New Product Spotlight – Single Centipedes

12 11 2012

The Baldwin “Centipedes” are certainly among the most distinctive if not successful locomotives in history. Lionel’s VISION Line release earlier this year provided the most faithful and dynamic models of these monsters to date. You can read more about that release, and the prototype, in our previous New Product Spotlight.

N de M

The N de M locomotives feature an attractive color scheme for our fans of railroading south of the border.

At nearly four feet in length, the VISION Centipedes were more than many model railroads could handle. Although the prototypes were designed to be run in pairs, there is no reason you couldn’t split them! So we’ve added a new run of the locomotives, in three prototypical paint schemes.

The single Centipedes feature the same rugged construction and innovative features of the previous release:

  • LEGACY Control – run in LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control – with an On/Off switch
  • LEGACY Railsounds including
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom
    • Six Official Railroad speeds
    • Eight Diesel RPM levels
    • Quilling Horn
    • Single hit or continuous bell
    • Sequence Control
    • Current speed and fuel dialog
  • Dual speakers

    SBD

    Take your Centipedes south to citrus country with the Seaboard!

  • Dual motors
  • ElectroCouplers front and rear
  • Traction tires
  • Twin smoke units with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting
  • Working marker lights
  • Lighted number boards
  • Die-cast metal body, frame, trucks, pilot and fuel tank
  • Engineer and Conductor figures
  • Many separately applied details
Pennsy

The most famous and popular face of the Centipedes is back with another number for Pennsy fans.

The locomotives are not listed as VISION Line locomotives because although the speakers are balanced within the unit, unlike the paired Centipedes, they are not balanced across the other pair. Otherwise, these locomotives have the same features and quality of the first run.

We’ve brought back the popular Pennsylvania 5-stripe scheme with a new number, 5821 (6-34676). We’ve also added two new and very attractive schemes for the other railroads which rostered the locomotives; the Seaboard (6-34677) and Nationales de Mexico (6-34680).

The locomotives are still limited to an O-72 curve. They retail for $1,099.99 and are crawling their way to your dealers now.





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.





Freight Car Friday – Railroad Advertising

11 05 2012

Railroads have long used their freight cars as brands for their “product.” These catchy slogans have in many ways become part of a broader popular culture and connection with these companies. Different than the billboard cars of private owners, railroad branding was about the trains themselves – often passenger trains but premier service of any type has been fair game.

See how many of these famous freight cars you recognize. Of course, it’s not an exhaustive list so chime in and tell us your favorites. Model your own “freelanced” railroad?  What’s your company slogan?

Santa Fe mapSanta Fe

The Santa Fe’s route map and named-train boxcars and reefers have to be among the most famous and effective of these advertising tools. One side of the cars featured a line drawing of the Santa Fe’s principle routes and major cities served. This was aimed at passengers and freight agents alike in search of single-line direct service across the Southwest.

On the opposite side of the car, Santa Fe used the blank space on the boxcar to advertise one of its elite passenger trains. With more than half-a-dozen trains listed, there was variety even amidst a string of “identical” cars. The huge graphics stood out in any train to catch the eye of anybody waiting for the train to pass.

SeaboardSeaboard

The Santa Fe wasn’t the only railroad to use its freight cars to advertise its passenger trains. The Seaboard’s Silver Meteor was the way to travel between the Northeast and Florida. And the hint at a fast and friendly trip to vacation land was just what the worker needed as he looked across the loading dock to the boxcar on the siding.

Monon

You didn’t have to be a huge railroad like the Santa Fe to be proud of the region you served. The Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville, better known as the Monon, was always eager to show its Indiana Hoosier pride. Not only were boxcars emblazoned with its “Hoosier Line” slogan, its diesels were later painted in the colors of some of the six colleges and universities served by the regional line. (Red and White for Wabash College and Indiana University, Black and Gold for Depauw and Purdue.)

Western Pacific

Sometimes there was a specific part of the railroad that lent itself to promotion. The Western Pacific’s scenic route through the Feather River Canyon was a major draw on trains like the California Zephyr but the railroad found even more uses for it. From the “Feather River Route” came this creative slogan for careful service that would ensure your load arrived on time and in one piece as it “Rides Like a Feather.”

State of MaineState of Maine

Bridging the line between railroad advertising and product advertising were the famous red, white and blue boxcars and reefers shared by both the Bangor and Aroostook and New Haven railroads. The cars proudly showed that they carried products from the great state of Maine. This scheme was rekindled in more recent years by the Montreal Maine and Atlantic.

The Old ReliableLouisville and Nashville

Nothing to bold or flashy for the L&N, just a simple slogan that says it all. “The Old Reliable” – the railroad you’ve known and come to trust for generations and that you can continue to count on for all your traveling and shipping needs.

We could go on with this list for days. “Southern Serves the South” “We Can Handle It” “Mainline of Mid-America” “The Road of Anthracite” What slogans stick out in your memory? Which ones grace the rails on your layout?