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I'm looking to purchase a switcher and came across an Athearn SW 1500 BNSF at my LHS. There are two models on the shelf... One looks like a plain SW 1500 while the other has the words "Radio Controled do not remove cab" under the engineer's window and there is an orange LED light on the roof of the cab! Is this an operating light? The loco box is marked DCC Ready. Both locos are priced the same.
 

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I do believe that's supposed to be a model of a real locomotive that was "radio controlled".....many had the orange light on top of the cab......

I don't think the model is radio controlled, or the price would likely be much higher......
 

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Yeah... I am sure the model is NOT radio controled. I was more interested in the amber light on top of the cab, Does it work? Will it light up? I looked up radio controlled prototype locos on Wikipedia and sure enough, they exsisted!
 

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Radio control is actually pretty common today. It allows a yard hostler to build a train from the ground, rather than climbing up and down from the loco dozens of times. The radio control box would not be used outside of yard limits.
 

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Yeah... I am sure the model is NOT radio controled. I was more interested in the amber light on top of the cab, Does it work? Will it light up? I looked up radio controlled prototype locos on Wikipedia and sure enough, they exsisted!
You would have to ask the LHS if they would test the locos for you, then you would know if the light does light up.....

Here is the SW1500 page on Athearn's site; released in 2014:

http://www.athearn.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=ATH98126

It doesn't say if the beacon (Prime Stratolite beacon) lights up or not....
 

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Actually, radio control is not necessarily new; this is a photo from 1968, showing a hostler on the ground with a control pack hanging around his neck. Taken on the Great Slave Lake Division, which was part of C.N.

Slave Lake Loco.JPG
 
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