New Product Spotlight – H24-66 Train Masters

21 04 2014

When Fairbanks Morse debuted the Train Master in 1953, its massive size, weight and power were unlike anything else the railroads had ever seen – at least in a diesel. As rare as they were immense, the Train Master left a big impression wherever it was seen.

Prototype Background

CP

6-81207 Canadian Pacific 8900 (8903 also available)

Locomotive builders’ order books were filled in the early 1950s. Alco set the new standard at the end of the last decade with their RS series and EMD couldn’t seem to build GP7s and GP9s fast enough. The typical diesel of the day was a four-axle road switcher, weighing in at about 120 tons and producing around 1500 horsepower. By themselves or in multiple unit consists, they could handle any freight or passenger job the railroads had.

CNJ

6-81209 New Jersey Central 2401 (2406 also available)

FM’s Train Master dwarfed its competition. The 66 foot, six axle, 194 ton monster produced 2400 horsepower and a continuous tractive effort of 82,500 pounds. Like its smaller competitors however, the locomotive was capable of handling a multitude of tasks. A pair of Train Masters could do the work of three GP9s on a heavy coal drag in the eastern mountains. Yet the locomotive still had acceleration rapid enough to suit them well in commuter service on the Southern Pacific.

N&W

6-81217 Norfolk & Western 157 (#164 also available)

A locomotive with these capabilities should have been an overwhelming sales success. Only 127 were made in the four year production, with 20 locomotives on the Canadian Pacific being the biggest roster of any road.

Several reasons have been given for the model’s failure to catch on. The unique FM opposed-piston diesel engine is an easy scapegoat. Although the engines had a proven track record in the marine industry, and while some railroads got long and productive careers out of their own, the engine was a maintenance headache. Its design made it more challenging to access and repair in the smaller locomotive shops and unlike an EMD GP9 that shared many parts with earlier models, the FMs needed their own inventory.

Reading

6-81211 Reading 801 (#804 also available)

The locomotives were too big for many lines and were harder on the track than lighter diesels. In many ways, the Train Master was simply a locomotive ahead of its time. Within another decade, the idea of higher horsepower, six axle locomotives would catch on with railroads everywhere.

While most Train Masters were retired in the 1960s, Southern Pacific maintained their fleet for commuter service out of Los Angeles into the 1970s. Today only one survives – Canadian Pacific #8905 at the Canadian Railway Museum in St. Constant. This locomotive was built by FM’s Canadian division, the Canadian Locomotive Works.

Lionel’s Model

The Train Master has enjoyed a much longer history in Lionel’s sales books. Our latest release brings the model up to date with today’s LEGACY control and other great features, including:

Southern

6-81215 Southern 6300 (#6303 also available)

    • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control layouts
    • Odyssey II Speed Control with On / Off switch
    • LEGACYRailSounds 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
    • Dual maintenance-free motors
    • Traction Control
SP

6-81213 Southern Pacific 4803 (#4809 also available)

  • Refined Conventional Control mode with lower starting speeds
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Fan-driven smoke with adjustable output
  • IR Transmitter
  • Directional lighting
  • Marker Lights
  • Lighted cab interior with crew
  • Many separately applied metal detail parts including positionable drop steps on the pilots.
  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • Minimum Curve – O31

The Train Master will be available in two road numbers for Canadian Pacific, Central of New Jersey, Norfolk and Western, Reading, Southern (TNO&P) and Southern Pacific. Suggested retail price for the locomotives is $549.99. See your dealer to place your 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





“Railreading”

13 03 2012

March is National Reading Month, and from bed-time stories to thrilling novels there is no mistaking the role trains have played in the literary scene. As railroads spread across America and the world in the 1800s, they captured the imagination and interest of the people they served. The trains, rails and workers took on an elevated status and symbolism.

Thomas

Thomas the Tank Engine is undoubtedly the new face of trains in literature - but he didn't appear until the second book in The Railway Series.

In some stories, the railroad became an essential backdrop to the plot. In others, the railroad became a metaphor for ideas both good and evil. The rails came to stand for freedom, for opportunity, and for an endless journey. They could be an agent of change, or oppression. For children, the trains themselves became the characters – teaching values and morals and good work habits.

There are so many train-related books out there that a comprehensive list seems almost impossible to compile. Here however are some of the most popular choices if you’re looking for a good read for your children or yourself.

Children’s Books

  • The Little Engine that Could, Arnold Munk
  • The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Railway Series, Rev. William Awdry
  • Tootle, Gertrude Crampton
  • Train to Somewhere, Eve Bunting
Hogwarts Express

The Hogwarts Express was a place where characters met and friendships were formed - a common use of trains in story telling.

Young Adults

  • The Boxcar Children, Gertrude Chandler Warner (Warner wrote the first 19 of what is now a 127 book series.)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rawling
  • The Railway Children, Edith Nesbit

Adult Fiction

  • Breakheart Pass, Alistair Maclean
  • Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
  • Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith
Polar Express

The Polar Express was about more than just a train ride!

Adult Non-Fiction

  • The Horseshoe Curve: Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City, Dennis, NcIlnay
  • The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, Leo Marx
  • Main Lines: Rebirth of the North American Railroads 1970-2002, Richard Saunders, Jr.
  • Set Up Running: The Life of a Pennsylvania Railroad Engineman, 1904-1949, John W. Orr

Of course you could fill a library with books about trains. All of the titles shown here are about more than just locomotives, paint schemes and track maps. They all place the railroad in a larger context, be it moral, emotional, or historical.

With your Lionel trains, you can have the best of both worlds. Curl up with a good book tonight, then go relive the action and adventure on your layout tomorrow! Or maybe your trains reflect, or might even inspire, a story of your own. Either way, thanks for reading!