Athearn HO RTR SD39 w/DCC & Sound, CBRY #303

AthearnSKU: FDH-ATH71589


Detailed Information


By the end of the SP in the mid 90's, a small handful of SD39's were used around the LA area, known as "LA Basin Haulers". They were used for heavy switching duties between Long Beach and West Colton, sometimes venturing off to other areas. Two of the numbers offered (5296 and 5298) were renumbered units to avoid conflict with similar numbered Rio Grande SD45's. They were assigned UP numbers, but were all retired before they could be renumbered. All 3 numbers feature unique faded paint and lettering effect per unit number, working beacon with DCC, large ballast boxes, removed gyralights, modified L-Window cab, rear brake wheel, roof mounted bell, large front plow, and P-3 horn. 



  • Ex SP 5315
  • hi-brake mounted trucks
  • early inertial grills
  • faded to red lettering effect
  • patched numbers


  • Ex SP 5317
  • hi/low brake mounted trucks
  • late inertial grills
  • faded white lettering effect
  • patched numbers


  • Still in it's original number
  • hi-brake mounted trucks
  • late inertial grills
  • faded white to red lettering effect



In the mid-1980's Santa Fe decided to upgrade and extend the lives of their original SD39 fleet. Beginning in 1985 these units were re-manufactured by the San Bernardino CA Shops and reclassified as SD39u's. They were renumbered into the 1556-1575 number class and were designated as heavy switchers. The upgrades included updated wiring, new controls for hump service, and completely rebuilt engines. They were assigned to Barstow CA and Argentine KS yards, but could be found roaming the system. They were mated to rebuilt six-axle slugs for hump service. Our models include the specific details such as, relocated nose headlight, tall cab-mounted horn, antenna with stand, and front/rear slug MU boxes. Since Santa Fe was known for changing out air conditioners, we included both Prime and Vapor versions.


Tall mounted cab horn, rear brake wheel, Sinclair antenna w/ stand, no plows, nose mounted headlight, special ATSF-style slug MU boxes on each end. Both Prime and Vapor A/C's included in poly bag.



Built as Illinois Terminal, these SD39's were purchased by the NW before going to the Guilford. Our models represent the time period before they were painted into Guilford grey and orange. These well worn black painted units still retained their as-built features such as: battery box-mounted "gong" bell, smaller fuel tank, non DB hatch, and hi-mounted brake cylinder trucks. #690 features a very faded "Norfolk Western" lettering on the long hood.



  • Ex Movie stars! These units started life as SP units before being sold off and repainted into Rio Grande colors for the movie "Switchback". After their movie stint, they would used by Anderson Rock Company still in Rio Grande colors. Dakota and Iowa purchased the pair in 2008, painted them into this attractive scheme, and use them for various services on the railroad.



  • Ex SP 5325
  • FARR grilles
  • nose-mounted headlight
  • front operating ditch lights
  • large front plow
  • P-3 horn
  • firecracker antenna
  • rear brake wheel
  • removed front and rear SP light packages


  • Ex SP 5319
  • FARR grilles
  • cab-mounted headlight
  • front operating ditch lights
  • large front plow
  • Leslie 3-chime horn
  • Sinclair antenna
  • rear brake wheel
  • removed front and rear SP light packages



In the late 1980's, Copper Basin RY picked up some surplus Ex-SP SD39's for their copper concentrate trains in AZ. When purchased, they were kept pretty close to the old SP-specs other than the removal of some of the oscillating lights and the bell being moved to the long hood. They were repainted into this unique copper and grey paint scheme. Our models depict these details such as: front and rear large plows, rear brake wheel, P-3 Horns, FARR grilles, removed red warning lights, and road number-specific trucks and headlight placement.



  • Ex-SP 5321
  • high-mounted brake cylinder trucks
  • relocated headlight
  • unique front and rear stripe pattern,  P-3 horn with mis-matched bells
  • removed red warning lights
  • modified L-window cab
  • whip antennas


  • Ex-SP 5323
  • low-mounted brake cylinder trucks
  • unique front and rear stripe pattern,  P-3 horn
  • removed red warning lights
  • modified L-window cab
  • whip antennas
  • white painted roof #304


  • Ex-SP 5324
  • low-mounted brake cylinder trucks
  • unique front and rear stripe pattern,  P-3 horn
  • removed red warning lights
  • modified L-window cab
  • whip antennas
  • white painted roof


  • Separately applied air tanks
  • Coupler cut levers
  • Rubber MU hoses
  • Photo-etch stainless steel windshield wipers
  • Fine scale handrails
  • Non-sound version features 21-pin NEM DCC plug
  • See-through dynamic brake and radiator fans
  • Curved radiator fan grab iron
  • Exhaust stack
  • Frame-mounted bell (unless noted)
  • Detailed 4000 gallon fuel tank (unless different capacity is noted)
  • Flexicoil-C trucks with high or low brake cylinders (per prototype)
  • McHenry® scale knuckle spring couplers
  • See-through cab windows
  • Bi-directional LED lighting
  • 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
  • Painted and printed for realistic decoration
  • Highly-detailed, injection molded body
  • Minimum radius: 18"
  • Recommended radius: 22"


  • Duplicated look and feel of "In Service"equipment
  • Faded base colors matched to the prototype
  • Perfect starting point for adding grime and rust


  • Onboard Econami sound decoder by Soundtraxx
  • Engine startup sound sequence
  • Dynamic brake sound or Non-Dynamic Straight to idle on F4
  • Extra prime mover and horn sounds exclusive to Athearn 
  • Sounds recorded from a real EMD 12-645E3
  • Multiple bell sound files user configurable via Configuration Value (CV)
  • 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
  • Current Keeper ready with on board expansion plug
  • Operating lighting functions with F5 and/or F6
  • Program a multiple unit (MU) lashup with lead unit only horn, bell, and lights
  • Many functions can be altered via CV changes


In 1966, EMD updated its locomotive catalog with entirely new models, all powered by the new 645 diesel engine. The SD39 had 2,300 hp from a turbocharged V12. The SD39 had the smallest prime mover of the SD locomotives in the EMD catalog. 54 were built for American railroads.

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "EMD SD39"; 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. 


DCC: Equipped
SOUND: Tsunami2
Axles: 6
Minimum Age Recommendation: 14 years
Is Assembly Required: No

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