I’m trying to help out a buddy who owns this engine,and I’m not an expert on a train like this since it’s the first one I’ve ever seen.

Don’t know where my friend found this but he’s asked my help in identifying it.

Best I could come up with us it’s a A.C. Gilbert Erector Set #8 J-3 Hudson 4-8-4 steam engine.

Best I could find online that it was made between 1931-1937.

Would this be correct ?

He’s interested in selling it,and knowing I collect trains has asked my opinion,but like mentioned I’ve never seen one of these before.

So can somebody help me further.

It is missing a few parts,but not really bad shape at all. Looks to be original paint,and does not have a motor in it but looks like it may have had one.

Collin "The Eastern Kentucky & Ohio R.R."


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There are 4 different sets listed on this website I found. They are: “#A”, “#8” (1931) “#8” (1933) and “#8 1/2”.

They are worth thousands if in good condition and in the original box. 


Modeling Enola PA in miniature



“It’s a good thing to let another generation know what a steam locomotive is.” — Southern Railway Vice President-Law W. Graham Claytor Jr.

Tinplate Art posted:

Did the original kits include a motor?

I've never bought the book for the pre-war sets so can't readily check inventory, but IIRC the no. 8 and no. 8 1/2 sets would have included the standard Gilbert 120V electric motor(which interestingly enough was designed to power table fans, but was repurposed for powering Erector models). This would have been for use with OTHER THINGS that the set could build, though, and not for the Hudson. That particular motor is far too large to physically fit inside the Hudson model.

Ben TCA 09-63474

I've only ever seen one of them in person. It was back in 1980 when I was working in a hobby store in Denver. It was in better condition than the one we are talking about here. The boss picked it up for a song, and quickly turned it. The number $1300, sticks with me. The buyer was the late Don Hermann, past president of TCA.

So for the purpose of this discussion, we have to look at a couple things, lesser condition and today's dollars. Clean it up a bit, and maybe find a couple parts, and it could fetch between $1000 and $1500 for the right person. Just my two cents, guessing at the current market.

The motor included in the 8 1/2 set was not the same each year. In 1931 it was the battery powered P58, in 1932 it was the house current powered P56G. The purpose of the motor when used with the engine was to run the wheels and valve gear in a static display setup, not to power the engine on track. The site girdersandgears.com has more information.


That is likely because most of the sets sold contained only the engine. Meccano owns all the rights to anything Erector so MTH would need to negotiate a licensing agreement with them. Meccano released a new Erector kit in the mid 2000's that makes a highly stylized version of the Hudson. Nothing like the Gilbert '30's version.


A claimed "complete" 8 1/2 Engine and tender kit set just went on Ebay auction for $900+100 shipping.

Built up Hudson in good condition are asking $1500+shipping

Most parts are available but costly.

Your friend's  Hudson would likely sell for $500 due to poor condition and missing parts

Mine came with a tender, but then it managed to go to France before a great Forum friend (Daniel) rescued it and eventually made a trade with me for some 2 rail scalecraft stuff and sent it back to the states.  Mine is missing a couple of parts but I think I can make some substitutes. Trains have been on hold all year so far, but maybe I can get back to it as it would look great on the Mantle!


Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it


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