New Product Spotlight – Capitol Limited

26 08 2013

It has been said that every train fan has two favorite railroads; the B&O and something else. With its beautiful blue and gray, the look of the B&O’s passenger service is indeed hard to dislike. The road had several important passenger trains, but the Capitol Limited topped the list.

The Capitol Limited

The Capitol Limited would be the B&O’s finest long-distance passenger train. Connecting New York and Chicago by way of Washington D.C., the Capitol was certainly not the fastest way between its two end points but it was among the most scenic and renowned for its services.


Early advertising shows the Capitol behind the B&O’s EA and EB locomotives – the first in what would become a long line.

From its beginning in 1923 until 1926, the Capitol departed the Big Apple from Pennsylvania Station. When the Pennsylvania closed the doors to the Manhattan terminal, the B&O’s passengers transferred from train to bus in Jersey City. The buses were ferried to Manhattan and then made stops at numerous hotels.

From Jersey City to Philadelphia, the B&O relied on friendly connections with the Central of New Jersey and Reading. Once south of Philly, the train stayed on the B&O all the way to Union Station in Chicago.

Although it started as and remained a New York – Chicago train for most of its life, most of the Capitol’s business boarded at Washington. From here, the train offered an overnight trip, leaving just after the close of the business day and delivering refreshed travelers from their births at 8 the next morning.

The train was one of the first in the nation to receive air conditioned cars in 1931. The Capitol was then the first passenger train in the eastern United States to be streamlined and dieselized in 1938. The cash-strapped B&O rebuilt existing equipment.


Today’s Capitol Limited has a completely different look – but it still offers passengers amazing views as it climbs the Alleghenies.

By the 1950s, the train was receiving a new consist which included dome cars. Common out west, domes were rare east of Chicago due to tighter clearances. Despite the fact that the train passed through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery at night, the domes were quite popular. The B&O even added spotlights to the roof of the cars to help illuminate the rocks of the famous Cumberland Narrows as the train headed west at dusk.

At the west end of the line, connections were offered with other railroads, including through sleeper service with the Santa Fe all the way to Los Angeles.

By the end of the decade and through the 1960s, the train was losing patronage to air and automobile. The withdrawal of mail contracts in 1967 pretty much ended the glory years of the train. Amtrak at first dropped the route in 1971.

In 1981 Amtrak reopened the Capitol Limited, using the original B&O route from Washington to Pittsburgh, then over Conrail (now Norfolk Southern) to Chicago. (After 1958, the train never again reached New York but there were more than ample connections available via the Pennsy’s route.) The train included a dome car again in early years until it was modernized with Superliner cars (one of the few trains east of the Mississippi to use the high-level train.)

Lionel’s Models

Now you can recreate the B&O’s best. The 18″ aluminum passenger cars will look great behind our new E9s, or a variety of other motive power.

The new E8s include one powered and one non-powered locomotive. Both engines feature:

  • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting including LED headlights
  • Front ElectroCouplers
  • Working front Marker Lights
  • Illuminated number boards
  • Lighted and detailed cab interior


    Whether it’s the Capitol, the National or any of the B&O’s great trains, these E8s will look great on the point.

  • 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
  • Operating end vestibules with flexible diaphragms


    The Capitol’s blue and grey will look great on any layout.

  • 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; missing this train could have you feeling (royal) blue!



2 responses

16 09 2013
Jerry Sauer

I just reviewed and placed orders from the 2013 Fall Catalogue. This catalogue actually lists the Pilot Version offerings so now the Pilot versions are obviously no longer “un catalogued locomotives”. I have the first 5 uncatalogued Pilot Version Locomtives from 2011 up to mid 2013. The catalogue lists the 6-11418 GS-6 and the 6-11341 UP 9000 which are actually from the herd of the first 5 Pilots. The GS-6 is sold out if you check on it and I don’t know if they are already sold out on the 9000. These were the the last 2 pilots Lionel offered as an un-catalogued Pilot locomotives as I obtained one of each ealier this year when they were considered to be un-catalogued.

I am concerned what affect the now catalogued pilots will do to the collectibility and price as I feel the uncatalogued version would be a more rare offering. My acquisition of these were fruits of my labor for doing alot of good homework on Lionel products done right. I kind of found my niche of something exclusive which obviously was short lived and not as shiny of an achievement. I’m sure I’ll get over that but it was a neat little claim to lionel fame I thought I had for a very short time. On the topic of Pilots and since they are now catalogued, what can we expect? Will the first 3 pilots that are still at this juncture un catalogued be reproduced and offered in catalogues? Also, is there any other talk of what we can expect in future Pilot offerings? The High rail truck you debuted on this blog ealrier this summer that was a die cast Pilot with the typical appointments is very appealing. I would like to see that in paint or pilot myself.

I ordered the USRA 2-8-8-2 Pilot and I think that is the end of my quest for pilots unless that high rail truck makes it to production. I also got in just under the wire for a N&W 611 Class J in paint and I also am very happy to order the weathered 9000. That is just cool as a Pilot and now has added value with that beautiful weathering.

Thanks, I enjoy this blog and weekly info. Good job.

17 09 2013


I can’t comment on future production, but I can offer a bit of information on the Pilot models from the current catalog. These are not new production, they are from the same production runs as the uncataloged versions. So at least in terms of quantity produced, your GS-6 and UP 9000 are no less rare than before – but perhaps now better known.

I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying your models. From the sample models I’ve seen, I think you will be very pleased with your weathered 9000 as well. And thank you for your kind words about the company and the blog.

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