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Here are my AlCo FAs.  The K-Line NYC Lightning Stripe FAs looked so much nicer and had slightly better detail than it's contemporary Lionel Black Cigar Band FA.  At $150 a pair I eventually wound up with two sets.  In later production K-Line even used add-on handrails.  The Wabash Blue Bird scheme looked nice on a single K-Line FA, had the add-on handrails and steps and again the price was right and it was added to the fleet.  After winning an eBay auction for a Wabash FA shell, one of the unpowered NYC FAs donated a chassis so I would have an AA set of Wabash FAs.  Along came a Weaver Snap-On set headed up by a scale AlCo FA.  Oh how I wish they were all scale now.  All six posed together and then a few comparison shots. I even purchased handrails and steps from K-Line in hopes of being able to apply them to my NYC versions.  I never had the guts to try.



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Coach Joe,

Thank you for the comparison photos of the traditional vs scale FAs.  I didn't know the difference was that great.  I think, outside of brass importers, the only scale FA1 was the Williams model.  All other scale FAs from Lionel, MTH, Weaver were FA2s.  Since my layout era is pre-1950 (before FA2s) I will be searching for the Williams PRR FA1 version.  Right now there does not seem to be any for sale.  Rats.

After years of waiting, I finally got an American Models S scale ALCO FA/FB pair. That's when I decided to make a brief video of ALCO history with S scale locomotives representing some of the most influential versions. The history of ALCO, particularly the section on the FA and PA design may be interesting even if the S scale stuff is not.

Terry O'Kelly

Brief ALCO HistoryTitle Page


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  • ALCO in S Scale: A Brief History of ALCO (section on the FA and PA design)

The O-27-sized FA-2—or are they FPA-2s?—of Lionel and K-Line and others are among my least favorite O gauge engines. OTH, I do like the scale models. This fall I picked up a Williams A-B-A GN FA-1 set, my first covered wagons, wired it in-series, and added an LED headlight, crew figures, and ERR RailSounds Commander (Alco PA Series). Given the modest size of my layout, I typically only use two of the three units at a time.



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@Matt_GNo27 posted:

The O-27-sized FA-2—or are they FPA-2s?—of Lionel and K-Line and others are among my least favorite O gauge engines.


That's plum un-American!!

To some of us, Lionel's little cast frame FA's are cute little models that reflect the "feel" of the Alco FA1/FA2/FP2 series.

Inaccurate? Absolutely.

Capture the feel? Well, to me, yes.

We must keep in mind that they were, after all, marketed as toys.

BUT, I still think they look GREAT on a layout with sincere scenery. To illustrate, I offer this photo shared here at OGR some years ago by "WBG Pete":


I think keeping rolling stock behind them that is proportionally appropriate, and set within such a setting as above, they look (to my eyes) VERY GOOD. Panache out the wazoo... with the bonus of historic significance (in the Lionel scheme of things) to boot.

I will readily admit, though, that Lionel's little cast frame (and for sure the stamped frame) FA's are an "acquired taste" for some (my case). However, some among us have loved them since childhood, others among us the Lionel FA's leave them cold, and still others can't stand them. IMHO, none of responses is the only "correct" perception. It's all about preferences. Some like 'em, some don't care for them.

Speaking of the little stamped frame FA's: Again, in my eyes sincere scenery enhances their appearance significantly. To that I offer this older pic by an OGR forumite by the name of "Christopher".


It was the above two pics (along with others) that made me look at Lionel's FA's (cast frame or stamped) through a bit different eyes.

Proportionally, my personal favorites are the cast frames... but some of the stamped frame schemes are really neat.

It's all good!

Oh, and Matt: Nice pics by the way!



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Love seeing all these.  

I had the Amtrak set from the mid to late 1970s - a gift that my mom picked out.  Still have it, and have always loved how it looked, but less crazy about how it ran - between the MPC wobble and the cars' lights flickering, it was disappointing.  Then I got the kids a Williams Alco set and it had the heavy die cast frame, the cars were much closer to the 2400 series post war cars in terms of detail, heft and quality, and that set was a favorite of theirs and remains a favorite of mine.  Then I also bought some scale Williams Alco FA-2s that GGG converted to DCS PS-2 and those are another fantastic set.  But I really love seeing all these Alcos, I think they are all classics and one of the nicest designs.  Love seeing the photos here.  Great thread!

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