New Product Spotlight – Early Berkshires

9 04 2012

As our recent “Motive Power Madness” popularity contest on Facebook proved, the Lima Berkshire is one amazing machine. Today, the Berk’s legacy is secured by the many examples of the later production locomotives that have been preserved from the C&O, Pere Marquette and of course the Nickel Plate Road. And the locomotive that introduced “Super Power” has also invited a new generation of rail fans through its role in The Polar Express.

Demonstrator

Lima No. 1 set records and sold locomotives everywhere she went. The locomotive was sold to the Illinois Central after her tours.

The Lima Super Power concept was a proven mechanical success from the earliest tests of their new 2-8-4 locomotives in the Berkshire Mountains of New England on the New York Central, and Boston and Albany in 1924. By enlarging the firebox, hence the need for a four-wheel trailing truck, the locomotives could generate and maintain greater steam pressure. The 2-8-4 was designed as a replacement for the Mikado (2-8-2). In one test, the prototype locomotive was matched against a Mikado between Selkirk and North Adams. The Berk departed 45 minutes behind with a heavier train – and arrived 10 minutes ahead of its rival. Used in fast freight service, the locomotives were a natural on produce, livestock and mail trains. The extra power gave them what they needed to maintain a tight schedule even over rugged grades. But their design was also compact enough to make them perfect for the tighter clearances of the Northeast.

B&M

The first Berk's were more function than form. The Coffin feed water heater did little to improve upon the locomotive's looks.

Despite the famous looks of the later Berks built for the Van Swerigan roads, the first 2-8-4s were a bit less visually balanced. Perhaps the biggest visual change were the feed water heaters on the smokebox fronts. The Coffin feed water heater especially is, frankly, not designed for aesthetics. Still, even if the styling had room for improvement, their service record was impressive from the start.

Lionel’s LEGACY Models

Santa Fe

While we traditionally think of the Berkshire as an eastern locomotive, the largest fleet was owned by the Santa Fe (91 locomotives.)

Lionel’s 2012 release of the Berkshire captures the unique look of these earlier locomotives. In addition to the New England Roads, the early orders for the Illinois Central, and Santa Fe are also represented along with the demonstrator itself, so these locomotives will look right at home on railroads anywhere from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Boston and Albany

No history of the Berkshire would be complete without the Boston and Albany.

The Berkshires are LEGACY equipped, with all of the control, bells and quillable whistles you’ve come to expect. Sounds also include crew dialog including speed and fuel announcements and sequence control to narrate an entire trip. Additionally, they feature both smoke and whistle steam effects, directional headlight and tender back-up light, firebox flicker, lighted number boards and cab interior. These Berks are packed with details including the correct Coffin or Elesco feed water heaters.

The 2-8-4 will negotiate an O-54 curve and retails for $1249.99. Available in the following road names:

Illinois Central

In addition to the original demonstrator, the Illinois Central purchased 50 Berkshires early.

  • 6-11386 Boston and Maine
  • 6-11387 Santa Fe
  • 6-11388 Southern Pacific
  • 6-11389 Boston and Albany
  • 6-11390 Lima Demonstrator
  • 6-11391 Illinois Central
  • 6-11392 Michigan Central

It’s no surprise that most railroads who saw the Berkshire in action quickly ordered some for themselves – we think you’ll want to do the same!

Advertisements

Actions

Information

One response

9 04 2012
sortb48

YES ,, I HAVE FOUR BERKSHIRES BOUGHT SINCE 2000 ATLANTIC COAST LINE 1800 ,,POLAR EXPRESS 1225,, NEW YORK CENTRAL 9401 ,, AND RECENTLY SOUTHERN 2718.. I PULL ATLANTIC COAST LINE 6 PASSENGER SET,, PULL CHESAPEAKE & OHIO 7 PASSENGER SET,, PULL MTH RAILKING 7 SOUTHERN PASSENGER SET AND FINALLY 027 GAUGE SANTA FE 8 PASSENGER CAR SET ON 11 X 12 LAYOUT WITH 48% CURVES USING FASTRACK AND POWERED BY 2 ZW TRANSFORMERS. ALL THREE GRANDCHILDERN ENJOY SEEING THE TRAINS RUN ONCE A WEEK…LIONEL AT ITS BEST.. TOM S AUGUSTA GEORGIA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: