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Hello guys, I had purchased this train set out of St. Louis MO about 6-7 years ago.  It's a lionel #5004 transition train set and looking for info on its origin.  According to the man I bought the set from this is the only train his family had and he was unsure of where it was actually purchased.  It has a 259 from 1932 but the weird thing is that it was made from the factory to run in forwards only with no manual reverse lever.  I have several pictures showing the original motor and how it was wired from the factory and it has not been altered.  The front and rear pony wheels were off the loco and im looking for originals now.  The tender is a lionel four wheel tender with copper journals.  The freight cars are all ives and have ives numbers.  I have the main set box and all the boxes for the all the cars.  Funny thing is that the ives box car came in a lionel box #1719 and that's the number of the lionel transition box car but the ives car came in this box in this set.20211019_18582120211019_18555120211019_18443120211019_18444820211019_18450920211019_18561120211019_18563920211019_185842  Just curious if you guys have ever seen a 259 without the manual lever and forwards only?  I'm assuming this was just a one-off type set or a department store special of some kind.  Funny thing is in all the years I've owned this set I've never used it and have never pulled the cars.   That's now going to change, planning on servicing the motor and cleaning all the car wheels and letting it rip once I get the pony wheels installed. Any info on this particular set would be greatly appreciated.   Thanks guys!!


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According to Dave McEntarfer's book, this set was used by Lionel to sell off leftover Ives stock. There's no mention of the reversing lever, but he does mention that the tender had an Ives name plate, but some have been reported to have Ives plates on both loco and tender. Perhaps yours is a unique variation with all Lionel plates.  Either way, it's a good-looking set. Nice find.

Yeah I bought it locally, the entire set is in miraculous condition.  Bought it off the original owners brother and he never did mess with it.  Since I've owned it I've never once used it until a few days ago when I lubricated the motor and it runs fine.  If you notice in the earlier motor pictures posted the power pickup assembly has very little run time on the rollers.  I have a donor train coming in for the pony wheels and I'll officially give it a first run since it was packed away in 1957.  When I got this set everything was packed up in 1957 newspapers and I kept a few of the papers in the original box.  I would put the condition of this set up against any other originals a person could find with this combination.  I really do appreciate all the posts.

The mis spelled word on pickup plate would date it to circa 1934. I can't see the top of the boiler but think there's a slot for an e unit? The hand reverse wouldn't have that and the motor frame looks correct for the e unit. Curious what number plate is on the boiler front? Did it originally have the pilot trucks with no wheels? It's a nice set no matter what.

Didn't ever notice the misspelling on the pickup, but thats neat.  Yes the boiler has the slot on the top and one in the cab.  It's just numbered 259 on the front with no E.  When I got it the engine had everything for the wheels both pony truck mounts and all hardware but no wheels or axles.  When I first got the set I didn't feel the engine and tender went with the cars but looking at the condition they all look almost new and I feel now that they all came together.   Funny thing is still that the motor looks so clean and never messed with but it's just a weird combination of things on this loco.  I really appreciate all the info, it's been fun figuring things out.  Thanks

Was going to ask if the misspelled pickup only happened in 1934?  I've never ever thought about looking but I'm sure there are not many that got out before it was fixed.  I'll post a picture of the front of the boiler later with the 259 logo.  Seems to me that this was kind of a dummed down 259e that was made on the cheap.  That's why I was thinking it may have been for a dept store or like a promo where they could make top dollar on selling a cheaply made set.  I'm just going to end up calling this set the "black sheep" because of all the crazy things going on with it.  Thanks again and keep the posts coming 👍

This just happened to show up on Ebay in the last few minutes, strange how we are talking about this loco and another has surfaced.  Here is a link to another 259 with the same strange options.  The one on ebay has been repainted but it is a forwards only runner also with the slot in the top and the guage misspelling.  Its also a 259 and not a 259E.  Now I know exactly what front and rear pilot wheels I need because after giving it a close look they do look original to the train.  Hopefully this link will stay up im not sure how this site does with that sort of thing but here goes.  

Last edited by jeffnmanda3

Jeff, thanks for the photo of the boiler front. Makes sense. Both Greenberg books O gauge Vol. 2, 2001 and new 2021 cite 1934 for the misspelling but it's easy to imagine the plate winding up on different type locos and couple of years production hence the word 'circa'. It's an odditity but not rare. 2021Greenberg's also cites that set # as having the Lionel litho cars with a 259 not a 259E so why the Ives cars is anybody's guess. One interesting thing is the set box itself, the sealing tape looks like it came from a Dodge dealer? A clue that might help you?

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
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