Thoughts & Observations on Lionel's 700E

Was watching a pair of Hudsons (both used) for the past few days on the auction site - one the desirable Vision Line 700E and the other, the formerly much anticipated and desired first re-issue of the scale 700E from back in 1990.  When it was announced I had my retail hobby shop and was just adding trains to the store and learning about them anew as an adult. Well, kinda...

I wasn't familiar with the famous pre war 700E and there was quite a buzz about it when I got started. I ordered 3 on the advice of a local (New Orleans) distributor at almost retail (I didn't know any better) - was told "they would sell out". Then, just to be safe, I ordered an additional 6 or 7 from two other more reputable national distributors that I had been dealing with for 2 years with the RC planes & cars.

To my surprise and relief, I sold all of them in the first 3 or 4 months and kept one for myself. I eventually sold it too when MTH came out with their first scale #5344 (see photo below) with the amazing MTH smoke and better sounds. The bell especially was so clear!

Back to the auctions that ended yesterday - The VL model sold for $1326.01 w/31 bids.  The 1990 model went for a mere $370 w/21 bids. Almost $1000 difference in the electronics, sounds, features (has a swinging bell!) and better motor. Ahhh.. progress.

Both fine locomotives.

DSC08481

Pssst...   Neither of these are Lionel's models but was the only photo I had handy of two Hudsons! :-)

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Times sure have changed in the almost 30 years, Sam.

I still have my 18005 1-700E on my shelf, and although I would never part with it - because too much nostalgia - I have given it a lot of modern enhancements. It's kind of hard to believe now that less than 10 years ago we were still paying $700 or so for that locomotive. Yet, there are still a lot of people who do want them.

The Vision 700E, on the other hand, has been enjoying a slight escalation in value over its original price in the 6 years since its release. You'd be lucky now to find someone who has a Mint version at $1600 or less. I guess I can't blame everyone - it is a remarkable locomotive. Maybe not as a full scale model, but definitely an old favorite with some more than amazing features.

Though I won't deny a Legacy J3A is more than needed right now...

Thomas

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters

TCA Member11-66911

LCCA 30247

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The Vision Line Hudson is the top of the mountain.  Lionel has made some beautiful Hudson locomotives  over the years with AC motors.  You could not give me one of those power hungry AC motored  engines after buying the Vision Line Hudson.  Over the years, I have had most of the Hudsons mentioned including the Anniversary model.

hudson

 

 

 

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Man - had I seen the 700E on eBay there would have been some more competition...

==========

"I guess I can't blame everyone - it is a remarkable locomotive. Maybe not as a full scale model, but definitely an old favorite with some more than amazing features."

The 700E is, indeed, a 1:48 scale model - 1930's or 2000's version. 

==========

"My "thought" is, neither of those hold a candle to Lionels 50th anniversary J3a."

The Lionel J3a is a very captivating model - it has "captivated" me 3 times, so far (I shop for deals). It has "the look" - that compact, muscular NYC look. The J3 has even more of it than the J1/J2.

Its main flaws:

Incorrect headlight; it has the earlier "Sunbeam" straight type (the J3's never had these) rather than the more contoured "Pyle" type. I filed mine to a better contour.

Class ("marker") lights on the smokebox; J3's never had these, but Lionel just had to put them there on the first release (5444); the second release (5433) was correct. I removed mine on 5444; easy fix/fill/touch-up, actually.

Olympic Broad Jump tender gap.

(Oh - the MTH J1 is excellent tooling - I have an old PS1 5344 due for a "someday" upgrade - but MTH blew it on the smokebox door contour. That is not a NYC Hudson door. Bugs me. Changes the "face". I will replace mine, probably with a Lionel L3 Mohawk door or front. MTH still uses that door, unfortunately.)  

 

All of a sudden I feel pretty lucky...I'm the one who won the 1990 version.  I expected to be outbid, and I was kinda surprised that the bidding didn't go higher.  I run modern Legacy and PS3 power, so I didn't buy this model for its sounds or its running qualities.  The fact that it was made in this country is what did it for me, since I'll never be able to pony up for a 1930s original.

Joel

 

Johnstown, PA

 

So one lucky buyer got a 1992 hudson for $370. And a vision line one went for a little over 1,300. Does one sale (each) now establish fair market value? I don't think so.

The 1992 hudson is about 25 years old. In 25 years, the vision line hudson will be old technology too.

But there might not be many people left who care. 

Enjoy your trains. Try not to diminish other peoples enjoyment by tearing down what they like and can afford.

C.W. Burfle

A little off topic if you guys don't mind. I have the Williams Masterpiece Hudson with TMCC and an early version of Railsounds installed. Runs beautifully and looks great. Would never part with it. Also have the K-Line Hudson which is a nice looker too. No cruise installed so it's a bit tricky to run. 

IMHO. The Vision Line Hudson is lacking in scale size, the whistle sounds poor and for an up scale locomotive its sounds are not that good compared to many Vision Line predecessors .

However, it is very highly sought after so the prices are always high . The grey one is humorous looking.  But that is my opinion.

As Rick O said, bang for the buck the 5433 is a better locomotive to own. You can even swap out the drivers to achieve different looks. The whistle sounds better than the Vision Line Hudson.

The K line scale Hudson also runs a close race to the Vision Line engine in its details and can be purchase for 400.00 or less. The down fall of course is the short life of its electronics and the sounds are used repeatedly in other steam engines.

Another colleague pointed out that why Lionel spent tooling dollars to retool the VL Hudson and not make it scale size was beyond him... just did not make sense. I had to do a double take and look again and yes it looks smaller than scale... probably due to re-cutting / using the existing tools from 1992?

TCA Number 16-71884

Marty Fitzhenry posted:

The Vision Line Hudson is the top of the mountain.  Lionel has made some beautiful Hudson locomotives  over the years with AC motors.  You could not give me one of those power hungry AC motored  engines after buying the Vision Line Hudson.  Over the years, I have had most of the Hudsons mentioned including the Anniversary model.

hudson

 

Can't argue with that . I've seen this piece and its definitely top shelf, highly detailed they run great, have all the bells and whistles and for the remote operator you can't ask for more.  The best Hudson Lionel ever made but only for the select few. I don't know the exact numbers but I would guess that less that 100 were produced.. 

Builder of the Hill Lines ( New Delta Lines). Recreating history for the model RR community.

J Daddy posted:

IMHO. The Vision Line Hudson is lacking in scale size, the whistle sounds poor and for an up scale locomotive its sounds are not that good compared to many Vision Line predecessors .

 

This is the first time I have heard its not scale size. I have Hudsons from just about every builder and while they may vary by an 1/8th inch or so in a few dimensions they are all essentially the same size. Usually they vary in height but due to how they sit on the frame. If I get a chance this week I can make the measurements and compare to the numbers given in Staufer's books. 

I think all the 700Es were a great marketing success. They surely made much more than a 100 of Vision version. While the original list price of the Vision Hudson seemed high I think the 1990 version originally listed for the same dollar amount and they still sold a boatload judging by the availability of them now, Rarely are there none on the auction sites.

Pete

Here is my story: I was never that hot to get a scale Hudson, but I always liked the scale B6 switcher. Once I picked up an NOS 18000 scale switcher, I decided I wanted a 18005 Hudson to go with it.

When they were originally sold, dealers were offering them with or without the display case. I've never been positive whether they left the factory both ways, or were being broken up by dealers.

Regardless, I purchased an NOS one down at York without the case.

If the prices are getting as low as some folks are stating here, I may buy a second just to get one with a case.
I look at train meets and on EBay from time to time. So far I have not seen them priced low enough.

I don't run the one I have, nor would I run a second one. My train layout does not have wide enough curves.

C.W. Burfle

I don't have any version of the 700E, I have the 90's 763E with the Vanderbilt tender. I would prefer to see as RICKO has said as many times as the word Hudson has graced any topic to see a real deal scale model from Lionel. I think that most likely with the new Broadway Limited set coming out in the Volume 2 catalog, that it may be a coming possibility most likely coning around in 2019. 

I believe that I myself have suggested it to Lionel in at least 1 email(think last year) saying that it would be interesting to see not just the NYC Hudson, but any other railroad's for that matter. Granted I have no clue if any are the same type(probably not), but it would most certainly be an excellent idea to at least have a few different variations of other railroads then just one or more of the NYC J's. Something should be coming down the tracks in the near feature, just have to hope that Lionel knows what engine it is, and not to run us over in the process.

Here’s my story of the Vision Line 700E:

When it was first catalogued, I thought it was silly. It made no sense to me why Lionel would reuse 70+ year old tooling in a modern Vision Line release. I associated VL with being top of the line highest detailing possible, which the 700E was not. When they started arriving and peoplesang their praises I didn’t get it. That was until earlier this year when I saw it IN PERSON for the first time at a train show. I fell in love with it which is funny considering I was always so hard on it. Long story short, the guy had a good price on it and I bought it. I don’t regret a thing as it is a wonderful engine to run.

Very few if any of the Vision Line 700E parts are interchangeable with the previous 700Es. The frame is completely different and dimensions are metric. The new frame required a new body with different mounting points. I can only assume the lack of detail was deliberate to make it look more like the previous versions.

No matter, I am keeping mine. Its a unique piece.

 

Pete 

The 18005 700E from the 90's is the only one I have ever had.  I got it and the 4 scale cars mint for $375.  I declined to take the 700e display case.  I don't remember ever taking the cars out of the box.  I did look at the engine once, but I can't run it until i clear off the outside loop of track.

I'm not a fan of the electronic engines due to the failure rate of the electronics.  However, I do enjoy watching other peoples fancy trains and large engines run at the club and at train shows.

J Daddy posted:

IMHO. The Vision Line Hudson is lacking in scale size, the whistle sounds poor and for an up scale locomotive its sounds are not that good compared to many Vision Line predecessors .

However, it is very highly sought after so the prices are always high . The grey one is humorous looking.  But that is my opinion.

As Rick O said, bang for the buck the 5433 is a better locomotive to own. You can even swap out the drivers to achieve different looks. The whistle sounds better than the Vision Line Hudson.

The K line scale Hudson also runs a close race to the Vision Line engine in its details and can be purchase for 400.00 or less. The down fall of course is the short life of its electronics and the sounds are used repeatedly in other steam engines.

Another colleague pointed out that why Lionel spent tooling dollars to retool the VL Hudson and not make it scale size was beyond him... just did not make sense. I had to do a double take and look again and yes it looks smaller than scale... probably due to re-cutting / using the existing tools from 1992?

Ok Here are some pics. I am not even going to measure them. Vision Hudson on the bottom, 3rd Rail J3a middle, Williams Masterpiece J3 on the top. If the Vision Hudson is under size then they all are. Last pic is the Vision Hudson next to K-Line J1e.

Hudsons_topHudsons_FrontHud_Vi_K

Pete

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I have the 1990 version of the 700e and I have had it since 1990. It runs and looks great, better detailed then some others but it also has its issues. 

I was also wondering if the engine could be updated to ERR and better sound while keeping the pullmore motor? 

Dave

Funny how many like to bash the Vision Line Hudson.    They do not have one so why the big deal if someone else wants to buy what they consider the best.  Yes, Lionel has made some great Hudsons.  I am not a fan of jewel markers  and AC motors.  I am happy for the guys who enjoy those locomotives.  Everyone should enjoy what they want to run.  I was a fan of the K-Line Hudson and had two of them.  I sold them when the Vision Hudson came out.  I am a toy train guy and love the grey paint job.  I have several Hudsons by Lionel and MTH.   We all have our favorite locomotive and that Vision Line Hudson is my number one.  It is a performer and has the RCMC board system.  

 

 

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Marty Fitzhenry posted:

Funny how many like to bash the Vision Line Hudson.    They do not have one so why the big deal if someone else wants to buy what they consider the best.  Yes, Lionel has made some great Hudsons.  I am not a fan of jewel markers  and AC motors.  I am happy for the guys who enjoy those locomotives.  Everyone should enjoy what they want to run.  I was a fan of the K-Line Hudson and had two of them.  I sold them when the Vision Hudson came out.  I am a toy train guy and love the grey paint job.  I have several Hudsons by Lionel and MTH.   We all have our favorite locomotive and that Vision Line Hudson is my number one.  It is a performer and has the RCMC board system.  

Marty, I agree completely.  I also think the gray one is great.

I demonstrated one at the last Lionel Ohio open house for a friend in 2 rail scale.  He sold off all his 2 rail and is now a Legacy/VL operator.

Regards,

Lou N

Lou N posted

Marty, I agree completely.  I also think the gray one is great.

I demonstrated one at the last Lionel Ohio open house for a friend in 2 rail scale.  He sold off all his 2 rail and is now a Legacy/VL operator.

Regards,

Lou N

Lou, is this the same engine that was offered as the grand door prize? If so I know where it now resides.

Pete

Norton posted:
Lou N posted

Marty, I agree completely.  I also think the gray one is great.

I demonstrated one at the last Lionel Ohio open house for a friend in 2 rail scale.  He sold off all his 2 rail and is now a Legacy/VL operator.

Regards,

Lou N

Lou, is this the same engine that was offered as the grand door prize? If so I know where it now resides.

Pete

No Pete, I was not the winner.

Having done TAS with Mike, I'd sleep over at his house then head out about 6am for Starbucks and get the show rolling.  Always wonderful to hang with Mike and Marty.

Lou N

Disregarding the Vision features, I still think the Vision Line Hudson has the best sounding whistle out of all the Hudson models out there, even more than the past Lionel models. It truly sounds like the 5/6 chime used on the real locomotives.

Thomas

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters

TCA Member11-66911

LCCA 30247

ERR Upgrades and Custom Artwork

Marty Fitzhenry posted:

The Vision Line Hudson is the top of the mountain.  Lionel has made some beautiful Hudson locomotives  over the years with AC motors.  You could not give me one of those power hungry AC motored  engines after buying the Vision Line Hudson.  Over the years, I have had most of the Hudsons mentioned including the Anniversary model.

hudson

 

Marty, next time I'm in your neighborhood, I'd love to see your Vision Hudson run the rails. A Hudson--any version--is and always will be my favorite steamer. 

 

John

TCA 90-30847

 

 

david1 posted:

I have the 1990 version of the 700e and I have had it since 1990. It runs and looks great, better detailed then some others but it also has its issues. 

I was also wondering if the engine could be updated to ERR and better sound while keeping the pullmore motor? 

Dave

David the ERR  AC commander will work with pullmor motors, and the Railsounds Commander will update your sounds.           http://www.electricrr.com/index.htm

CW cases come up all the time, though I am told some folks keep the plaque so make sure its included. As for low prices I bought my 1990 Hudson with case for $375 virtually mint. The case box never opened.

Thanks.
I see cases with some regularity, but folks are usually looking for at least $100 plus shipping. With the prices where they are now, I think I'd rather buy another engine with the case.

C.W. Burfle
Marty Fitzhenry posted:

Funny how many like to bash the Vision Line Hudson.    They do not have one so why the big deal if someone else wants to buy what they consider the best.  Yes, Lionel has made some great Hudsons.  I am not a fan of jewel markers  and AC motors.  I am happy for the guys who enjoy those locomotives.  Everyone should enjoy what they want to run.  I was a fan of the K-Line Hudson and had two of them.  I sold them when the Vision Hudson came out.  I am a toy train guy and love the grey paint job.  I have several Hudsons by Lionel and MTH.   We all have our favorite locomotive and that Vision Line Hudson is my number one.  It is a performer and has the RCMC board system.  

Hmm. Not a bash. I own two VL Hudsons, and enjoy them. Funny how people get protective towards a manufacture / or justify their purchase. 

My point is there are other manufactures releases that are very nice and  offer a just as good appearance for the money ... Sound and electronics can be updated for a really nice locomotive for half the price.

In my opinion,  Lionel's  pre war 700e is still the best looking,  and the K line the best for its affordability with the ability to upgrade. But to each his own. 

Note that the 50th anniversary Hudson Lionel produced  does NOT have an AC pullmore motor and runs really nice. Sounds are dated but with Gun Runners supper chuffer/ generator/ and some spoke drivers it sure can hold its own.

Pete -

Thank you for your constructive comparison. I have noticed too the ride height difference.  But the K line boiler appears to be slightly larger in diameter than the VL. I have not put calipers on it to compare exact dimensions, but maybe I should to clarify, just have to not scratch the paint!

Cheers guys... and run those Hudsons !

 

TCA Number 16-71884

J, when the Vision Hudson first came out, some were saying the K-Line Hudson was undersize. I did measure it and its within 6 scale inches on all dimensions. Most less than that. 

I like all of my Hudsons but have to say when it comes to value, MTH tops the list. Big motor, great smoker without having to do any upgrades, and pretty fair detail though still short of 3rd Rails.

My wish is that Lionel and MTH offer a new NYC prototype, not just a rehash of previously offered engines. Given the upcoming Lionel Niagara I don't see that happening any time soon from Lionel at least and MTH hasn't shown any propensity for new prototypes in some time. Hudson, Niagara, Mohawk, repeat. 

Pete

I have not seen the VL Hudson in the raw(saw 3-4 in boxes at York), only seen catalog and videos. I do agree that it is a great model of the original, and a legacy to what Lionel is and where they are going. I really wish I had not let myself fall off the railroad radar as long as I did, otherwise I would be able to say with the rest of those who own one, that I enjoy running it. Just watching the videos on it, makes me love it even though I don't have it.

We all have our own opinions, and we'll all agree and disagree all over the place like the Chicago yard. Pop your engine on the rails and get rolling.

Norton posted:

J, when the Vision Hudson first came out, some were saying the K-Line Hudson was undersize. I did measure it and its within 6 scale inches on all dimensions. Most less than that. 

I like all of my Hudsons but have to say when it comes to value, MTH tops the list. Big motor, great smoker without having to do any upgrades, and pretty fair detail though still short of 3rd Rails.

My wish is that Lionel and MTH offer a new NYC prototype, not just a rehash of previously offered engines. Given the upcoming Lionel Niagara I don't see that happening any time soon from Lionel at least and MTH hasn't shown any propensity for new prototypes in some time. Hudson, Niagara, Mohawk, repeat. 

Pete

Pete,

One of my good friends just purchased the MTH PS3 version and I cannot wait to see it run on the layout.... your right on the new product release... how about a NYC K5 pacific?

 

j1e pt3j1e pt2j1e

 

 

TCA Number 16-71884

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J Daddy posted:
Norton posted:

J, when the Vision Hudson first came out, some were saying the K-Line Hudson was undersize. I did measure it and its within 6 scale inches on all dimensions. Most less than that. 

I like all of my Hudsons but have to say when it comes to value, MTH tops the list. Big motor, great smoker without having to do any upgrades, and pretty fair detail though still short of 3rd Rails.

My wish is that Lionel and MTH offer a new NYC prototype, not just a rehash of previously offered engines. Given the upcoming Lionel Niagara I don't see that happening any time soon from Lionel at least and MTH hasn't shown any propensity for new prototypes in some time. Hudson, Niagara, Mohawk, repeat. 

Pete

Pete,

One of my good friends just purchased the MTH PS3 version and I cannot wait to see it run on the layout.... your right on the new product release... how about a NYC K5 pacific?

 

j1e pt3j1e pt2j1e

 

 

I think in one of the other topics this year a few people were stressing that there does need to be something other than the normal standards of rinse and repeat. The K5 Pacific was brought up as a perfect "break from the norm" ideas and it should definitely be drafted up. Arguably there is definitely a ton load more which naturally could(or should) be dreamed up and unveiled for all to see since there has not been such a thing done.

I do believe someone had indeed stated that one of the only offerings of a K5 had been in the mid to late 90's by Williams(or 3rd Rail if I am recalling correctly). It is definitely something for the manufactures to put on the table as a fleet of K4's or J-1's would look all that much better if they had the next class or next phase to go along side it. Sort of like the progression from a 4-4-0 to a 4-6-0 or a 4-6-2, looks great next to each other running around.

I still remember running my wheels off of my Dad's American Flyer 293 under the Christmas Tree... with the chuffing smoke and large white wall tires, it was ahead of its time.

Although its far from scale and not really a NYC K5?  It sure brings back memories.

293

 

 

TCA Number 16-71884

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I have the 1990 700E. I picked it up on EBay a few years ago. It replaced a Williams scale Hudson which I bought new and was a terrible runner.

Normally Williams engines are great but not the one I had. I sold it and got the Lionel 700E "Made in the USA" version.

It runs great and I have gradually collected the matching semi-scale freight cars to go with it.

The Vision Hudson would be nice to have but we also own a Dreyfuss Hudson so two is enough! Got to be a bit selective as we don't have unlimited space

Nick

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