6981 UP Challenger 4-6-6-4, #3954, Black & Graphite, Coal Tender, Paragon4 Sound/DC/DCC, Smoke, N
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Introducing Broadway Limited Imports' newest addition to our line of N Scale steam locomotives, the Union Pacific Late Challenger.
Between 1936 and 1944, the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) constructed a total of 105 Challengers in five classes for the Union Pacific. These locomotives were approximately 122 ft (37 m) long and weighed 537 short tons (487 tonnes). While primarily used for freight service across the Union Pacific system, a few were also assigned to passenger trains like the Portland Rose. The design and operational experience of the Challengers played a crucial role in shaping the renowned Big Boy locomotive type, which, in turn, influenced the design of the last three orders of Challengers.
The Challengers boasted several technical breakthroughs that contributed to their success. Operating with a high boiler pressure of 280 lbf/in2, a feature typically reserved for passenger locomotives such as the FEF Series, they sported 69-inch drivers—impressive mammoth wheels typically found on passenger locomotives. Most freight engines required smaller wheels to generate the necessary torque. Surpassing speeds of 60 miles per hour, which was unprecedented for most other railroads using articulated steam locomotives, became a regular occurrence on the Union Pacific.
During Union Pacific's fourth order in 1943, ALCO built thirty-one locomotives adhering to the same specifications. However, due to the War Production Board's intervention, six completed locomotives were diverted to the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad through a lease facilitated by the War Department's Defense Plant Corporation. These locomotives, numbered 3900-3905, formed the Rio Grande's Class L-97. Later, in 1947, they were sold to the Clinchfield Railroad and renumbered as 670–675, becoming the Clinchfield's Class E-3. Unfortunately, these six Challengers were eventually retired in 1953.
Among the surviving Challengers, Union Pacific No. 3985 stands out. Restored by the Union Pacific in 1981, it operated in excursion service as part of the heritage fleet program. Recently, it was donated to the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America organization in 2022, where it is currently undergoing a second restoration. The only other surviving Challenger, UP No. 3977, is on display in North Platte, Nebraska.
Broadway Limited Imports' first production run of Challengers features the following notable characteristics:
- Accurate front end modeling, including an appropriate aftercooler system for each class.
- Accurate modeling of the 25-C-100 and 25-C-400 tenders, tailored to match each class.
- An accurately modeled oil tender specific to No. 3985, representing its excursion service.
- One model featuring Rio Grande lettering and paint.
- One model featuring Clinchfield lettering and paint.
- Two unlettered and black painted models—one with wind wings, and one without.
Each model is equipped with Broadway Limited Imports' Paragon4 Sound/DC/DCC sound system, complete with smoke and integral GoPack capacitors.
Additionally, apart from the Paragon4 Sound/DC/DCC sound models, Broadway Limited Imports offers these locomotives as part of their Stealth series. These models, known as No-Sound / DCC-Ready, operate on DC straight out of the box. Alternatively, modelers can easily install their preferred DCC decoder. The front and rear lights are directional by default, and other lights are always illuminated with track power. However, certain lighting features may be dependent on the aftermarket decoder chosen by the modeler.
Industry-leading Model Features:
- Paragon4 Sound & Control System featuring ROLLING THUNDER
- Integral Dual-Mode Decoder with Back EMF for Superb Slow Speed Operation in DC and DCC
- Precision Drive Mechanism Engineered for Heavy Towing and Smooth Slow Speed Operation
- Operating Smoke Unit with On/Off Switch - Note that N scale smoke units require a thin-viscosity smoke fluid such as JT's Mega Steam or Marklin's #02421 smoke fluid
- Six Drivers and All Tender Wheels Pick-up Electricity from Track
- Die Cast Locomotive Body with Die Cast Chassis for Heavier Weight and Maximum Tractive Effort
- Rubber Tires on Two Drivers for Additional Tractive Effort
- Premium Caliber Painting
- Prototypically Accurate Paint Schemes and Road Numbers
- Many Separately Applied Details such as Handrails, Grab Irons, Piping, Tender Ladders, Whistle, and Bell
- Prototypical Headlight and Rear Light Operation
- Separately Controllable Cab Light
- Prototypically Accurate Sounds for the Union Pacific Challenger
Operating Microtrains-compatible Couplers
- Will Operate on Code 55, Code 70, and Code 80 Rail
- Minimum Operating Radius: 9.75 inches
Broadway Limited Imports is proud to introduce Paragon4: The new benchmark for premium HO sound-equipped locomotives. These DC and DCC-Sound equipped locomotives feature the ALL-NEW Paragon4 sound and control system. Each Paragon4 locomotive comes with BLI's own integral DCC Decoder factory installed. Paragon4 locomotives offer Dual Mode DC and DCC operation with superb back EMF motor control, improved DC motor control, built-in capacitor pack for more reliable electrical pick-up, industry best on-board sound with Rolling Thunder functionality, Pro Lighting Mode for prototypical light control, Switcher model for precise low speed control, recordable DCC operation for automated playback, and the same excellent detail level as Broadway Limited's Paragon3 Series models.
Paragon4 Sound & Control System Features:
- Operates in DC & DCC with improved DC speed control (use DCMaster for DC Sound)
- Built-In extra capacitance to navigate imperfect track
- Pro Lighting Mode offers individual control of all lights on model
- Switcher Mode for precise low speed control
- Record & Play Operation - Records and plays back sounds and movements once or repeatedly for automatic operation
- High Resolution Audio
- Quillable Horn for various whistle lengths and patterns
- Choice of 3 selectable Horns
- Alternate Whistle / Horn where applicable for locomotive with air horn and steam whistle - both the main whistle and alternate can be easily played
- Adjustable bell ringing interval for faster or slower bell
- Numerous user-mappable functions with available keys
- Multiple realistic passenger and crew sounds play on command
- Grade Crossing Automatic Signal
- Automatic Forward / Reverse Signal
- Prime Mover sound intensity varies with load
- Individually adjustable sound volumes for each effect
- EZ Reset Button for quick return to factory default settings
**Specifications on this page subject to change.
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