Atlas HO-scale Dash 8-32BW Diesel Loco

Occasionally I would buy HO-scale models, mainly for the reason of liking the model for its aesthetic look and for display. This Amtrak California Dash 8-32BW from Atlas RR was purchased back in 2007/8 when I was still interested in American railroad (I still do). The Amtrak California runs in the state of California; my particular model is the San Joaquin, which runs from Bakersfield to Oakland/Sacramento.

Since I bought the Piko BR 185, an European loco, I thought I should bring out my American model for comparison.


You will notice stark differences between the American and European locos. The new generation American locos have higher cab position compared to the European ones. European railway networks are electrified compared to North American, which only certain corridors are e.g. North-East (Washington-New York). I understood that the Dash 8 cab design is a wide body cab design (hence, the W designation), which allows for crash impact protection.

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2 thoughts on “Atlas HO-scale Dash 8-32BW Diesel Loco

  1. I love these kind of comparisons! It does make me wonder if both Atlas and Piko are using the same precise scaling methodology! I see these sort of locomtoives (Dash-8’s or similar) all the time, and they just don’t seem THAT large compared to my memory of European locomotives!

    Great post! Thanks!

    • Jerry,
      My guess is both Atlas and Piko would follow the 1:160 scale dimensions. I was curious too but after this comparison I was convinced of the differences between the American and European models. On my other post, I had a comparison of NEM102 and NMRA S-7 standards on loading gauge.

      I could not find a NMRA equivalent of NEM301, which describes the boundaries of a model. Hence, NEM102 and NMRA S-7 is the closest I could get to compare American and European models.

      I always have an impression that the American locos are monstrous. They definitely need to have greater traction. DB locos can only handle 750m long freight trains (mainly due to siding length limitation) but they have trialled 850m or even up to 1km long.

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