New York Central Jet-Powered Budd RDC #M-497
Dubbed the “Black Beetle”, the M-497 jet-powered rail car was a unique experiment in American railroad history. In the mid 1960s, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce began to seriously study high speed rail as a viable method of commuter transportation in the Northeast. New York Central Railroad at the time was also interested in replacing its traditional long-distance passenger service with modern 200-mph high speed routes.
Ultimately, NYC’s research laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio worked on the idea and purchased surplus B-36 bomber jet engines which were mounted onto the roof of a standard RDC passenger car. The front of the car was modified, too, with a dramatic streamlined nose painted black.
In July of 1966, M-497 tests were conducted on New York Central’s longest stretch of straight track. The results were amazing with the “Black Beetle” hitting a new American rail speed record of 183 miles per hour. Experiments continued over the week and allegedly the jet rail car reached even faster speeds. After the experiments, the M-497 was dismantled and the RDC commuter car returned to regular service. The jet engines, too, were reused, finding new life in New York Central’s jet snowblower cars.
Lionel now offers the NYC M-497 Jet Powered Rail Car, complete with streamlined cowl on the front end and the eye-catching jet engine pod on the roof, the new jet-powered rail car is a strikingly unique car to add to your layout. This rail car comes equipped with a Pullmor motor, headlight, and interior lighting. You’ll also hear the roar of jet engine sounds and “red hot” illumination from the back of the jets.
- SKU: 6-38401
- Dimensions: Approximate Length: 18”
- Gauge: Traditional O Gauge
- price: 299.99
- year: 2010
- rail line: New York Central
- Minimum Radius: O-36
- Catalog Year: 2010
- Catalog Title: Lionel Signature Edition Volume One 2010
- Road Number: M-497
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