New Product Spotlight – Command Control Speeders

5 11 2012

“Speeders,” self-propelled cars used by track gangs, have come in many shapes and sizes. Today, they are as popular to preserve full-scale as they are in models.


6-37066 Maintenance of Way

The speeder, or track car, replaced the hand-powered pumpcars and velocipedes, beginning in the 1920s. The first cars were not much more than a small engine, four wheels and a bench. Often they were home-built in railroad shops. Crude as they may have seemed, compared to pumping your way several miles just to get to the work site, these were a welcome relief to those who used them.

6-37064 CSX

Over time, the speeders evolved into larger and more elaborate vehicles. Roofs, windshields, and eventually side walls enclosed the passenger compartments. Larger cars could carry six or more men. Some speeders had top speeds of more than 40 mph and were often powerful enough to tow an extra cart or two with tools, spikes, etc.

6-37065 BNSF

Starting in the 1950s, the traditional rail-only speeder began to be replaced by larger and more-versatile hi-rail vehicles which could run on both rails and roads. By the mid 1980s, most had been replaced on the larger lines. Today, hundreds of the little speeders have been preserved in museums and tourist lines and by private owners who often gather for excursions.

They are one of the most affordable ways to get into 1:1 scale railroading as a hobby. And while some have carefully restored their cars to the original appearance, others have applied unique paint schemes based on favorite prototypes or complete fancy.

6-37067 New York Central

There are lots of uses for these little cars on your layout. Whether you want to have one for your section gangs to inspect your railroad, or gather a fleet and model a modern excursion, the new Lionel command control speeders will add a fun element to any model railroad. They’ll even look great sitting beside the tracks on a set-out when not in use.

For small cars, these critters are packed with features:

  • 6-37063 Pennsylvania

    Run with Command Control or Conventional

  • Forward and Reverse operation
  • Directional headlights
  • Blinking strobe light
  • Interior light
  • Die-cast metal frame
  • Maintenance-free motor
  • Traction tire
  • Detailed Interior
  • Driver figure

The speeders will negotiate an O-27 curve and come decorated for seven popular railroads past and present and a generic Maintenance of Way scheme.

6-37061 Union Pacific

  • Union Pacific (6-37061)
  • Norfolk Southern (6–37062)
  • Pennsylvania (6-37063)
  • CSX (6-37064)
  • BNSF (6-37065)
  • Maint. of Way (6-37066)
  • New York Central (6-37067)
  • Canadian National (6-37068)

The speeders retail for $149.99 and should ship next month. Pick one up and tour your layout in style!

6-37062 Norfolk Southern

6-37068 Canadian National

New Product Spotlight – Track Inspection Cars

13 02 2012

Railroad officials have many ways of “keeping track” of the property. From the good ol’ fashioned hand car to luxurious business cars, touring the railroad in person remains the most effective means of assessing conditions for track maintainers, supervisors, railroad police and even the CEO.


6-28471 Santa Fe

The advent of the automobile presented a new opportunity for railroads looking for an affordable and accommodating inspection vehicle. Many railroads large and small converted conventional cars for railroad use in their own shops. The conversions generally involved replacing rubber tires with metal wheels and disabling or removing the steering column. Some were also equipped with pilots, horns, bells, even marker lights. All of this was well within the capacity of even the most basic short line shop.


6-28478 Frisco

Cars like these could be found nationwide until the availability of a convertible “hi-rail” vehicle became a practical option. These cars, still common today, have the ability to drive on both rail and road, making them even more flexible and useful. It also makes it far easier for them to get out-of-the-way when it is time to get the trains moving again. Today, dozens of the older cars can be found in museums and in the hands of private collectors who enjoy their operation along with fellow “speeder” clubs.

Lionel’s Model


6-28473 Great Northern

The Lionel model is based upon a 1937 Buick converted by the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad in 1942. The Ma & PA, a quintessential short line, maintained this car in service until 1977. The car is preserved today in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, MD. A quick internet search will reveal many similar conversions of Buicks, Cadillacs and more of similar vintage all across North America.


6-28480 Grand Trunk

Our model features a metal frame and body for plenty of weight and durability. It features forward and reverse operation, working headlights and is even Command Control equipped. It will run on both command control and conventional layouts. Although modeled to scale, this fun little car can negotiate an O-27 curve, so it can inspect any layout! Now available in Santa Fe, Grand Trunk, Great Northern and Frisco, the cars retail for $129.99 and are available now at dealers. Drive one home today!