New Products on the Market

Lionel Texas Special F-3

This is the second F-3 to be released in Lionel's Postwar Celebration Series. The first, the Western Pacific, drew heavy criticism because of the sticker on its nose (a decal would have looked much better). They got it right with the Texas Special. It is perfection in motion. The graphics and paint are an exact match of the original. But this did not come easy. It took 40 hours to re-create the lettering and five paint samples were rejected before the colors were OK'd.

The new Texas Special also includes all the latest Lionel F-3 enhancements: detailed cab interior with figures, end windows and a back-up light on the B unit. Lionel also removed the ribbed lines from the F-3 body. These were originally incorporated into the mold by Lionel in the '70s to make painting the Santa Fe war bonnet scheme easier. The RailSounds are sensational. The TowerCom voice sounds like Orson Wells and the diesel motor sounds are from a real F-3. We love the horn on the recent Lionel Geeps and this horn is as good. Four matching streamline passenger cars were on display at York. This is going to be one gorgeous set.

Lionel Boat Loader

Lionel has always tried to get as mush use as possible out of their dies and stampings. An example is the 6416 Boat Loader. It's just a 6414 Auto Loader with new lettering and Athearn HO boats instead of cars. Original Boat Loaders bring as much as $300.00, and, even thought it's an obvious knock-off of the auto loader, it's a handsome freight car.

Lionel has recently re-issued the Boat Loader. We were particularly interested in comparing the metal platforms of the new car to the old. The new car does not have the diamond-pattern treads on the platforms, but thatís all that is missing from the original. The lettering on the flat car and the platform is bright and crisp and matches the look of the postwar version perfectly. The boats are also similar. In fact, when we compared an original with the new version, we had to look twice before putting them back on the right cars.

The main difference between the original and re-issue is the trucks. The original had plastic Timken or Arch-bar trucks. The new version has die-cast trucks. If you've always wanted the colorful Boat Loader in your collection, you now have an opportunity to own one for a lot less than the original (street price on the new issue is $60).

Marx Trains NYC Century Passenger Set

Marx Trains' new Dreyfuss Hudson is either a 2-4-2 which can operate on O-31 track, or 0-4-0 which can run on O-27. To create the streamlined look Marx used their basic locomotive boiler, incorporated the familiar Roman sentinel nose on the front, and used tear-drop domes on the top.

The four passenger cars are 6" models and come with either eight wheels to go with the 2-4-2 Dreyfuss, or four wheels to go with the 0-4-0 Dreyfuss. The first three cars have silhouettes. The observation car features more detailed lithographed figures in the windows. Marx Trains President Jim Flynn explained, "We want everybody to see the party that's going on inside the observation car!" Optional baggage cars are available in matching colors.

Marx Trains, like old Marx, uses prototypical names on their cars. The optional Lectra Sounds unit features a steam release, tolling bell and steam whistle. These sounds are automatically engaged when power is applied to the track. The third rail pick-up is a single shoe, so when the train goes over a switch or cross-over section, the sounds may get cut off and be re-started. Only one pick-up shoe can fit on the 6" car model..

It's a great looking set for Marx collectors, New York Central fans, and toy train operators alike.

Marx Trains New York IRT Urban Train

The CTA Elevated Train Marx produced three years ago was a phenomenal success. Marx now offers a follow-up product. The New York IRT Urban Train is a model of the R15 car built by American Car and Foundry and used in the 1950's. It has a rich red color. Marx chose this train because the red was more attractive than the olive drab used on most urban units in New York.

Artistic liberties were taken to fit the R15 design to the basic Marx 6-inch car body. The difference is that Marx model features one less set of doors and windows. Marx still preserved the basic look of the prototype. Components of the prototype R15 such as safety guards and number boards are also lithographed on the car.

A couple adjustments were made to this production based on feedback from the CTA set. The headlight is a push-in type bulb instead of screw-type. Turns out the motion from running sometimes made the screw-type come loose. The direction cycles only between forward and neutral. Now an operator doesn't need to quickly cycle past the reverse direction when pulling the train out of the station. A Lionel Type Q transformer was used to run the train. When the minimum 6 volts was applied to the track, the train took off. It's the Lectra Sounds that make this set. Like the CTA set, the New York train features many stop announcements. Appropriately, they are actual NYC Manhattan line destinations. The conductor's voice is provided by Train Collectors Quarterly editor Bruce Manson. Bruce was chosen by Marx for his natural ability and his authentic Eastern accent.

The prototype was used in subways and above ground. Marx offers optional elevated piers. These are the best on the market. They are made of stamped metal and can span over and existing line, which opens up a lot of possibilities on a layout. The piers are designed to hold O-27 track but the clamps can be bent out to accommodate O gauge track as well.

Whether you missed out on the CTA set, are an aficionado of Manhattan train travel, or have been looking for a whimsical train that doesn't take up a lot of space, Marx has the answer.