New Product Spotlight – LionChief Plus Diesels

12 05 2014

Lionel’s new LionChief Plus steam locomotives have quickly earned a reputation for their power, features and easy operation. Soon diesel fans will have comparable choices for their railroads as well! The new LionChief Plus GP-7 and RS-3 will offer amazing performance and value on two of the most common early road-switcher locomotives.

Prototype History

RS-3

LionChief Plus RS-3 pre-production sample.

In the 1940s, a new type of diesel locomotive was coming to the rails. Alco was the first to introduce the “road switcher” with its RS-1 model in 1941. The locomotive was essentially a stretched switcher with a small hood added to the back of the cab and larger trucks. The short hood offered room for a steam generator or dynamic brakes.

The new road switcher was a true jack-of-all-trades, capable of handling freight or passenger trains on the mainline, branch lines or in the yard. The narrow hoods offered better visibility from the cab in either direction and easier access for maintenance. Although few could have predicted it in 1941, the basic standard for the future of the diesel locomotive had been born.

GP7

LionChief Plus GP7 pre-production sample

EMD countered the RS-1 with its “General Purpose” GP7 in 1949. The new “Geeps” were just what the railroads needed to replace their steam locomotives and orders were strong. In 1950 Alco unveiled their third version, the RS-3. EMD’s updated GP9 came in 1954. Together, the new road switchers made it possible for railroads to replace nearly all of their steam locomotives by the end of the decade. While EMD greatly outsold the competition, both models have maintained a good reputation and many examples of each can still be found at work today.

NYC RS-3

6-38779 New York Central RS-3

LionChief Plus Locomotives

Like the prototypes, the new LionChief Plus diesels should be the perfect fit on many railroads – though thankfully in our world there is no need to retire your steam!

With its LionChief™ Remote they can run on layouts powered by the LionChief™ wall pack, a conventional transformer (set to 18V) or a Command Control system. Flip a switch on the locomotive and you can run it conventionally with a transformer as well. (For more information on the LionChief™ Plus control system and how it relates to others, see this earlier blog.)

CBQ GP7

6-38827 Burlington GP7

It’s not just the control system that sets the new LionChief™ Plus locomotives apart. Like the LionChief Plus steam locomotives, these new diesels are excellent pullers. Our test samples had no trouble taking 35 scale freight cars on our layout, including up a FasTrack grade.

These new diesels are packed with features including:

  • User selected operation – Conventional AC transformer control or LionChief™ Wireless Remote (included)

    DRGW RS-3

    6-38819 Rio Grande RS-3

  • RailSounds RC™ with diesel revving and background sounds, horn, bell and user activated announcements
  • Fan-driven smoke operates low at idle and increases when the locomotive is in motion
  • Speed Control maintains a constant speed on curves and grades automatically
  • ElectroCouplers on each end controlled by the remote
  • Operating headlights

    UP GP7

    6-38825 Union Pacific GP7

  • Maintenance-free motors
  • Die-cast pilots and trucks
  • Stamped metal frame
  • Lighted cab interior
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • Traction Tires

The LionChief™ Plus RS-3 will be available in Chicago and Northwestern, Denver and Rio Grande, New York Central and Pennsylvania.

NP GP7

6-38824 Northern Pacific GP7

The GP7 will come decorated for the Burlington, Northern Pacific, Santa Fe and Union Pacific. The LionChief remote is preprogrammed specifically for each locomotive. You can have one of each on your layout – or any number of the other LionChief™ or LionChief™ Plus locomotives – without a signal conflict.

The new locomotives will retail for $329.99. See your local Lionel dealer to place your order today. The diesels should be available by mid Summer.

 





New Product Spotlight – Zephyrs

22 07 2013

As the nation struggled to climb out of the Great Depression, thousands gathered along the tracks from the Midwest to the East Coast to see a brilliant silver flash of the future. More than just a train, the Pioneer Zephyr promised a brighter future and exciting changes to come.

The Pioneer Zephyr

Pioneer Zephyr

The Pioneer Zephyr was a train ahead of its time.

Officially introduced at the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Broad Street Station in Philadelphia (also the Budd Company’s home town) on April 18, 1934, the Zephyr began a long introduction to the world before entering regular service on the Burlington. The introduction was advertising not only for the CB&Q but for Budd as well, hoping to sell the new technology and service to railroads and passengers around the country.

On August 24, the Burlington arranged a special showing for the Zephyr. It would race from Denver to Chicago at record pace. Carrying dignitaries, employees and the train’s mascot burro “Zeph,” the train left Denver at 7:04 in the morning. The “Dawn to Dusk Dash” ended in Chicago just 13 hours and 5 minutes later at 8:09 PM. Achieving a top speed of 112 mph and averaging 77 mph, the train arrived nearly two hours earlier than expected.

This run of the “Silver Streak” made national headlines and even prompted a movie about its amazing journey. But the tour didn’t end in Chicago. The Zephyr would go on to visit the Century of Progress Fair in Chicago and then 222 cities in 31 states.

Mark Twain Zephyr

As the Zephyr’s fame and success grew, it became part of the popular culture.

The train finally entered regular service on the Burlington between Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska in November of 1934. With seating capacity of only 72 people plus baggage and mail space, the railroad would at times add a fourth car to the consist.

Aside from its limited capacity and a serious head-on collision in 1939, the train performed better than expectations. It was renamed the “Pioneer Zephyr” in 1936 as the Burlington bought additional train sets and added many “conventional” trains with the Zephyr name.

The landmark train reached its first million miles of service with its first five years. It stayed on the roster until 1960 when it was donated to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry where it remains a major exhibit today.

Lionel’s Zephyr

Now you can add this momentous train to your layout. Lionel’s latest release of this historic streamliner comes complete with LEGACY control and sound and all of the features you’ve come to expect.

  • LEGACY Control – also capable of running on TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control

    Lionel Lines

    The Lionel Lines Zephyr wears a color scheme reminiscent of the New Haven’s similar “Comet” train.

  • LEGACY RailSounds including
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom dialog
    • 6 Railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • LEGACY Quilling horn
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell
    • Sequence control provides sounds and dialog for an entire trip around your layout
    • Current speed and fuel dialog and refueling sounds
  • Realistic Articulation between cars
  • Dual motors with flywheels
  • Refined Transformer Control with lower starting speeds
  • Traction Tires (4)

    Christmas

    The “West Wind” meets the North Pole in this Christmas version.

  • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output – smoke emits from all four stacks
  • Working headlight on locomotive and tail light on observation car
  • Working Marker Lights on locomotive and observation car
  • Lighted and detailed cab and car interiors with crew and passenger figures
  • Metal frames
  • Die-cast metal bodies, trucks and vestibules
  • O-54 minimum curve

In addition to the Burlington Pioneer and Mark Twain Zephyr, we are also offering the train in some very non-conventional but seriously cool color schemes. The “Lionel Lines” and North Pole Central “Christmas Zephyr” are sure to be a hit on many layouts. Each 3-car set is priced at $1099.99. See your dealers to order, these trains are expected to arrive this fall. Don’t miss this historic train as it blows by!





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?