New Product Spotlight – American Flyer Waffle-side Boxcars

23 06 2014

A new boxcar is coming to the American Flyer line this year – the waffle-side boxcar! A similar car has been available in O Gauge for many years. Now S Gaugers can enjoy this distinctive car as well.


6-48855 American Flyer Lines

The prototype for this car is a Pullman Standard design built for many railroads from the mid 1960s to 1970s. This era saw a variety of bright color schemes and graphics – some of which certainly provided plenty of headaches to the paint shops that had to apply them over those lumpy side sheets! The cars are similar in overall dimensions and design to the company’s standard and incredibly popular 50′ PS-1 boxcar.


6-48856 New Haven

The many corrugations which give the cars their nicknames provide room on the interior of the car for anchoring straps and tie downs. Looking at the car from the inside, all of these load restraints fit into pockets between the side posts and give a smooth interior wall which maximizes the loading space and reduces damage to both the loads and tie-downs. For a more detailed look at waffle-side boxcars, see this earlier Freight Car Friday post!

The new American Flyer models debut in three roadnames: American Flyer Lines, New Haven and Chicago and Northwestern. The cars feature

  • 6-48857

    6-48857 Chicago and Northwestern

    All new body tooling

  • Opening doors
  • Metal frame
  • Die-cast metal trucks
  • Operating couplers

The trucks will use traditional American Flyer wheels and will operate around S-36 curves. Suggested retail on the cars is $49.99 each. See your local Lionel dealer to order yours today!

New Product Spotlight – “The Senator” Passenger Cars and E8s

5 08 2013

Freight car fans have been enjoying our regular weekly features for over two years. Now, thanks to new releases of passenger cars and E8 and E9 diesels, passenger train lovers can enjoy the spotlight too for a while! Over the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the famous trains soon to be released from Lionel. No doubt you’ll want to add some of these famous streamliners to your line as well.

The Senator


A 1952 ad placed the new train amid Washington’s famous cherry blossoms and included happy travelers in the spacious interiors.

Arriving and departing Washington D.C. in the shadow of the Capitol dome itself, the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Senator and its sister train the Congressional were the fastest way to travel between the capital, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wilmington and New York City. Through a connection with the New Haven, the Senator continued on to Boston.

The trains’ history dates back to 1885. At that time steam locomotives and wood coaches were the norm for the “Congo”. The trains’ fast schedule and limited stops made it a popular choice for lawmakers and businessmen. The Senator was added in 1929, using all heavy-weight equipment and extending service to Boston.

In the 20th Century, wood cars gave way to steel and swift Atlantics and Pacifics took over as motive power until the great electrification project of the 1920s and 1930s. The most dramatic change in equipment would come in 1952.

With most of its “Blue Ribbon Fleet” already streamlined and powered by diesels, the Pennsy upgraded these stars of the Northeast Corridor as well. For these trains, the PRR broke from the norm. With 64 new stainless steel cars coming from Budd, the railroad kept the bare stainless steel look intact. Only the letter and name boards were painted in the trademark Tuscan Red with gold lettering.


Six GG-1s were repainted in red for the Senator and Congressional trains.

This departure was continued with the locomotives. Six of the railroad’s famous GG-1 electrics traded in their dark Brunswick Green for Tuscan Red with the five gold pinstripes. The red locomotives and silver cars made quite the site as they streaked up and down the electrified raceway. In 1955 as the GG-1s traded their five stripes for one, two painted red with a single stripe and three silver with a red stripe. North of New York, New Haven power handled the train set, including the famous “Jets.”

In 1955, the Senator covered the more than 200 miles between New York and Washington in 3 hours and 45 minutes, with 5 stops en route. The New Haven clocked off the 200+ miles from Boston in 4 hours and 20 minutes with 6 stops. A connecting train from Springfield met the train in North Hartford.


A New Haven EP-5 could also be used on the point of this Pennsy train.

The trains included coaches with generous leg room, as well as parlor and a full dining car. The full diner menu was a bit of a luxury for what was really a daytime express commuter train. The observation cars included the PRR’s standard squared-end configuration with the keystone-shaped drumhead on the rear door.

The trains continued to run into the Penn Central years. In name, the Senator even survived into early Amtrak days but the service was no longer as luxurious. Many of the trains’ cars were later sold to commuter agencies or private owners and some still ride the rails today.

Lionel’s Models

The 18″ aluminum passenger cars will look great behind our new E8s, or a variety of other motive power, including of course GG-1s and even New Haven electrics. Likewise, those diesels will look right at home on a variety of other Pennsy passenger trains.

The new E8s include one powered and one non-powered locomotive. Both engines feature:


Our E8s feature one of the PRR’s later liveries. This simplified scheme is appropriate for many named trains in the 1960s, even an express mail or “TrucTrain” too!

  • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting including LED headlights
  • Front ElectroCouplers
  • Working front Marker Lights
  • Illuminated number boards
  • Lighted and detailed cab interior
  • Die-cast metal trucks, fuel tank and pilots
  • High level of separately applied details including the Pennsy’s Trainphone antennae
  • O-31 minimum curve

Powered locomotives also feature:

  • LEGACY Control – also capable of running on TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control
  • 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
  • Dual motors with flywheels
  • Refined Transformer Control with lower starting speeds
  • Traction Tires
  • Engineer and Fireman figures

Passenger cars feature:


The four car Senator consist is packed with detail inside and out and will look great behind many of your engines.

  • Die-cast sprung metal trucks with operating couplers featuring hidden uncoupling tabs
  • Extruded aluminum bodies with flush-fitting windows
  • Operating end vestibules with flexible diaphragms
  • Separately applied metal roof vents and grab irons
  • Interior lighting with on/off switch
  • Detailed interiors with passenger and crew figures
  • Operating marker and end lights on observation car
  • Lighted drumhead on observation car
  • Metal frame
  • Metal underframe details
  • O-54 minimum curve

The locomotives retail for $929.99 and the passenger car 4-packs for $639.99. Our Senate may not be setting any speed records lately, but the Senator is sure to move quickly. See your dealers today so this one doesn’t pass you by.

Freight Car Friday – Red White and Blue

6 07 2012

Let’s finish off this patriotic week with a look at some of the most memorable red, white and blue freight cars out there – the “State of Maine Products” boxcars. For more patriotic cars, check out this blog from Memorial Day.

State of Maine Products

State of Maine

The BAR was the biggest owner of these colorful cars, with 450 in service in the 1950s.

When I think red white and blue trains, the first thing that comes to mind are those colorful “State of Maine” insulated boxcars from the Bangor and Aroostook and New Haven. These cars were purchased to haul potatoes between Maine and New York. This seemingly short move was part of an operating pool that required four railroads, the BAR, Maine Central, Boston and Maine and New Haven. In peak season, dedicated pototato trains made the rounds between Maine and market. Out of the potato season, they could be used for other commodities with newsprint being the most preferred and could be seen all around the country. Not only were they insulated, the cars also featured ventilators and charcoal heaters. The BAR placed their first order for 300 cars with Magor in 1950. In 1953 the turned to Pacific Car and Foundry for an additional 150.

Both roads used a common paint scheme, with their own herald in the center white band and of course their own reporting marks. The New Haven cars were an add-on order for 100 cars with PCF and by using the same red, white and blue paint scheme, they saved money! It’s always nice when some of that Yankee thrift and patriotism can be combined!

Recently, shortline Montreal Maine and Atlantic brought back the colorful scheme on some much more modern exterior post boxcars. The cars first appeared in 2005 to commemorate the one year anniversary of the new railroad. While the paint scheme is very remeniscent of the original cars, right down to the MMA’s BAR-styled herald, the cars are not equipped for potatoes and can be seen hauling a variety of products, although paper and newsprint is again common.

New Product Spotlight – LEGACY RS-11s

28 05 2012

While EMD’s GP-7 and GP-9 may have dominated sales, ALCo’s RS-11 had a style and sound all its own – and twice the power to boot! Produced for railroads across North America, some of these “steel dragons” are still roaming today on shortlines.


6-34732 Lehigh Valley had one of the more colorful fleets of RS-11s.

ALCo introduced the RS-11 in February, 1956 as the next advance in their line from the RS-3. The RS-11 featured similar styling but with a full height hood to house its 12-cylinder 251B diesel engine. The locomotive produced 1800 horsepower – quite an advance for the time for a single-engine diesel-electric. It’s tractive effort was also greater than the GP-9. Like EMD’s GPs, a steam boiler for passenger service was an option on the RS-11.

NW RS-11

6-38539 Norfolk and Western had the largest roster of RS-11s.

While ALCo’s new model was stronger, more fuel-efficient and offered faster acceleration than its EMD counterpart, it arrived too late for many of the railroads who had already invested heavily in diesels to replace steam locomotives. Alco still found good customers in the railroads who had not yet completely dieselized. No surprise then that its biggest customer was Norfolk and Western who bought 99. (They later gained another 65 from the Nickel Plate.) The Pennsylvania and Northern Pacific were also big buyers. Many other roads sampled the locomotives, buying small orders to supplement their roster.

6-38468 Seaboard

6-38468 The Seaboard’s paint scheme is hard to beat.

Production continued for five years in the US, and another three in Canada. The locomotives developed a reputation for strength and reliability and helped secure future orders for ALCo, who would remain a thorn in the side of EMD for decades to come.

Lionel’s Latest RS-11s

Our 2012 release of RS-11s come with LEGACY and in three roadnumbers per roadname (two powered, one dummy.) Features include:

    • LEGACY control – capable of running on TMCC and conventional as well
    • Odyssey II Speed Control for 2 Maintenance free motors
    • LEGACY Railsounds including
      6-38454 PRR

      6-38454 Pennsy units include Trainphone antennae.

      • Crewtalk and TowerCom communications
      • Six official railroad speeds
      • Eight diesel RPM levels
      • Quilling Horn along with appropriate warning sounds
      • 6-38452

        6-38452 Or you can fast forward to the PC era if you prefer the “mating worms.”

        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

      6-38466 New Haven had a few RS-11s to contribute to the Penn Central fleet too.

      • Directional LED headlight and back-up light
      • Marker lights front and rear
      • Number boards
      • Cab interior
    • Traction tires

6-38460 Nickel Plate’s tiger stripes look good on everything from RS-11s to modern GEVO’s.

  • Die cast metal pilot, trucks and fuel tank
  • Detailed cab interior with window glass and engineer and fireman figures
  • Separately applied grills many more details
  • ElectroCouplers on front and rear
  • MSRP: $479.99

Non-Powered Locomotives Feature

  • 6-38464

    6-38464 Although the Alaska never owned any RS-11s, they would have been a nice complement to their roster of ex-Army ALCos.

    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

All locomotives will run on an O-31 curve. Listen for that familiar ALCo gurgle in your dealers soon, these are on their way. For a longer look and listen to these locomotives, check out our Customer Service product video.