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I recently purchased a brand new Atlas Dash 8-40B that was catalogged in 2001. Not a mark on the wheels or rollers. At first it came alive with sound and lights. Seemed like it was going to be a winner but it wouldn't move. After some investigation, I removed the trucks, cleaned out the grease that had turned to glue after twenty years, greased and away she went.

All operates great but she doesn't have speed control. I have been told it has SAW electronics and to add seed control would require replacing the electronics with ERR Cruise Commander.

So my question(s) is, what options do I have? The near $300 cost to add ERR Cruise Commander and a sound setup seems a bit steep for an engine I paid $82 for. Granted I am dollars ahead and this is a beautiful engine, but I'm hoping for a less costly solution.

Another question is if I go with Cruise Commander can I retain the sound board already onboard? The horn sound is awesome.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks, Frank



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I would look at it from a different perspective. If you paid $82 for that beautiful engine, $300 is a bargain.  I do think the sound board you now have will need to be replaced.  If you do it yourself your talking about 275 for both the cruise commander and sound board.  The installation is pretty straight forward.


Last edited by martind
@lehighline posted:


Please provide some guidance on what you did to pull the shell and remove the trucks. I'm staring at a pair of Atlas Susquehanna Dash8s with the same problem. I know they did run in the past, as I'm the original owner.

Thank you!



6 screws release the shell. 2 front, 2 back, 2 more in front of the fuel tank.
Remove handrail ends from cab.
The battery boxes do not come off with the shell, but the cab is tabbed into the top of them so you need to pop it loose.

Trucks release from the frame with 4 screws, don’t lose the plastic washers under the screw heads. You’ll need to unscrew the pickup roller   wire and the big screw on the bottom of the truck to release the motor and clean out the truck block.  4 screws release each axle plate as well, as those also should be cleaned. Note the flat side of the bearings on the axles and the worm gear shaft, and orient it correctly to reassemble.


Thank you! With the other comments on this thread, now I'll have to look at the electronics packages in these 2 as well. As I recall, I had to shut the curise control down in order to get all 3 Dash 8s to play nicely together. So it occurs to me that the 3rd Dash 8 may not have cruise at all. Time to open all 3.



Reviving this discussion: I have 3 Atlas Dash8-40Bs. 2 are from 2003, that my notes say do not have cruise. With monentum set to Low, these things are jack rabbits, so I'd say my notes are correct. The third unit is from 2008, and does have cruise. I suspect the board is TAS, but have not confirmed. The goal is to have all 3 engines play nicely together. If I install CC-Ms in the 2 non-cruise units, will all 3 work well together, or do I need to get 3 CC-Ms and junk the TAS?

Also, how do I get the ditch lights and headlights to work? All 3 units are dark. The 2008 unit had the ditch lights flashing on startup with my CAB1, but not with my Legacy CAB2. Bad batteries in the CAB1?



I have an Atlas Southern SD35 from the same time frame (before they added TAS cruise) and you are right about the horn.  To my taste, it is the most realistic horn that Lionel has ever offered.

I run mine with a Legacy SD40 set at medium momentum and use the Atlas a the lead engine.  The legacy is forgiving enough that they actually work very well together and that way I get the sound I like and  speed control.  Currently, this is the only non cruise engine I still have on my roster.

About the horn:  I was in Charlotte getting gasoline in an area close to an older residential area.  As I was pumping gss, I heard a train horn behind the station.  Evidently, there were tracks running through the neighborhood and the engine sounded crossing signal at each block.  I drove into the neighborhood to see the engine and it appeared to be a GP7 or 9 and I thought the horn sounded just like my Atlas engine at home.  When I got home, I ran the engine and was amazed that the horn sounded so correct.

Happy railroading,


The problem with converting an old TAS SAW to ERR Cruise is that the whole SAW board needs to go. TAS used standard Lionel daughter boards (R2LC, audio, audio power supply) but used their own motherboard that hosted the motor driver.

If you want to use the original RS4 audio board with an ERR Cruise Commander you’d need to find a powered motherboard for it. I wish ERR still offered them.

This is what is inside the Dash 8 with cruise. The smoke unit is clearly marked TAS. The board on the left is the R2LC-C, and the center board has the sound chip. The only thing left is the board on the right for the cruise function. It's not well marked. Underneath the mother boar is a heavy aluminum mounting frame which apparently doubles as a heat sink. There is a substantial bridge rectifier mounted to the bottom of it. I presume the units w/o cruise would be similar, although I guess I should really open one and check.

If I go with the CC-M option, how much of what I have do I need to change out? And based on GRJ's comment above, it looks like I'll need to do all 3 units.





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The board on the right is the RailSounds generic Power Supply, it has nothing to do with cruise.  The "cruise" components are all on that motherboard.  The older SAW board (non-cruise) looks similar, and has the same three Lionel boards added.

For this one, I'd yank all the stuff and use the full Cruise Commander.  I have a few RS powered motherboards, so you could use one of those and the existing RS4 board for the sounds.  That would make it compatible with the other two that will get the Cruise Commander M boards.

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