The Berkshire is one of the most popular locomotives we’ve ever produced, and our 2014 scale Berkshire release will be the best yet. Returning in popular roadnames and with great new features, these locomotives are sure to continue that tradition.
The 2-8-4 design originated on the Boston and Albany in 1925. With an enlarged boiler and firebox, the locomotives could easily outperform Mikados of comparable length. Much as the Hudson had done for the New York Central’s passenger traffic, the Berkshire would be the “Super Power” answer for freight service.
As the design progressed, the locomotives became even more efficient – and elegant. The best known Berks were built for the family of railroads owned by the Van Sweringen brothers. These included the Erie, Chesapeake and Ohio, Pere Marquette, and the New York Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate.) Pooling engineering resources, the combined staffs of these lines formed the “Mechanical Advisory Committee” which developed locomotive designs which could be shared among the routes.
The first Advisory Committee Berks went to the Erie. With 70″ drivers the locomotives were perfect for fast freight service. This design led to the T-1 2-10-4 for the C&O. Lessons learned here were in turn applied to subsequent orders for Berkshires on the Nickel Plate, Pere Marquette and lastly the C&O. Similar locomotives were also built for the Wheeling and Lake Erie and Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac.
The locomotives performed remarkably well through the end of steam on each road. Primarily a fast freight engine, the postcard image of these Berks usually has them on the point of a long train of reefers or priority merchandise cars. Many of the younger engines had less than 20 years in before diesels forced their early retirement. Nineteen Berks survive today (12 from the C&O), two in operating condition (Nickel Plate 765 and Pere Marquette 1225.)
The Berkshire has been a staple of the Lionel line as well for more than half a century. Our upcoming release will capture the size, details and drama of these legends in scale form. We’ve included a few special extras on some of these special locomotives as well.
The locomotive will be available in the following road names and numbers:
- 6-11452 C&O #2687
- 6-11453 Erie #3401
- 6-11454 Nickel Plate #765
- 6-11455 Pere Marquette #1225
- 6-11456 Pere Marquette #1227
- 6-11461 Pilot Model (unpainted)
All of the new Berkshires include the following 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” 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
- Whistle Steam effect
- 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 and firebox in cab
- Cab glass windows
- Engineer and fireman figures
- O-54 Minimum curve
For Nickel Plate 765’s re-release, we’ve added two nice touches to celebrate her long career in excursion service. The Nickel Plate locomotives were equipped with Mars lights during part of their service career, and 765 has carried this on excursions in the past. So you can have it both ways, we’re including an extra smokebox front with a Mars light detail. This can be substituted for the single headlight smokebox front installed. The working Mars Light is in the boiler. Also included with the 765, a certificate signed by the steam crew at the Ft Wayne Historical Society.
All of the Berkshires are being built to order quantities. MSRP for the Gold Polar Express is $1449.99. Don’t miss your chance to own this amazing locomotive! See your dealer to place an order today!