New Product Previews!

8 09 2014

In lieu of putting the spotlight on one new upcoming product, this week we thought you’d enjoy a look behind the scenes at some of the pre-production samples that have come through our offices in the past few weeks.

Please note that all of the photos shown here are of pre-production models. There could be some differences between these and final production. Some are a little further along in the process than others, but we know you’re anxious to see what’s coming. Check our shipping schedules for delivery updates and look for these new trains at your favorite dealer in the near future.

CNW

Let’s start with our Dealer Exclusive train sets! We have four decorated samples to share, starting with the 6-81029 C&WN Windy City Freight Set.

Marquette

The 6-81028 Marquette Freight Set features bold colors.

UP

The 6-81030 UP Gold Coast Flyer Set has classic style.

Pocono

The 6-81025 Pocono Berkshire Set rounds out our sampling of these great train sets.

PM 1225

Scale steam fans should look forward to the arrival of the Berkshires. This is a deco sample of PM 1225. The locomotive performs and sounds amazing on our test track!

mikado

A little further out, but just as exciting, the new Heavy Mikado is taking shape. This is a pre-production test sample.

GLa

Here’s a first look at the all-new GLa hopper for our Pennsy fans. Also a pre-production sample, these models pack a lot of detail into a small car.

boxcar

From one extreme to the other – here’s a pre-production sample of the new 4-door 86′ high cube boxcar. The black plastic makes it hard to capture the fine rivet detail and other features of these fine freight cars.





New Product Spotlight – American Flyer Diesel Sounds Boxcars

25 08 2014

Are some of your American Flyer locomotives sounding a bit too quiet? Now you can add realistic diesel RailSounds to any American Flyer train simply by coupling up to one of the new RailSounds boxcars!

6-48870 Great Northern - Steam

6-48870 Great Northern – Steam

These boxcars feature the same great RailSounds you’ll find in our new diesels and steam locomotives. Simply couple the boxcar behind your locomotive and enjoy the same rich sounds you’ll get from our current releases in a train from any era. Diesel engine / steam chuff sounds are in sync with the speed of the train and the horn / whistle and bell is controllable by your conventional transformer.

6-48871 Erie - Steam

6-48871 Erie – Steam

Boxcars feature a holder for a 9 volt battery. Installing a battery will allow your sounds to continue even as you pass over switches, crossings or dirty track. A volume control knob is also included in the car so you can adjust the sound to your taste.

6-49064 New Haven - Diesel

6-49064 New Haven – Diesel

The diesel boxcars are available in New Haven and Union Pacific. Steam sounds cars come decorated for Erie and Great Northern. All feature metal frames, opening doors, and die-cast metal trucks with operating couplers and will negotiate an S-36 curve. Cars retail for $169.99. See your favorite American Flyer dealer to order yours today!

6-49065 Union Pacific - Diesel

6-49065 Union Pacific – Diesel





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY SD70MAC

18 08 2014

As AC traction motor technology improved in the 1990s, the SD70MAC emerged as ideal power for heavy trains.

Prototype Background

6-81134 Burlington Northern

6-81134 Burlington Northern

Billed as the biggest technological development since the switch from steam to diesel, improvements in AC traction motor technology promised major changes in how railroads ran trains and assigned power.

Diesels with conventional DC traction motors can develop a lot of power at low speed, but only for a short period of time before the motors will overheat. AC traction motors on the other hand can run at full power without overheating for a long time. This gives AC motored locomotives an advantage in hauling heavy drag freights like coal trains. After testing EMD’s SD60MAC prototypes, Burlington Northern determined they could replace five aging SD40-2 and C30-7 locomotives with just three new SD70MACs on their Powder River Basin coal trains. Burlington Northern’s initial order for 350 SD70MACs brought AC traction to the spotlight in a big way.

6-81138 BNSF

6-81138 BNSF

Along with the AC motors, the SD70MAC featured improved anti-slip control which greatly improved the locomotives’ adhesion. In other words, the SD70MAC didn’t pull more because it was more powerful, it pulled more because it made better use of the power it produced. The SD70MACs could dig in and pull when conventional locomotives just spun their wheels. It wasn’t long before other railroads were trying out AC as well.

6-81141 Conrail

6-81141 Conrail

While Burlington Northern and most of the other railroads which purchased the SD70MAC did so for coal and other heavy drag freight trains, the locomotives often wander into other service corridors as well. Unit grain trains and general merchandise are common assignments. Perhaps most unusual are those on the Alaska Railroad which sometimes find themselves pulling passengers.

Lionel’s Model

Our latest release brings the model up to date with today’s LEGACY control and other great features, including:

  • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control layouts
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On / Off switch
  • LEGACYRailSounds including
    • CrewTalk andTowerCom dialog

      6-81153 CSX

      6-81153 CSX

    • 6 Official railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • Quilling Horn
    • Bell (single hit and continuous)
    • Sequence Control
    • Current speed and fuel dialog
    • Refueling sounds
  • Dual maintenance-free motors
  • Traction Tires
  • Refined Conventional Control mode with lower starting speeds
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Fan-driven smoke with adjustable output
  • ARR

    6-81153 Alaska

    IR Transmitter (works with the new SensorTrack)

  • Directional lighting
  • Marker Lights
  • Lighted cab interior with crew
  • Many separately applied metal detail parts
  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • Minimum Curve – O31

Another notable improvement over previous SD70MAC runs, we’ve lowered the fuel tank to a more realistic appearance.

The SD70MAC is being built to order. They were presented in two road numbers for Alaska, Burlington Northern, BNSF, CSX, and Kansas City Southern (one in the gray and one in the Southern Belle scheme). A Conrail SD70MAC is available as part of the Big Blue Auto Parts Boxcar Set and as a single number for separate sale. Look to see them later this year at your local Lionel dealer with a suggested retail price of $549.99.





New Product Spotlight – 86′ High Cube Boxcars

11 08 2014

After Lionel released our 89′ enclosed autoracks in 2013, it wasn’t long at all before the requests started coming in for an 86′ high cube auto parts boxcar to go with them. Bright, colorful and big, these boxcars are sure to make a statement on any O Gauge layout.

Santa Fe

Big boxcars provided ample room for big logos – roads like the Santa Fe certainly took advantage!

We’ve already covered auto parts cars here on the blog, and we’ll look at the Pullman Standard prototypes for our models in greater detail later this week with our next Freight Car Friday article. Rest assured you don’t need to model a sprawling auto assembly plant to enjoy these big cars on your layout. They can be found mixed in with smaller boxcars and autoracks in mixed freight trains or dedicated trains serving the assembly plants. You’ll also find the cars in appliance service and more recently some have even been put to work hauling trash.

Conrail

Conrail had the largest fleet of 86′ boxcars. The set and 2-pack each include 2 of their most common paint scheme variations.

Common since the late 1960s, you’ll find these cars in an amazing variety of color and lettering schemes. This year’s catalog offerings are only the beginning of the roadname possibilities! The bold graphics of the 1970s, combined with the huge canvas of the boxcars’ sides quickly made these some of the most impactful cars on the rails. Even with today’s more subdued colors and graphics, the cars remain impressive.

draft gear

The cars will come with a separate draft gear box for realistic conversion to scale couplers.

Lionel’s 86′ boxcars come from all new tooling. Like the 89′ autoracks, these cars feature our kinematic couplers which allow the behemoths to negotiate an O54 curve while coupled to other cars or the locomotive yet still maintaining a normal coupler spacing on straight track.

In addition to the operating kinematic couplers, these cars will come with a provision for conversion to scale couplers as well. Each car will come with a pair of cushioned draft gear details which hold the couplers and replicate the prototypes extensions. Simply unscrew and remove the kinematic couplers and the new pockets will key into the floor of the car easily. Note that the cars will not stay coupled on an O54 curve with the scale couplers mounted to the floor.

Another plus for modelers, based on the many requests we’ve received, is that the bold graphics on the sides of these cars won’t include a “Built by Lionel” date. Those have been moved to the underside of the car leaving only the prototypical markings which were carefully researched from prototype photos – right down to correct “heritage” numbers in the corner of the Conrail models.

NYC

Bright colors and classic paint schemes are part of the charm of these big cars.

Although the sides of the cars seem rather plain from a distance, there are plenty of details to capture. Ladders, door hangers, grab irons and end platforms and many underbody details are all separately applied metal parts.

The cars will also feature sprung die-cast trucks with rotating roller bearing caps for reliable performance and that extra touch of realism.

The new cars will be available in 2-packs, as single cars and as part of the Big Blue High Cube Boxcar Set. Available roadnames include:

  • Santa Fe (6-81703 2-pack, 6-81708 single car)
  • Conrail (6-81095 2-pack and two in the 6-81094 Big Blue High Cube Boxcar Set. Both the two pack and the set feature one car each in the large and medium-sized logo schemes.)

    set

    Maximize your fun with the Big Blue High Cube Set, including a special paint scheme and working EOT.

  • Grand Trunk Western (6-81704 2 pack and in the 6-81094 Set)
  • Milwaukee Road (6-81705 2-pack, 6-81710 single car)
  • New York Central (6-81707 2-pack, 6-81712 single car)
  • Norfolk Southern (6-81090 2-pack and a special “Thoroughbred” single car in the 6-81094 set)
  • Frisco (6-81706 2-pack, 6-81711 single car)
EOT

The boxcar set includes a new working EOT mounted to the coupler. (3-D printed, preproduction sample shown.)

Single cars have a suggested retail of $94.99, 2-packs a retail of $189.99. The Big Blue High Cube Boxcar set includes four of these cars including one with a newly tooled working EOT device mounted on the coupler of the last car and a Conrail LEGACY SD70MAC. Retail price on the set is $969.99. See your Lionel dealer to order yours today!





New Product Spotlight – American Flyer Baldwin Switchers

4 08 2014

The popular American Flyer Baldwin Switcher is back in three new paint schemes for 2014. Simple, reliable power for any S Gauge railroad, these switchers capture a common prototype.

Prototype Background

6-42597

6-42597 Canadian Pacific

The American Flyer switcher most closely represents the Baldwin DS4-4-660. Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the DS4-4-660 worked for railroads large and small and was also a popular choice for industrial railroads. Baldwin built 139 of the 660 horsepower locomotives between 1946 and 1949. Baldwin offered several other switcher models in similar carbodies which found work on other roads as well.

The Pennsylvania Railroad had the largest roster of these locomotives. Its 99 units represented over 70% of the total production. That roster is perhaps even more impressive when considering the next largest owners were the New Orleans Public Belt Ry. with a total of just six and the Erie with five. The rest of the production was spread over a variety of railroads and industrial lines one to three at a time. While these numbers apply to the DS4-4-660 specifically, the trends were similar for Baldwin’s other diesel switchers.

6-42598

6-42598 Union Pacific

Unfortunately for Baldwin, its diesels never produced sales like its steam locomotives. Its switchers were however their most successful designs and many outlived their original owners. Today the distinctive “burble” sound of a Baldwin diesel can still be heard on a few active on shortlines and preserved at museums.

American Flyer Models

These locomotives include the familiar and time-proven features and performance of traditional American Flyer models. Each is equipped with:

6-42599

6-42599 Youngstown Steel

  • Transformer-controlled forward / neutral / reverse operation
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor with flywheel
  • Directional lighting including headlight and back up light
  • Die-cast metal trucks
  • Metal frame
  • Operating couplers
  • Traction Tires
  • S-36 Minimum operating curve.

Three new paint schemes join the roster this year including Canadian Pacific (6-42597), Union Pacific (6-42598) and a colorful Youngstown Steel Bicentennial unit (6-42599). Also still available is the previously cataloged M&StL locomotive (6-48165). Each retails for $289.99. See your favorite American Flyer dealer to order yours today.





New Product Spotlight – Pennsylvania GLa Hoppers

28 07 2014

The Pennsylvania Railroad owned an impressive roster of more than 30,000 GLa class hoppers which served from the 1900s into the Penn Central years. As if the PRR’s own roster wasn’t impressive enough, the car was copied directly by several other companies and became the inspiration for several other popular hopper designs which blanketed the United States in the first half of the 20th Century. We’ll cover the interesting prototype history of these cars later this week and in subsequent Freight Car Friday posts. Today, let’s look at Lionel’s upcoming model of this car – one we think will be as popular as its prototype!

Capturing the Variety

GLa drawing

A 3-D drawing of the GLa version shows the many details these cars will feature.

These new hoppers will be the most detailed Lionel has ever produced. Starting with all new tooling, we’ve planned ahead so that we can not only capture the PRR’s GLa accurately, but also capture the key detail changes found in many of the cars which built off of this design.

Lionel’s design team worked from Pennsylvania Railroad drawings to create an accurate GLa. From the overall dimensions, to the distinctive boxy end sills, to proper 2D-F8 truck sideframes, this car will be PRR through and through.

1905 drawing

In 1905, builders began producing cars of similar design for other companies. Compare this plan with the GLa to see the detail differences. This view also shows how the cars will look if you install scale couplers.

When several car builders began building near-duplicates of the GLa in 1905, a car which has subsequently been dubbed the “1905 Common Design” by historians, the overall dimensions remained very close to the GLa, but there were several structural differences to be found – especially on the ends of the cars. By the time these designs had evolved into the USRA’s standard two-bay hopper in 1918, again dimensions were within a few inches of the GLa with more minor detail changes around the ends and hoppers.

Lionel is tooling these models so that the later car designs, using the GLa body, can have other details which more closely capture the look of the cars on these other roads. This will include the end sills, end posts, hand brake and grab iron arrangements and hopper door mechanisms.

Scale Improvements

couplers

The underframes have been designed for easy application of a standard scale coupler box.

In addition to the overall high level of detail on these cars, which will even include cross braces and rivet details on the interior of the car, Lionel is adding some new design features to these cars which will make them much friendlier to the 2-rail and 3-rail scale crowd.

Although the cars will come equipped with our standard operating couplers, mounting pads will be provided on the metal underframe of the car so that scale couplers can be easily added by the modeler if desired. No extensive body modification or even drilling new holes required!

We’ve also addressed another little detail that is sure to please many of the prototype-focused modelers; the “Built by Lionel” date stencil has been moved to the underside of the car. It’s still there for the collectors, but won’t detract from the rest of the graphics which have all been carefully researched from prototype photos.

We’re quite proud of these new cars, and think you’ll agree they are some of the finest scale models we’ve produced. Other features include:

sideframes

PRR and other GLa version cars will feature correct PRR 2D-F8 truck sideframes.

  • Die-cast metal sprung trucks and operating couplers with hidden uncoupling tabs. PRR GLa cars will have appropriate PRR truck sideframes.
  • Plastic carbody and die-cast metal underframe
  • High level of separately applied detail parts including many road-name specific variations
  • Opening hopper doors
  • Removable plastic coal load insert
  • Molded pads for easy conversion to scale couplers
  • Individual road numbers on each car in multi-car packs
  • O31 Minimum curve

The new GLa hoppers will be available as part of the Pennsy M1a Coal Hauler set (three PRR and one Berwind White Coal) as well as for separate sale in the following road names and quantities:

USRA

A third version of this car will be detailed to match USRA era details.

  • 6-81686 PRR (circle keystone scheme) 3-Pack GLa version
  • 6-81858 PRR (shadow keystone scheme) 3-Pack GLa version
  • 6-81793 Berwind White 3-Pack GLa version
  • 6-81687 Lehigh Valley 2-Pack USRA version
  • 6-81688 CB&Q 2-Pack USRA version
  • 6-81689 C&O 3-Pack USRA version
  • 6-81789 New Haven 2-Pack GLa version
  • 6-81824 P&WV 2-Pack 1905 Common Design version

Suggested retail price on the 2-Pack cars is $145.99. 3-Packs retail for $219.99. See your local Lionel dealer to place your order now, and look for some more background on these interesting cars starting this Friday on the blog!





New Product Spotlight – Boston & Maine Paul Revere GP9 Set

21 07 2014

One of six sets that will be available only through our Lionel dealers, the Boston & Maine Paul Revere GP9 set combines a rugged conventional locomotive and traditional line of cars with bold new graphics. Designed in partnership with Lou Caponi, the late President of the Lionel Collectors Club of America and friend to train collectors everywhere, these sets capture the spirit and excitement of the classic toy train set.

Lead by a GP9 in the bright McGinnis paint scheme with a matching caboose bringing up the markers, this freight train is ready to head down one of the B&M’s charming New England branch lines to provide personal service to the many small customers along the way. These locals were the critical first and last legs of the journey for rail shipments and the customers’ contact point with the railroad. Their colorful consists constantly changing as they meandered along from siding to siding – what could be a more perfect train for hours of fun on a toy train layout?

BM set

6-81021 Boston & Maine Paul Revere GP9 Set

The freight cars in this train include a B&M boxcar and 4-bay hopper. The hit of the consist has to be the State of Maine aquarium car decorated in the Bangor and Aroostook’s instantly recognizable red, white and blue and carrying a load of one of Maine’s tastiest exports! This latest twist on the classic aquarium car features Maine lobsters “swimming” around inside the illuminated interior.

The GP9 locomotive features:

  • Transformer-controlled forward-neutral-reverse operation
  • Railsounds RTR™ sound with diesel revving and user-active horn, bell and crew dialog
  • Battery backup for sounds
  • Powerful maintenance free motor
  • Operating headlights
  • Operating couplers
  • Metal frame and handrails
  • Die-cast metal trucks
  • Traction tires
  • Interior illumination

Freight car features include:

  • Die-cast metal sprung trucks on hopper and boxcar
  • Die-cast metal trucks on aquarium car and caboose
  • Operating couplers
  • Metal frame and opening doors on boxcar
  • Stamped metal ends on hopper
  • Removable molded coal load on hopper
  • Interior lighting in aquarium car and caboose
  • Motorized interior belt makes lobster decoration appear to swim inside aquarium car

The set will run on O-31 curves and retails for $499.99.  Your Lionel dealer is the only place you can pick up this and the five other dealer exclusive sets featured in the 2014 Signature Catalog. See yours to place your order today!