New Product Spotlight – City of Los Angeles

30 09 2013

Let’s head west this week with the City of Los Angeles as we take a closer look at our upcoming streamliners.

The City of Los Angeles
Most passenger trains were the pride of a railroad and closely associated with its image; the New York Central’s 20th Century, the Great Northern’s Empire Builder, the Santa Fe’s Chief. But there were also a select group of trains which were shared by several roads. In the eyes of the traveling public, it didn’t matter whose name was on the letterboards as long as the service inside the car was comfortable and friendly.

AD

The UP featured EMD E units in the advertising for it’s City trains, including the City of LA.

The City of Los Angeles began as a joint service between Chicago and Los Angeles via the Chicago and Northwestern and Union Pacific in 1936. At the time, only one train consist was available, making only 5 round trips per month. It became a daily train in 1947.

In 1955, operations east of Omaha shifted from the CNW to the Milwaukee Road. It was also in this year that a new train consist was added with dome cars, including a dome lounge observation. This lounge car was used for sleeping car passengers. There was an additional dome diner and lounge car for coach passengers. At this time there were also connecting cars from New York via the Pennsylvania and New York Central (operating on alternate days and using cars lettered for the owning railroad but painted in UP’s yellow color scheme for a matched consist in the west.) Connecting cars from Minneapolis and St. Paul also arrived in Chicago via the CNW.

The dome observations only lasted about a year. In 1956 the UP modified them and placed them mid-train behind the diner. That year also saw the seasonal combination of service with the Challenger between Omaha and Los Angeles. During peak season, the City was sleeper only, with the Challenger handling coach travelers.

E9

The Milwaukee’s E9s were also frequently seen on the City of Los Angeles, especially when second sections were run.

As service slowly declined through the 1960s, the train was combined with some of the UP’s other City streamliners. First with the City of San Francisco in 1960. At Ogden, the San Francisco section was pulled out and departed via the Southern Pacific. By 1969 it had become a “City of Everywhere” (never an official name) with multiple sections being combined. Between Cheyenne and Green River, WY. the train averaged 27 cars behind an impressive A-B-B-B-B-A consist of E9s!

The domes disappeared altogether in 1970 and the train would make its last run in 1971 with the arrival of Amtrak. Some cars from the 1955 consist have survived in private hands.

Lionel’s Models

Now you can recreate the glory years of this fine train on the Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road. The 18″ aluminum passenger cars will look great behind our new E9s, or a variety of other motive power.

The new E9s include one powered and one non-powered locomotive. Both engines feature:

  • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting including LED headlights

    E9

    The E9 was a regular feature on the City of LA and other important trains.

  • Front ElectroCouplers
  • Working front Marker Lights
  • Illuminated number boards
  • Lighted and detailed cab interior
  • Die-cast metal trucks, fuel tank and pilots
  • High level of separately applied details
  • O-31 minimum curve

Powered locomotives also feature:

  • LEGACY Control – also capable of running on TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control
  • LEGACY RailSounds including
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom dialog
    • 6 Railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • LEGACY Quilling horn
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell
    • Sequence control provides sounds and dialog for an entire trip around your layout
    • Current speed and fuel dialog and refueling sounds
  • Dual motors with flywheels
  • Refined Transformer Control with lower starting speeds
  • Traction Tires
  • Engineer and Fireman figures

Passenger cars feature:

  • Die-cast sprung metal trucks with operating couplers featuring hidden uncoupling tabs
  • Extruded aluminum bodies with flush-fitting windows

    COLA

    You could easily combine multiple sets of our City of Los Angeles cars to recreate the prototype’s often colossal consists.

  • Operating end vestibules with flexible diaphragms
  • Separately applied metal roof vents and grab irons
  • Interior lighting with on/off switch
  • Detailed interiors with passenger and crew figures
  • Operating marker and end lights on observation car
  • Lighted drumhead on observation car
  • Metal frame
  • Metal underframe details
  • O-54 minimum curve

The locomotives retail for $929.99 and the passenger car 4-packs for $639.99. The City of Los Angeles showed the cooperation railroads could bring when the public demanded the best in service. Don’t miss this opportunity to serve the fine folks of Plasticville, Lionelville or any of the towns on your layout.





New Product Spotlight – The Olympian

9 09 2013

In it’s competition for travelers to the Pacific Northwest, the Milwaukee Road needed a train with the highest of acclaim. The Olympian served the need for fifty years.

The Olympian

The Milwaukee purchased an all new, all-steel trainset for the Olympian in 1911. Over the coming half-century it would consistently offer the newest and best technology the railroad could offer. From roller bearings, radio and air conditioning to electric locomotives to its 1950s streamlined consist with Skytop observation cars and Super Domes. For a time, the luxury train even included a feature mostly reserved for today’s tourist trains – an open air observation car! Thanks to the electrification, passengers could enjoy the full panorama of sights, sounds and smells of the scenic canyons without fear of raining cinders.

advertising

Artwork for the 1947 train featured new Fairbanks Morse engines and the Skytop Lounge observation.

In 1947 the Milwaukee rejuvenated the train with an all new streamlined consist and renamed her the Olympian Hiawatha. The train was painted in the roads orange and maroon and included the new Brooks Stevens – designed Skytop Lounge observation cars. These were the next best thing to the open air cars of the earlier era. In 1952 the Skytops were joined by new full-length Super Domes offering even more grand views of the impressive mountain passes.

In 1957, the train was repainted in Union Pacific’s color scheme along with the rest of the Milwaukee’s equipment. The 1950s also saw the Milwaukee and UP partnering on other trains including the eastern end of the UP’s City trains. (The new Milwaukee E9’s would look perfectly appropriate in front of our City of Los Angeles consist as well!)

Sadly the writing was on the wall for the great train by the time it had dawned its new Armour Yellow coat. It was not competition from the Great Northern, Northern Pacific or even the Union Pacific but the improvements in air travel that would beat the great train. Despite the scenic route and accommodations, the Milwaukee simply couldn’t compete with the airlines’ schedule. The train was discontinued in 1961.

Thanks to this 1952 advertising video by the Milwaukee Road, we can have a glimpse of what the Olympian Hiawatha was like from a traveler’s perspective.

Lionel’s Models

Lionel’s Olympian captures this great train in its final years of operation. Decorated in Armour Yellow, the four-car passenger set includes the Milwaukee’s trademark Skytop Lounge. The twin E9’s provide the perfect companion for a matched consist. You could also substitute other Milwaukee diesels or even an electric locomotive for its trip over the Cascades.

The new E9s include one powered and one non-powered locomotive. Both engines feature:

  • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting including LED headlights

    E9

    The Milwaukee’s E9s complement this consist nicely but can be mixed and matched with other trains as well.

  • Front ElectroCouplers
  • Working front Marker Lights
  • Illuminated number boards
  • Lighted and detailed cab interior
  • Die-cast metal trucks, fuel tank and pilots
  • High level of separately applied details
  • O-31 minimum curve

Powered locomotives also feature:

  • LEGACY Control – also capable of running on TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control
  • LEGACY RailSounds including
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom dialog
    • 6 Railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • LEGACY Quilling horn
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell
    • Sequence control provides sounds and dialog for an entire trip around your layout
    • Current speed and fuel dialog and refueling sounds
  • Dual motors with flywheels
  • Refined Transformer Control with lower starting speeds
  • Traction Tires
  • Engineer and Fireman figures

Passenger cars feature:

  • Die-cast sprung metal trucks with operating couplers featuring hidden uncoupling tabs
  • Extruded aluminum bodies with flush-fitting windows

    olympian

    The Olympian consist includes the unique Skytop Lounge observation.

  • Operating end vestibules with flexible diaphragms
  • Separately applied metal roof vents and grab irons
  • Interior lighting with on/off switch
  • Detailed interiors with passenger and crew figures
  • Operating marker and end lights on observation car
  • Lighted drumhead on observation car
  • Metal frame
  • Metal underframe details
  • O-54 minimum curve

The locomotives retail for $929.99 and the passenger car 4-packs for $639.99. See your dealers today to make the Olympian the pride of your service.





Freight Car Friday – Railroads of Milwaukee

2 11 2012

We’re off to Trainfest in Milwaukee this week, so what better time to look at some of the classic fallen flags that have called this city home?

Milwaukee Road

Milwaukee Road

Despite multiple mergers, the bold graphics of later Milwaukee Road cars remain highly visible today.

When you think Milwaukee, Hiawatha’s and rib-sided boxcars probably come to mind right after that other bubbly industry that made the city famous. The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, better known simply as the Milwaukee Road, had one of the most unique freight car fleets in the midwest.

Perhaps the most distinctive were its home-built cars which included the unique boxcars and cabooses with horizontal stiffening “ribs” on the exterior. These cars traveled the country from the 1940s to the 1980s.

The Milwaukee’s distinctive look began to fade in 1986 when it was merged into the Soo Line, which today is part of CP Rail. Still, decades after the merger you can still find billboard-lettered covered hoppers and even the occasional boxcar roaming the rails in regular service.

Chicago and North Western

The Milwaukee Road’s biggest competitor in its hometown was the Chicago and Northwestern. The C&NW operated both freight and passenger service into and out of the city.

ore

The C&NW offered a rich mix of priority freight, passenger and heavy mineral trains through the region.

Like other roads of the region, the CNW served the agricultural industries heavily. From seasonal grain traffic to refrigerated trains serving the brewers, meat packers and markets, the railroad whisked priority freight trains across the upper midwest. Contrasting this traffic was the heavy flow of iron ore, taconite and coal from the region down to the mills on the south shore of Lake Michigan.

The North Western and the Milwaukee Road actually considered a merger in 1970, but the plans never came to be. After divesting many of its western and smaller lines, the remaining property became part of Union Pacific in 1995. The green and yellow freight cars of the railroad can still be found today all over the massive UP system and beyond. A few locomotives even remain in their original paint.

Soo Line

Soo

Like its competitors, the Soo’s freight operations around Milwaukee featured plenty of covered hoppers and bold graphics through the 1970s and 1980s.

The Soo Line had long been a player in the Milwaukee market, but it also found itself entwined in the history of some of its other carriers. The Soo’s presence in Milwaukee obviously grew greatly in 1985 with its acquisition of the Milwaukee Road. In 1987, it then had a hand in the creation of the “new” Wisconsin Central when it sold off its trackage acquired from the original carrier of the same name in 1960.

Today the Soo is an operating subsidiary of Canadian Pacific, existing on paper only as all operations have been fully integrated into the larger system. Those two roads had a long relationship going back to the Nineteenth Century. Although CP had divested itself of most of its ownership in the Soo following the Milwaukee takeover, it would come back to pick up the line entirely in .

Wisconsin Central

The Wisconsin Central is a classic shortline success story. The railroad began like many, acquiring branchlines spun off by larger carriers in the 1980s, starting with the routes of the original Wisconsin Central from Soo Line in 1987. By the 1990s, the Wisconsin Central was a major regional and international player. The WC acquired the Algoma Central, Fox River Valley and Green Bay and Western routes in its home territory in the United States and Canada.

WC

The Wisconsin Central was an enterprising road that never left an opportunity pass it by. While logging may not be the most thought of industry for Milwaukee, the nearby upper peninsula of Michigan provided a steady flow of lumber products through the region.

Management then followed a unique course of actions, acquiring rail lines in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.  The plucky little shortline now had operations on three continents! It eventually grew so successful it was acquired by Canadian National in 2001. Like the Soo Line, it exists in paper form only, with all of the operations absorbed into the parent company.

The railroad became a fan-favorite for its fleet of SD45 and F45 locomotives, some of which are preserved today. But also like the Soo, Milwaukee, and C&NW, you’ll still find plenty of maroon Wisconsin Central boxcars roaming the rails. And they’ll probably be a common sight for several more years to come.

Chesapeake and Ohio

C&O

You wouldn’t expect to find the Chessie in Wisconsin, but the railroad saw fit to maintain an interchange point here for generations.

Perhaps the most unexpected player in the Milwaukee scene was the Chesapeake and Ohio. While the railroad’s footprint in the city was small, the C&O did maintain a carfloat operation across Lake Michigan and had a small yard in town where it interchanged with the other lines. A C&O, and later Chessie, switcher could usually be found around the Jones Island yard to handle the work.

Little outlying pockets like this can be exciting finds on railroads and a great way to model your favorite line in a different way. No need for Alleghenies or stainless-steel streamliners here, but it’s still the C&O through and through!





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY GP35s

20 08 2012

The classic look of EMD’s 2nd generation diesels began with the GP35. 1,334 of the 2500 horspower units were built between 1963 and 1966 between plants in the U.S.A. and Canada.

GP35

The heritage of this recently retired Wheeling and Lake Erie GP35 isn’t hard to find. Note the trade-in ALCo trucks.

While the unique styling of the GP30 made them popular from trackside, there were several issues with the locomotives that made them far less enjoyable from the railroads’ and crews’ perspective. EMD had pushed that design somewhat to stay close to competition from GE and ALCo. Within a few years however, they had ironed out those problems and introduced the GP35.

The locomotive used the same prime mover as the GP30, EMD’s 567D, but cranked out an additional 250 horsepower. The locomotive also featured revised dynamic brakes and a better air-tight carbody that reduced wear from dirt entering the engine compartment. To the crews’ liking, the cab roof was higher inside and its heating system greatly improved. The GP35 proved to be a solid locomotive that would set the standard and the look of EMD’s to follow.

NYC

6-38524 New York Central

A total of more than 40 railroads purchased the units, many using older locomotives as trade-ins. Some, like those on the Ann Arbor, GM&O and Southern, rode on ALCo trucks from the trades. The Southern and N&W units were also unique in sporting high short hoods.

Often these locomotives outlived their original buyers to work for succeeding lines or later to be sold to regional and short line railroads. Many of these engines can still be found hard at work on those lines today. Others have been rebuilt, some as slugs without their own diesel engines, and remain on the Class One roads like BNSF and CSX today.

Lionel Models

Conrail

6-38539 Conrail

Lionel’s new GP35 features all new tooling to capture the look of this pivotal locomotive. Available in two LEGACY equipped powered numbers and an additional non-powered locomotive, you’ll be able to create prototypical consists whether you’re running the local or a hot piggy-back freight.

Powered locomotives feature:

  • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control layouts
  • UP

    6-38527 Union Pacific

    Odyssey II Speed Control with On / Off switch

  • LEGACY RailSounds including
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom dialog
    • 6 Official railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • Quilling Horn
    • Bell (single hit and continuous)
    • Sequence Control
    • Current speed and fuel dialog
    • Refueling sounds
  • CP Rail

    6-38533 CP Rail

    Dual maintenance-free motors

  • Traction Control
  • Refined Conventional Control mode with lower starting speeds
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Fan-driven smoke with adjustable output
  • EL

    6-38548 Erie Lackawanna

    Directional lighting

  • Marker Lights
  • Lighted cab interior with crew
  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • MSRP: $499.99

Non-Powered models feature:

Milwaukee

6-38542 Milwaukee Road

  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • Front and rear magnetic couplers
  • Select separately applied details
  • Detailed cab interior
  • MSRP: $259.99

All of the locomotives will negotiate an O-31 curve. Available roadnames include: Conrail, CP Rail, Erie Lackawanna, Milwaukee Road, New York Central, Pennsylvania, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific. Look for these in dealers near you early this fall.





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY DD35A Diesels

9 01 2012

In the 1960s, America’s locomotive builders were in a horsepower race to satisfy a seemingly unending appetite for more powerful motive power from the big railroads. When the demand for horsepower exceeded the capacity of its diesel engine, the Electro Motive Division of General Motors (EMD) took the next logical step – use two!

Prototype History

UP DD35A

Union Pacific No. 80 is ready to takle Sherman Hill with any train you give it!

The DD35 was the first of several designs which put a pair of locomotives on one frame. Essentially two GP35 locomotives on one platform, the GP35 offered up 5,000 horsepower. Riding on a pair of 4-axle trucks (hence the “DD” designation), the two 567-16 prime movers powered eight electric traction motors. The first units were intended to be boosters, placed between conventional locomotives, and lacked cabs.

The DD35 found only two buyers: Southern Pacific and Union Pacific. The Union Pacific was happy enough with the design to go back to EMD in 1965 with a request for additional locomotives with cabs – the DD35A. These locomotives were mechanically similar, but in addition to cabs sported hoods with new radiator designs as were being applied to the new 645 engine test locomotives. The UP was the only buyer, purchasing 15.

SP DD35A

The Southern Pacific never opted for an A-unit, but did own 3 DD35s, making this fantasy unit quite plausible.

Although the design concept was continued with DD40AX models for Union Pacific, ultimately the design fell out of favor. The fuel shortage of the 1970s began to change railroads’ perspectives on horsepower requirements. More importantly, the DD35 and DD40 offered no real power advantages over a true pair of GP35s or GP40s but were greatly restricted on routes by their size and weight and were brutal on track and curves. Maintenance expenses, although gradually alleviated, still remained high for the large engines. The DD35s were taken out of service for the last time in 1979 and the last were retired in 1981. None has been preserved.

The Model

Lionel’s model of these large prototypes gives you the chance to add some serious power to your freight trains. Just like the prototype, you’ll be able to pull some very long trains. Unlike the real thing, you won’t have to worry about the cost of filling that 8,230 gallon fuel tank!

MILW DD35A

The DD35A could have been an option for the Milwaukee Road on its mountainous mainlines. Imagine one of these paired up with a "Little Joe!"

Our model features dual motors and traction tires supported by a metal frame, fuel tank and trucks for maximum pulling power. Smoke it up with two stacks of working exhaust  – with controllable output in TMCC and LEGACY modes. Lighting features include directional headlights, marker lights, number boards and cab interior lighting. Powered units feature our LEGACY control and sound system with 8 diesel notches, crew talk, quillable horn and mechanical bell sounds. Working ElectroCouplers are included on both ends for easily building larger consists.

PRR DD35A

The Pennsy DD35A is pure fantasy - but they sure would have looked great!

For those who want the look of an even larger consist but don’t need the extra power, an unpowered version of each paint scheme is also available. The unpowered models include the same lighting and smoke effects as their powered brothers!

These locomotives are nearly two feet long, so like their prototypes they will be somewhat restricted on curves. O-42 is possible, but O-54 is recommended.

Available in two numbers (one powered and one unpowered) for Union Pacific and fantasy schemes for the Milwaukee Road, Pennsylvania and Southern Pacific. These locomotives have shipped and should be showing up on dealers’ shelves now!





New Product Spotlight – Milwaukee S-3

21 11 2011

Milwaukee Road No. 261 is certainly one of the most seen mainline steam locomotives in recent history. In fact, her excursion career has already been longer than her original service run!

261

The new LEGACY models capture the smooth yet powerful lines of the S-3 class.

The Milwaukee Road’s S-3 class of Northerns (4-8-4s) were ordered to meet the extreme demands of World War II traffic and arrived in 1944. All were built as coal burners, five were later converted to oil. Unlike the road’s previous Northerns, the S-3’s were built by ALCo, who touted their modernity as the “last word in 4-8-4 design.” Those words would be somewhat prophetic, but probably not for the reasons ALCo suggested.

261 smokebox

There's no mistaking the 261 from the front. The Lionel model features a working Mars light and a non-operating, but positionable drop coupler.

The S-3s were assigned to both freight and passenger service, especially on passenger trains of 12 cars or more. As modern and efficient as they were however, the Northerns were no match for the new diesel-electrics that would become available again as soon as the war was over. Retirement began in 1954, and all ten were off the active roster by 1956. Like so many other great steam locomotives of the 1940s, the S-3’s time in the sun was brief.

261 running gear

Lionel's models capture the Northern's powerful running gear and pistons - with steam effects no less.

Two of the class were set aside for preservation however. No. 261 became the first locomotive in the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay. No. 265 traveled to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. No. 261’s fate was forever changed in 1991 when North Star Rail went searching for a modern steam locomotive to restore to service for mainline excursion runs. A 4-8-4 capable of pulling long passenger trains, equipped with roller bearings and other “modern” devices – and with a boiler that had only seen 10 years of service – what more could you ask for?

The restoration was completed 2 years later. Her excursion career has taken the 261 from Pennsylvania to celebrate Steamtown’s opening to pulling BNSF employee specials, to teaming up with Canadian Pacific steam and more. Now owned by the non-profit Friends of the 261, she is currently undergoing continued overhaul but will soon be again pulling her matched consist of Milwaukee Road-colored passenger cars to the delight of fans everywhere.

The LEGACY Model

boiler details

The high level of realism on the entire engine extends to the smallest details on top of the boiler and sandbox.

For such a famous face, Lionel committed to making the most authentic model possible. The all new LEGACY S-3 is an impressive beast of an engine. Equipped with LEGACY control and sounds, there will be no mistaking this engine with both its steam whistle and single-chime air horn. And in addition to chuffing smoke, you also get cylinder steam effects. The hefty locomotive will have no problem pulling a 12+ car passenger train like the prototype, and she’ll be right at home on a long freight too. Our wireless tether to the tender, plus a new self-adjusting drawbar will make the connection between loco and tender the most realistic it’s ever been.

261 Tender

With a self-retracting drawbar, your tender will always remain as close as possible to the engine.

And of course you get all of the other features and quality that you’ve come to expect from Lionel’s LEGACY engines: directional headlights, marker lights, Mars light, cab, firebox and ashpan lighting, amazing backhead detail, and more separately applied detail castings than we can list.

No. 261 is ready for freight, passenger or excursion service on your layout. No. 267 is also available for those who’d like to model the S-3 fleet in its prime. They’ll negotiate O-54 curves. MSRP is $994.99 and they should be blasting into a dealer near you very soon.








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