Faced with rough mountain grades covered by tunnels and snow sheds, the Southern Pacific’s unique “Cab Forwards” were a breath of fresh air to the engineer and fireman. The ultimate development of the design, the AC-12 4-8-8-2, battled the Sierra’s from 1943 until 1958.
The AC-12 saw service on a variety of trains. They were used on general freight, priority produce trains and occasionally as helpers on heavy passenger trains. Even these huge machines were often seen working in pairs or more with locomotives placed at the head end, mid train and on / or on the rear to get the heaviest trains over the mountains. Despite their success, the AC-12 would have the dubious distinction of being the last new steam locomotives purchased by the Espee.
The coming diesel locomotives were already a “cab forward” design as far as the crew was concerned. Interestingly though, the many tunnels would play a role with the development of later diesels, namely the SD40T-2 and SD45T-2 “Tunnel Motors.”
Only one Cab Forward, No. 4294, is preserved today. It is also the last new steam locomotive purchased by the Southern Pacific. It can be seen strategically placed next to the first locomotive of the Central Pacific, the C.P. Huntington, at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
The Lionel AC-12
Lionel is bringing back the AC-12 in 2014 with its best features yet including LEGACY control, RailSounds and Whistle Steam!
Note that like many of the Southern Pacific’s later steam locomotives, the AC-12 was equipped with both a steam whistle and an air horn. The engineer could choose which ever he preferred, and with your LEGACY remote you can too.
The locomotive 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
- DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed
- LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle and Horn” control – choose between the steam whistle and air horn just like the prototype
- 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
- Whistle Steam
- 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
- Glowing ashpan
- Cab glass windows
- Engineer and fireman figures
- IR Transmitter for communication with LCS SensorTrack
- O-72 Minimum curve
For 2014, we are offering the AC-12 in three different road numbers in the traditional Southern Pacific paint scheme. We are also offering a “What If” Daylight version for those who’d like to add some matching heavy mountain power to their Daylight passenger trains. An unpainted Pilot model is also available. Retail price is $1699.99.
Road numbers are as follows:
- 6-11462 #4294
- 6-11463 #4291
- 6-11464 #4286
- 6-11465 #4275 “Daylight”
- 6-11469 Pilot Model (unpainted)
These locomotives will be among the first from the new catalogs produced in 2014 so don’t wait! See your Lionel dealer and order your piece of Southern Pacific history today.