How To Timeless Classics Lionel Legacy No. 82276 SD40

Lionel Legacy No. 82276 SD40

By Bob Keller | March 25, 2024

| Last updated on March 29, 2024

A built-to-order engine with railroad specific details

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The SD40 could well be the most recognized face of second generation diesel power. Whether in the original version, or the Dash-2 with the extended front and rear pilots, or the Dash-2T tunnel motors with their extended body for air flow, they could be seen just about everywhere coast-to-coast.

green, black, and white model locomotive on track
Bill Zuback photo

The Lionel Legacy No. 82276 SD40, released in 2015, is a remarkable locomotive. Lionel’s offering was “Built to Order.” In part that means make then for people who want them, but avoids excess production that might take up shelf space for years. The model was available in versions tailored for the specific options selected by the particular railways which ordered them.

More than one hobbyist has seen a locomotive model with a rooftop strobe or perhaps a flashing headlight, then bought that model in their favorite livery only to discover that feature was exclusive to a particular railroad and not their line.

side of green and white model locomotive
Bill Zuback photo

The notion of railroad-specific features is terrific. So if you are a Union Pacific fan, you don’t have to settle for a version with Norfolk Southern details. Like the famous burger chain, you can have it your way! Pretty revolutionary, if you ask me.

Head to toe

green, black, and white nose of model locomotive
Bill Zuback photo

The SD40 has a familiar design that has slowly evolved over time. It has been a proven platform for moving O gauge freight. The pilots of the Burlington Northern (BN) model have multiple-unit and air brake lines flowing through snowplows attached by the couplers.

The model has a 17-inch coupler-to-coupler length. The three-axle truck frames and the long distance field tank are painted satin black. The chassis sides as well and the cab and engine compartment are BN green.

The low nose has safety stripes and grab irons to enable maintenance access to the headlights, number boards, and wiper arms. The cab has two crew figures.

The smoke unit is an inch or so behind the cab. A bit behind that is a dynamic brake blister. You’ll also spot dynamic brake fans, radiator fans, and an add-on fan. Though the air filters behind the cab are solid, as are the rear filters, the rear ones have a screen over them.

The decoration was superb, and lettering on the frame like “SD40” and a builder’s plate help make the model complete.

Reviewed in the September 2016 issue, the model delivered superb performance. Our Command Control low speed was 3.6 scale miles per hour, while the conventional low speed was a modest 5.4 smph. Our high speed average was 73.6. Drawbar pull was an impressive 2 pounds, 5 ounces.

vintage black and white image of diesel locomotive
Southern Pacific No. 8431 was built in 1966. EMD photo

The model has a smoke unit, two can-style motors, and Lionel’s Legacy Command and Sound systems. Sound reproduction was amazing. While the model requires O-54 curves, we were able to get it through O-48 curves — but remember, O-54 is the requirement.

Lionel’s Built-to Order SD40 was offered in Burlington Northern, Chessie System (B&O), Clinchfield, two Conrail liveries, Grand Trunk Western, Missouri Pacific, and two Southern Pacific designs.

If you are a fan of second-generation diesels, you’ll want the SD40 to form the backbone of your freight fleet.

See dozens more notable toy train locomotives in our special issue: Great Toy Train Locomotives.

Learn more about the full-size SD40 from our sister publication, Classic Trains.

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