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In 1946 Lionel produced an array of outfits similar to those in their prewar catalogs. Among these offerings were 23 sets. This broad spectrum of sets allowed Lionel to offer outfits at several prices, with the least expensive outfit retailing for only $24.95, while the deluxe outfit was $85.00.
1946 was the debut year of many new designs, unlike the previous year which only rehashed previously produced products. New motive power included the O-Gauge 726 Berkshire, produced by installing a 2-8-4 mechanism in a boiler based on the prewar 226E, and the all-new 6-8-6 Pennsylvania turbine. The latter was offered in O-Gauge outfits as catalog number 671, while those included in O27 outfits were numbered 2020. To the lower end of the line was a streamlined 2-6-4 with the catalog number of 221.
New freight cars were introduced as well. The 2411 “big inch” flatcar shared its die-cast frame with the 2419 and 2420 work cabooses. Also using die-cast frames were the new dump cars: 3451 for logs and 3459 for coal. The new 2460 crane also had a die-cast frame, and rode on a pair of six-wheel trucks. These trucks shared many components with similar six-wheel trucks used on Bakelite-bodied 2625 passenger cars and the die-cast-bodied 2426W tender used by the 726.
The engineering used to produced the 1945, 2452 gondola, was expanded. The 2454 boxcar, 2465 Sunoco tank car and 3454 operating merchandise cars included plastic bodies mounted on steel frames. The 2452 was continued, and joined by a second gondola, the 2452X, which lacked the brake wheels and barrels that adorned the 2452.
The low-end O27 sets contained many cars that were reworked from prewar designs, but as more of the year passed, increasing numbers of new products were produced, which were included in more expensive outfits. Following up on the success of the 1945 knuckle couplers was a spectacular new feature included in the better sets, smoke. Even more spectacular, but much less widespread, was Electronic Control-the latter available only in set 4109WS. As was the case in 1945, the 1946 outfit boxes were simple corrugated cartons with pasted-on labels to identify the set they contained.
The following are some of the most sought after Lionel O27-Gauge Outfits from 1946:
1400W–Lionel O27 Passenger Set– Retailed for $35.95
Included: 221 2-6-4 steam locomotive with operating headlight; 221W sheet-metal tender; two 2430 blue Pullman cars; 2431 blue observation; eight 1013 curved and three 1018 straight track; 1019 O27 remote control track section; UTC Lockon, 926-5 instruction booklet; 1041 60-watt transformer.
This set was a slightly more expensive version of the 1400 outfit. For the an extra $5.95 over the 1400, a 221W whistling tender replaced the 221T, and the transformer was upgraded to a 1401 60-watt unit. In excellent condition, this set is worth approx. $650. In like new condition this set is worth approx. $1400.
1407B–Lionel O27 Switcher Bell Outfit– Retailed for $37.50
Included: 1665 0-4-0 steam switcher with operating headlight; 2403B slope-back tender with ringing bell; 2560 crane; 2452X gondola; 2419 work caboose; eight 1013 curved and five 1018 straight track; 1019 O27 remote control track section; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet; 1037 40-watt transformer.
This train was powered by a 1665 0-4-0 switcher, which was a revamped prewar 1662 switcher. Among the changes made to the locomotive were the installation of the new postwar trucks on the tender, and mounting Lionel’s new knuckle couplers on the rear of the tender and pilot of the locomotive. Mounting an injection-molded plastic cab and two injection-molded plastic toolboxes onto the die-cast body casting created for the 2411 flatcar crated the 2419 work caboose. A die-cast smoke-jack was installed on the caboose cab. The sheet metal 2560 crane car was carried over form the prewar line in its original colors of yellow cab with red roof. The 1946 production of these cranes included two-piece booms that were riveted together, and had the Lionel name molded in. In excellent condition this outfit is worth approx. $900. In like new condition this outfit is worth approx. $1500.
1421WS–Lionel O27 Freight Train–Retailed for $85.00
Included: 2020 6-8-6 steam turbine locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2020W early coal whistle tender; 3451 operating log car; 2465 Sunoco double-dome tank car; 3454 merchandise car; 2472 non-illuminated Pennsylvania N5 caboose; 164 operating log loader; ten 1013 curved and five 1018 straight track; 1019 O27 remote control track section; pair of 1121 remote-control turnouts; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet; 1041 60-watt transformer.
While the 1419W provided the owner with a coal empire, the 1421W, also priced at $85, created a lumber empire. Trailing the 2020 steam turbine in the set was a die-cast 3451 log dump car to be used in conjunction with the 164 log loader. The 1964 log car carried five unstained logs and was rubber stamped in silver. The pick up shoes were wired with blue wire, and a pair of 1121 remote-control turnouts was included in order to incorporate the 164 in the track layout. A silver 3454 operating merchandise car added even more action to the train, which was surprisingly finished with a plain red, non-illuminated 2472 caboose. Like the 1419WS, many examples of this set have been found with a 75-watt 1042 transformer rather than the listed 60-watt 1041. This train in excellent condition is worth approx. $1500 and in like new condition is worth approx. $1500.
The following are some of the most sought after Lionel O-Gauge outfits from 1946:
2110WS–Lionel Three-Car Passenger– Retailed for $75.00
Included: 671 6-8-6 steam turbine locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2466W early coal whistle tender; three 2625 heavyweight Pullmans; eight OC curved and five OS straight track; RCS uncoupling/operating section; 167 whistle controller; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet.
To create a premium O-gauge passenger set, Lionel revived it prewar Bakelite “Irvington” passenger car. The postwar incarnation of this car included newly designed six-wheel trucks with knuckle couplers–derivatives of these trucks were used on the 2460 crane and 2426W tender as well. The car bodies were painted maroon or reddish-brown in contrast to the prewar color of medium brown. To tow this passenger train, Lionel used its replica of the Pennsylvania 20-wheel steam turbine, the 671. This set in excellent condition is worth approx. $1750 and this set in like new condition is worth approx. $2975.
2113WS–Lionel O-Gauge Three-Car Freight Outfit–Retailed for $67.50
Included: 726 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2426W die-cast whistle tender; 2855 black Sunoco single dome tank car; 3854 operating merchandise car; 2457 illuminated caboose; eight OC operating merchandise car; 2457 illuminated caboose; eight OC curved and sever OS straight track; RCS uncoupling/operating section; 167 whistle controller; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet.
Premiering in outfit 2113WS was the new 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive. Though a 2-8-4 would be a staple of Lionel’s O-gauge sets into the 1960s, the 1946 model was unique. The smoke unit was based on a light bulb, the motor and reversing E-unit was mounted horizontally, and the handrails mounted with turned stanchions. The earliest versions of the 726 were equipped with what collectors refer to as the “large stack” motor. Later, the number of field laminations was reduced, resulting is what is known as a “short stack” motor.
The corrugated component box was unique to the 1946 locomotive. Sealed with prewar-style orange and blue sealing tape, the carton was marked with a manufacturer’s seal that stated, “GAIR BOGOTA CORR. & FIBRE BOX CORP.” The ends of the box were stamped with “No. 726” in small lettering. The cars in tow were just as unique. Though cataloged as the common silver 2755, the tank car included was actually the scarce black 1855. The prewar semi-scale boxcar tooling was revived and modified with the addition of a roof hatch and internal mechanism to create an operating merchandise car, the 3854. This car is one of the most difficult to find items from the postwar era. In excellent condition this outfit is worth approx. $2000. In like new condition this set is worth approx. $3200.
2114WS–Lionel O-Gauge Three-Car Passenger Outfit–Retailed for $77.50
Included: 726 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2426W whistle tender; three 2625 heavyweight Pullmans; eight OC curved and five OS straight track; RCS uncoupling/operating section; 167 controller; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet.
This was the most expensive passenger outfit offered in 1946. The three Bakelite 2625 Irvington passenger cars presented the 726 with a formidable load, especially those locomotives equipped with the later “short stack” motor. The die-cast tenders were equipped with die-cast whistle housings and, though initially stamped in white, ultimately were lettered in silver. In excellent condition the outfit is worth approx. $2500 and in like new condition is worth $4000.