New Product Spotlight – 0-4-0 Switchers

27 08 2012

The Pennsylvania’s A5s switcher was a tremendous powerhouse for its size. Designed for switching around the tight curves and clearances of industrial districts in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, the A5s is the perfect prototype for layouts with sharp curves.

Prototype History

no. 112

6-11379 No. 112 features the Pennsy’s Futura lettering in vogue in tne 1930s

The Pennsylvania Railroad began building its A5s switchers in 1916. The locomotives featured superheaters, and larger cylinders and fireboxes than the A4 which preceded it. The locomotives actually produced more tractive effort than larger B class (0-6-0) locomotives on the rails at the time. The last was built in 1924. These would be the final Pennsy o-4-0s.

No. 94

6-11380 A5s No. 94 is the sole survivor of her class.

Some of the earliest diesel and diesel-electric locomotives offered a strong competition to these little steam locomotives. These diesels were not only much more efficient, they were also much more urban-friendly with their lack (at least relative to a steam locomotive) of smoke. Still, several A5s toiled on into the 1950s. One, No. 94, was selected for preservation in the railroad’s historic collection. The locomotive survives today and is on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

Lionel Models

Beth Steel

6-11383 The compact A5 design is well suited to the confines of a steel mill.

Based on K-Line tooling, this latest release of the A5s is in our Conventional line, offering an affordable and compact yet good-looking locomotive that can run on any layout. This latest release features Conventional Railsounds and a synchronized mechanically puffing smoke unit. With a powerful flywheel-equipped motor, metal body, frame and pilot and traction tires, this little champ will pull for you like it did for the Pennsy.

Additional features include:

  • Union Pacific

    6-11385 For those who like roads west of the Mississippi, we’re offering UP and ATSF versions also.

    Transformer controlled Forward / Neutral / Reverse operation

  • Front and rear magnetic couplers
  • Operating headlight
  • Engineer figure and other separately applied details
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • Sound controls inside tender water hatch
  • Realistic coal load

6-11382 Spook up your switching with the Transylvania switcher this Halloween.

The switchers are available in two numbers for the Pennsy: No. 94 the survivor, and No. 112 in the 1930s Futura lettering. Additional roads include Bethlehem Steel (this compact brute is perfect as a mill shifter!), Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Transylvania (the perfect complement to your Halloween layout.)

A5 Pilot

Pilot Model A5

The locomotives will negotiate O-27 curves. MSRP is $449.99. Look for these to steam into dealers’ shelves this fall.

For an early look, here are a few views of the unpainted pilot model. Fans of later years on the Pennsy will no doubt notice we’ve updated the headlight to a more modern electric version over the catalog art.




Cab and backhead details

New Product Spotlight – Trackmobiles

6 02 2012

Proving that prototypes come in all shapes and sizes – Lionel’s model of the Trackmobile is perfect for even the smallest of trackplans. The prototype model 4850TM is the latest in a long line of road/rail hybrids. These little critters are very useful in compact switching locations and industries of all sizes. Even a relatively small to mid-sized industry may sport one of these versatile vehicles. In addition to private industry, many railroads today own a few of these for use around locomotive and car maintenance facilities. Their small size, flexibility and low-cost makes them perfect for squeezing onto a turntable with a locomotive or nimbly nudging a broken boxcar into the shops.


An earlier and smaller version of the Trackmobile switches at a flour mill in central Pennsylvania.

The Trackmobile has both rubber tires and railroad wheels, allowing it to pull cars on tracks, or drive over the road. This is very useful in tight locations where there may not be room for a run-around track to help with facing switches. Although this prototype is modern, the concept has been around for nearly 100 years. The Pennsylvania built gasoline-electric tractors for congested ports of Baltimore and Jersey City in the 1920s. (So even our PRR fantasy paint isn’t without precedent!)

Lionel’s Model

6-28466 Army

The US Army trackmobile would make a perfect addition to a munitions or supply depot scene.

Lionel makes it easy to add one of these fun little switchers to your layout. And ours will do everything the prototype can – except run off the track! The compact 6″ model will negotiate an O-27 curve. Working Electro-couplers at each end allow easy switching. With a die-cast metal frame and body, this little powerhouse will easily match the pulling power of its prototype and then some.

6-28469 BNSF

Add a BNSF Trackmobile to your locomotive or car shops, or maybe in an industry.

Despite its small size, there is a lot to grab your attention on these models – working directional headlights and tail lights, blinking strobe lights, and cab interior lights (to highlight all the details inside!) The model is Command Control equipped and can also run on conventional transformer control. You’ll have lots of fun delivering cars to all of your sidings with this little gem.

We’ve introduced four new paint schemes this year on the model – something to meet any taste. They will look great toiling in and industrial complex, military supply depot, coach yard, intermodal terminal, or railroad maintenance facility. The US Army (6-28466), Pennsylvania (6-28467), Amtrak (6-28468), and BNSF (6-28469) Trackmobiles should be on dealer shelves now! Each retails for $299.99.