Kent's Dad's Steamer!

Posted by Bob Keller
on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Illinois Central 4-4-2 Atlantic by Lionel looks good and offers great performance and detailing and does not steal the scene as a Northern or Mallet locomotive might.

Readers often ask where we get the locomotives for testing. 

Most are loaners from the various manufacturers, and there have been a few purchased for testing by the magazine. Another source are staff members. A considerable number of test subjects, I would guess 40 or more, have been bought by staff members for personal use. If you saw a New York Central or New Haven, there is a good chance it was mine. Most certainly, if you saw Canadian Pacific, it was Kent Johnsons power.

One item that broke Kent's Canadian theme was an Illinois Central 4-4-2 I recently tested. It was bought by Kent for his dad, Carl, who is a big Illinois Central and Burlington Route fan.

As the review in Classic Toy Trains suggests, I really enjoyed playing with it for the review.

The only 4-4-2 I own is a Lionel no. 8632 that came with a starter set. I’ve tested a few Atlantics over the years, and while appreciating the model, I can’t say I remember ever wrapping up testing and saying “Dang, that was fun!”

The model looked great, had nice performance numbers, but the sound package was worthy of special note. At the lowest speeds you could hear the sound of stationary metal that was only moving reluctantly. Squeaks, moans and groans galore. I could imagine the heavy load in the tender beginning to move only by the force of steam power!

 Here are some photos I took while running it through testing ritual.

I hope you enjoy the images. I trust Carl Johnson is enjoying his Christmas engine!

The model may have a small footprint, but it has flawless cast-in detail and smooth performance.

With many steamers with firebox glow, it can be tough to see the red gleam when it is rolling along. The shape of the cab and tender make it easier to spot and enjoy. I think I enjoyed it passing the camera more than approaching the camera.

The tender has rear markers and a backup light.

In the early days of O gauge steamers with sound packages the volume control was on the bottom. The Atlantic has easy access beneath the water hatch.

A model that looks quite at home with traditionally-sized rolling stock.

The scale coupler on the pilot looks far better than a large O gauge knuckle coupler.

Smoke output was great!

Coming or going, the IC 4-4-2 could become the pride of your fleet.

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