Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club, Lionel Ambassador and home to 134 members is located in New Lenox, IL.
Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club has had a close working relationship for more
than 10 years and is a return ambassador for 2016-2017. Since acquiring their
new clubhouse in New Lenox, IL over 10 years ago, the club has developed a
strong recognition in the south suburban Chicago area through nine monthly open
houses, articles published in local print media and stories broadcasted on
Chicago television news programs. The centerpiece of the open houses and the attraction for the news media is the clubs main floor layout – the largest interactive club layout in the mid-west –
where Lionel Trains are run throughout the day, along with Lionel operating
accessories. Also operating during open houses is a smaller layout on the
mezzanine where children under the supervision of a club member can run the
The CLRC was
the first regional club that was all allowed to market Lionel manufactured club
cars and the club developed the Boy Scout’s Railroading Merit Badge for which
Lionel designed the activity badges that are distributed to scouts who complete
the program. Over the years more than 3,000 scouts have earned the badge. In
2000, the CLRC was chosen to provide their layout for the 100th year Lionel Convention and are a Lionel approved service station.
The CLRC is returning to the program for the second year with the honor of being the leader in the of the 2015-2016 Lionel Club Ambassadors in sharing the "Magic of the Trains". See 2015-2016 Activity
Open House - July 9, 2016
Last May 14, 2016, we hosted the
Railroading Merit Badge. Many of the Boy
Scouts and their leaders saw that we were getting ready to build a new
railroad. We had taken down our modular
layout that we were using for over 20 years.
Very bitter/sweet to see the beginning of our club’s start being taken
down for our dream club layout. With
this in mind we offered July 9, 2016 for Scouts and their leaders to see our
The guests were able to view our
progress of the main layout, run trains on our mezzanine Sodar layout, and
speak with our membership as they were continuing with the construction of the
Scouts running trains
on our Sodar Layout
Scout and Leader
viewing New Layout progress
Joe Oster and Phil
Partenach discuss progress
Scouts looking over
intricate track plan
The Chicago Public Library is always looking to partner up with local organizations
for various displays and other coordinated activities. Kevin
Barry listened to the staff at the Bessie Coleman Branch, located at 721 E.
63rd Street, Chicago, IL.
They needed a static display for the summer reading program entitled
“Explore on the Go” which lent itself very nicely to all forms of
transportation. Kevin was asked to add his creativity in developing the display,
housed in a nice glass case. Two levels
of trains with aircraft and other vehicles were cleverly placed to support the
theme. The third level from the top was
an F-3 Amtrak engine and train going through a mountain tunnel. On the bottom level contained a Cow and Calf
C & NW switcher and a variety of freight cars. The Children's Librarian supplemented the
display with books about trains.
told that the display tied in the reality of trains with the opportunity to
read the books on display and others in the Library.
Herbert W. Koch, pictures by Kevin Barry August 26, 2016
Open House – October 2016
On October 15, 2016, the Chicagoland Lionel
Railroad Club held its second Open House for the 2016 / 2017 season. Once again
the New Layout took “center stage” as our guests continue to use words like the
following to describe their initial reaction: “amazing, unbelievable,
fantastic, incredible, awesome, and museum caliber”. Many of our guests stated that they had been
following our progress during the summer as we posted new layout updates on our
website, but that they had to come see it in person.
They weren’t disappointed.
Here we see a Burlington Northern Santa Fe
double-heading with a load of coal cars going over what will be our logging
Here is a Canadian National, Southern Pacific, and
Electromotive diesels waiting for train assignments from the tower.
Guest Chris Martin poses with CLRC Member Ron
Foster while taking in the new layout.
Member Eddie Z is all smiles while manning the
Retail Shop. Looking good Eddie.
Martin with Ron Foster
Austin, Olivia and Jenny – Mom
Here we see Colin and Austin share a bag of free
popcorn while checking out some of the working accessories while Mom (Jenny)
and Olivia look on.
November 19, 2016 – Open House
December 3, 2016 – Open House with Santa
December 10, 2016 – Open House with Santa
What else have the Ambassador’s been up to? Check out their product reviews on new and old product below:
View The Southern LEGACY Alco PA 82238 & PB 82256 Diesel Video Review
(6-82238 Southern LEGACY Alco PA Diesel AA #6900 & #6901)
(6-82256 Southern LEGACY Alco Powered PB Diesel)
View The Great Northern S2, 82120 No 2 and 82121 No 5 Video Review
(6-82120 Great Northern LEGACY S2 Diesel Switcher #2)
(6-82121 Great Northern LEGACY S2 Diesel Switcher #5)
81891 BNSF Covered Gondola
I always like something that is
different. Seeing the covered gondola that
is not typical jumped out for me. It is
another car that can be part of the conversation when I have guests over to
enjoy sharing my layout with me. I
checked the internet and confirmed that this type of car exists.
Lionel’s Covered Gondola Car
drawing confirming this type of car
What kind of load would go into this
car? Typically gondola loads would not
be susceptible to the environment and would be left open. Other types of covered gondolas are made to
haul steel coils and are customized for that purpose. It needs to be something that needs to be
protected from the elements. As a summer
job while in college, I worked at USS Supply cutting and bending rebar (reinforcement
bar to strengthen concrete structures).
Some of it was painted and needed to be pristine to the customer. This is a case where the Covered Gondola Car
would be functional.
The car itself is super. I love the BNSF color and the lettering. The paint is crisp and the lettering is very
readable. Handrails, grab rails, and
other details are right on, many hand applied.
The inside has detail mounting hooks molded into the car. Did you notice that the ends can be folded
in? That is prototypical and neat to
have in this car.
Two covers taken
Ends folded in for extended load
The more I think
about it, my grandchildren will see M & M’s or chocolate kisses under the
Herbert W. Koch
Chicagoland Lionel Railroad Club
Knight Boxcar Review
In conjunction with the film, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lionel created two boxcars for
fans to show off their favorite superhero. One boxcar is The Dark Night and the second is the Man of Steel. Both boxcars are special releases in 2016 and were
first available in about May of this year. On a recent trip to the retail store
at Lionel headquarters in Concord North Carolina I purchased the The Dark Knight boxcar.
The boxcar is packaged in a highly decorated movie
themed box that is collectable as the boxcar itself. The first thing you will
notice on the box is that this boxcar is assembled in the United States and
consists of both U.S and imported parts. I am always excited when I can buy any
of the U.S. built items offered by Lionel.
The boxcar is 10 ½ inches long and will operate on a
minimum curve of O27. This will make the boxcar popular with everyone
regardless the size of your layout. The boxcar has a metal frame, die-cast
metal sprung trucks with operating couplers, and the doors open on both sides.
The boxcar blends nicely with the 4 superhero boxcars that I already have that were released in the 2015 catalog. I am sure
when the superhero boxcars that were announced in the 2016 catalog arrive it
will look good with them as well. If you are a superhero fan like me, this is
boxcar will be on your must-have list.
6-83776 The Dark Knight Boxcar
Man of Steel
with the film, Batman vs Superman: Dawn
of Justice, Lionel created two boxcars for fans to show off their favorite
superhero. One boxcar is The Dark Night
and the second is the Man of Steel. Both
boxcars are special releases in 2016 and were first available in about May of
this year. After a recent trip to the retail store at Lionel headquarters in
Concord North Carolina where I purchased the The Dark Knight boxcar, I decided I had to have the Man of Steel boxcar to complete the set.
I ordered it from Lionel’s online store and received it this week.
The boxcar is
packaged in a movie themed box that is collectable as the boxcar itself. The
first thing you will notice on the box is that this boxcar is assembled in the
United States and consists of both U.S and imported parts. I am always excited
when I can buy any of the U.S. built items offered by Lionel.
The boxcar is 10
½ inches long and will operate on a minimum curve of O27. This will make the
boxcar popular with everyone regardless the size of your layout. The boxcar has
a metal frame, die-cast metal sprung trucks with operating couplers, and the
doors open on both sides.
The Man of Steel boxcar looks great along
the side of The Dark Knight boxcar and blends nicely with the DC Comics superhero
boxcars that I purchased when they were released in the 2015 catalog. I am sure
when the DC Comics superhero boxcars that were announced in the 2016 catalog arrive;
they will look good with them as well. If you are a superhero fan like me, this
boxcar will be on your must-have list.
6-83780 Man of Steel Boxcar
View 2016 08 28 Tie Jector 81447 Tie Car 82097 Video Review
6-81447 Norfolk Southern Command Control Tie-Jector
6-82094 Norfolk Southern Tie Work Car
Erie Lackawanna Alco PA1 Diesel and Passenger Car Sets
Write-up submitted by: Joe Smolinski
Pictures by: Joe Smolinski
I am a huge Lackawanna fan. So when I
saw that Lionel came out with an Alco PA1 diesel set (6-18116) I had to get
them. This is an A and B unit set that was produced in 1993. This set includes
the typical features you’ll find on many Lionel diesel engines:
- die-cast metal stamped frame, operating
knuckle couplers, trucks, wheels and axles
- eight wheel drive and traction
tires on the powered unit
- powerful dual motors and diesel
- the length of both engines
combined is 34 ½ inches
Lackawanna Alco PA 858
Lackawanna Alco PA 859
The features that really
make this engine set so special is the attention to the details Lionel included.
I love the fan detail on the roof. You can actually see the fan blades through
the covered grill work.
The cabin detail is also very special. There is
an engineer figure at the controls who gained access into the cab through
opening cab doors. The paint scheme is
the vintage Erie.
Cabin Detail with Engineer Figure
Lackawanna gray with yellow and maroon striping. The crisp
lettering is done in yellow that includes the Lackawanna moniker “Radio
To make the set
complete in 1994 Lionel came out with a 6 car passenger set (6-19131 thru
6-19136) to compliement the Alco PA1’s. Since this would be my first Erie Lackawanna
passenger set I had to get these as well. Likewise, these Lionel passenger cars
include the typical features such as :
View The Santa Fe Atlantic 4-4-2 Video Review
car Lackawanna Passenger Set
- metal chassis wheels and axles
- die-cast metal trucks
- operating knuckle couplers
- each car is 16" long
Car with Lackawanna Drumhead
What makes these
passenger cars standout is the detailed features. The cars feature an alumimum
body. When you lift these cars up you can feel their weight and rock solid
construction. The cars that have passenger silhouettes are illuminated which
is really exciting when you run the train with the lights off in the room to
simulate night time. The mail and baggage cars have sliding doors that add to
the realism of this set.
With the combined length of the engines and passenger cars being over 11 feet in length, that’s a lot of Lackawanna to love.
(6-11117 AT&SF Scale 4-4-2 Atlantic #1484)
(6-25503 Santa Fe Heavyweight Passenger Car 4-Pack)
(6-25504 Santa Fe Heavyweight Passenger Car 2-Pack)
(6-25505 Santa Fe Heavyweight Stationsounds Diner)
Story by Ray Subka
Pictures by Herb Koch
Lionel Lionmaster 4-6-6-4 Challenger Steam Locomotive and Tender #3976 (6-38023) cataloged 2002/2003,
List price $799.95
Two Tone Gray and Black paint make this engine special
I purchased this Challenger in 2003 and enjoy it more every time I run it. I usually pull a Union Pacific water tender behind the coat tender and usually 6 or 7 UP Yellow passenger cars. This set looks great on the rails as the locomotive and coal tender are almost 28” and the passenger cars are each over 16” long each. Lionel has many fine examples of railroading history but the Challenger is one of my favorites. I enjoy having a big engine that can still maneuver my 48” diameter track. The deep tone two tone whistle really gets your attention all the time. Lionel’s 4-6-6-4 challenger series are very powerful locomotives and a great addition to anyone’s collection.
Up close one can see the fireman figure, ready to regulate the steam pressure by making sure the fuel is making its way into the boiler. One can also clearly see the Equipment Trust plate behind the crew on the tender, along with the controls and gauges in the cab.
The crew is nicely detailed
One can read the UP Equipment Trust plate
The painting is five stars with its beautiful two tone gray boiler with yellow accent stripe. This locomotive features Trainmaster Command Control, Railsounds and Lionel’s Odyssey System. Also features two powerful maintenance free motors, fan-driven smoke generator, die-cast electro coupler, (rear of the tender) wireless tether connection between Loco and tender, brilliant headlight, crew talk and tower com (in command) traction tires, directional lighting and flickering firebox. Also a minimum O31 diameter curves. But my layout is minimum 48” diameter.
Backup light detail continues to make this locomotive impressive
Flickering Fire Box
Detailed drive wheels
Lionel Sawmill with Sounds #82023
This one is a keeper. As a youngster, I always wanted the Lionel
accessories, including the sawmill. As
an adult, I got the postwar sawmill in pieces.
The dust exhaust, the corrugated roof, the crane and other key parts of
the sawmill were gathered separately and put together all from post war
originals. I was set until I saw the new
TMCC Sawmill with Sounds. Yes with
sounds! This is the one to get.
Full view of Sawmill (6-82023 Operating Sawmill with Sound)
To get started, one attaches the black
wire to the outside track and the red wire goes to the center track. Since the track is at command voltage, it
matches what is required by the sawmill.
RUN/PRG Switch on back
As a TMCC device, the Sawmill needs to
be programmed. Set the “Run/Program”
switch to “Program”. With your Cab 1 or
2, activate the “ACC” (accessory) key and enter your Sawmill code and press
“SET”. Put the “Run/Program” switch to
“Run” and you are ready for some fun.
Like the conventional
sawmill, the logs are loaded in front right and the secret cut pieces of wood
are loaded at the top corrugated roof slot.
This is where the similarities stop.
Activate “ACC”, your code, “Aux 1” and the number 9 and the Sawmill is
off to the races. Turn off with number
8. Warning lights turn on and blink on
both sides of the saw housing. The saw
rotates. Sounds of a sawmill start up
and the conveyor to load the log is in gear.
The log goes in and a serious sawing sound starts as the cut wood starts
to go out of the sawmill. Once the cut
wood is finished, the sawing sound stops.
But wait, the next log goes in and the sawing sound starts up again with
a new piece of wood coming out for shipping.
Again, this is a neat accessory that I am glad to have and know anyone who gets this one will enjoy its wood cutting illusions, and yes with sound.
Logs loading into
sawmill with blinking light
Cut board coming out
with blinking light
View Lionel A.T.S.F. FM H16-44 Diesel Switcher Video Review
Santa Fe LEGACY H16-44 Diesel Locomotive #2801)
**The information about the clubs is provided by them and may or may not be accurate depending on changes in membership, 501c status, etc.. Lionel is sharing their content and not validating it’s accuracy”.