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Hi all, 

I recently bought a Lionel 2026 from 1948 or 1949, and I would like to know if people prefer the early version which is a 2-6-2 or the later version which was a 2-6-4. In my personal opinion, the early version I prefer because it's fancier and is more unique, since the later is basically an everyday 2-6-4, and the earlier one has smoke unlike the later one. Which one do you like better?

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The middle version from 1949 is probably the best of them. 

The later version (1950 onward) with the 2-6-4 arrangement had a sheet metal trailing truck, and the earliest version (1948) had a smoke unit hot wire underneath that often came in contact with the ground rails and shorted the engine out.

The middle version (1949) had the wire problem fixed, while still having the die cast two wheel trailing truck.

Last edited by Mikado 4501

I'm biased.  My very first locomotive was brought by Santa Claus, at Christmas, 1951 (when I was three).  It was a four-car freight set, pulled by a Korean-War version 2026.

I still have that locomotive, all its cars, its original track and 1033 transformer.  The only thing I've ever had to fix on the 2026 was the smoke unit, which eventually became clogged full of incompletely-melted smoke pellets that my preschool self dropped relentlessly into its stack. Some years ago, I replaced the smoke unit's innards, and it's been smoking happily ever since.

My personal history aside, another factor to consider, for those who are choosing, is that the early version (at least all the ones I've seen) uses contact shoes instead of rollers.  Whether you consider that a drawback or not is up to you.


I like them both, but if I had to pick one, it would be the earlier version.  As has already been posted, the one minor drawback are the sliding shoe pickups.
The earlier 2026 has a rather unique smoke unit arrangement. The puffing is controlled by a cam that is cast into the back of one of the drive wheels. The smoke lever is mounted between the motor's side plates and has a finger that follows the cam.  I don't think any other Postwar locomotive smokes that way.

Why are sliding shoe pickups perceived to be a drawback? They work just fine for me. They might actually work better than rollers because they have a larger rail contact area when properly adjusted. I suppose rollers might last longer for high mileage operation, although they can get grooved like sliders.



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Last edited by Ace

I have the 1949 2-6-2 version, which I bought at an antique fair because it looked lonely and out of place, and because I had no PW steam at that time. It didn't have a tender with it. It is a great runner and smoker, and I also like it because it is as old as I am. It is a bit slippery, but runs well with a lighter load. I really enjoy it.

The 2-6-2 version - wouldn't mind having one although I question if I will buy more Postwar. My 681 turbine has been a real trouble maker - every time I try to run it, something shorts, breaks, whatever.

I could never get over that goofy looking trailing truck on the 2-6-4 version, especially with two different wheel sizes and styles.

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