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.

New Product Spotlight – American Flyer 2-8-8-2

5 03 2012

Let’s start the 2012 new products in a BIG way – with the N&W 2-8-8-2 Y-3 coming to American Flyer. The Y-3 brings size, power and variety to the American Flyer line.

Prototype History

6-48180 N&W

Norfolk and Western often set the standard for steam, and no N&W design was more copied than the 2-8-8-2.

The Norfolk and Western developed the 2-8-8-2 into a drag freight powerhouse with the Y-2 in 1918. When the USRA assumed control of railroad operations, they based their standard 2-8-8-2 design on the N&W’s locomotive. This became the N&W Y-3 class in 1919, and copies were delivered to the B&O, Clinchfield, and Virginian. After the war, additional locomotives were built for the N&W (class Y-3A and Y-3B), Clinchfield, Northern Pacific, Rio Grande and Virginian. Used N&W locomotives also found their way onto the Pennsylvania (6), Union Pacific (5) and Santa Fe (8). The Pennsy kept theirs mainly in the yards and never latched on to the articulated concept in a big way. Santa Fe used theirs as helpers on the famed western grades. The Virginian also received seven additional used units in 1948.

6-48182 Virginian

N&W's neighbor, Virginian owned 2-8-8-2s from both the USRA era and N&W hand-me-downs.

The big locomotives developed over 100,000 pounds of tractive effort on their 16 57 inch drivers and weighed in at 240 tons. Alco, Baldwin and the N&W all built various examples of the class. Major differences between subclasses of the Y-2 and Y-3 were cylinder size, boiler tubes and tenders. The locomotives enjoyed long careers on many lines, but none as long as the N&W. These earlier 2-8-8-2s were in service as late as 1959. The N&W was still building new 2-8-8-2’s, the ultra-modern Y-6b, in 1952.

The Model

6-48179 PRR

The Pennsylvania acquired six N&W Y-3's and experimented with them in the 1940s but never adopted articulated locomotives of its own on a grand scale.

The USRA and other railroads knew a winning design in the N&W’s 2-8-8-2 when they saw it, and so did Lionel. After releasing the popular locomotives in O, they were a natural addition to the expanding line of American Flyer scale models.

With metal frames, bodies and wheels, dual flywheel-equipped motors and traction tires, these models should have no trouble duplicating the mountain-climbing drag-freight performances of the prototype on your layout. You’ll be in complete control of that power with the LEGACY control system. Able to operate in LEGACY, TMCC or conventional models, the locomotives’ are also equipped with a speed control feature which automatically compensates for grades and curves.

6-48178 ATSF

Santa Fe jumped on N&W's surplus 2-8-8-2s and added 8 to its roster.

These models will sound as good as they look, with LEGACY Railsounds including synchronized chuffs, 6 pre-programmed speed levels, quillable whistle, continuous or single hit bell, crew and tower talk.  They’re loaded with lighting effects too – directional headlights including the back-up light on the tender, numberboards, marker lights, ashpan glow, cab interior light and flickering firebox lighting. And of course, there is synchronized smoke to go along with the sounds.

We’re offering the 2-8-8-2 in several of the most popular roadnames, with many road-specific details added including proper “doghouse” tenders on the N&W and PRR versions. These big locomotives scale out at 21.5″ in length, and will negotiate a 36″ diameter curve. MSRP is $999.99. The 2-8-8-2 comes decorated for the following roads:

6-48181 UP

Union Pacific never saw a big locomotive it didn't like and took five 2-8-8-2s when N&W put them up for sale.

  • 6-48180 Norfolk and Western
  • 6-48179 Pennsylvania
  • 6-48178 Santa Fe
  • 6-48181 Union Pacific
  • 6-48182 Virginian

See your dealer to order one today!

New Product Spotlight – Heritage Hoppers

23 01 2012

Two new hoppers are hitting dealer shelves – part of our Norfolk Southern Heritage Series. While not based on a prototype, if there were going to be hoppers to honor historic railroads it would be hard to argue against the N&W and Pennsylvania.

PRR hopper

6-27448 Pennsylvania / Norfolk Southen

The Norfolk and Western and Pennsylvania both relied heavily on coal and invested significantly in the design and construction of cars to carry it. Although the two railroads operated independently, the N&W was financially controlled by the Pennsy for much of its existence and designs flowed freely between the two. When it came to hopper designs, the engineers in Roanoke were at the top of the field. Designs made by and for the N&W often spread to other lines. Nowhere was that more true than with the 100 ton cars of the 1960s.

NW hopper

6-27450 Norfolk and Western / Norfolk Southern

The prototype for Lionel’s car is based upon a design orignated on the N&W as their H11A. This car was adopted by the PRR as their class H43 in 1963 and the plans turned over to Bethlehem Steel who produced cars for the PRR and then tens of thousands more for railroads and utilities all across the country. The new cars arrived just in time for the new Unit Train concept which revolutionized the way railroads and utilities moved and billed for coal shipments by the trainload.

These well-designed cars served their owners well for over thirty years before most were rebuilt by successors Norfolk Southern and Conrail into gondolas. Many of their brethren on other lines could be be found  in service even longer, including some of the original clones built for Pennsylvania Power and Light which continue to roll today. Whether your interest lies in the history of these two railroad companies, freight cars, or just railroading in general, a heritage hopper makes perfect sense.

NW hoppers

The Heritage cars are based on these popular 100 ton cars designed by the N&W.

The Lionel models feature imaginative paint schemes that honor both the historic companies and Norfolk Southern’s current image. The cars have die-cast metal frames and carbodies, metal trucks with rotating bearing caps and working couplers, operating hopper doors and a removable coal load. They’ll operate on O-31 curves. These cars would look great as part of the complete Norfolk Southern Heritage train, or mixed in with a longer consist of conventional hoppers. These historic cars are pulling into dealers now!