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I'm looking at acquiring a Lionel H16-144 in CNJ.  What is the general consensus of this model and is it accurate enough to consider purchasing for a conversion to two rail?  It would be a pretty straight forward conversion, but wondering what other models might exist that I might reasonably find in the next 10 years that would be better.

All opinions much appreciated.

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"The Carworks" imported a brass model of the H16-44 in couple of variations.    It has a Weaver style drive and brass trucks.    If you like single motor drives, which I do, it is a good candidate and was done only in 2 rail.    Versions included rounded and square cab windows, AAR style trucks and C-Liner style (FM I guess) trucks.    The PRR version I have has C-Liner trucks and square windows which is accurate.    I was able to use Kadee Low shank couplers to get the correct coupler height.    You can't use a Kadee box without modifying the pilot so I just let my couplers swing, not self centering.    These still show up at shows and such.    They all came unpainted.

So the tradeoff is painted and convert, or unpainted  but no conversion maybe.

You have to study the Lionel model fairly closely to determine if its right for the road name (or how close it is). They made both the early Loewy and late simple cab window styles, but the car bodies are basically the same. There were many variations of the walkways, the hand rails and the radiator fan section of the roof. I think Lionel's model is the early car body (it may be an ATSF model, and possibly a Long Island). There are 3D parts to make them fixed pilot but it takes a bit of work to modify them as the pilots on the legacy models are different from the pilots on the TMCC models that the 3D parts appear to be patterned for. Biggest beef is the handrails, which lionel used GP9 style stanchions. If you 2 rail it, you'll need new handrails anyways, as whatever lionel used for railing wire is brittle as all get out and just snaps if you try and bend it. 

I have one here that I've been working on 3RSing. The handrails are the biggest holdup.


I have seen the cast CLW H16-44's, my brother has few of them; they're nice if you have the chops to machine, mill out some detail etc.  which of course Bob you have. The Lionel versions are VERY nice looking though (especially that factory LI "Dashing Dan" scheme in the  grey and orange WOW!)   but I'd probably still go with the CLW too.

The only scale-ish 3R road switcher I really pine for, to acquire and convert to 2-rail is that MTH Baldwin AS616. Oh yeah...... 

Last edited by atlpete

I agree with some of the above comments. The Car Works stuff is wonderful with that Weaver drive but  it is pretty tough to find but if you have a full decade to search I am sure you will encounter one.  Seems like the last one I saw at a swap meet unpainted was about $450-500?  I am working on a Lionel B&O Gp-30 conversion from 3 to 2 rail.  Pretty simple conversion all things considered and I will have a great looking, great running model for less than $275. I picked up the Geep on Ebay and wheels from NWSL.  I had pieces in my "scrap box" for the pilots and steps and plenty of Scalecraft paint on hand to tie it all together.  I am sure the GP-30 was done in 2 rail but I could not beat the price plus I am probably one of the few guys that runs Legacy/TMCC/MTH on 2 rail.  Since the Geep was already Odyssey equipped, it was a no brainer.  

I had the AC&Y version of the Lionel FM you are looking at but it was way too unlike the prototype to convert so I sold it when I parted with all my 3 rail stuff a couple of years ago. It ran great and looked nice but the trucks, handrail configuration and window areas were NYC rather than ACY so I dumped it. 


Old age is striking - I thought I was having a difficult time following Marci Wheeler, trying to understand the Flynn maneuvers, but that one just completely went over my head.

But for Pete, you will be overjoyed to know that the Central of Georgia had H16-44s with the Kemtron style trucks, only roller bearing journal caps.  I may have some sand castings, and if I do you are welcome to them.  They came with the Ken Krayer castings, and I replaced them with Kemtron and Car Works trucks.

Later, I will look through the book more carefully, and give you a list of roads that used the more conventional truck.  off to the airport, where it is only 93 today.  But I have a big fan.

The AS616 has a 3 axle truck called a GSC (General Steel Castings) Commonwealth Rigid Frame truck.     The last versions used a GSC Ouside Equalized  truck and the frame was extended 6 inches.

There 3 versions of heavy 1600 HProad-switchers that Baldwin introduced in 1950.    The AS-616 was a 6 axle unit with all axle powered.    The AS-416 was a 6 axle unit with the middle axles on each truck unpowered.   And the AS-16 was a 4 axle version with all 4 axles powered.     These superseded the former DRS-6-6-1500, DRS-6-4-1500, and DRS-4-4-1500.     There were 1500 HP units.    According to the Dolzall book on Baldwin diesels the AS series looked about the same externally as the older DRS models.    

What this means is you may want to check out photos of your selected prototype to see what kind of trucks it might have.    To me it more fun to get it as accurate as possible besides  just the paint job.

I have attached photos of the 2 6 axle trucks.    I really like the commonwealth Rigid frame one because it is heavy and unique.

The 4 axle units rode on common AAR trucks like Alcos I think.

CommonwealthRigid FrameGSC_outside_Equalized

Outside Equalized Truck

Me too - no images.  I was only aware of the uneven-spaced rigid six wheel truck.

Re: my earlier post - the 15-44 and 16-44 shared the Loewy body, often with oval cab windows.  Later 16-44 units had a "baby" Train Master body, and as near as I can tell, never had AAR trucks.  But the earlier bodies had Timken-bearing AAR trucks on both horsepower variants.  I found 13 railroads that had them; four on the 16-44.

The Lionel may be the Train Master body.  I think I would use the Lionel side frames.  Lionel has gotten very accurate lately; I have Lionel trucks under an Overland PA, and they look as good as CLW or Overland.

By the way, Pete - the Lionel product appears to be the Loewy car body with oval cab windows - Ideal for a C of G 15-44.  I always thought it was the later car body, but Lionel advertisements say otherwise.

Oh, and thanks for the nomenclature on those trucks.  I really like the Commonwealth, but don't care for the big Baldwin, since a box car towers over it.  I guess it was designed for branch lines with light axle loadings and low clearances.  By itself, it is handsome; in front of a freight car it is diminutive.

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