EMD SD40-2


Produced By USA Trains


CR Specifics

The Plan

Taking Off the Shell

Kadee Coupler Upgrade

Aristo SD45 Brick Mounting

Converting HT-C to Flexicoil Trucks



CR Specifics


EMD SD40-2


68 feet & 2 inches


389,000 pounds

Tractive Effort

83,000 pounds

Prime Mover

16 cylinders

Horse Power

3,000 hp

Fuel Tank

4,000 gallons


While the standard for the SD40-2 used HT-C trucks, Conrail opted to order their units with Flexicoil trucks.  These trucks can be bashed off of USA Trains HT-C truck side frames that come with the loco.


The two grab irons on the nose and hood of the loco need to be moved to the engineers side.


The chain hand brake needs to be converted into a wheel hand brake.


Plows, ditch lights, Sinclair antenna, electrical cabinet air filter and the wheel flange lubrication equipment behind the cab, and a cab signal box also need to be added.



The Plan

more info to come.


Taking Off the Shell

There are 8 or 10 screws on the underside of the frame to take the entire shell off.


Underside of the frame.



Kadee Coupler Upgrade

I choose to use Kadee Coupler #1 Scale #?? couplers. These couplers do not have a height offset built into them, so some minor mods have to be made. I choose these because I felt offsetting couplers would take away on the appearance of the loco. More info to come...

Stock Coupler Mount:

Shot of the stock coupler mount.



Aristo SD45 Brick Mounting

I felt it would be better to power this loco using Aristo's newer SD45 bricks since they are extremely strong, fairly low current, and will go the same speed as my SD45s which will make MUing easier. Of course, this is going to require a little work, but it is definitely doable.  I've altered both trucks so far, but I need to test the turning radius capabilities, weather permitting, to make sure this method can handle the curves.


I first built some support blocks out of styrene that will go above the bricks and hold the loco at the rite height. The main support block supports the main "U" mount of the loco and the second supports the metal frame towards the front of the truck frame.

Main Support:

The ends are filed to a curve to match the "U" shaped mount.

Secondary Support:

A channel needs to be created to accommodate the shape of the metal bracket and the ends are also filed to a curve.

Main Mounting Blocks:

I machined these blocks out of aluminum, but I think they can also be made from styrene since they will really only be under compression as seen below. The blocks fit on either side of the brick, but within the "U" mount on the loco.

Test Fit in "U" Mount:

If you look in the inside of the "U" mount, you will notice two plastic walls. I made the block fit exactly into this area. The blocks also need to be cut out on one side to accommodate the screws that hold the brick halves together.

Test Fit the Brick:

Here's the brick clamped between the "U" mount with the supporting blocks. Note that the original plastic mounting tabs on this end of the brick have been removed.

Strip the Brick:

The motors in the brick need to be removed so they don't get damaged in the rest of the mods. Please remember that their are a few version of this brick out. Some have the motor leads soldered to mounting posts and others do not, so you have to be very cautious when pulling out the motors as to not damage the motor shafts.

Drill the Mounting Holes:

With all the components lined up, I drilled a 1/16th hole threw the plastic truck frame, through the metal blocks, and through the brick wall. This hole should be drilled as high as possible in the brick but with enough room for a modified nut to be placed, and so that there is still clearance around the nut for the motors.

Enlarge the Holes:

The holes are then enlarged to accommodate a size ?? rod. The truck frame as an even larger drill out to accommodate the nut, which will in effect, be countersunk. I felt this was the easiest way to hide it.

Trim the Nuts:

I cut the nuts on one side so that the hole could be drilled higher in the brick, and filed the other side to a curve to help make sure there is enough room when the motors are put back in place.

Bolt it Together:

First start by placing the rod through the components and adding the nut and cut washer on the inside of the brick. Then add the lock washer and nut to the outside truck frame and trim the left over rod. Once painted, I don't think the nut will be too noticeable.

Securing the Front Half:

I haven't done this yet, and although this mounting method is already very strong, I would like to further stabilize the front half of the brick, so more to come.

Thinking about it:


Still Thinking:


Replace the Motors:

Once everything is together and looking good, you can put the motors back in, wire it up, and start running!



Converting HT-C to Flexicoil Trucks

Conrail ordered their SD40-2 locos with the older Flexicoil trucks instead of the newer HT-C trucks as modeled on this loco.  The HT-C trucks are, however, a great starting point to bash the Flexicoil design.  More info to come...


more stuff.




Did some detail painting on one of the units a while back, such as the walkways and nose hood. I may have to go back and repaint the blue to a little more realistic color.