1965 with a request for additional locomotives with cabs – the DD35A. These locomotives were mechanically similar, but in addition to cabs sported hoods with new radiator designs as were being applied to the new 645 engine test locomotives. The UP was the only buyer, purchasing 15.


The Southern Pacific never opted for an A-unit, but did own 3 DD35s, making this fantasy unit quite plausible.

Although the design concept was continued with DD40AX models for Union Pacific, ultimately the design fell out of favor. The fuel shortage of the 1970s began to change railroads’ perspectives on horsepower requirements. More importantly, the DD35 and DD40 offered no real power advantages over a true pair of GP35s or GP40s but were greatly restricted on routes by their size and weight and were brutal on track and curves. Maintenance expenses, although gradually alleviated, still remained high for the large engines. The DD35s were taken out of service for the last time in 1979 and the last were retired in 1981. None has been preserved.

The Model

Lionel’s model of these large prototypes gives you the chance to add some serious power to your freight trains. Just like the prototype, you’ll be able to pull some very long trains. Unlike the real thing, you won’t have to worry about the cost of filling that 8,230 gallon fuel tank!


The DD35A could have been an option for the Milwaukee Road on its mountainous mainlines. Imagine one of these paired up with a "Little Joe!"

Our model features dual motors and traction tires supported by a metal frame, fuel tank and trucks for maximum pulling power. Smoke it up with two stacks of working exhaust  – with controllable output in TMCC and LEGACY modes. Lighting features include directional headlights, marker lights, number boards and cab interior lighting. Powered units feature our LEGACY control and sound system with 8 diesel notches, crew talk, quillable horn and mechanical bell sounds. Working ElectroCouplers are included on both ends for easily building larger consists.


The Pennsy DD35A is pure fantasy - but they sure would have looked great!

For those who want the look of an even larger consist but don’t need the extra power, an unpowered version of each paint scheme is also available. The unpowered models include the same lighting and smoke effects as their powered brothers!

These locomotives are nearly two feet long, so like their prototypes they will be somewhat restricted on curves. O-42 is possible, but O-54 is recommended.

Available in two numbers (one powered and one unpowered) for Union Pacific and fantasy schemes for the Milwaukee Road, Pennsylvania and Southern Pacific. These locomotives have shipped and should be showing up on dealers’ shelves now!



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