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I was looking online at a brown 318E to pull 3 baby state cars, but came across a brown 318 (no "E") with a super motor (no bild-a-loco).  The 318 had a letter "E" stamped with black paint on the brass cab doors.  Does anyone know if this was an actual variation?  I've never seen this variation and was wondering whether it has any significance.  Also, what is the correct engine, 318E or 318, to go with the baby state cars?

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In the pre-war era, Lionel would put the E-unit in a locomotive and add the letter "E" to the end of the engine number and to the end of an outfit number that had an engine with the E-unit included. Lionel called the reverse for the 318E "Distant Control" and they called the 318 "hand reverse". So if you want to be able to control the engine direction for forward, neutral, and reverse from the transformer, you should purchase the engine that has an "E" at the end of the engine number.

The 318 engine was introduced in the 1924 Lionel catalog. In the 1926 catalog, Lionel introduced the 318E for a price of $21.50 and sold it along with the 318 with a listed price of $16.50 The last year that the 318 was listed in the catalog was 1932 and the price was lower: $14.50 for the 318E and $10.75 for the 318. The 318E continued to be listed in Lionel catalogs through 1935.

Today, for collectors there is not much difference in value between the 318 and the 318E.

Thank you.  The engine I was looking at had the "E" on the side doors of the engine cab, but not on the number plaque.  I copied the photo below so you can see what I mean.  Was this an actual variation?  I looked at photos of the interior of it and it does have a manual switch connected to the forward-reverse lever so it's not a remote reversing engine. 

Product photo of Lionel 318E super motor for Standard track, parts only, not working, vintage

What Harry is saying is if it has an E unit, the hand lever will lock in the direction it is going and turn that off.  Flip the lever and you will have the three phase operation of the E unit- Forward - Neutral  - Reverse

What do have to sort out, see how it runs first, I’ll bet it’s a honey.  That is cool it has that E on the doors.  Good luck, nice looking engine to pull your brown baby states.

Last edited by William 1

Baby State passenger cars?, I never heard of them but I have 4 cars, Brown and Tan with State names which I always thought were created by a craftsman.  They are O gauge, nice condition, but came with a custom painted steam engine.  Tell me they came this way from the factory....shucks, probably not.

Thanks for looking - gotta love OGR Forum though, they keep things interesting!

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend,


KIMG0110 New York Observation #415KIMG0111 675 Locomotive FrontKIMG0116 Colorado Pullman #413KIMG0119 Observation DeckKIMG0117 Illinois Pullman #414

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