Model railroad company donates proceeds to save Erie Lackawanna SDP45

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Model railroaders and railfans can now support the preservation of an Erie Lackawanna SDP45 when they purchase the HO scale version of it.

The Athearn Trains announced on Sept. 28 that for every HO scale EL No. 3639 or Conrail No. 6670 sold, the model train manufacturer will make a donation to the Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation, an Ohio-based non-profit trying to save the EMD locomotive of the same number. Earlier this year, the group reached an agreement with the Virginia Museum of Transportation to purchase No. 3639 (currently painted as Conrail No. 6670) located in Roanoke, Va.

Two hobby shops — Maine Model Works in Yarmouth, Maine and Hobby Express in Cranberry Township, Pa. — have announced that they too will make a donation to the effort to save No. 3639 everytime a model of the locomotive is sold at their shops.

Christopher Palomarez, brand manager for Athearn, tells Trains News Wire that No. 3639 was actually measured to help the company produce the original model a few years ago.

“We pulled measurements off the locomotive (when) developing the SDP45 product, so there’s a little bit of the No. 3639's DNA in every model we brought to market,” he says. “Helping the (Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation) reach their goal is the right thing to do. We hope that future generations will be able to witness one of these monsters rolling on the rails again.

The Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation has already raised more than $10,000 — halfway to its $20,000 goal — to purchase the locomotive. The group has also purchased new doors and windows for the locomotive. The group plans on eventually moving the locomotive to the Marter Yard Railroad Museum, operated by the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association, in Youngstown.

No. 3639 was built for the EL in 1969. At least one other six-axle EMD from the EL has been preserved. EL SD45 No. 3607 is currently on display at the National Museum of Transportation near St. Louis. In 2015, Norfolk Southern repainted a former EL SD45-2, No. 1700, into EL colors for service in New Jersey.

More information is available online. 

–This story was updated Oct. 3 to reflect comments from Athearn.
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