Lionel Puts Vision Line Big Boy in the Spotlight

March 10th 2014

Trying to pick the "best model train of all time" would be a challenging, if not impossible, task. But Lionel's upcoming Vision Line Big Boy would certainly be in the discussion, because model trains just don't get much better than this. You'll want to see all the amazing details this special new locomotive has to offer. 

Lionel was kind enough to provide an in-depth spotlight on their new train, including a compelling story of its history and some incredible details on the product itself. Read all about this wonderful train below, then head over to the DASH Marketplace to place your PreOrder. 

New Product Spotlight – Vision Line Big Boy

People have been talking about Lionel’s upcoming Vision Line Big Boy since we first previewed it in York last October. The model is filled with exciting features and is sure to be the star attraction of any collection.

In 1941, the Union Pacific went to the American Locomotive Company with a request for a single locomotive capable of pulling 3,600 ton trains between Ogden and Wasatch. This meant it had to be powerful enough to drag the train up the 1.14% grades without helpers and fast enough to maintain schedules on the rest of the section. These would be the largest such locomotives ever built. Alco delivered 20 Big Boys in 1942 and 5 more in 1944.

The Big Boys spent their entire careers in this role and on this specific line – if for no other reason than no turntable or roundhouse track existed anywhere else on the system that could accommodate their 132’ 9 ¼” length! While their territory was limited, their fame was not. Railroad engineers and of course fans traveled to the hills of Wyoming from around the world to see these engineering marvels.

Unfortunately for the Big Boys, the Union Pacific would ultimately find its “jack-of-all-trades” locomotive solution along with the rest of the railroads – in the diesel electric. The last revenue run of a Big Boy came in 1959. While some remained on the roster for an emergency call that never came, by 1962 all but eight had been scrapped.

Of the eight survivors, seven are from the original production run. Those seven locomotives, in their as-delivered configuration, are the prototypes for Lionel’s newest model.

6-11434 #4006
6-11435 #4018
6-11436 #4005
6-11437 #4014
6-11438 #4017
6-11448 #4012
6-11449 #4004

Vision Line Features

Lionel’s Vision Line locomotives have each introduced at least one brand new feature to the line. In addition to the highest quality details and features you’ve come to expect, you’ll get something you’ve never seen before. The Big Boy has several of those features which will set this model apart from the rest.

Smoke Effects

The Vision Big Boy is equipped with a pair of dual smoke units. One of these are located under the Big Boy’s paired smoke stacks. The Big Boy was a “simple articulated” locomotive. Simple articulated locomotives have two sets of powered drive wheels, each of which is fed steam directly from the boiler. The other method is a “compound” or Mallet. On these locomotives, steam from the boiler travels to one set of pistons, then exhausted to the second set before finally being exhausted through the smokebox and stack.

On simple locomotives, each pair of pistons has its own exhaust. Since the two sets of pistons are not in sync, and with different lengths of the exhaust pipes, the “chuffs” from each are also independent. This can be more clearly seen at low speeds since as the locomotive accelerates the “chuffs” become more like a continuous roar.

For the first time, Lionel has recreated this effect with a dual-smoke unit in the stack. The dual chuffs of smoke are in sync with the sounds. You’ll hear eight chuffs per wheel revolution. Just like the prototype, you’ll see the paired exhaust as the engine starts and then benefit from twice the smoke output at mainline speeds.

A second dual smoke unit provides effects for whistle steam and the blow down feature. These are independently controlled from your remote.

Depleting Coal Load

For the first time, Lionel is introducing a depleting coal load which gradually lowers in tune with the labor of the locomotive. The harder you work your engine, the faster you’ll see the coal load drop in the tender. When you refill the tender, you’ll hear the sound of coal dropping into the bunker and see the realistic coal load rise back up.

You can also track your Big Boy’s coal and water consumption, along with automating many other features, with the new LCS sensor track. To help you get started with these features, a LCS SensorTrack and power supply is included with each Vision Big Boy.

Big Boy - Big Sounds

Those who have watched our product video on line for the new locomotive have already picked up on the amazing sound quality of the Vision Big Boy. The model features a pair of speakers in the tender and one in the boiler for true stereo sound.

This arrangement also enables some localized sounds to better capture the symphony of steam. When you refuel your locomotive you’ll hear the sounds of water and coal in the tender. And when you ring the bell you’ll hear it coming from the locomotive. Meanwhile the sounds of the locomotive at work will come balanced from all three speakers for the ultimate in sound quality.

Order Yours Today

Like all of our LEGACY locomotives in 2014, the Vision Big Boy is Made To Order. We will only make as many as you ask for so if you want one, please see your Lionel dealer as soon as possible. MSRP on the Vision Big Boy is $2699.99. The locomotives will be available late in 2014.

The only thing I can say is "wow". The Union Pacific Big Boy is one of the most impressive and iconic trains the world has ever known, and Lionel seems to have captured it perfectly with this model. Every single detail has been lovingly recreated in the sculpt and paint of its shell, but the inner workings have been packed with a few special treats as well. The features this train adds to the Vision Line are truly one-of-a-kind. The smoke will billow out in beautiful puffs, the sounds will serenade your ears, and cool touches like the depleting coal load will bring a glimpse of reality to your tracks like never before. 

You can preorder this jaw-dropping train on the DASH Marketplace right now. It's currently only $1929.99, which is the lowest price we've seen anywhere. That's $770 off the MSRP for this incredible piece of engineering, and it even ships for free! 

PreOrder the Lionel Vision Line Big Boy on the DASH Marketplace

Be sure to order soon, as these trains are made to order and the deadline for orders is coming soon. I can't imagine anyone would regret adding this absolutely stunning train to their collection. 

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