221 2-6-4 Adriatic O27 New York Central

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221 2-6-4 Adriatic O27 New York Central 4.JPG

The 221 2-6-4 Adriatic O27 New York Central was modeled after the Hudson type locomotive designed by the famous Henry Dreyfuss. The bullet nose and distinctive protruding fin reflected the trend of railroad companies in the 1930s to upgrade and modernize their motive power into futuristic, sleek-looking engines. This Locomotive was used by the New York Central railroad for their 20th Century Limited during the 1930’s. By leaving off one of the leading truck wheels, Lionel made their version into an Adriatic type. This locomotive was produced on a painted die-cast body, and was available in 1946 and 1947. The silver (221) number is rubber-stamped on the sides of the cab, and the 221 has an ornamental safety valve and sand dome on top, along with a complete set of drive rod connecting the valve gear on the sides. A three position directional unit that is adjustable from the top of the boiler controls the direction of this locomotive. The light in the front has an oversized headlight lens. It came with a 221T or 221W sheet metal tender that has staple-end trucks with one electronic coupler. This locomotive was designed to be used on O27 Gauge track. When operated over O Gauge track it will tend to loose center rail electrical connection when navigating crossovers and the frogs of the No. O22 switches. Although somewhat under-sized in terms of scale, many collectors and operators covet the 221. The charm of this unique-looking locomotive is unmatched by any other Lionel postwar offering. Clean examples of this steamer -- especially ones with original and completely intact tender decals are somewhat rare.

The 221 Dreyfuss steam locomotive has the following standard features: a painted die-cast boiler, 2-6-4 wheel arrangement, detailed driving wheel hardware, sheet-metal trailing truck, three-position E-unit, headlight plus wire handrails. Drive wheels on most 221's are black, but aluminum wheels were included on very early 1946 versions. Additionally, the steam locomotive number is stamped below the cab window on each side. The 221 was available with either a 221T non-whistling tender or a 221W whistling tender. All tenders were painted to match the color of the steamer and had the New York Central lettering decaled onto each side. A very common problem with the tender is the decal. Due to frequent handling or simply age, the decal is often missing part or most of the lettering and striping. Most collectors prefer the gray Dreyfuss locomotive as it is the only non-black steam locomotive produced by Lionel during the postwar years. While most notable reference books indicate the black version has a lower value, many believe the black version is harder to locate as compared to the gray version.


Variation A: Gray body with cast aluminum drivers and a thick pilot. 1946 Production.

Variation B: Same as Variation A except with black drivers.

Variation C: Black body with nickel rimmed drivers and thin pilot.

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