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In May of 2010, I got a new camcorder, the newly released Canon Vixia HF S21. It records in True HD 1080p (if you choose the appropriate settings) and records videos onto its internal 64 GB flash drive. The video files that result have incredible resolution and detail! Since YouTube now supports True HD 1080p, the new videos appear on this page only in the YouTube player. While I could post them here in their native format, I've compared those originals to the YouTube HD rendering and there isn't enough difference to warrant doing so. Over the course of time, I've reshot most of my older videos in HD and they appear on this page. When you play one of these HD videos, if your hardware supports it click on the resolution box at the lower right hand corner of the YouTube player and select 1080p, then give it a try in full screen mode. This page is in reverse chronological order -- that is, the newest videos appear first.
Because of the number of videos, I've had to split this multimedia section into multiple parts. On this first page, you have the most recent True HD 1080p videos. On the next page are older True HD 1080p videos (CLICK HERE) and on the third page are the oldest True HD 1080p videos (CLICK HERE). In the other multimedia section are all of the older standard definition videos as well as the videos of real trains. You can CLICK HERE to go to the standard definition page. Many of the video descriptions include a link to another page within my web site that has photographs of the trains in the videos. Also, I have reviewed many of the models on my Train Reviews page. (This LINK will take you to the main page of my web site.) Enjoy!
This is my newest O-Gauge tinplate train set. I saw it at the World's Greatest Hobby show recently and decided that I had to have it. It's a reproduction of an O-Gauge train set that Lionel brought out in 1924 (and catalogued through 1930), but this modern repro is painted in the very attractive colors of the Great Northern. The #256 locomotive was the only two motor O-Gauge locomotive that Lionel made in the prewar era. This reproduction set is manufactured by Lionel Corp. (part of MTH) and contains the full modern electronic sound and control package, Protosounds 3 (PS3). It is accompanied by five 710-series passenger cars, which were some of the largest O-Gauge passenger cars that Lionel made in the prewar era.
For the first time in a number of years, I've treated myself to a new O-Gauge toy. It's the MTH Premier model of the Pennsylvania HH1 steam locomotive. They first brought out a model of this 2-8-8-2 articulated steamer back in 1995 and I've always wanted one, so you could honestly say I've been waiting 20 years for this! The new model comes equipped with the new Protosound 3.0 (PS3) system and, if you compare it to videos of earlier models with PS2, the much-improved sound quality is quite evident. The HH1 was originally a Y-3 on the Norfolk & Western Railway; in order to deal with the very heavy freight traffic during World War II, the PRR purchased a total of six from N&W in 1943, did some work on them, and christened them class HH1. There were used to haul heavy freight loads, generally west of Altoona PA. In this video, I show it hauling a long string of the most recent AtlasO refrigerator cars (reefers); I don't believe that I've show any of these in a video before. Enjoy! :-)
In the previous video, I showed the complete State Set being hauled by a PS2 #381E from MTH under DCS control. I also have the PS1 version which, as with the locomotive it reproduces, runs in conventional mode from the transformer. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN double-head PS1 and PS2 locomotives, so long as they are as well matched as these two are. You have to run them conventionally, and it can be a trifle tricky, but it can be done. As this video shows! :-) Here's the complete set of six State cars being hauled by not one, but two #381E electric locomotives. You're looking at over thirteen feet of train running on my ceiling layout. Enjoy! :-)
Having been bitten very badly by the Standard Gauge bug, back in March 2012 I got the ultimate Standard Gauge passenger set -- the State Set. This set is a reproduction of the set that Lionel brought out in 1929 which, when you think about it, was not the best year to bring out an expensive toy train. They are the largest and most elaborate passenger cars of that era (or any era for that matter), with the four cars alone stretching out more than seven feet in length! (On my blog, http://www.toytrains1.com/blog I show a size comparison with another Standard Gauge passenger car.) This set is in the original two-tone State green color; later sets also came in two-tone State brown. The cars have detailed interiors, down to lids that can be raised and lowered on the toilets! (I have photos of the interiors in my blog as well.) Since then (it's just before Christmas 2012), I've been hunting for the add-on cars that MTH created to go with this set, as well as the matching #381E electric locomotive that originally pulled this set (I've previously shown it being hauled by a reproduction #400E steam locomotive). Not that long ago, I finally managed to get all the cars and the locomotive, though it was the PS1 version. I was disappointed that it could not be upgraded to PS2, and started hunting for the almost-mythical PS2 version (there were not many made and they seem to be as scarce as hen's teeth). Just in the last few weeks, I managed to find and nab one! This True HD 1080p video shows the PS2 version of the #381E hauling all six State cars. While the original, from 1929, couldn't do a good job hauling the four cars it came with (which is why in subsequent years the set only came with three cars), this modern reproduction just walks away with all six. And what of the PS1 version that I now also have (someone very wise once said that you can't have too many #400E's or #381E's)? Stay tuned for a surprise coming in a few days. That's all I'll say for now!
The Lionel Postwar small streamline passenger car series began in 1948 came to an end in 1966. 1950 marked the 50th anniversary of Lionel and they brought out a set of small streamliners that were painted in yellow with red trim. The 50th anniversary being know as the golden anniversary, it's small wonder that it's been referred to ever since as the Anniversary Set. To pull the set, #1464W, Lionel offered up an A-A pair of Union Pacific Alco FA diesel locomotives, in the yellow and gray livery of the UP, a great match for the cars. This is THE most difficult set of small streamlineers to find, and I consider myself lucky that I finally got a set, completing my collection of these postwar small streamline passenger cars. In this short video (there are only three cars), you get to see them pulled by the reproduction locomotives that Lionel brought out in 1994. They are the spitting image of the original 1950 locomotives; they just run a lot better.
I've noticed for some time now that my collection of O gauge trains has been missing one locomotive in particular -- a New York Central Hudson. Now, I do actually have two (videos are here on YouTube) but they aren't the standard Hudson that people expect -- one is a "tinplate" Hudson, reproducing a Lionel prewar model, and the other is the Dreyfuss streamlined Hudson. When the opportunity presented itself to get a new one (albeit one that was issued some years ago), well, I've never been one to turn down such opportunities! :-) Here then is a True HD 1080p video of my new NYC Hudson, a 4-6-4 steamer that was a mainstay of the NYC for many years, hauling their fast passenger trains. I've paired it with my set of Lionel heavyweight passenger cars that came out more than 15 years ago but which are an ideal match for it. They're full scale length and while they don't have the detailed interiors and passenger figures of modern cars, they look just fine! Together, the locomotive and cars make for a stunning train as I think you'll agree! ;-) In the video, you can see the train running first at 10 smph and then at 15 smph under full DCS control.
I've been bitten even more badly by the Standard Gauge bug than I thought. I've now gotten the ultimate Standard Gauge passenger set -- the State Set! This set is a reproduction of the set that Lionel brought out in 1929, not long before the stock market crash. They are the largest and most elaborate passenger cars of that era, with the four cars alone stretching out more than seven feet in length! (On my blog, http://www.toytrains1.com/blog I show a size comparison with another Standard Gauge passenger car.) This set is in the original two-tone State green color; later sets also came in two-tone State brown. The cars have detailed interiors, down to lids that can be raised and lowered on the toilets! (I have photos of the interiors in my blog as well.) I show the cars being pulled by my Lionel Corp. #400E steam locomotive; I will eventually get the matching two-tone State green electric locomotive (modeled on a Milwaukee Road bipolar).
I've been bitten badly by the Standard Gauge bug. I've now obtained all nine of the 500-series freight cars (in modern reissues of course) that Lionel originally put out beginning in 1927. This video shows all nine being pulled by my Lionel Corp. #400E steam locomotive. The cars are the 511 flatcar with wood load, 512 gondola, 513 cattle car, 514 refrigerator car, 514 boxcar (please don't ask me why they used the same number for two different cars), 515 tank car, 516 hopper car, 517 caboose, and 520 floodlight car. The video has two run-bys, the second one faster than the first. Since people seemed to like the birds-eye view video of my O-gauge layout, now the I have the flatcar I was able to mount the video camera and the third segment of the video is a birds-eye view of the Top of the World layout. There isn't all that much to see, but it is a very different point of view!
This video shows my most recent acquisition -- the Lionel Corp. (manufactured by MTH) Standard Gauge Blue Comet set. It features the #400E steam locomotive (yes, I know, owning two #400E's is going overboard but what can I say) and five passenger cars. The baggage car was never included with the original set from the 1930's but they did a good job of maintaining the look and feel of the original set. In appearance, the set is a dead ringer for the orignal set from 80 years ago. Operationally, well ... it's equipped with the full Protosound 2 control and sound package. I'm running it from my DCS remote and the sounds you can hear for yourself. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see it on my around-the-ceiling layout in a slow speed runby, a faster runby, and in the last segment, I provide a sample of the great Blue Comet passenger station sounds that come with this set.
This video is to showcase the twelve new 40' woodsided refrigerator cars (reefers) that AtlasO just brought out in July 2011. To pull this short freight train, I've assigned the Pennsy L1s Mikado (2-8-2) steamer, one of their workhorse freight locomotives during the steam era. Built between 1914 and 1919, the Pennsylvania Railroad's fleet of L1s Mikados hauled freight through two world wars and served until the end of steam in 1957. All told, there were 574 of them built. The reefers are the twentieth regular issue of these cars by AtlasO since they first started bringing them out in 2000. A few special runs (custom made for various dealers) are also included. For the first time, the regular run contains both regular reefers as well as models of the rebuilt reefers (distinguishable by the roof deck). I think you'll agree that the designs this time around are quite nice.
Here's the last of my older Protosound 1 diesel locomotives that I'm converting to Protosound 2 (this makes a total of six). This is the Seaboard Orange Blossom Special set which consists of EMD E8s in an A-B-A configuration with six matching passenger cars in Seaboard's very attractive "citrus" paint scheme. The locomotives came out in 1998 with the original Protosound system, and I've now converted the set to PS2 by making each A-unit an independent locomotive with full control and sound electronics (in the original set, only the leading A-unit could run by itself; now, both A-units can run independently). In this True HD 1080p video, you can see them running as a DCS lash-up hauling their passenger trains. The prototype began running in 1925 from NYC to Miami and last ran in 1953. The Pennsy handled the train from NYC to Washington, where it was taken over by the RF&P to Richmond, where it was handed off to the Seaboard for the stretch from Richmond to Miami via Raleigh, Columbia, Savannah, and Jacksonville. If you compare this to the video of the set as-issued (click here) you'll note that there's now twice the sound, lots more smoke, no more tethers between locomotive units, and you'll have to take my word for it that it's a lot more fun to play with!
Here's the fourth of my older Protosound 1 diesel locomotives that I've converted to Protosound 2. It's the Premier model of the EMD BL2 which came out in 1996. The BL stands for "Branch Line" as it was intended for use on light branch lines. As such, I have it hauling a short freight train as it would have in real life. You can compare it to how it operated pre-conversion as I have a video of it as-issued already posted (click here). As you'll see in this True HD 1080p video, after conversion the low-speed performance is much better, the sounds are richer and fuller, and it has the full panoply of remote control features, such as remote uncoupling. All in all, lots more fun to play with!
This is the third of my older Protosound 1 diesel locomotives that I've converted to Protosound 2. It's the GE AC4400CW (the AC version of the Dash-9) which came out in 1998. I've previously shown it in its original PS1 incarnation (click here) so you can compare what the upgrade has done. I now have full remote control with DCS, the slow speed operation is excellent, smoke output is voluminous, and as you can see, the ditch lights now flash when the horn blows. The sounds are also much richer and fuller. All in all, it's a lot more fun to play with! :-) In this True HD 1080p video, I show it hauling a pure intermodal freight train with TOFC cars and husky stacks, much as I see at the local railroad crossings.
Here's another diesel conversion from PS1 to PS2. I've previously shown this locomotive, the EMD GP20, in operation with its as-delivered Protosound 1 (PS1) electronics (click here). I've converted it to Protosound 2 (PS2) and by comparing this True HD 1080p video with the previous one, you can see many of the changes, not the least of which is that I'm now running it with the DCS remote control (well, you can't see that but you can take my word for it). There's much better control of the speed, better sound, full control of the directional lighting, etc. All in all, it's now a lot more fun to run! In this video, it's hauling an intermodal train, as you might have seen it doing on main lines all across the country.
I've previously shown this locomotive, the EMD SD90MAC, in operation with its as-delivered Protosound 1 (PS1) electronics (click here). I've just converted it to Protosound 2 (PS2) and thought that I'd reshoot the video so that you can compare the operation between the two different systems. First off, of course, it's now under full remote control via DCS. You'll note that I can run it at much lower speeds now thanks to the pS2 scale speed feature. It now also has flashing ditch lights and fully controllable directional lighting. The sound is much better and it also smokes much better. I also have, as you can see in the final segment of this True HD 1080p video, the ability to uncouple the locomotive from the train via the remote control. It's pulling very much the same train as before, mostly intermodal with a few large modern freight cars.
In 1964, NYCTA, the New York Transit Authority, took delivery of 600 Budd-built stainless steel R32 cars. The "Brightliners," as they were called, came in married pairs bearing one even and one odd number. They have been overhauled many times in the 40+ years since their initial delivery, so the original distinction between R32 and the later R32A cars is no longer meaningful. These large subway cars are used on the former BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit) and IND (Independent) divisions of the subway, which have larger tunnels than the former IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) portions of the subway system. I remember these cars well as I rode them to and from school for many years. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see them in action, and in the first segment can hear the station stop announcement that is part of the PS2 sound package. These cars were the first Premier subway set and are lettered for the N train, the Sea Beach express, which just happened to run through my back yard as I was growing up!
Coal has long been one of the mainstays of freight railroading. Long trains of coal hoppers snake their way across the country, carrying this precious commodity from the mines and breakers to the power plants that consume it to produce electricity. It's been that way for a very long time. In this True HD 1080p video, I show a Pennsylvania RR coal train being pulled by the Premier model of the J1 Texas-type (2-10-4) steam locomotive double-headed with the Premier model of the M1b Mountain-type (4-8-2), both heavy freight haulers, followed by 28 matching MTH Premier PRR hopper cars that just came out (2011). The coal loads in the cars are made by my friend Bob (bobscoalloads.com) and look way better than the plastic castings that come with the cars.
I often get requests from people who want to see more of my main layout than they normally get to see in the videos that showcase my locomotives and trains, though some of those do show large areas of the layout. Well, what better way to see the layout than hop on the train and go for a ride! In this True HD 1080p video, you're in a car behind the locomotive, an MTH Premier Great Northern S-2 Northern-type (4-8-4) steamer as it goes for a spin around the layout. Since this is in the basement, you get to see lots of concrete blocks but it gives some idea of what the layout looks like all the way around.
If one Christmas Express set is good, then two must be better, right? And if those two are running on the same track at the same time, well, does it get any better? In 2002, MTH brought out a Christmas Express ready-to-run Standard Gauge set with the #10 electric locomotive hauling three 300-series passenger cars named for Santa's reindeer. In 2004, they brought out another set with the #384E steam locomotive, tender, and two passenger cars. Over the years, they've brought out more cars for a total of nine. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see both sets, with their add-on cars, running on the same track at the same time. It's the only way to show all nine cars as the observation cars can't couple at the back. So, here are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, with the Santa baggage car for good measure. Enjoy!
This video is to showcase the ten new 36' woodsided reefers that I just got from AtlasO. As with all their reefers these are exquisite. Since two of them are from the great Northwest, I thought it appropriate to haul them with one member of my big green fleet, the Great Northern S-2 Northern (4-8-4) steam locomotive. As it's been very snowy in the great Northwest, the yard has placed a rotary plow in front of the locomotive and as you can see in this True HD 1080p video, the blades are turning as they're expecting to run into snow at any moment. Using DCS, I've run the train very slowly so that you can pause the video at any point and enjoy all the detail of the reefers in razor-sharp hi-def.
After bringing out the Christmas Express ready-to-run Standard Gauge set in 2002 (video already posted), which came with the #10 electric locomotive, MTH followed-up in 2004 with another ready-to-run Christmas Express set, this one coming with the #384E steam locomotive and tender, a stalwart of the long-ago Standard Gauge era. This ready-to-run set came with the steam locomotive, tender, and two cars. Over the years, two more cars have been added, so in this True HD 1080p video, you can see the locomotive pulling the Dasher, Vixen, and Donner coach cars and the Prancer observation car.
Since I had already disabled a certain safety device that might be adversely affected by locomotive smoke (as in, I removed the smoke detector) so that I could film the Christmas steamer on the ceiling layout, I decided to give the #400E a run around up there as well. As I expected, it was spectacular! So, since I was already set-up to film upstairs, I put it on video! In this True HD 1080p video, you can see it make a few runs around my Sky's The Limit layout on top of the bookcases, hauling its seven 500-series freight cars. Enjoy!
I had hoped to have this video up for Christmas as well, but the fates conspired against me. Oh well, better late than never! After bringing out the Christmas Express ready-to-run Standard Gauge set in 2002, which came with the #10 electric locomotive, MTH followed-up in 2004 with another ready-to-run set, this one coming with the #384E steam locomotive and tender, another stalwart of the long-ago Standard Gauge era. The original set had three cars, the second set had two cars, and with additional cars added over the years, it's up to nine cars. Since only one observation car can be used on a train, when I string them all together there are eight. As you will have seen in the previous video, the eight cars are quite a load for just the #10 which was slipping its wheels quite a bit. In this True HD 1080p video, here are both locomotives, double-headed with DCS, hauling the eight cars. Now, there is no wheel slipping! Here are Dasher, Dancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, with the Santa baggage car for good measure. They're running on my Sky's The Limit Layout seven feet up off the floor and next to the ceiling!
Back in 1999, MTH brought out a RailKing model of a Pennsylvania RR Doodlebug. Even when steam was king, it was still expensive for steam trains to serve passengers on small branch lines and secondary mainlines. One solution to high-cost, low-ridership routes that the railroads came up with was the Doodlebug or gas-electric car. Doodlebugs were essentially a cross between a locomotive and a passenger car. The front section housed an internal combustion engine and the rear housed a passenger or freight compartment. Larger consists housed the baggage and freight in the rear compartment and pulled a passenger car behind the Doodlebug, but most were run as single units. At their peak of popularity in the 1920s, Doodlebugs rode the rails in every part of the country. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see the Doodlebugs (the front power unit and the rear follower unit) running on my layout. It's still got the original Protosound (PS1) sound package, so it's under conventional transformer control and I have no plans to update it to the more modern PS2 sound and remote control package. For its time, not a bad model at all!
Merry Christmas! I suppose you could call this my video Christmas card. In 2002, MTH Electric Trains reproduced a very early (1925) Lionel Standard Gauge electric locomotive. This model of the #10 was done in red and green for Christmas, with three matching cars, also reproductions of those from 85 years ago. Together, the train was called The Christmas Express and came in a complete set with track and transformer. This is worthy of note since this set was, as far as I know, the first ready-to-run Standard Gauge set in about three-quarters of a century! A few years later, MTH brought out another Standard Gauge Christmas set with a #384E steam locomotive. Additional cars have been brought out over the years to the point that there are now nine of them. For this True HD 1080p video, I've put the #10 electric locomotive at the head of eight of the cars (the observation cars can't couple at the back so only one can be used on the train and thus Prancer had to stay behind in the stable). Here are Dasher, Dancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, with the Santa baggage car for good measure. They're running on my Sky's The Limit Layout seven feet up off the floor and next to the ceiling! Be sure to listen to the special Christmas sound set toward the end of the video. It was a really nice touch that MTH included in the locomotive, enabled by the Protosound 2 sound and remote control software, and the entire thing is controlled by the DCS remote control system.
The Lionel Postwar small streamline passenger car series that began in 1948 came to an end in 1966. For that year, Lionel improved on the cars from the previous two years, bringing back lights and window strips. The cars were still lettered and numbered in blue for Santa Fe, but the numbers were changed since the cars had been upgraded -- 2408, 2409, and 2410. At this point in time, Lionel already had one foot in the grave and this would be the last of these postwar cars. In 1966, they also revived the #665 small Hudson steam locomotive, so in this True HD 1080p video, I've put it at the head of these cars. With this and previous videos, I've now shown you all of the Postwar small streamline passenger cars that Lionel put out covering 19 years and stretching from Lionel's zenith in the mid-50's to its nadir in the late 60's.
In the sixties, Lionel was going downhill, heading for the end in 1969. In terms of the small streamline passenger cars that began appearing in 1948, 1964-1965 was the nadir. The cars were silver, lettered in blue for Santa Fe with blue numbers 2404, 2405, and 2406, but had no lights and no window strips. I suppose we were lucky they had wheels! Totally low end, they appeared in one set that was marketed both years and were available for separate sale. Since I've already shown all of my Postwar locomotives in other videos, for this True HD 1080p video I've assigned an Atlas SW-9 diesel to haul them. Lettered for Jersey Central (one of my weak spots), it came out around 2000. It's somewhat modern for these cars, but I've never shown it in a video before.
In 1959, Lionel once again changed their small streamline passenger cars. They remained silver but got a broad stripe of blue, much as the 1956 cars (click here to view the video) got a broad stripe of red. They were also, for the first time, given a real railroad name, "Santa Fe", instead of the generic "Lionel Lines" that had been on all of the cars since the first ones in 1948. They also had numbers but there were no longer car names, just 2412, 2414, and 2415. All car markings were also in blue -- less decoration means less cost and this was the point at which Lionel was beginning its long, slow spiral downward. The cars were offered for separate sale and were in one set each year, pulled by a diesel locomotive. Since I don't have any of those locomotives, I can't recreate one of the sets, so for this True HD 1080p video I've set up the cars with the earliest RailKing small Hudson (4-6-4) steam locomotive. It came out in 1996 and might well be called a successor to the Postwar small Hudsons. It has puffing smoke, an electronic whistle, and an electronic reversing unit. It's also lettered for New York Central, but that can be overlooked -- the only Santa Fe locomotive I have is a scale Texas whose tender is bigger than the passenger cars and that would look just silly.
The Lionel small streamline passenger cars in silver with red lettering were cataloged from 1954 to 1958, a total of five years and the longest for any of the small strealine cars, but there was a change. While the 2432 Clifton, 2434 Newark, and 2435 Elizabeth remained the same, in 1957 and 1958, the observation car was changed from the 2436 Summit to the 2436 Mooseheart. In both 1957 and 1958, these cars were offered in two sets per year, hauled by either a low-end steamer or diesels. Since I don't have any of those locomotives and thus can't recreate any of the four sets, for this True HD 1080p video, I've assigned the #601 Seaboard NW-2 diesel that dates from 1956 and which I've never before shown in a video. Same era, same guts, same grinding sound, and same ozone from the AC motor that you unfortunately can't smell even in hi-def.
From 1954 to 1956, Lionel offered the small streamline passenger cars in all-silver with red lettering, with cars 2432 Clifton, 2434 Newark, 2435 Elizabeth, and 2436 Summit, once again named after towns here in NJ (I've shown these in the video of my original Lionel 1534W set, already posted). Starting with the first of these small streamline cars in 1948, Lionel had changed them ever two years (the videos of the earlier cars have already been posted), so having them the same for three years in a row (it's actually five years, but I'll get to that in the next video) was something of a departure. More of a departure was that in 1956 only, Lionel offered another set of silver cars with the same numbers and names, but with a broad red stripe painted down the length of the cars. They came in only one set, #1562W, which had two of the Clifton vista-dome cars, while Elizabeth was available only for separate sale (which is why it's now the scarcest of all of these cars). It was pulled by the 2328 Burlington GP-7 diesel locomotive. In my recreation of set #1562W for this True HD 1080p video, I've substituted Elizabeth for the second Clifton car as I think it makes for a more interesting train. Happily, beginning in 1954, Lionel switched from coil couplers to magnetic couplers, so I no longer have to fight with the sliding shoes on my hi-rail layout, which makes shooting these videos a lot less painful.
In 1952, Lionel brought out a new set of small streamline passenger cars. These actually looked like the ones pictured in the 1950 catalog which were never issued -- silver with silver roofs, black lettering, and no window stripes. They had the same names and numbers as those that came out in 1950 and 1951 -- 2421 Maplewood, 2422 Chatham, and 2423 Hillside and there was an additional coach, the 2429 Livingston. They were part of two sets and were available for separate sale, but the Livingston came in only one set, #1484WS, headed by a #2056 small Hudson. In 1953, they were cataloged again and were once again present in two sets, but Livingston was only available for separate sale, which is why, all these years later, it's the hardest car to find. While I don't have the #2056 locomotive in my collection, I do have the slightly later #2065 small Hudson, so in this True HD 1080p video, I've recreated that 1952 set #1484WS using the #2065 and all four cars. Once again, I've taped over the sliding shoes so that the couplers don't fire on my hi-rail switches.
In 1950, Lionel brought out two sets of the small streamline passenger cars. The first, which attracted most of the attention, was the so-called "Anniversary Set" which had three cars in yellow with gray roofs pulled by a set of new Alco FA diesel locomotives lettered for Union Pacific (I've shown my modern reproduction set in a previous video). The second set was shown in the catalog as #2150WS and had three silver cars. 2421 Maplewood, 2422 Chatham, and 2423 Hillside (the same names used on the 1948-1949 green cars). The catalog showed cars that were all silver with black lettering. The cars that were actually delivered had black lettering, black window striping, and gray roofs -- the same gray roofs as the Anniversary Set. The set was pulled by the workhorse 671 Turbine. In this True HD 1080p video, I show my recreation of set 2150WS, which was also reissued in 1951, using my Postwar 681 Turbine and the three cars. I have to say, running cars with coil couplers and sliding shoes on a modern layout with hi-rail switches is a royal pain!
In a previous video, I showed my very first Lionel train set, which had the silver small streamline passenger cars (click here). My set dated from 1955, but the series of small streamline cars actually premiered in 1948 with a set of three green cars named Maplewood (2400), Chatham (2402), and Hillside (2401) (all towns here in NJ, where Lionel's factory was located). They came in set #2140WS (in both 1948 and 1949) with a #671 turbine steam locomotive. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see my recreation of that set, though I have a 681 turbine (with magnetraction) rather than the 671. For toys this old, they've held up rather well and you can tell that they were treated with care. They have coil couplers that are triggered by sliding shoes, so I've insulated the shoes with electrical tape so that they aren't energized by the hi-rail switches that I use on my layout.
In 1998, MTH brought out their very first New York City Subway set. It was part of the RailKing line and was lettered for the "D" train (which I always call the Brighton Express, the name that preceded the letters). It was equipped with the original Protosound system (PS1) and given the internal complexity of the subway sets, I decided not to convert it to the later Protosound 2 (PS2) system. As you can see in this short True HD 1080p video, it still looks quite good (the later sets offer more detail, such as full interiors with passengers) and runs very well. For the era, the sounds are OK.
Here is the third of my original Protosound (PS1) steam locomotives that I chose not to convert to Protosound 2 (PS2) due to engineering concerns but instead chose to buy a new version that came with PS2 as standard equipment. This is the original MTH Premier Shay, a geared steam locomotive that was used in the logging industry. It's lettered for the West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. (WVP&P) as are the matching log cars and caboose. The Shay, along with the Climax and the Heisler, was a geared steamer designed to provide incredible traction, albeit very slowly, for climing steep grades and going around tight turns that would defeat a normal steam engine. In this True HD 1080p video, you can watch the amazing action of the gears along the entire drive train as the Shay slowly makes its way down the tracks. For a locomotive model that came out in 1997, the sound is quite good (though not up to the standard of PS2 as you can see by comparing it to the video of the C&O Shay, with PS2, that's already posted here) and the operation is very smooth and reliable.
Among the many original Protosound (PS1) steam locomotives that I converted to Protosound 2 (PS2), there were a handful that I chose not to convert due to the engineering challenges. Those were the SP Cab Forward, the WVP&P Shay, and the CNJ Camelback, all of them not your typical steam locomotive. In each case, I instead bought a PS2 version of that particular locomotive type and True HD 1080p videos of all of those have already been posted. Recently, I posted a video of the original PS1 Cab Forward. It was well received, so here now is a True HD 1080p video of the original PS1 CNJ Camelback Ten-Wheeler (4-6-0) in operation. It's a RailKing model whereas the newer one is Premier, but as you can see by comparing the two videos, it's still scale-sized. I've gussied it up a bit, painting various appurtenances and adding a real coal load. While not as detailed as the newer Premier model, it's still quite an attractive locomotive and, as you can see in the video, it runs quite well and the sound isn't all that bad for something that came out in 1999. It's hauling a mixed consist of various CNJ freight cars; the two at the tail end may be a surprise as I've never before shown them in a video.
Here's a classic Lionel Postwar locomotive and classic Lionel Postwar freight cars (well, with a couple of ringers) that will transport anyone of a certain age (like me) right back to their childhood. This is the #681 turbine, a (very) semi-scale model of Pennsy's massive S2 steam turbine (the only 6-8-6 steam locomotive ever built). Purely conventional, powered by a classic ZW transformer from the same time period, with Magnetraction, a three position E-unit (which makes the buzz that everyone remembers) and a mechanical air whistle, this is the epitome of Postwar Lionel trains. The cars date from the same period (a couple are a bit more modern Lionel/MPC reproductions of Postwar cars) and include the operating milk car, the operating log dump car, the operating "cop and hobo" car, and the operating searchlight car. In this True HD 1080p video shot with 21st century technology, you can travel back to the simpler times of the 1950's and enjoy once again the toys that kept us amused when we were young. Alas that even True HD 1080p doesn't let you smell the ozone!
Now that I have four Standard Gauge trains (videos of all of them are on YouTube) I had the hankering to run more than one at a time. That was a problem since I had only one Standard Gauge loop on the floor of the library (my auxiliary layout). With no more room on the floor (there are already four loops), my eyes turned skyward and I came up with what I call my Sky's The Limit layout (you can see photos on my web site). This video shows the new layout with the Ives Olympian running on it. This is the 2007 MTH reproduction of the original set, which was one of the last made by Ives (one of the great names in the history of toy trains) in the years leading up to the Great Depression (1929-1930). For those unfamiliar with it, Standard Gauge trains run on track that is much wider than O-gauge track and, being much more from the toy train genre, there is no real scale, so Standard Gauge trains come in a variety of sizes, from small to very large. This set is from the very large school! The locomotive (based on a Milwaukee Road bipolar) and four cars stretch out over six feet in length! While faithful to the original set in appearance, this reproduction incorporates all of the latest electronics and is fully controllable with the DCS remote control system. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, it a super appearing, super sounding set made all the more remarkable for now running a full seven feet up off the floor! Now all I have to do is figure out how to shoot a video showing both Standard Gauge loops running at the same time, separated by seven feet vertically!
In 1999, MTH released an excellent Premier-line model of the Amtrak AEM-7 electric locomotive. These were and are a mainstay of Amtrak here on the Northeast Corridor (the former Pennsylvania RR mainline) and I see them just about every day. They were in part designed in Sweden by ASEA and are sometimes referred to as "toasters" due to their shape. The model has the original Protosound system (PS1) and I really haven't considered updating it to Protosound 2 (PS2) due to its complexity, with all the various flashing lights and such. Seeing them so often, I can say that it's a really good model of the prototype, capturing most of the details. It's hauling a matching set of Amtrak streamlined Amfleet passenger cars as well as an express mail car.
The third set of short madison cars from Lionel/MPC, and the last that were
part of a ready-to-run train set, came out in 1975 as part of the Capitol
Limited set. Following the pattern of the two previous sets, this one had
a B&O small Atlantic-type (4-4-2) steam locomotive that had a two position
E-unit, Mighty Sound of Steam, puffing smoke, and that's about it. The set
came with three cars and over the intervening years, to about 1989, a total of
six more cars were issued, for nine in all, the last being the diner. Once
again, there was a campaign observation car to help decrease the surplus
population of observation cars. The cars are an attractive blue and,
interestingly enough, though the set is called the Capitol Limited, each car is
emblazoned with the Capital Limited logo. In this True HD 1080p video, you
can see the entire set of nine cars pulled by the B&O locomotive. Over the
course of the Lionel/MPC era, there were a total of ten sets of short madison
cars issued. Since I haven't shown them in order, here for those who have
asked is a chronological listing of all of the sets. True HD 1080p videos
of all of these are now up on YouTube.
1973 -- Milwaukee Road Milwaukee Special
1974 -- Pennsylvania Broadway Limited
1975 -- Baltimore & Ohio Capitol Limited
SEPARATE SALE SETS
1974-1977 -- Toy Train Operating Society (TTOS)
1977 -- Southern Crescent Limited
1978 -- Jersey Central Blue Comet
1980 -- CHessie Steam Special
1980-1985 -- Train Collectors Association (TCA)
1981 -- Chicago & Alton Alton Limited
1986 -- Wabash Fallen Flags #1 (FF-1)
The second set of short madison cars issued was for the Broadway Limited set in 1974. As with the previous Milwaukee Special set, it consisted of a small Atlantic-type (4-4-2) Steam locomotive, this one lettered for the Pennsylvania Railroad, three short madison cars, and the track and transformer needed to make a running layout. The locomotive has the two position E-unit, Mighty Sound of Steam, puffing smoke, and not much else (this one works better than the MR one). The cars were once again low-end, with plastic trucks and body mounted plastic dummy couplers (and don't ask what I went through getting everything to stay together). Over the years, more cars were added, the last being the dining car in 1988. Once again, there's a campaign observation car that helped dispose of a surplus of observation cars. All told, there are a total of ten cars and in this True HD 1080p video you get to see them all behind the nicely running PRR Atlantic.
In the last few videos, I've been showing my collection of Lionel short madison cars that were part of the MPC era of Lionel that came immediately after the 1969 end of what is considered to be the classic Lionel postwar era. Well, here's the set that started it all! In 1973, Lionel/MPC brought out a set consisting of a small Atlantic-type (4-4-2) steam locomotive lettered for the Milwaukee Road, the first three short madison cars ever, along with track and a small transformer and called it the "Milwaukee Special". The locomotive was really low-end, with a two position E-unit (forward/backward or just forward, no neutral), the Mighty Sound of Steam, pretty wispy smoke, and not much else. The cars were also low-end, with plastic trucks and body-mounted dummy plastic couplers. Over the years, more cars were added, to the point where there are a total of eleven (the last, the diner, was issued 15 years after the set so the colors don't quite match but at least it does have operating truck-mounted couplers). One of the more curious ones is the campaign oberservation car, where they basically took leftover observation cars and made stick-on decorations for them in an attempt to reduce the inventory. It's selcom that you see the complete set but in this True HD 1080p video, you can see the locomotive hauling all eleven cars.
Back in 1995, MTH brought out their first RailKing semi-scale rolling stock. They offered a number of different roadnames including Pennsylvania, which of course attracted me. There were a total of eight different freight cars so I got one of each. They make a nice semi-scale train and back fifteen years ago, I wasn't nearly as into scale as I am now. I thought I'd show you those first RailKing cars in this True HD 1080p video. To pull them, I've assigned the RailKing semi-scale PRR Turbine which still has the original Protosound system in it. It came out in 1999 and still runs beautifully (since it's semi-scale, I haven't upgraded it to PS2). Being a turbine, the sounds are quite unusual and probably a good simulation of the real thing (there was only one experimental prototype). It also smokes extremely well!
Much as it did for TCA, Lionel issued special cars for the national conventions of other toy trains clubs. One of those was the Toy Train Operating Society (TTOS). In the years 1974-1977, Lionel issued one short madison car for a total of four. There was no locomotive to go along with these cars, so for this True HD 1080p video, I've assigned a postwar Lionel #665 small Hudson (4-6-4). These short madison cars are very much like the first ones that were ever issued, with plastic trucks rather than die-cast trucks and body-mounted dummy plastic couplers instead of truck-mounted operating die-cast couplers. They weren't bad for the time but certainly weren't one of Lionel's better efforts. What can one say about the locomotive? It's more than 50 years old and still runs like a champ. The whistle is the classic mechanical air whistle and direction (forward, neutral, backward) is controlled by the buzzing mechanical E-unit. When people talk about "classic" toy trains, this is one of them!
In 1986, Lionel/MPC brought out the first set in what came to be know as the "Fallen Flags" series, honoring railroads whose names had disappeared through acquisitions and mergers over the years. The first set (and the only passenger set) honored the Wabash RR and had a Pacific (4-6-2) steam locomotive with six matching short madison passenger cars in the attractive Bluebird livery that the Wabash was famous for. The locomotive once again is on the cusp between conventional and electronic operation, with the "Mighty SOund of Steam" and electronic whistle but still with the 3-position mechanical E-unit. This was also the cusp of a big change for Lionel, as the next year would see ownership transition from MPC/Fundimensions to Dick Kughn and his Lionel Trains Inc. (LTI).
From 1980 to 1985, Lionel/MPC brought out one short madison passenger car per year for the Train Collectors Association (TCA) national convention. In 1985, the car was an express woodsided reefer. They also brought out an accompanying small Hudson (4-6-4) locomotive. Very much like the other locomotives that accompanied the other short madison sets, this one came equipped with the Mighty Sound of Steam, the then-new electronic whistle, and the wispy smoke characteristic of the era. A pleasant surprise was that the tender is die-cast rather than plastic. The locomotive and the cars are done in a handsome green livery with gold lettering which makes for a very attractive train.
Here's another of the very attractive Lionel/MPC short madison sets. This one dates from 1977 and is the Southern Crescent Limited set, which features a small Hudson (4-6-4) in the very attractive green and gold livery of the Southern RR and six matching passenger cars. This was the first short madison set that was offered not as a set in a set box, but for separate sale, where you bought the cars and the locomotive separately. The locomotive is equipped with the Might Sound of Steam, a first attempt at electronic sound, and the cars were the first short madisons offered with operating truck-mounted couplers (as opposed to the body-mounted dummy couplers that characterized the first three short madison sets from the early 70's). Other than the sound, the locomotive is purely conventional like its postwar brethren, as you can see from the mechanical E-unit lever sticking up out of the boiler. The cars, as you can see in this True HD 1080p video, are quite attractively decorated and together with the locomotive make for an eye-catching train.
This is one of the more attractive Lionel/MPC short madison sets and dates from 1980. It's the Chessie Steam Special and was one of the separate sale sets, where you bought the cars and the locomotive separately. The locomotive was the first MPC reissue of the postwar Berkshire (2-8-4), one of Lionel's most popular locomotives of that era. It's equipped with the "Mighty Sound of Steam", which was basically a static generator that was interrupted to simulate the sound of steam chuffing. It also has an electronic whistle, but otherwise operation is purely conventional as you can see from the E-unit lever that sticks up out of the boiler as it did with postwar steamers. This locomotive is on the cusp of a change of eras, from purely conventional control to electronic control. The cars, as you can see in this True HD 1080p video, are quite attractively decorated and together with the locomotive are a representation of the Chessie Steam Special that actually ran back in 1977 to commemorate 150 years of American railroading.
This is another of the "short madison" sets from the MPC era of Lionel that I collected when I got back into the hobby. This was one of the separate sale sets, where you bought the cars and the locomotive separately. Coming out in 1978, the locomotive has the "Mighty Sound of Steam" which you can hear in this True HD 1080p video, but no whistle. It's a Hudson (4-6-4) whereas the real Blue Comet was pulled by a Pacific (4-6-2), but as a model from 32 years ago, we won't quibble. It also has the wispy smoke characteristic of the era. For the time, it was a good looking, good running model train. Other than the steam sound, it's a purely conventional locomotive as you can tell from the E-unit lever sticking up out of the boiler.
For my 200th video on YouTube here's a pretty unusual locomotive. This is the original MTH Premier SP Cab Forward (4-8-8-2) steam locomotive that was produced in 1998. It has the original ProtoSound system which provided sound and smoke but not the remote control capability with DCS that you see with all of my later locomotives as seen in my other videos -- this one is purely conventional operation. The differences between the original ProtoSound (PS1) and the newer ProtoSound 2 (PS2) are pretty evident (the newer system is way superior), but this is a very unusual locomotive, one of the first that I got in the MTH Premier line, and I thought it was worth showing. Given the engineering challenges in trying to convert this to PS2 (with the locomotive essentially backwards) as I did with most of my other PS1 models, I instead got a new PS2 model of the Cab Forward, and a video of that is available as well -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHlx3mC8BxM In this True HD 1080p video of the original PS1 Cab Forward, you can see that, even 12 years ago, the model was quite detailed and the sound is, for that time period, quite good.
For reasons that currently escape me, when I got back into this hobby I started collecting the "short Madison" car sets put out by Lionel starting in 1973 -- part of what is called the MPC era. These were models of old heavyweight passenger cars, as were the postwar "Madison" cars, but reduced in scale. Each set of passenger cars had a locomotive to accompany it, either as part of the set or as a separate-sale item. This set, called The Alton Limited, came out in 1981 and has the 8101 Chicago & Alton small Hudson (4-6-4), which was equipped with "Mighty Sound of Steam" which was a very early attempt at a sound system. It's basically a static generator that gets interrupted so it sort-of sounds like steam chuffing. Hey, it was almost 30 years ago and that's what they had. It also has wispy puffing smoke, an electronic whistle, and was notable for having a die-cast tender. In this short True HD 1080p video you can see and hear it in operation. After 30 years, it's still a good looking train set.
Close to 10 years ago, in early 2001, Lionel brought out a very nice model of the Alco (American Locomotive Company) RS-11 diesel. Now, I'm no fan of diesels, but the look and livery of this one convinced me to add it to my layout. The RS in the designation stood for "road switcher", meaning that the locomotive was designed for either switching duties in a yard or over-the-road duties hauling trains. First built in 1956, the RS-11 was Alco's answer to EMD's very successful GP-9. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, it runs very well and has good sound albeit being weak in the smoke department (this smoke unit was worked over by me to provide maximum possible smoke output). This locomotive came equipped with Lionel's TMCC remote control which allowed you to get away from the transformer, very convenient when you're shooting video!
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