Athearn GP7/GP9

Joe Brugger's picture

Much discussed elsewhere.  Here's a statement from Athearn concerning its recent GP7 and GP9 Genesis releases, as it appeared on Athearn's Facebook page:

Concerning Athearn Genesis GP7 and GP9 products: some dimensional
discrepancies on these products have been pointed out and we regret any
inconvenience to our customers. Some small measurement errors occurred
in the development process and were not realized until after the first
models were shipped. In order to address these issues we have measured
... actual full scale units in detail and are in the process of making the
necessary tooling changes to ensure that, while our measurements show
the current model is already the most accurate reproduction available,
the revisions will make it even more so. These changes are limited to
moving the side doors and grilles up .040", and the cab side front and
rear windows down .020", but since these changes are important to our
customers they are most important to Athearn. Already announced road
names to be produced with the changes include the Santa Fe Zebra Stripe,
New York Central, Boston & Maine and NKP, as well as any future
announcements. We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our customers
and continually endeavor to produce the most realistic, accurate, and
affordable model railroad products in the industry.

The remainder of the model is quite well done, though I could use some of the detail parts mentioned in the instruction manual but not included with my UP unit.

Anyone Selling the "bad ones"?

Dear Joe,

Hmm, for those who wouldn't notice such discrepancies, sounds like a prime time to pickup some "factory second/unloved" locos at a nice price...

and I'm sure the On30 guys would see them as a perfect bargain for a smooth running donor mech... :-)

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

Joe Brugger's picture


Everything from the window frames down looks pretty good, though I personally think they missed a chance to add some details at least on the UP. Other roads I don't know about. The mechanism looks pretty good.

The discrepancies would be noticeable on certain paint schemes that key dividing lines on areas like the windows and the radiator and intake grates -- which unfortunately does include the UP. SP black widow and schemes like the Pennsy are much less affected.

Athearn's promise to fix the errors is very good news.

Sorry but I have to laugh.

Sorry but I have to laugh, it seems the company who now makes (or claims to make) the most accurate GP7 / GP9 available just happens to be the same company who has made the worst reproduction since about forever! Best I can say is well done for making the effort to rectify it.

It's not your papa's

Athearn any more. It;s Horizon, using the Athearn name. Different ideas, that;s why bb's are gone. Actually, it's nice to see some one correct their mistakes, now if they'd only improve their motors. mh

"Horizon-era" Athearn Motor Issues?

Dear Mike,

My entire "Horizon era" (DCC ready) Athearn SW1500 fleet (just re-counted, somehow I've ended up with 9 of them)
all came factory-equipped with 32x16 Mashima can motors,

Are these somehow "not up to requirements"?

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

wp8thsub's picture

Horizon Era

The RTR SW1500s have can motors (I have a couple and they run great).  Most of the RTR line does not; as they retain older style motors like the blue box line, and are very uneven in operating qualities.  I've encountered some of these that run very poorly.

As for the GP-7/9 Genesis models, good for Athearn in fixing the dimensional errors.  Other forums have been very busy discussing the problems with these things.  Apparently the tooling was based on scans of the old Front Range tooling, and the FR door height and grill location issues were not corrected, plus Athearn introduced some of their own with respect to the cab windows.  I appreciate their admission that mistakes were made and that they're publicly admitting that corrections were appropriate.  I wasn't planning to pick up any of the Genesis units, but with the upgrades now I likely will.

One of my modeling buddies has a three-unit set of the SP Black Widow Geeps, and they run very nicely.  He brought them over to a recent work session at my place and we were all impressed with the mechanisms.  The SP scheme also minimizes the impact of the dimensional mistakes so they looked pretty sharp too.

Rob Spangler  MRH Blog

Jurgen Kleylein's picture

measure twice, cut once

I always hated the Front Range geep body mostly because the entire hood was about 6" too low overall.  If the Athearn unit retains that error it will remain off my buy list.  I'm endlessly amazed at how supposedly professional manufacturers can let basic dimension errors get into scale models.  It can't be that hard to check and recheck your information before committing to cutting metal.


HO Deutsche Bundesbahn circa 1970

Visit the HO Sudbury Division at

The preceding message may not conform to NMRA recommended practices.

Athearn Errors

Here we go again..............most of the people complaining about Athearn's errors probably wouldn't have noticed had not a nitpicker got out his calipers and micro ruler and started looking around.  And I guarantee you that most of them don't even have a working layout.

How many of us could stand up to a nitpicker inspection ?  I mean what about the size of the grass blades ?  And how about the size of your spikes ?  Hmmmmmmmm..... and your people just stand there all day and night.

And, how many of your visitors check for miniscule stuff like that when they visit your layout ?

Get a grip............Model Railroading is supposed to be fun.

I would have never noticed the problem but then again I'm probably considered a "tinplater" by most.  I'm just fat, dumb and happy and I like the looks of my railroad and most of my friends like it as well.

Sure I'd like my work to look like Six, Furlow, Shroedle, Allen, and many others but I know my limitations.

Close enough is good enough for me.



JeffShultz's picture

Athearn errors

Oldnslo - have you looked at them? Seriously?

All three of the errors getting fixed - the two grills and the windows, were very noticeable, especially with paint jobs that used them as dividing lines.


Jeff Shultz

MRH Technical Assistant


Jurgen Kleylein's picture

It's a question of respect and quality

Get a grip............Model Railroading is supposed to be fun.

Old, when someone announces with great fanfare that they are going to produce a line of superdetailed locomotives in their premium line and then trots out a half-baked rehash of an inferior model from 20 years ago and then ignores valid criticisms of said model, and even goes so far as to insist it is the most accurate model of that prototype available, well...that is just an insult to hobbyists who care about the accuracy of the models they put out the big bucks to buy.  Just because you don't care doesn't mean no one should.  I personally don't have fun finding out the engine I ordered a year ago and paid a lot of money for is a dog's breakfast.


HO Deutsche Bundesbahn circa 1970

Visit the HO Sudbury Division at

The preceding message may not conform to NMRA recommended practices.

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