Loco Lookback 1: Lionel New Haven 4-8-2 (Oct 2001 CTT)

Posted by Bob Keller
on Friday, May 11, 2018

Looking back at some of the locomotives I've reviewed since 1996, this New Haven 4-8-2 by Lionel really stands out as a work-a-day classic.

Loco Look back 1

To keep adding posts for the Classic Toy Trains Blog, I kick around a lot of ideas, some good, some bad, some not really workable.

One notion I played with went something like: Which locomotives had I reviewed that, in retrospect, I wish I had bought. So I began to flip through back issues to explore.

Price point is the most immediate discriminator. If it is close to $1,000 my eyes skip right past to the next engine.

Roadname is the next consideration. New York Central is my first choice and I have a bit of New Haven power. But Pennsylvania power can be found in my fleet (after the “Battle of Harrisburg,” the Pennsy became a vassal of myCentral System, don’t you know).

A paint job can draw me in (I’m a sucker for the McGinnis red/white/black New Haven livery) and I also have a notion that I could build a nice little fleet of SOO power (red nose, white sides and the large SOO on the side). Oh, there are a few other road names that appeal to me, but you can’t buy everything. 

I was surprised when I was done flipping pages because the engine I kept going back to look at was not what I might have expected it to be. It wasn’t “glitzy,” had no innovative features like raising pantographs or smoking whistles, and amid the insane varieties of locomotives in the “They’ll-never-make-that-in-O gauge” class, just might be considered pretty plain. Bornng, even.

But then many of the reviews of the time were ultra unusual streamlined steamers, or brutes like the Triplex. Attention was focused at the shiny objects and many missed the real workhorses right in front of us.

This baby is the New Haven 4-8-2 Mountain. 

The Mountain

The Lionel 6-28058 New Haven R1s 4-8-2 was reviewed in the October 2001 issue. In the original review I remarked that it was more appealing to me then, than the most recent scale-sized articulated engines that Lionel had released: It was large, but not so big that it dwarfed all around it, as a Big Boy would. 

 It had clean lines, simple decoration, and was pretty much on target with the US Railway Administration version that it mimicked. Even the NYNH & H lettered on the tender stood about because it was understating who owned the locomotive.

 One thing, operationally, that’s stood out from the review was that there was a striking difference between the TMCC slow speed and the conventional slow speed: 4.1 scale mph with TMCC and 25 smph with a conventional control. Today’s electronics would prevent that large a difference between the conventional or command mode.

 Years on, and you can find them on eBay, but still close to the original $1,099 price tag.

 Locomotive and tender measured just under 24 inches in length, and I recall it was a handful to move about.

 Still out of my price range, but worth saving the product number as an eBay search!

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