Articles - Atlas GP7
06/17/2003
Well-over 2,700 GP7 units were produced by EMD from 1949 to 1954. They had a 1,500 hp engine. They were considered general road switchers. The Pennsylvania Railroad had 66 of them.

The Atlas model is a very solid performer. As a matter of fact, I had three of them and they were all used as my work horses for testing track, moving cars around, and generally reliable engines. I bought these in late 2000 as a set of three unnumbered models from a retail store online, and then had them professionally converted to DCC (I wasn't willing to tackle the milling of the frame at that time).
Atlas GP7

Coupler Conversion

I decided to convert my GP7s from the standard Rapido couplers to the Micro-Trains N-scale couplers. The first challenge was to determine which couplers to use. Needless to say, I had bought both the right ones and the wrong ones. My models are the Atlas Phase 2 made in China in 1995. These come equipped with body mounted Rapido couplers. The older ones (Phase 1) were made in Japan, and they have truck mounted couplers. For the Phase 1 (Japan) you need to use Micro-Trains' conversion kit #1155. For the Phase 2 (China) models you need to use MT 1015-1 RDA (basically pre-built 1015 couplers). For tools I used a pair of tweezers, some small jeweler screwdrivers, a drill bit, and a tap. This conversion is actually very easy once you have done one.
First, you'll notice a metal strip that is wedged in between the coupler retaining part. Using a small screwdriver you can bend it out and make it pop out. Using a small screwdriver, press in each side of this coupler retaining clip through the top rung of the side stairs of the model. Once that clip is out, the coupler practically falls out.
Atlas GP7
The cavity left by removing the old coupler is a perfect fit for the new MT 1015 coupler. Notice that just behind this opening is a small hole. On this locomotive, the hole in the front of the locomotive needed to be drilled out and tapped. The rear coupler hole needed no prep work. The screws that are supplied with the MT 1015 kit fit perfectly. It was a bit of a challenge to align the coupler hole with the body work hole.
Atlas GP7
Here is the finished product. The coupler height matched the Micro-Trains jig that checks coupler height.
Atlas GP7
Photo of the model in action.
Atlas GP7
Converting from the N-scale to the Z-scale couplers was very easy. It was a simple matter of removing the screw and pulling out the N-scale coupler. The screw that comes with the MT Z-scale coupler fits perfectly.
Atlas GP7
This is the same engine with the Z-scale coupler installed. It makes for very close coupling in N-scale, but that is what I like. Tip: I found it easiest to place the screw into position in the coupler before placing the coupler in the locomotive's pocket.
Atlas GP7