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Lionel Trains a look at 1954: Lionel's finest year; the second of three parts

Part 2: Great sets from the O-27 line
Absolutely stunning is the best way to describe Lionel’s classic no. 1520W Texas Special passenger set from 1954.
[Missed Part 1? Click here to read the first installment]

Middle of the O-27 line

First in the catalog, with a designated listing of $39.95, came the no. 1503WS. Familiar? Yes, because Lionel had shown that outfit in 1953. Headed by a no. 2055 small Hudson paired with a no. 6026W whistling tender, the train featured a no. 6462 gondola (shown as the -25 green-painted version in 1954), followed again by nos. 6456 hopper (now maroon), 6465 double-dome tank car, and 6257 non-illuminated SP-type caboose.

Beneath the color rendering of the 1503WS was an attractive illustration of the no. 1515WS, a new five-car freight outfit priced at $49.95. That set featured a new small Hudson (no. 2065, all but identical to the no. 665 O gauge steam locomotive) with a no. 2046W streamlined whistling tender. The 6462 gondola, 6464-25 Great Northern boxcar, and 6415 Sunoco triple-dome tanker weren’t new, but the no. 6456-25 Lehigh Valley gray hopper with maroon markings was. Last came the 6357 illuminated caboose.

A better deal for the same price was the no. 1523 four-car work train known as “The Gandy Dancer.” Not since 1950 had Lionel used its NW2 diesel switcher as the motive power for an outfit; the 1523 depended on a new no. 6250 Seaboard model with Magne-Traction, headlights at each end, and a pair of remote-controlled couplers.

The 6250 pulled four models. The no. 6511 pipe car appeared in a set for the first time; the 6460-25 crane car with a red-painted cab was exclusive to this set; the 6456-25 gray hopper was new for 1954; and the 6419-25 work caboose had only one coupler.
One year after releasing the first four entries in the no. 6464 series of near-scale boxcars (the models to the rear on their boxes), Lionel expanded the group with seven newcomers in 1954 to catalog 11 that year.
Great sets at the O-27 head

Lionel assigned its five top-of-the-line O-27 outfits retail prices ascending from $59.95 to $69.50, the latter sum a hefty amount surpassed by only two of the firm’s O gauge sets. So O-27 enthusiasts were looking forward to trains loaded with play value.The big news for fans of passenger trains was the brand-new foursome of silver-painted O-27 streamlined models with elegant red lettering. Three of those cool newcomers – nos. 2432 Clifton Vista-Dome, 2434 Newark Pullman coach, and 2436 Summit observation – made up the rolling stock in the no. 1516WS, led by a new 2065 small Hudson and 2046W tender.

Also retailing for $59.95 was one of the two new outfits headed by the new no. 2245 F3 Texas Special diesel units. In addition to being the being the first F3 duo having a single motor, those red-and-white engines were the first offered in an A-B combination.

Outfit no. 1517W was a four-car freight train boasting three new cars. In addition to the green 6462-25 gondola, consumers admired the nos. 6464-225 Southern Pacific boxcar (never used in another cataloged set) and 6427 Lionel Lines porthole caboose. The final component was a no. 6561 die-cast metal flatcar with an orange or silver cable reel.

Interestingly, the advance catalog had shown this set as having a no. 6464-1 Western Pacific boxcar and not the SP model. Also, the porthole caboose had been labeled for the Pennsylvania RR, thereby making it the 6417 from the year before.

For $65, Lionel offered outfit no. 1519WS, a freight train with five cars and a 2065 small 4-6-4 steamer and 6026W whistling tender. Two of the models featured animation: the nos. 3461-25X green log dump car and 3482 operating milk car and platform. The rest was new to this year, notably the nos. 6462-75 red-painted New York Central gondola, 6356 NYC yellow stockcar, and 6427 Lionel Lines porthole caboose.

Next, listed at $69.95, came outfit no. 1521WS, which matched a 2065 with a 2046W whistling tender. Packed with that five-car work train were the nos. 3620 searchlight car (new for 1954), 6561 cable reel car, 6460 black crane car, and 6419-25 work caboose. Key to this set was the new no. 3562 black-painted operating barrel car.

Lionel concluded its O-27 roster with the no. 1520W passenger set, also at $69.50. This three-car train, which Lionel named “The Texas Special,” came with the 2245 F3 combination, along with three of the four new no. 2400-series silver streamlined cars with red lettering: the nos. 2432 Clifton Vista-Dome, 2435 Elizabeth Pullman coach, and 2436 Summit observation. The 2435 has the reputation of being rather difficult to locate.

In the next installment: A year of outstanding O gauge sets

This is a sample of the in-depth content found in our 200-page special issue publication, Lionel Trains of the 1950s.


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