Freight Car Friday – Freight Cars of Indianapolis

18 07 2014

This week Lionel and the LCCA are racing to Indianapolis for the LCCA’s 2014 Convention. While this city is best known for a different sort of “track” there is plenty of railroad history and contemporary action to entertain any rail fan.

Indianapolis Union Railway

X31 boxcar

Indianapolis was an important stop of the Pennsy’s route from Pittsburgh to St. Louis.

To get a good picture of the total Indianapolis railroad scene you just have to start with one company, the Indianapolis Union Railway. Indianapolis was the first city in the world to host a “Union Station” – that is a station which served more than one company equally. When opened in 1853, the new station offered the citizens of Indianapolis a single, central station from which they could catch a train on a number of different railroads which radiated out of town like the spokes of a wheel. For travelers making connections in Indianapolis, the unified facility meant catching another train was never much more difficult than walking to a different platform instead of arranging transportation across town to another rail head.

Monon

The Monon was among the smallest of roads to enter Indianapolis, but it wore its Hoosier State pride proudly.

The IU was organized in 1850 as the Union Track Railway Company with a total of about 3 miles of track built or ceded by three railroads. The name changed to Indianapolis Union in 1853. Over the coming years, more railroads would be added as the efficiency of Union Station spurred commerce in and around the city. By the early 2oth Century, the list of owners included the Pennsylvania, New York Central, Baltimore and Ohio, Nickel Plate, Illinois Central and the Monon.

Conrail PS-2

In 1976, Conrail took over most of the remaining rails in and around the city.

In the 1930s, ownership of the IU was consolidated down to just the Pennsylvania and New York Central, with the other companies paying rent and continuing to run into the station. In 1968 the IU became a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Central then passed to Conrail and finally to CSX.  The passenger trains of course ran under only the Amtrak banner after 1971.

Today’s Operations

Norfolk Southern

Despite the perceptions of endless farm fields, southern Indiana and Illinois topography offers hills, grades and coal. Between mines and utilities, coal trains remain a common sight in the region.

Today’s freight operations include Norfolk Southern and CSX as well as the regional Indiana Railroad and shortlines Indiana Southern and Louisville and Indiana. The latter three roads all began as Conrail shed duplicate main and branchlines around the city in the 1980s and 1990s. CSX inherited most of the remaining Conrail property in the city in 1999, with Norfolk Southern operating on trackage rights.

CSX

CSX is the major player in town today. Covered hoppers are in constant supply, bound for numerous grain elevators in the region.

Avon Yard, on the west side of the city near the airport, serves as the major classification point for traffic heading east-west as well as connections north-south. While much of the traffic still passes right through the heart of the city thanks to the elevated right-of-way built for the station more than a century ago, connecting lines and branches can provide a different look in any direction as you travel around the area. Whether you’re after heavy action on a Class 1 railroad with an urban backdrop or a local freight on bucolic rural branch line, all can be had within a short drive and from safe, public vantage points.





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY Berkshires

14 04 2014

The Berkshire is one of the most popular locomotives we’ve ever produced, and our 2014 scale Berkshire release will be the best yet. Returning in popular roadnames and with great new features, these locomotives are sure to continue that tradition.

NKP 765

This release of Nickel Plate #765 will include two smokebox front options and a signed certificate by her operating crew.

The 2-8-4 design originated on the Boston and Albany in 1925. With an enlarged boiler and firebox, the locomotives could easily outperform Mikados of comparable length. Much as the Hudson had done for the New York Central’s passenger traffic, the Berkshire would be the “Super Power” answer for freight service.

As the design progressed, the locomotives became even more efficient – and elegant. The best known Berks were built for the family of railroads owned by the Van Sweringen brothers. These included the Erie, Chesapeake and Ohio, Pere Marquette, and the New York Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate.) Pooling engineering resources, the combined staffs of these lines formed the “Mechanical Advisory Committee” which developed locomotive designs which could be shared among the routes.

The origins of this modern Berkshire family began on the Erie.

The origins of this modern Berkshire family began on the Erie.

The first Advisory Committee Berks went to the Erie. With 70″ drivers the locomotives were perfect for fast freight service. This design led to the T-1 2-10-4 for the C&O. Lessons learned here were in turn applied to subsequent orders for Berkshires on the Nickel Plate, Pere Marquette and lastly the C&O. Similar locomotives were also built for the Wheeling and Lake Erie and Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac.

PM

Pere Marquette is represented by two locomotives in this run, #1225 and #1227.

The locomotives performed remarkably well through the end of steam on each road. Primarily a fast freight engine, the postcard image of these Berks usually has them on the point of a long train of reefers or priority merchandise cars. Many of the younger engines had less than 20 years in before diesels forced their early retirement. Nineteen Berks survive today (12 from the C&O), two in operating condition (Nickel Plate 765 and Pere Marquette 1225.)

The Berkshire has been a staple of the Lionel line as well for more than half a century. Our upcoming release will capture the size, details and drama of these legends in scale form. We’ve included a few special extras on some of these special locomotives as well.

The locomotive will be available in the following road names and numbers:

  • 6-11452  C&O #2687
  • 6-11453  Erie #3401
  • 6-11454  Nickel Plate #765
  • 6-11455  Pere Marquette #1225
  • 6-11456  Pere Marquette #1227
  • 6-11461  Pilot Model (unpainted)

All of the new Berkshires include the following features:

    • LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
    • Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
    • LEGACY RailSounds system featuring: – CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped – Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog – DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed – LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle” control with instant response for realistic signature ‘quilling’ and correctly timed warning signals – Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds – Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive – Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
  • Whistle Steam effect
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
  • Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
  • ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
  • Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
  • Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive
  • Traction tires
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Adjustable smoke output
  • Interior illumination in cab
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • High level of separately applied metal details
  • Separately applied builder’s plates
  • Authentically detailed cab interior
  • Glowing ashpan and firebox in cab
  • Cab glass windows
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • O-54 Minimum curve

For Nickel Plate 765’s re-release, we’ve added two nice touches to celebrate her long career in excursion service. The Nickel Plate locomotives were equipped with Mars lights during part of their service career, and 765 has carried this on excursions in the past. So you can have it both ways, we’re including an extra smokebox front with a Mars light detail. This can be substituted for the single headlight smokebox front installed. The working Mars Light is in the boiler. Also included with the 765, a certificate signed by the steam crew at the Ft Wayne Historical Society.

All of the Berkshires are being built to order quantities. MSRP for the Gold Polar Express is $1449.99. Don’t miss your chance to own this amazing locomotive! See your dealer to place an order today!





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!

Reading

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.

CofG

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:

NW

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

      Interstate

      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:

LV

6-42548 Lehigh Valley ES44AC

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

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.

VGN

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.

NS

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!

SOU

6-42556 Southern ES44AC

Wabash

6-42537 Wabash SD70ACE

PRR

6-42554 Pennsylvania ES44AC

S&A

6-42533 Savannah & Atlanta SD70ACE

6-42560 Monongahela ES44AC

6-42560 Monongahela ES44AC





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

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.

SAL

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

Monon

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

    NKP

    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:

Alaska

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 – 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

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

      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

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.





New Product Announcement! LEGACY 2-6-6-2 and Santa Fe 4-8-4!

14 11 2011

Christmas is coming early this year at Lionel. Production of new models, especially locomotives, often takes several years, so models are already well along in the planning stages before they are announced in the catalog. Usually, as you know, even after the announcement it can be a long time before the models actually make it to your dealers. Well, not this time!

We are very pleased to announce two new steam locomotives, both with LEGACY, and both available for purchase by the end of this year!

USRA 2-6-6-2

USRA Mallet

6-11299 C&O - as delivered in USRA livery. This was standard during the war, with the railroad's name in smaller print on the tender coal bunker.

Shortly after the United States Railroad Administration took over operations of all U.S. railroads in December, 1917 it became readily apparent that the railroads’ logistical problems stemmed from more than just a lack of cooperation. The USRA set out to upgrade locomotives and equipment badly needed to take on the increased wartime traffic. To speed the process, the USRA settled on standardized designs based on proven locomotives. Twelve versions of steam locomotives were offered – from 0-6-0 to 2-8-8-2.

C&O

6-11321 The traditional C&O scheme

The 2-6-6-2 Mallet type was based on the Chesapeake and Ohio’s H2 and H4 locomotive. The compound articulated had been designed to replace Consolidations on a 2 to 1 ratio on the C&O’s many mountain branchlines. These tracks featured tight curves, steep grades and light rail.

WLE

6-11323 Wheeling and Lake Erie received the first 10 USRA Mallets.

The first order for the new USRA versions came from the Wheeling and Lake Erie. These were subsequently leased to the Nickel Plate. The C&O received an additional 20 units – for a total of 30 built under USRA control. C&O and others would continue to order more later. In all, some 30 railroads and logging companies eventually rostered 2-6-6-2s of some variety.

Nickel Plate

6-11322 WLE's Mallets later saw service on the Nickel Plate.

Lionel’s new model is based on those USRA prototypes. Decorated for the C&O (in USRA delivered and standard paint), the W&LE, NKP and N&W (who rostered similar locos after the war), the models feature appropriate smokebox details for each road. In addition, the models are LEGACY equipped with all of the amazing features you’ve come to expect including whistle steam. Of course you’ll also get directional lighting, firebox and ashpan glow, marker lights, a fan-driven smoke unit, operating tender coupler, LEGACY Railsounds and details too numerous to list here.

The die-cast locomotives will be able to pull impressive trains and the articulated giants are capable of navigating O-54 curves. MSRP: $1,299.99

NW

6-11339 The N&W had similar 2-6-6-2s for its many mountain lines as well.

  • 6-11321 C&O
  • 6-11322 NKP
  • 6-11323 WLE
  • 6-11329 C&O (USRA)
  • 6-11339 N&W

Santa Fe 4-8-4

The 4-8-4 Northern was one of the most well proportioned steam locomotives ever built. And for overall good looks, it was hard to beat the Santa Fe’s 3751 class. Built in 1927 to 1929, these locomotives proved themselves more than capable of handling the Santa Fe’s crack passenger trains. They were so successful that 3 additional orders were later placed, bringing the Santa Fe’s stable of Northerns to 65 locomotives.

3751

6-11332 The famous 3751

The first batch were coal-fired and delivered with 73″ drivers. Santa Fe rebuilt these beginning in 1938 as oil-burners with massive 80″ drivers. Subsequent orders followed that standard.

3759

6-11333 There's nothing like a Santa Fe Northern, and with new LEGACY features there's never been a model of one like this before.

Although 9 Santa Fe Northerns survive today, the first one built is still the most famous. Since being returned to service in 1991, No. 3751 has toured thousands of miles in excursion service. Sister 3759 sits in static display in Kingman, AZ. Lionel is reissuing our fine models of these classic beauties, this time with LEGACY.

stacks

3 stack options allow you to model the locomotive with a standard, raised telescoping, or smoke bonnet stack.

The updated Northerns will feature LEGACY command and Railsounds.  You’ll also get directional lighting, firebox and ashpan glow, marker lights, a fan-driven smoke unit, operating tender coupler, and yes, whistle steam to go with that quillable whistle. In addition to the many detail parts applied to the model, you’ll get two additional smokestacks to swap out, recreating the many looks of Santa Fe steam.

 

Powerful and beautiful, these 4-8-4s will handle O-54 curves and retail for $1,299.99.

  • 6-11332 No. 3751
  • 6-11333 No. 3759

 

All of these wonderful models are on schedule for delivery in December, 2011! Don’t delay, see your Lionel dealers today.