In a world where instant communication has become a center point to daily life, it is easy to understand the impact the railroads and telegraph had on the world 150 years earlier. For the first time in recorded history, news could travel faster than the speed of a horse.
The fact that both railroads and the telegraph emerged and matured as technologies nearly simultaneously was fortunate. The telegraph companies enjoyed the shared rights of way for their communications lines and stations as convenient hubs. The railroads, quickly adopting the telegraph for their own needs, had the critical tool necessary for allowing the rails to operate efficiently, safely and at greater capacity. The public stood the most to gain as a trip to the station could yield everything from overnight packages to the latest news and gossip off the wire.
Western Union had completed their first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861. By the 1870s the company had emerged as a leader in communications, absorbing many smaller companies as it expanded. In 1884, Western Union was one of the eleven companies used by Dow Jones for their first market average listing. (Nine of the others were railroads.)
Building and maintaining thousands of miles of telegraph wire was not an easy task. Locating along rail lines offered advantages here for the telegraph companies as well. Like the railroads, Western Union maintained work trains which were dispatched to inspect and repair the lines. Although they sometimes used equipment from the railroads, Western Union also owned locomotives of their own.
Lionel’s latest train set captures the enduring style of the trains from this historic era and the excitement of both of these “new” technologies. Ironically, a set which pays tribute to communications by wire is operated with wireless remote control! With the LionChief™ remote, you simply plug the power pack into the wall and the track and you’re ready to go.
This is our first LionChief™ set featuring the “General” 4-4-0 locomotive. The set also includes two flatcars with removable loads and a baggage car, a 40″x60″ oval of FasTrack™, a wall-pack power supply and the hand-held LionChief™ remote control.
The locomotive features:
- Remote control operation
- Puffing smoke
- Operating headlight
- RailSounds RC™ with steam background sounds and steam chuffing in sync with locomotive speed, and remote-activated whistle, bell and announcements
- On/Off switch for steam sounds
- Powerful maintenance-free motor
- Traction tires
- Separately applied details
- Operating coupler on tender
- Die-cast archbar tender trucks
Rolling stock features:
- Die-cast archbar trucks with operating couplers
- Removable vats and tarped load on flatcars
- Interior illumination in baggage car
The remote control has a speed control and direction knob and separate push buttons for the whistle, bell and announcements. It requires three AAA batteries, not included.
This new set is scheduled for delivery this Fall and has a suggested retail price of $369.99. So “dash” on over to your favorite dealer to place your order!