Lionel Spotlights Legacy FA-2 and FB-2 Diesels

May 19th 2014

It's been another great season of Lionel pre-orders this Spring, and Lionel is still shining the spotlight on some of its latest and greatest products hitting later this year, including the stunning new Legacy FA-2 and FB-2 diesels. 

The following product spotlight features some of the most beautiful diesel locomotives ever produced, and they're all faithfully and powerfully captured by Lionel in this new lineup. Read the full details and see the latest images below. 

New Product Spotlight – LEGACY FA-2 and FB-2 Diesels

While EMD’s F units may be early diesel icons, Alco’s FA could certainly hold its own in any beauty contest.

Alco built the first FA in 1946. Wartime production restrictions had limited the company to switchers and given their competition a big lead in road diesel engineering and sales. Alco rushed a new diesel engine into production in 1944. The hasty design got them back in the market sooner but would ultimately be the downfall of the design.

The FA produced 1500 horsepower and was designed with multiple-unit consists in mind for more power. The FB was a cables booster which offered the same power but without the cost of a control cab. FA-FA, FA-FB and multiple combinations were common. Each railroad had its own preferred method of arranging and numbering the units. It was also common to see locomotives swapped between sets or reconfigured after delivery.

Alco introduced the improved FA-2 in 1950. Externally it was very similar to the previous model with the biggest difference being the radiator louvers moved slightly closer to the front of the locomotive. This reflected the space allocated inside for an optional steam generator. All of the FA’s shared a front end style similar to that of the larger PA – Alco’s passenger engine.

Despite its good looks on the outside, the 244 engine within met with little enthusiasm. Hampered by its maintenance-prone engine and a growing preference for road-switcher style locomotives over cab units (thanks in great part to Alco’s own RS-1,) Alco ended FA production in 1956. Production in Canada continued until 1959 resulting in a total of 1,401 locomotives across all of the FA and FB models. By comparison, EMD built 1,483 F7B units alone.

Bad memories from the 244 engine would haunt Alco for years to come despite improvements in the design. Most of the FA’s met their fate as trade in locomotives for newer power. A handful survive in museums today, mostly later model units from Canada.

LEGACY FA-2 and FB-2

Lionel is proud to bring back the FA-2 with LEGACY control. Offered as FA-FA sets with one powered and one non-powered unit, add-on FB locomotives (powered and non powered) are available for each road. The non-powered units will all feature fan-driven smoke units so your consist will all appear hard at work. (But you can always turn the smoke off in one or two for that all-to-often prototypical look of a troublesome unit shutting down on the road!)

Powered FA locomotives feature:

  • LEGACY control system – able to operate with LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control
  • LEGACYRailsounds featuring
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom
    • Six official railroad speeds
    • Eight diesel RPM levels
    • Quilling horn
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell
    • Sequence control
    • Speed and fuel status dialog
  • IR Sensor for operation withSensorTrack
  • Dual maintenance-free motors
  • Die-cast metal trucks and fuel tank
  • Metal frame
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Directional headlight
  • Directional marker lights
  • Cab interior light
  • Illuminated numberboards
  • ElectroCoupler on front
  • Separately applied metal detail parts
  • Detailed cab interior with crew figures

Non Powered FA locomotives feature:

  • Die-cast metal trucks and fuel tank
  • Metal frame
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Directional headlight
  • Directional marker lights
  • Cab interior light
  • Illuminated numberboards
  • ElectroCoupler on front
  • Separately applied metal detail parts

Powered FB locomotives feature:

  • LEGACY control system – able to operate with LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control
  • Die-cast metal trucks and fuel tank
  • Metal frame
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • ElectroCoupler on rear
  • Separately applied metal detail parts

Non Powered FB locomotives feature:

  • Die-cast metal trucks and fuel tank
  • Metal frame
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • ElectroCoupler on rear
  • Separately applied metal detail parts

All locomotives will be available in the following road names: Ann Arbor, Baltimore and Ohio, Erie, Missouri-Kansas-Texas, New York Central, and Pennsylvania. Note that, as pictured in the catalog, the Pennsylvania FA-2 locomotives will come equipped with appropriate Trainphone and 3-chime air horn details.

Minimum curve is O-36. MSRP on the FA-2 sets is $749.99. Powered FB-2s are $449.99 and non-powered are $349.99.

 

Diesels just don't get any better looking than this. The sharp, smooth lines of the locomotives hearken back to a stylish era while the color schemes are bold and nostalgic. The blue, black, and gold of the Baltimore and Ohio is particularly striking to me, and it's going to be hard to pass on adding this train to my collection. Then again, I think any of these new locomotives would find a nice home on my shelves. I certainly wouldn't refuse them! 

You can keep an eye out for these and other new Lionel locomotives on the DASH Marketplace. You'll see them alongside some older favorites as well!

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