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Athearn - Item No. ATH29768
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HO SW1500 Locomotive with DCC & Sound, Southern Pacific #2556

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  • Flexicoil Trucks
  • Whip antenna
  • Large fuel tank
  • MU hoses
  • Frame-mounted handrails
  • Nathan P-3 horn
  • SP light package
  • Footboards where appropriate

Between 1967 and 1973, Southern Pacific purchased one of the largest orders of SW1500’s with over 200 units to help replace their aging fleet of Alco, Baldwin, and FM switchers. Unique SP spotting features included a large cab-front mounted number board and SP’s full front and rear lighting package. In the mid 1980’s, two SW1500’s (2539 and 2575) were repainted in the red and yellow “Kodachrome” scheme in anticipation of a merger with Santa Fe. Both schemes were slightly different from another and only 2575 lasted in this scheme, retired just before the UP merger of 1996. As many were sold off for further use after the merger, UP retained some for use in areas with lighter track and local switch jobs that needed smaller motive power.


  • Lit ground lights
  • Detailed cab interior
  • Drop steps unless noted
  • MU stands
  • Dual exhaust stacks
  • Printed numberboards
  • Fine scale handrails
  • Signal hoses as appropriate to the prototype road (MU capability was a railroad specified option for these locos, and some railroads did not order it).
  • Front and rear trainline hoses with silver glad hands
  • Separately applied wire grab irons
  • See-through radiator intake grille and cab windows
  • Low or high mounted windshield wipers per prototype
  • Rectangular or oval builder’s plate where appropriate
  • Separately applied air tank
  • McHenry® scale knuckle couplers - Kadee® compatible
  • All-wheel drive with precision gears for smooth & quiet operation
  • All-wheel electrical pickup provides reliable current flow
  • DCC-ready features Quick Plug™ plug-and-play technology with 21-pin NEM connector
  • Improved 5-pole skew wound can motor with flywheels and multi-link drivetrain
  • Wheels with RP25 contours operate on all popular brands of track
  • Highly-detailed, injection molded body
  • Interior plastic blister safely holds the model for convenient storage
  • Minimum radius: 18”


  • Operating ground lights
  • Newly designed can motor is more powerful and quieter than before
  • DCC-ready models feature 21-pin plug
  • DCC & sound models feature Economi sound with single cube speaker
  • LED lighting for long life and reliable operation

    • Onboard DCC decoder with SoundTraxx Economi sound
    • Single cube speaker for optimal sound quality
    • Sound units operate in both DC and DCC
    • Engine, horn, and bell sounds work in DC
    • Some functions are limited in DC
    • All functions NMRA compatible in DCC mode
    • Operating lighting functions with F5 and/or F6
    • Excellent low-speed operation
    • Program a multiple unit (MU) lashup with lead unit only horn, bell, and lights
    • Many functions can be altered via Configuration Value (CV) changes
    • CV chart included in the box


    An EMD SW1500 is a 4-axle diesel switcher locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division between 1966 and 1974. It is similar in appearance to the EMD SW1000 model, which has a different engine and has one exhaust stack while the SW1500 has two.

    Power was provided by an EMD 645E 12-cylinder engine which generated 1,500 horsepower. This locomotive was built on the same common frame as the EMD SW1000, giving it an overall length of 44 feet 8 inches.

    The SW1500 featured a bulkier carbody and was a bit heavier from earlier models although its intended use remained the same, working light branch lines or in industrial settings. Many railroads regularly used SW1500s for road freight service.

    Product Specs

    1941-1970, 1971-1990, 1991-2009
    Prototype Manufacturer
    Sub Brand
    Reporting Mark