New Product Spotlight – U.P. Anniversary Set

3 12 2012

In addition to modeling the latest and greatest, it is always fun to go back and revisit the classics. The 1950 “Anniversary Set” is certainly one worth bringing back. So if you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance to own this great piece of our past.

Anniversary Set

The famous Anniversary Set is back!

The #146-4W featured Lionel’s high-end Alco FA’s in the Union Pacific’s Armour Yellow. The locomotives featured metal frames, illuminated number boards and rear steps. New passenger cars were also included featuring Lionel Lines lettering in matching yellow with grey roofs.

Our new reissue of the set is faithful to the original, recreating the most-desired of the variations with grey nose and trucks. The set includes a powered and non-powered Alco FA, two coaches and an observation car. Features include:

  • FA Locomotives with

    The new sets have all the charm of the original.

    • Die-cast metal trucks and frame
    • Frame-mounted rear steps
    • Front steps attached to the trucks
    • Operating headlight
    • Illuminated number boards
    • Painted grey nose, frame and truck sideframes
    • Powered Locomotive also features
      • Pullmor Motor
      • Magne-Traction
      • Traction Tires
      • Electronic E unit with Direction Lock
      • Electronic horn and bell with volume control
  • Passenger cars with
    • Die-cast trucks and operating couplers
    • Interior Illumination
    • Removable roofs with ventilator details
    • Window Silhouettes
    • Red marker lights and clear back up lens on observation car
  • Postwar-Inspired set packaging with individual boxes for each car
  • O-27 minimum curve

    Add to the fun with the new expansion pack – 6-27929.

If you’d like to expand your set, we’ve also created a matching add-on baggage and combination car 2-pack. Not available in 1950, this set is a perfect complement to grow your train. The new cars share of the features of the passenger cars included with the set itself.

The set retails for $459.99 and the add-on cars are $119.99. Check your dealers, you’ll be able to catch up on this traditional classic train in time for Christmas.

New Product Spotlight – Rock Island Rocket Set

24 09 2012

The Rock Island line is a mighty fine line – and this is a mighty fine set! Our new Rock Island Rocket Ready-to-Run set is one of our most colorful.

Rocket Set

6-30179 Rock Island Rocket – a colorful and fun set that captures the essence of one of America’s great railroads.

We start off with a FT locomotive in the bold colors and graphics of the Rock Island’s famous “Rocket” trains. The locomotive features our Railsounds RTR which includes a revving diesel engine, horn, bell and user-activated crew dialog. Other features include:

  • Transformer controlled Forward, Neutral, Reverse
  • Operating headlight
  • Operating front and rear coupler
  • Dual maintenance-free motors
  • Die-cast metal trucks, pilot and fuel tank
  • Metal frame
  • Lighted cab interior
  • Engineer and Conductor figures

The set also has one of our more interesting assortments of rolling stock. A boxcar in the Rock Island’s traditional Rocket advertising slogan scheme features opening doors. Next comes a four-bay hopper decorated for Mid-West Power and Light, complete with Reddy Kilowatt and a removable coal load. The attention-getting Allis-Chalmers heat exchanger car and load comes in the Rock Island’s later blue scheme. And finishing it all is a lighted wide vision caboose in a paint scheme which complements the locomotive and a detailed interior.

All of the cars feature Die Cast trucks (all are sprung too except on the caboose) and operating couplers and come individually packaged in their own boxes.

The set also features a CW-80 transformer and a 40×60″ oval of FasTrack. You’ll have everything you need to start or expand your empire. The set retails for $399.99 and will be rocketing towards your dealers very soon. Whether it’s streaking across the Midwest or your layout, the Rock Island Rocket is sure to be a memorable train.

New Product Spotlight – Motor City Express

10 09 2012

One of the biggest announcements from this year’s Signature Catalog was the new Motor City Express set and the scale 89′ auto racks. We’ve heard lots of great buzz about these new cars, and we think you’ll be impressed.

89′ Auto Racks

CR Autorack

6-27473 Conrail

Lionel is very pleased to be releasing a car that modern-era fans have been wanting for a long time. The 89′ enclosed autorack has been a fixture on North American rails for thirty years. We’ll go into more detail about the prototypes for these cars and their operations in this week’s Freight Car Friday blog.  Their enormous size however has posed a challenge for our tight radius curves. At nearly two feet in length, these scale cars are almost as long as some curves are wide. Thanks to an innovative coupler drawbar, we can make these behemoths practical for a modest sized layout.

These self-adjusting couplers work like some of the drawbars on our recent steam locomotives, extending from the pocket to help get around curves as tight as O-54, then automatically retracting again to keep the cars looking right on straight track. The couplers also feature hidden uncoupling tabs. Beneath these cars, a pair of metal trucks with rotating roller bearing caps will keep these lengthy haulers rolling smoothly.

CN rack

6-27492 Canadian National

Of course not only do these cars have to run well, they have to look good too. Don’t let the size fool you, there will be lots of little details in these cars. Modern auto racks come in two basic configurations for hauling standard height cars and higher trucks, vans and SUVs. The latter can be stacked only two-high in a 19′ tall autorack, whereas three tiers of cars can be squeezed in. Lionel’s model will be of the bi-level or two-tier variety. Racks of this type can be found lettered for and operating on railroads all across the continent.

Lionel’s models will feature working doors on both ends, and see-through side panels so you’ll be able to appreciate the loads inside. We’ll be announcing loads for the cars in the very near future.

Perhaps the best news of all is that we have already dropped the price on these cars from $149.99 as shown in the catalog to $109.99! Individual cars are available decorated for Canadian National and Conrail.

Motor City Express Set

Stretching out to over nine feet in length, the Motor City Express is a whopper of a train even with just four cars. The four autoracks (CSX, Grand Trunk, Union Pacific and BNSF) all include each of the features described above. Plus, the BNSF rack features a working FRED on the rear.

Motor City Set

6-11180 Motor City Express

To pull this monster consist, you need a big locomotive. And they don’t get much bigger than the SD80MAC. Now offered in CSX’s “YN-3” scheme, the LEGACY equipped locomotive has Odyssey II speed control and LEGACY sounds including crew talk, 8 diesel notches, the quillable horn, mechanical bell, 6 railroad speeds and the new Sequence Control for an interactive trip along with current speed and fuel dialog and refueling sounds.

We’ve refined the conventional transformer control to allow for lower starting speeds. The locomotive is powered by two maintenance-free motors and has traction tires and plenty of weight to keep these long trains rolling. The trucks, frame, pilot and fuel tank are all metal.


SD80MAC Locomotive

Lighting features include directional LED headlights and back-up lights, oscillating ditch lights, and illuminated marker lights, number boards and cab interior. There are numerous separate metal detail parts applied to this model, and working front and rear couplers. And of course a fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output completes the operating experience.

The CSX SD80MAC is available in the Motor City Express set (Road No. 809), or as a seperate model 6-38582 (Road No. 812) for $529.99. For really big consists, you could also add in a non-powered “dummy” unit, 6-38583 (Road No. 804) for $259.99. Although the auto racks are limited to O-54, the 80MAC will negotiate an O-36 curve.

Along with the price reduction on the individual auto racks, we’re very happy to announce that we’ve been able to lower the price on the set overall as well. The set has been reduced from $1,149.99 as cataloged to $969.99. That’s enough to get one of the add-on cars and still have some change left over!

Get ready, these sets are rolling to a dealer near you soon!

New Product Spotlight – 0-4-0 Switchers

27 08 2012

The Pennsylvania’s A5s switcher was a tremendous powerhouse for its size. Designed for switching around the tight curves and clearances of industrial districts in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, the A5s is the perfect prototype for layouts with sharp curves.

Prototype History

no. 112

6-11379 No. 112 features the Pennsy’s Futura lettering in vogue in tne 1930s

The Pennsylvania Railroad began building its A5s switchers in 1916. The locomotives featured superheaters, and larger cylinders and fireboxes than the A4 which preceded it. The locomotives actually produced more tractive effort than larger B class (0-6-0) locomotives on the rails at the time. The last was built in 1924. These would be the final Pennsy o-4-0s.

No. 94

6-11380 A5s No. 94 is the sole survivor of her class.

Some of the earliest diesel and diesel-electric locomotives offered a strong competition to these little steam locomotives. These diesels were not only much more efficient, they were also much more urban-friendly with their lack (at least relative to a steam locomotive) of smoke. Still, several A5s toiled on into the 1950s. One, No. 94, was selected for preservation in the railroad’s historic collection. The locomotive survives today and is on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

Lionel Models

Beth Steel

6-11383 The compact A5 design is well suited to the confines of a steel mill.

Based on K-Line tooling, this latest release of the A5s is in our Conventional line, offering an affordable and compact yet good-looking locomotive that can run on any layout. This latest release features Conventional Railsounds and a synchronized mechanically puffing smoke unit. With a powerful flywheel-equipped motor, metal body, frame and pilot and traction tires, this little champ will pull for you like it did for the Pennsy.

Additional features include:

  • Union Pacific

    6-11385 For those who like roads west of the Mississippi, we’re offering UP and ATSF versions also.

    Transformer controlled Forward / Neutral / Reverse operation

  • Front and rear magnetic couplers
  • Operating headlight
  • Engineer figure and other separately applied details
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • Sound controls inside tender water hatch
  • Realistic coal load

6-11382 Spook up your switching with the Transylvania switcher this Halloween.

The switchers are available in two numbers for the Pennsy: No. 94 the survivor, and No. 112 in the 1930s Futura lettering. Additional roads include Bethlehem Steel (this compact brute is perfect as a mill shifter!), Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Transylvania (the perfect complement to your Halloween layout.)

A5 Pilot

Pilot Model A5

The locomotives will negotiate O-27 curves. MSRP is $449.99. Look for these to steam into dealers’ shelves this fall.

For an early look, here are a few views of the unpainted pilot model. Fans of later years on the Pennsy will no doubt notice we’ve updated the headlight to a more modern electric version over the catalog art.




Cab and backhead details

New Product Spotlight – LEGACY GP35s

20 08 2012

The classic look of EMD’s 2nd generation diesels began with the GP35. 1,334 of the 2500 horspower units were built between 1963 and 1966 between plants in the U.S.A. and Canada.


The heritage of this recently retired Wheeling and Lake Erie GP35 isn’t hard to find. Note the trade-in ALCo trucks.

While the unique styling of the GP30 made them popular from trackside, there were several issues with the locomotives that made them far less enjoyable from the railroads’ and crews’ perspective. EMD had pushed that design somewhat to stay close to competition from GE and ALCo. Within a few years however, they had ironed out those problems and introduced the GP35.

The locomotive used the same prime mover as the GP30, EMD’s 567D, but cranked out an additional 250 horsepower. The locomotive also featured revised dynamic brakes and a better air-tight carbody that reduced wear from dirt entering the engine compartment. To the crews’ liking, the cab roof was higher inside and its heating system greatly improved. The GP35 proved to be a solid locomotive that would set the standard and the look of EMD’s to follow.


6-38524 New York Central

A total of more than 40 railroads purchased the units, many using older locomotives as trade-ins. Some, like those on the Ann Arbor, GM&O and Southern, rode on ALCo trucks from the trades. The Southern and N&W units were also unique in sporting high short hoods.

Often these locomotives outlived their original buyers to work for succeeding lines or later to be sold to regional and short line railroads. Many of these engines can still be found hard at work on those lines today. Others have been rebuilt, some as slugs without their own diesel engines, and remain on the Class One roads like BNSF and CSX today.

Lionel Models


6-38539 Conrail

Lionel’s new GP35 features all new tooling to capture the look of this pivotal locomotive. Available in two LEGACY equipped powered numbers and an additional non-powered locomotive, you’ll be able to create prototypical consists whether you’re running the local or a hot piggy-back freight.

Powered locomotives feature:

  • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control layouts
  • UP

    6-38527 Union Pacific

    Odyssey II Speed Control with On / Off switch

  • 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
  • CP Rail

    6-38533 CP Rail

    Dual maintenance-free motors

  • Traction Control
  • Refined Conventional Control mode with lower starting speeds
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Fan-driven smoke with adjustable output
  • EL

    6-38548 Erie Lackawanna

    Directional lighting

  • Marker Lights
  • Lighted cab interior with crew
  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • MSRP: $499.99

Non-Powered models feature:


6-38542 Milwaukee Road

  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • Front and rear magnetic couplers
  • Select separately applied details
  • Detailed cab interior
  • MSRP: $259.99

All of the locomotives will negotiate an O-31 curve. Available roadnames include: Conrail, CP Rail, Erie Lackawanna, Milwaukee Road, New York Central, Pennsylvania, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific. Look for these in dealers near you early this fall.

New Product Spotlight – ALCo C-420s

6 08 2012

The ALCo C-420 had a look all its own. With its long, low short hood (many units were also delivered with high hoods), round cab roof and of course that distinctive ALCo sound, it set itself apart from the competition.


Apache Ry No. 81 (an ex-L&N unit) is part of a 5 ALCo consist waiting to head south at Holbrook, AZ.

Introduced in 1963 as part of the new “Century” line, ALCo produced a total of 131 C-420s. The 2,000 horsepower road-switcher matched up in stats nicely against the GE U25B and EMD’s GP30 – in every stat that is but sales. ALCo found 13 buyers for the C-420 all across the United States and Mexico, but most only purchased in small quantities.

The biggest C-420 fleets could be found on the Long Island (30) and the Seaboard Air Line (27). Other big users included the Monon (18), L&N (16), and Lehigh Valley (12). Many of the orders went to smaller railroads like the Piedmont and Northern, Tennessee Central and Lehigh and Hudson River. Their orders may have been small in comparison, but the C-420s would be the principle road engines on the lines.


6-34757 The classy SAL paint really looks great on this model. She’d look great mixed in a consist with our RS-11s!

Production ended in 1968. Many of the locomotives enjoyed long careers however, spanning multiple owners. Several are still in regular operation today in museums and in hard service on short lines like the Apache, Delaware Lackawanna and Arkansas and Missouri.

If you like modern ALCo diesels, the C-420 is just the right size and fit for a model railroad, no matter what part of the country you prefer!

Lionel’s Models


6-34745 The Monon’s C-420s came in Purdue University black and gold.

Our latest release of the C-420 comes with both LEGACY and non-powered options, with three numbers per road name. Features include:

  • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control layouts
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On / Off switch
  • LEGACY RailSounds including
    Lehigh Valley

    6-34748 Lehigh Valley had both red and gray C-420s. We opted to the red scheme in this run.

    • 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
  • Dual maintenance-free motors


    6-34760 The Nickel Plate rostered only 1 C-420.

  • Traction Control
  • Refined Conventional Control mode with lower starting speeds
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Fan-driven smoke with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting
  • Marker Lights
  • Lighted cab interior with crew
  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • MSRP: $529.99

Non-Powered models feature:


6-34754 The Alaska never owned a C-420, but their roster did hold a lot of ALCos over the years.

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

The locomotives are available in Monon, Lehigh Valley (gray and yellow scheme), Alaska, Seaboard and Nickel Plate. All locomotives will negotiate an O-31 curve. These engines have already shipped and are at your dealers now. For a more in-depth look at the models in action, check out our Customer Service product video: Lionel C-420

New Product Spotlight – Presidential Boxcars

2 07 2012

Let’s kick off a week of Red White and Blue with a product we know you’ve been wanting for a long time. First announced in the 2010 Vol. II catalog, this project hit a number of snags and problems along the way. But we remained committed to delivering not only the product we displayed but the MADE IN THE USA stamp that makes them special.

Washington and Lincoln

The wait is nearly over – MADE IN THE USA is back.

These colorful patriotic cars feature four of our most prominent Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. These are of course the four featured in the Mount Rushmore Monument. Each car features a portrait flanked by the correct American flag for their term in office. The flag on the doors also features the correct number of stars for their era. On the other side of the door, a quick biography of their service to their country.


6-39337 George Washington

These cars feature all-new tooling and are made entirely in the U.S.A. The cars feature plastic carbodies on metal frames and sprung trucks. The cars have operating doors and couplers Additionally, these cars will come with special packaging – also made and printed in the U.S.A. – that will allow collectors to prominently display their cars without even opening the box.


6-39340 Thomas Jefferson

The cars have reappeared in the 2012 Christmas Catalog, so you can make it a Red White and Blue Christmas this year, or leave them out all year long! These cars would be the perfect complement to any of our patriotic locomotives or other rollingstock.


6-39338 Abraham Lincoln

These are just the first four of our Presidential boxcars. More Presidents are coming, so start your collection now. Also featured in the catalog are additional Made In The USA boxcars featuring more popular American icons – this isn’t a one-time project. The long wait is nearly over. MSRP is $64.99. Get your orders in early, these cars should be appearing at your dealers towards the end of summer.


6-39339 Theodore Roosevelt