Beneath a steady plume of white smoke and with a giant whooooosh, the Pennsy’s S-2 was quite the sight as she rolled a heavy freight train at speed down the four-track “Broad Way.” In 1944 that sound cried out the arrival of the ultimate in steam technology – and its last gasp.
As diesel locomotives made their mark on railroading, the railroads with the greatest investment in steam made efforts to save the old technology. The Norfolk and Western, Chesapeake and Ohio and Pennsylvania all built experimental steam turbines in a great experiment to give steam a new viability.
The Pennsylvania received their new turbine from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1944. Following standard Pennsy classification, the unique locomotive was given the S-2 designation. (The S-1 of course was the equally unique streamlined behemoth exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair.) Like its older sister, the S-2 debuted with a great deal of publicity. Unfortunately, her story also ends in quiet failure.
From the running boards up, the S-2 looked and functioned much like any other steam locomotive of the era. Instead of powering a pair of reciprocating pistons, the steam from the boiler was harnessed by a pair of steam turbines. One large turbine was used for forward movement. A smaller turbine was used for reverse moves up to 22 mph.
Although overall, the project could not be deemed anything but a failure, the 6200 did have some bright spots. Once the train was up to speed, the turbine performed as well or even better than expected. The locomotive was also found to be much easier on the rails than a conventional steam locomotive. Unfortunately, at speeds below 33 mph, all of the efficiencies of the turbine were lost. The locomotive also frequently overheated and stressed the firebox and staybolts with extended slow running.
In the end, even if the S-2 were more efficient than conventional steam locomotives of the era, the real competition was the diesel. And by 1944, the railroads had seen more than enough hard evidence to support dieselization. The 6200 was quietly put out of service in 1946 and scrapped in 1953.
Despite its limited use, the S-2 was always an impressive and inspiring machine. Lionel made its first model of the locomotive in 1946. Its brawny lines, engineering interest, and no doubt the lack of any complicated valve gear to replicate, made it a natural for the Lionel line. Since then, the locomotive has been recreated in both scale and compressed versions many times over. This big brute is coming back again, now with LEGACY for the first time.
The S2 features:
- LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
- Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
- LEGACY RailSounds system featuring:
– CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped
– Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog
– Turbine sounds synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed
– LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle” control with instant response for realistic signature ‘quilling’ and correctly timed warning signals
– Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds
– Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive
– Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
- Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
- Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
- ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
- Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
- Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive
- Traction tires
- Fan-driven smoke unit
- Adjustable smoke output
- Interior illumination in cab
- Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
- Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
- High level of separately applied metal details
- Separately applied builder’s plates
- Authentically detailed cab interior
- Flickering firebox in cab
- Cab glass windows
- Engineer and fireman figures
- O-72 Minimum curve
The locomotive is available in two prototypical paint schemes for the Pennsy. We’re also paying tribute to some of our own historic turbines with special Lionel Lines 671 and 681 numbers. See your dealers today, we expect the locomotives to ship soon. MSRP is $1299.99.