Loco Lookback 5: Williams New Haven Rectifier electric (Nov 1999 CTT)

Posted by Bob Keller
on Friday, July 13, 2018

The Williams Rectifier is massive in appearance when compared to traditional versions. It has good detailing and rugged construction.

The Williams model was offered in striking paint schemes.

Remember when uncomplicated designs were a virtue?

Though I like more realistic handrails, I do like the fact you can move the rectifier with one finger without fear of damaging the rails.

I bought my first Williams diesels some time before coming to Classic Toy Trains. They were a pair of GP9s and a New York Central Alco PA A-B set. It was awesome when I got them and they are still pretty impressive, though they shy more than a few of the bells and whistles even the most basic engines have today. 

 What impressed me about Williams in the mid-1990s, was the firm’s drive to make new, well-running basic models at decent price points. You also could find a lot of locomotives decorated in roadnames that “The Big Guys” might never get around to. A fact I asked Jerry Williams about once. He said that he would try any roadname and if it didn’t sell 300, he’d simply never run it again. 

I always thought that the traditional Lionel rectifier locomotive looked a bit small. I can live with the smallish traditional gear, but it I thought that it really lacked the, oh, robust vitality that the big bricks offered by Williams. I thought the same about MTH’s RailKing version (and they even offered it in New York Central).

 Williams diesel power as well as electrics like the Rectifier, EP-5, and E-60 were pretty similar on the inside. One reader asked me why CTT reviewed Williams engines at all, “Since they are all basically the same inside.” 

 Well I guess that was the point. They had a proven combo of motors and reverse unit that for the most part was bullet-proof. While I had two defective locomotive some years back (both issues about assembly) the rest of my experience with Williams products has been very good.

 The Williams Rectifier is large, has a good level of detail on the plastic shell, and I particularly liked the pantographs and the large roofline box housing electrical components on the prototype.

 The trucks are the standard SD-45 models use on many Williams locomotives. Likewise, the handrails are all folded/stamped steel, which I still like, because you can carry an engine with one finger looped through the railing. On more than one occasion I’ve started to do that with models with more scale-like detailing, but I caught myself before ripping out the rails and dropping it.

 Oh, this was a case where I tested it and then ordered one. Over the years the performance of the locomotive was fine, and it easily pulled 20-25 car freight trains (with a few dummy diesels added), and it has been maintenance free, save for periodic lubrication. So the conventional “classic” Williams line should have fans for years to come.

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