Lionel's 700e NYC Hudson was the company's zenith prewar production piece...the less detailed 763 at half the price paid the bills on the production .
The Lionel 763 retailing for 37.50 (1938-41) was a bargain for many emerging O scale modelers ....Robert J Foster of East St Louis ,IL was perhaps Lionel's favorite customer buying 20+ 763's modifying them into Jubilee's up to articulated engines and writing articles for others to do the same.
Imagine if WW2 had not happened ..would a Northern been produced by Lionel ? Foster did all the r&d and had several running Northern's based on Lionel components in 1942.
Foster's articles appear in Model Railroader June 1941 & Model Builder Dec 1942.
To see a video of the Northern running pulling some of Foster's cars from his Atlantic & Pacific Railroad..please see link