New Product Spotlight – American Flyer Norfolk Southern Heritage ES44ACs

7 10 2013

We introduced our American Flyer replicas of Norfolk Southern’s now famous Heritage Series of locomotives in 2012. This year we are completing the run with the remainder of the twenty locomotive fleet including a new-to-S Gauge ES44AC!


6-42531 – Reading SD70ACE

Shortly after their introduction, these locomotives were turned loose on Norfolk Southern to perform daily chores just like the rest of the roster. They can show up almost anywhere at any time on any train. Several have even made it well off of Norfolk Southern’s rails, being seen as far away as Washington and California. Despite their “regular roles” the locomotives are still required to be washed monthly and crews will often take the extra time to make sure they are in the lead on a consist whenever possible.


6-42542 Central of Georgia ES44AC

Whether you are a fan of modern era railroading or just like seeing a favorite fallen flag back again, these locomotives have something for everybody. And our American Flyer models are designed to please as well.

Both the SD70ACE and ES44AC models have similar features. Powered and non-powered models of each scheme are available with unique numbers. Powered locomotives include:


6-42552 Norfolk and Western ES44AC

  • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional power. The models are also DCC enabled.
  • AF Speed Control with on/off switch for maintaining an even speed through curves and grades
  • LEGACY RailSounds featuring
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom announcements with varying scenarios based on the train’s motion


      6-42546 Interstate ES44AC

    • Eight diesel RPM levels
    • LEGACY Quilling Horn
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell
    • Independent volume control
  • Two maintenance-free motors
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Mounting holes and support plate for scale couplers (sold separately)
  • Pivoting Pilot allows for operation on tight curves with better appearance
  • Operating headlight, ditch lights, illuminated number boards and detailed cab interior

    6-42544 Conrail ES44AC

    6-42544 Conrail ES44AC

  • Traction Tires
  • Metal Frame
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Die-cast metal trucks, pilots and fuel tank
  • Separately applied metal details
  • Cab window glass
  • Engineer and conductor figures

Non powered locomotives feature:


6-42548 Lehigh Valley ES44AC

  • Metal Frame
  • Die-cast metal trucks, pilots, fuel tank
  • Front and Rear operating couplers
  • Separately applied metal details

6-42550 Nickel Plate ES44AC

All locomotives will negotiate S-36 curves. All come with American Flyer wheels but can be switched to scale wheels which will be available separately through Lionel Customer Service. ES44AC locomotives retail for $529.99 (powered) and $269.99 (non-powered.) SD70ACEs retail for $479.99 and $239.99.


6-42535 Virginian SD70ACE

In addition to the locomotives, separate sale cylindrical covered hoppers are also available decorated in complementary schemes for each road name. Twenty of these would certainly create a colorful consist! Cars retail for $79.99 each.


6-42558 Norfolk Southern ES44AC

If you are looking for colorful modern power for your American Flyer layout, it doesn’t get any better than this. Keep your eyes open for these Heritage Units coming to the rails and hobby shops near you!


6-42556 Southern ES44AC


6-42537 Wabash SD70ACE


6-42554 Pennsylvania ES44AC


6-42533 Savannah & Atlanta SD70ACE

6-42560 Monongahela ES44AC

6-42560 Monongahela ES44AC


New Product Spotlight – American Flyer UP Heritage Locos

26 03 2012

The Union Pacific is a railroad with an incredibly rich heritage. Fortunately for all of us, the company has long embraced its historic stature. Over the past 30 years, the Union Pacific has grown to become America’s largest railroad through mergers with other lines – each with a rich history and tradition of its own. In 2007, Union Pacific honored those lines with six special new locomotives.

Southern Pacific

6-48174 Southern Pacific

Fallen Flags honored include the Chicago Northwestern, Denver and Rio Grande Western, Missouri Kansas and Texas, Missouri Pacific, Southern Pacific and Western Pacific. The locomotives were new SD70ACEs from EMD. The Union Pacific has been a big fan of the SD70 model for more than a decade, and thousands of the locomotives in various configurations roam the system in several variations of the Union Pacific’s famous Armour Yellow paint. The heritage locomotives featured unique paint schemes which incorporated elements of the predecessors’ historic schemes and heralds with a modern flare.


6-48176 Chicago and Northwestern

The locomotives can be found roaming the entire Union Pacific network in regular service and are also commonly sent to special public events. The units have been so well received, they’ve even paved the way for similar programs on other railroads like Amtrak and now Norfolk Southern.

In 2012, Lionel is bringing the popular Heritage Fleet to another American classic – American Flyer. Four of the schemes will be offered in 2012: Chicago Northwestern, Missouri Pacific, Rio Grande and Southern Pacific.

American Flyer Models


6-48177 Missouri Pacific

The new models will feature the LEGACY command system. You can also run the locomotives using Lionel’s TMCC system, or conventional transformer controls. The models also have AF Speed Control to maintain a constant pace through curves and up hills. Two powerful motors, a metal frame and traction tires will provide ample pulling power. Each model is also available with either traditional Flyer-sized or scale wheels.

These all-new locomotives are packed with light, sound and smoke effects. LEGACY Railsounds provide the most realistic recordings available including dynamic engine sounds, bells and a horn you can “play” like the prototype. The model also features Crew Talk dialog. The volume of each sound can be controlled individually to your taste. Operating lights include headlights, class lights, numberboards and the cab interior. The fan-driven smoke units also prove that smoke isn’t just for steam engines anymore!


6-48175 Rio Grande

Like the prototypes, these models will be numbered for the year the heritage road became part of the Union Pacific system. Note that this is different than shown in the catalog, which used railroad founding date numbers as seen on a previous O Gauge run. Additional schemes, including UP’s American flag, will also be offered in 2012 and beyond,

Models will negotiate a 36 inch diameter curve and retail for $479.99. These are sure to be popular, so see your dealer to order yours today!

The World’s Oldest Operable Locomotive

4 10 2011

Thirty-one years ago today, a little locomotive named John Bull made history again as she steamed back to life under the watchful eye of Smithsonian Curator of Transportation William Withuhn. The 1831 locomotive became the oldest operable steam engine in the world. The only story that could overpower such an event is the long and amazing tale of the locomotive’s path to survival for its first 150 years.

John Bull Model

The John Bull has been reproduced in many scales - even full scale. The Lionel Heritage Series Model is true to the prototype and a worthy representitive of this amazing engine.

John Bull arrived in America as the sun was just beginning to rise on our Industrial Revolution. Shipped from England as a kit, it was assembled for service on the Camden and Amboy Railroad in New Jersey. Almost immediately, chief mechanic Isaac Dripps began altering the locomotive for its new home.

Over the ensuing years, the John Bull would see many additions and alterations. Among the most significant were the pilot, believed to be the first example of a “cow catcher” and pilot truck, headlight, spark arrestors and tender. Eventually the locomotive even received an enclosed cab. All of this combined into a prolonged service life unlike any of its contemporaries. In fact, the original locomotive was still on the active roster at the outbreak of the Civil War!

Historic Photo

The John Bull on her historic run to Chicago at nearly 60 years of age - the first time she could legitimately be called the oldest operating locomotive in the world.

Years later, after the C&A had been absorbed into the Pennsylvania Railroad, the locomotive’s history was recognized at it became the first industrial artifact donated to the Smithsonian. It didn’t stay there permanently however. In 1893, the John Bull would make the longest trip of its carreer – to the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago – under her own power. Yes, the John Bull did steam over Horseshoe Curve.

John Bull Replica

The Pennsy built this replica in 1939 - when the original was deemed to old to steam.

When the Pennsylvania came calling on the Smithsonian again in 1939, the Museum would only allow the display of the locomotive at the Worlds Fair as a static exhibit. With replicas of early power from the New York Central and B&O steaming proudly, the Pennsylvania could not be outdone. A full-scale replica was built in the Juniata Shops and arrived at the fair in 1940. The locomotive is preserved today at the Railroad Mueum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg and last steamed in 2001. Ironically, it is the youngest preserved steam locomotive built by or for the PRR.

And so the original John Bull returned to Washington where she rested in retirement until 1980. After a very brief resurrection, she returned to her protected display where she remains today – in servicable condition.

DeWitt Clinton Turns 180

9 08 2011
DeWitt Clinton

An early icon - the DeWitt Clinton.

Just two years and a day after the Stourbridge Lion opened the era of American steam railroading, another little pioneer was setting out across New York. The DeWitt Clinton opened service on the Mohawk and Hudson Railway between Albany and Schenectady. Named in honor of the New York governor who had chartered construction of the Erie Canal, the DeWitt Clinton ultimately planted the seeds of the Canal’s demise.

At unparalleled speeds of up to 30 mph, the stagecoach-like passenger train was the ultimate thrill for passengers. With nothing but slack chains to bind the cars, starts and stops would knock passengers out of their seats. One report even suggests that passengers dismantled a farmer’s fence on the first run to place boards between the cars and eliminate the chain slack. Sparks from the locomotive could also be a problem – setting fire to passengers’ clothing.

The history of the original locomotive is sketchy at best. For as much fanfare as she drew on that first run, it is clear that the locomotive was quickly eclipsed by more modern and promising designs. Some reports show it in service as long as 14 years. Others say the engine was scrapped in 1833. A wheel said to be from the original engine is housed in the Smithsonian.

A replica was built by the M&H’s successor – the New York Central – in 1893. In 1934, Henry Ford approached the NYC about building a second replica for his new museum but was instead offered the original. The only condition of the sale was occasional use by the NYC for public display which it was for the World’s Fair in 1939 and the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948. Today it remains housed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.

The DeWitt Clinton has been produced several times in many scales. You can now give your passengers the ride of their lives in O scale with Lionel’s Heritage Series Model (6-11164). The model is faithfully based on the replica as she can be seen today. Happy 180th!

The Stourbridge Lion

8 08 2011
Stourbridge Lion

Where it all began...The Stourbridge Lion

Today marks the 182nd anniversary of the debut of the Stourbridge Lion, the first commercial steam locomotive in the U.S. The Lion burst onto the stage in the tiny town of Honesdale, PA in 1829. The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company purchased the locomotive to haul anthracite coal from eastern Pennsylvania to New York City. It was one of four British locomotives purchased for the route  which was part rail, part canal. Three locomotives, including the Lion were built by Foster, Rastrick and Company in Stourbridge in 1828. Cost of the Lion: $2,915.00. (The fourth, the Pride of Newcastle was built by Robert Stevenson and Company.)

The locomotive performed well on its first run, but was nearly  twice the 4 ton weight that the D&H had specified and was simply more locomotive than the rails could handle. After a second trial run, the locomotive was retired to the shops in Carbondale. The locomotives were all retained until at least 1834, when records show attempts to sell the engine to the Pennsylvania Canal Company. In the previous five years however, steam locomotives had risen far above the status of mechanical curiosity. With far more modern designs and domestic production, the Lion’s useful days as a locomotive were over.

Parts of the locomotive were scavenged for scrap over the coming years. The boiler remained in operation as a stationary power until 1849. In 1883 the D&H borrowed the boiler for display at the Exposition of Railway Appliances, during which collectors stole anything that could be stripped from the historic engine. What remained was finally given a proper home in the Smithsonian in 1890.

A replica was constructed using what was left of the original in 1932 by the D&H. Today it can be seen at the Wayne County Historical Society in Honesdale. You can add your own replica of the very beginning of American steam operation to your layout with Lionel’s Heritage model!