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.

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Freight Car Friday – Freight Cars of Fort Worth

4 01 2013

Since we’ll be attending all of the World’s Greatest Hobby Shows this year, each show week we’ll feature some freight from the host city. We hope you can join us! Maybe next year we’ll be coming to your home town.

The Dallas – Fort Worth Rail Scene

The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth are about as close together as any two metropolitan areas in the big state of Texas. The region is dominated by two industries – oil and cattle. Both have a long history with the railroads that have called the cities home.

Today Fort Worth is home to both of the major western roads, BNSF and Union Pacific, along with several shortlines. These rails have a long history.

FW&D

covered hopper

Trainloads of grain for animal feed remain a common sight in the Fort Worth area – many of them on the rails of the old FW&D.

The Fort Worth and Denver Railroad began construction westward out of the city in 1881 as the Fort Worth and Denver City. At the Texas – Colorado border, it connected with the Denver and New Orleans, predecessor of the Colorado and Southern. The C&S would take ownership of the FWD in 1899.

Due to a Texas law requiring all railroads operating within the state to be headquartered there, the FWD retained its separate identity, even after the C&S itself became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. The two roads retained their own “independence” until finally merged into Burlington Northern in 1982. (That is why you will see some early BN-painted cars carrying FWD reporting marks.)

AT&SF

Santa Fe

Fort Worth was an important stop on Santa Fe’s North-South routes.

BNSF has roots in Fort Worth from the other side of its family tree as well. The Santa Fe served the city on a north-south mainline connecting the Texas Gulf Coast with Oklahoma and Kansas. Additionally, a branch left the city to the southwest to connect with other trunk lines serving western Texas. While these routes may have received less historical attention than the big Chicago – California mainline, this route was an important traffic funnel for commodities originating or imported through Texas.

Today BNSF maintains its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth. The beautiful modern facility includes executive offices, a dispatching center and storage for the road’s office car fleet.

T&P

T&P

Railroads like the T&P were an important part of the western story – herding cattle to the railroad created one of the great American icons of all time – the cowboy.

The Texas and Pacific’s mainline bisected the city east – west on its way between New Orleans and El Paso. A line also branched off to the north and then east. Along with connections, this route represented a significant trunk line from California  and the Midwest to the Gulf Coast.

Chartered in 1871 with the intent of reaching San Diego, the railroad never made it past the Texas border. Instead it interchanged with the Southern Pacific for the remainder of the journey west. The railroad also had a long-standing partnership with the Missouri Pacific, dating back to the days Jay Gould controlled both properties. The MP finally absorbed the T&P in 1976. The MoPac, including its former T&P properties,  became part of Union Pacific in 1982.

Monuments to the T&P still abound in Fort Worth. Most prominent is the passenger terminal and office building downtown. Commuter trains call on this station daily, and the offices have become condominiums.

MKT

Katy

The Katy moved everything it could through Texas, including of course that sweet Texas Tea.

The “Katy” got its start in 1870 and was the first railroad to enter Texas from the North. The railroad continued to grow across almost all of its history. It’s last major project was a line northwest from Fort Worth to Salinas, Kansas following the Rock Island bankruptcy.

The Katy cooperated with many railroads in the region as it moved traffic between the Gulf and Texas cities and the rail gateways at St. Louis and Kansas City Missouri. Perhaps most notable was the Texas Special run in cooperation with the Frisco.

The railroad that started with the purchase of the Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch became UP property again in 1988. On paper, the MKT was acquired by the Missouri Pacific. Although the MP itself had been merged into the UP in 1982, that MP still existed as an independent company on paper due to outstanding bonds until 1997.

Cotton Belt

The Cotton Belt operated as a railroad within a railroad for much of its life but has a loyal following nonetheless.

The Cotton Belt operated as a railroad within a railroad for much of its life but has a loyal following nonetheless.

The third Union Pacific predecessor in Fort Worth was the Cotton Belt. The St. Louis and Southwestern originated from several shortlines in the Tyler, Texas area in 1891 and built east and north into Arkansas. Eventually the line reached East St. Louis where it could connect with many roads via the Terminal RR and the Alton and Southern (More on these next week!)

The Southern Pacific gained control of the company in 1932 and used it as a major connection for traffic from its own mainline from California including the famous “Blue Streak Merchandise” trains. The Cotton Belt was wholly owned by SP and it’s equipment reflected that, but the two operated separately until 1992. The SSW property was purchased by Union Pacific with the SP merger in 1996.





New Product Spotlight – BNSF Heritage Units

17 09 2012

Norfolk Southern’s Heritage Unit have certainly captured the spotlight this year! And our forthcoming models are no exception. And all of this buzz has prompted many to ask, “Will CSX and BNSF follow?” Well we don’t know either, but we sure can dream. Now you can share that vision with our renditions of what a BNSF Heritage fleet might look like on the SD70ACe.

Burlington Northern

6-38741 Burlington Northern

The six locomotives pay fitting tribute to some of the most famous of BNSF’s predecessors. Of course you have the Burlington Northern and the Santa Fe. We’ve also included the classic fallen flags of the Burlington, Frisco, Great Northern and Northern Pacific. All of the locomotives feature colors and styling that captures the classic look of the original lines with a splash of modern style to fit the angles of the SD70ACe. These will look good alongside your other BNSF equipment, or pooled with the many other Heritage units we’ve produced.

EMD

6-38750 EMD Demonstrator

Looking for color without the heritage? We’ve also got the SD70ACe Demonstrator included in this run. The new locomotive was EMD’s ambassador and sales representative to railroads all across the continent, now you can bring it to yours. Note that we are only offering the one road number in a powered model for the demonstrator.

Santa Fe

6-38735 Santa Fe

Each of the schemes is presented in three road numbers – two LEGACY-equipped powered units and one non-powered. You can build your fantasy consist as large as you’d like to power any train – whether it’s crossing the Montana Rockies or the Arizona deserts. Each of the powered locomotives features:

  • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control layouts
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On / Off switch
  • Great Northern

    9-38744 Great Northern

    LEGACY RailSounds including

    • CrewTalk and TowerCom dialog
    • 6 Official railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • Quilling Horn
    • Bell (single hit and continuous)
    • Sequence Control
    • Current speed and fuel dialog
    • Refueling sounds
  • Northern Pacifc

    6-38747 Northern Pacific

    Dual maintenance-free motors

  • Traction Control
  • Refined Conventional Control mode with lower starting speeds
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Fan-driven smoke with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting
  • Marker Lights
  • Illuminated Number Boards

    Frisco

    6-38738 Frisco

  • Oscillating Ditch Lights
  • Working Ground Lights
  • Lighted cab interior with crew
  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • MSRP: $529.99

Non-powered models feature:

Burlington

6-38732 Burlington

  • Metal frame, trucks, pilot and couplers
  • Front and rear magnetic couplers
  • Select separately applied details
  • MSRP: $259.99

All of the locomotives will negotiate an O-31 curve and will be pulling into your dealers very soon. Who knows – maybe the prototype will follow suit soon too?





New Product Spotlight – SD40-2s

11 06 2012

Not only was EMD’s SD40-2 one of the best-selling diesel locomotives of all time, it virtually defined the face of railroading for nearly two decades – much as the “covered wagon” had done a generation before. Lionel is proud to bring back this landmark locomotive with LEGACY and non-powered versions to boost your roster.

Prototype Background

6-34788

6-34788 Chicago and Northwestern

The SD40-2 emerged almost as a step-down model from EMD’s brutish SD45 designed in 1965. The 3600 hp SD45’s were good pullers, but that 20-cylinder engine had a hungry appetite for fuel. Problems with crankshaft failures also haunted the giants. With fuel costs rising in the 1970s, the added fuel consumption combined with higher maintenance costs per unit caused a shift in railroad thinking and purchasing. Operational efficiency had to be redefined as more than just squeezing every bit of horsepower you could out of a single locomotive.

6-34779

6-34779 CSX

The 3000 hp SD40, also introduced in 1965, offered such a platform. Seeing the potential in this locomotive, orders began to rise towards 1970. When EMD introduced its new “-2” upgrade package in 1972 and added it to the SD40, they created the reliable, efficient and powerful locomotive the railroads demanded. And the railroads responded with more orders than EMD had ever seen.

6-34776

6-34776 N&W

Over the course of its production, the SD40-2 saw several design revisions and buyer options. From dynamic brakes to high short hoods, to varying sized fuel tanks, trucks, cabs, lights and smaller details, all 3,982 SD40-2s were far from identical. Perhaps the most common characteristic of nearly all the SD40-2s was the long “porches” on the ends of the units. The SD40-2 shared the same frame as the SD45-2, not the SD40, which created several feet of extra space beyond the hoods at each end. This was done to accommodate the new HT-C trucks, although some roads ordered SD40-2s with the older Flexicoil trucks anyway.

6-34791

6-34791 MKT

Despite the introduction of the SD50 in 1981, SD40-2 production remained strong for North American railroads into 1986 and orders for more distant countries lasting until 1989 – four years after production of the SD50 ended! The longevity of the SD40-2 went way beyond initial construction and continues today. Beginning in the late 1980s, many railroads began upgrading SD40s with -2 packages. Others began downsizing their SD45s to SD40-2s. Rebuild programs continue today, with some roads converting SD50s into what are essentially modern SD40-2s.

Now 40 years after production began, many SD40-2s are still going strong. While their numbers are certainly declining, the distinctive classic carbodies show no signs of disappearing any time soon. The final chapters are still being written on these locomotives.

Lionel’s LEGACY SD40-2

If your railroad interests cover any time after 1972, your layout just wouldn’t look right without at least one of these ubiquitous units! With the addition of our LEGACY systems, these locomotives should be just as popular on your line as the real ones were with most crews.

This latest release comes with LEGACY powered locomotives in two numbers for each roadname and an additional non-powered number to recreate those typical 3-unit SD40-2 lashups that exemplified railroading for a generation. LEGACY versions retail for $529.99 and non-powered $239.99. All will negotiate an O-31 curve.

Legacy Features:

      • LEGACY control – capable of running on TMCC and conventional as well

        6-34786

        6-34786 SLSF (Frisco)

      • Odyssey II Speed Control for 2 Maintenance free motors with momentum flywheels
      • LEGACY Railsounds including
        • Crewtalk and TowerCom communications
        • Six official railroad speeds
        • Eight diesel RPM levels
        • Quilling Horn along with appropriate warning sounds
        • Bell with single hit or continuous sounds
        • Sequence Control to narrate an entire trip
        • Fuel and speed announcements and refueling sounds
      • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output
      • Lighting Effects including
        • Directional LED headlight and back-up light
        • Marker lights front and rear
        • Number boards
        • Cab interior
      • Traction tires
      • Die cast metal pilot, trucks and fuel tank
      • Detailed cab interior with window glass and engineer and fireman figures
      • Loads of separately applied details
      • ElectroCouplers on front and rear
      • MSRP: $529.99

Non-Powered Locomotives Feature

6-34782

6-34782 Burlington Northern

    • Die cast metal pilot, trucks and fuel tank
    • Detailed cab interior with window glass
    • Select separately applied details
    • Magnetic couplers on front and rear
    • MSRP: $239.99

These locomotives are on their way to dealers now, so don’t wait to catch your iconic piece of railroading! See more now on our Customer Service new product video.