I found this on the O gauge side and thought it might help out a bit in deciphering the new Lionel numbering system for our S scale trains.

The new numbers are typically seven digit numbers. Most now begin with "19". That number is to represent the year of production as in 2019. The number does not reflect the catalog year...but rather when the item will be produced. (That sounds optimistic).

The second two numbers are the marketing category.

 So for our trains they are using 17-21. 

The last 3 digits are are sequential numbers which represent the specific items offered in the referenced marketing category.

So using this American Flyer Legacy U33C  from the 2018 Vol 2 catalog shows a stock # 1921011. So that number means 19 (2019 production)...21 (American Flyer Locomotives)...011 (ATSF #8500 U33C)

Notice that the (not shown) engine #8514 shows 1921012. That difference should distinguish that engine from the #8500.

Most folks won't care about the stock numbers new or old but being able to identify a specific item sometimes is useful.


Original Post

I placed an order for a 1921012. Pondering more about what the 19 really means I think the following. These engines are build to order. Perhaps Lionel will keep the order books open until late 2018 and then authorize production from the supplier in early 2019, hence the 19 for the production year. It likely does not make any statement about when the order will be completed, inspected and shipped. I hope it will be prior to the end of 2019, just like I hope the Legacy Berkshires will be prior to the end of 2018.


I think the order window is somewhere around 30-45 days after the catalog is released.  Once orders are closed, then production dates can be established and prioritized.

The production year code can mean anywhere between January 1 and December 31 (except for the 15 days of Chinese New Year.)


AmFlyer posted:

I did not realize the order window is that short. It would be easy to miss absent the helpful people who post here.

I don't have the exact window opening, just going by what my LHS owner has told me, which was "a couple of weeks" before he had to get his orders in.

The big discount dealers will probably order a few extras for stock.


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