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Since I see a few threads pop up on MPC and Postwar Lionel favorites, I wanted to do this post to focus on an old favorite from the Richard Kughn/Lionel Trains Inc. era.

 

When people think of the LTI era, they tend to think of products like the fabulous scale Hudson reissue, the return of the B-6, and scale offerings like the T-1 and S-2 Turbine.

 

While all those products were wonderful, my favorite overall locomotive from that era is the 6-18018 Southern Mikado, from 1992. This product doesn't seem to get the recognition it deserves. I mean, I only found one review on it when it first came out, and definitely doesn't get recognized as a Lionel like the T-1 and Turbine. To me, it's definitely one of Lionel's most beautiful pieces made during the era. The green, gold and silver paint scheme is gorgeous, it has wonderful detailing, and, well let me explain via photos below:

 

2015-07-02 12.01.14

I'm a huge fan of the Mikados in general, and the #4501 is one of my dear favorites, which just recently went back in excursion service, albeit in her older black freight scheme. This was Lionel's second time modeling that engine (the first in 1983), and believe it or not is the most accurate model of #4501 they've done. Yes, the current Lionel Legacy model used the older K-Line tooling, but if you look carefully at it, it doesn't bear as much resemblance in its body shape compared to the 1992 version!

 

2015-07-02 12.01.24

The 6-18018 model was one of the last three new designs Mike Wolf produced for Lionel in their partnership with Samhongsa. The other model was the ALCO PA-1's and the Shay. Interestingly enough, this was Lionel's first big steam locomotive to have a maintenance free Pittman can motor! All the other previous LTI collector line steam engines had the older AC Pullmor motor. This allowed the engine to run for longer periods of time, pull heavier trains, and be able to run slower, smoother, and quieter. It indeed is one of my best performing conventional engines.

 

2015-07-02 12.01.42

Some excellent decorative details include a very thin ladder assembly on the back of the tender, and a well molded back up light housing with LED. Also note the coupler lift assembly on the back - something else that Lionel first put on this engine! Something else I should point out is that this was the only Mikado Lionel made with this tooling that had 4 wheel trucks. All later models using this tooling had 6 wheel trucks.

 

2015-07-02 12.01.52

Also note the real coal load in the tender. Now this wasn't the first Lionel engine to have it, the 18010 Turbine was, but it showed Lionel would resume adding this excellent detail it in its upper quality products for years to come.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.06

At the front is a nicely detailed coupler lift assembly, which is chrome plated. Please note the safety tread on the pilot as well - yet another first for a Lionel steam engine!

 

2015-07-02 12.02.17

At the boiler front, the #4501 makes a lasting impression, with its highly detailed headlight, brightly colored number board, and red classification lights. Technically, this was the first Lionel engine with illuminated classification lights, and it really makes for a wonderful sight when in operation.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.29

Something that was a trademark of Lionel collector steamers from that time, and something that has resumed today, is the opening boiler front. Not only is it realistic, but it makes it easy to replace the headlight bulb.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.48

Another trademark of LTI collector steamers was that the linkage and driver rims were steel and chrome plated. It doesn't look very realistic, but it does give the engines a very classy look in my opinion. For the #4501, Lionel put traction tires on the first and last two drivers, which explains its excellent pulling power.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.56

Something we may take for granted today is the wireless drawbar between the engine and tender on current Legacy locomotives. Considering this engine was made in Samhongsa, it explains why the wire assembly looks a lot like the ones on MTH steam engines. That wire that allows the engine to communicate with the tender is notably important on the #4501 since the electronic QSI reverse unit is housed in the tender, along with Lionel's first generation of RailSounds 1.0. Sure it sounds primitive by today's standards, but for me it's great nostalgia.

 

2015-07-02 12.03.09

Something that people tend to neglect is the brass whistle part on this engine. This can be easily broken if you're not careful!

 

2015-07-02 12.03.53

One more thing that Lionel was doing at the time was making the cabs of steam locomotives more detailed, rather than exposing the motor guts. Though this wasn't the first Lionel steamer with a detailed scale cab or firebox glow, it was the first to have engineer and fireman figures.

 

I hope you all enjoyed my look back on this somewhat forgotten Lionel product, which I feel deserves a little more attention like its fellow LTI big steam engines.

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Images (11)
  • 2015-07-02 12.01.14
  • 2015-07-02 12.01.24
  • 2015-07-02 12.01.42
  • 2015-07-02 12.01.52
  • 2015-07-02 12.02.06
  • 2015-07-02 12.02.17
  • 2015-07-02 12.02.29
  • 2015-07-02 12.02.48
  • 2015-07-02 12.02.56
  • 2015-07-02 12.03.09
  • 2015-07-02 12.03.53
Last edited by Mikado 4501
Original Post

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Originally Posted by Mikado 4501:

Since I see a few threads pop up on MPC and Postwar Lionel favorites, I wanted to do this post to focus on an old favorite from the Richard Kughn/Lionel Trains Inc. era.

 

When people think of the LTI era, they tend to think of products like the fabulous scale Hudson reissue, the return of the B-6, and scale offerings like the T-1 and S-2 Turbine.

 

While all those products were wonderful, my favorite overall locomotive from that era is the 6-18018 Southern Mikado, from 1992. This product doesn't seem to get the recognition it deserves. I mean, I only found one review on it when it first came out, and definitely doesn't get recognized as a Lionel like the T-1 and Turbine. To me, it's definitely one of Lionel's most beautiful pieces made during the era. The green, gold and silver paint scheme is gorgeous, it has wonderful detailing, and, well let me explain via photos below:

 

2015-07-02 12.01.14

I'm a huge fan of the Mikados in general, and the #4501 is one of my dear favorites, which just recently went back in excursion service, albeit in her older black freight scheme. This was Lionel's second time modeling that engine (the first in 1983), and believe it or not is the most accurate model of #4501 they've done. Yes, the current Lionel Legacy model used the older K-Line tooling, but if you look carefully at it, it doesn't bear as much resemblance in its body shape compared to the 1992 version!

 

2015-07-02 12.01.24

The 6-18018 model was one of the last three new designs Mike Wolf produced for Lionel in their partnership with Samhongsa. The other model was the ALCO PA-1's and the Shay. Interestingly enough, this was Lionel's first big steam locomotive to have a maintenance free Pittman can motor! All the other previous LTI collector line steam engines had the older AC Pullmor motor. This allowed the engine to run for longer periods of time, pull heavier trains, and be able to run slower, smoother, and quieter. It indeed is one of my best performing conventional engines.

 

2015-07-02 12.01.42

Some excellent decorative details include a very thin ladder assembly on the back of the tender, and a well molded back up light housing with LED. Also note the coupler lift assembly on the back - something else that Lionel first put on this engine! Something else I should point out is that this was the only Mikado Lionel made with this tooling that had 4 wheel trucks. All later models using this tooling had 6 wheel trucks.

 

2015-07-02 12.01.52

Also note the real coal load in the tender. Now this wasn't the first Lionel engine to have it, the 18010 Turbine was, but it showed Lionel would resume adding this excellent detail it in its upper quality products for years to come.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.06

At the front is a nicely detailed coupler lift assembly, which is chrome plated. Please note the safety tread on the pilot as well - yet another first for a Lionel steam engine!

 

2015-07-02 12.02.17

At the boiler front, the #4501 makes a lasting impression, with its highly detailed headlight, brightly colored number board, and red classification lights. Technically, this was the first Lionel engine with illuminated classification lights, and it really makes for a wonderful sight when in operation.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.29

Something that was a trademark of Lionel collector steamers from that time, and something that has resumed today, is the opening boiler front. Not only is it realistic, but it makes it easy to replace the headlight bulb.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.48

Another trademark of LTI collector steamers was that the linkage and driver rims were steel and chrome plated. It doesn't look very realistic, but it does give the engines a very classy look in my opinion. For the #4501, Lionel put traction tires on the first and last two drivers, which explains its excellent pulling power.

 

2015-07-02 12.02.56

Something we may take for granted today is the wireless drawbar between the engine and tender on current Legacy locomotives. Considering this engine was made in Samhongsa, it explains why the wire assembly looks a lot like the ones on MTH steam engines. That wire that allows the engine to communicate with the tender is notably important on the #4501 since the electronic QSI reverse unit is housed in the tender, along with Lionel's first generation of RailSounds 1.0. Sure it sounds primitive by today's standards, but for me it's great nostalgia.

 

2015-07-02 12.03.09

Something that people tend to neglect is the brass whistle part on this engine. This can be easily broken if you're not careful!

 

2015-07-02 12.03.53

One more thing that Lionel was doing at the time was making the cabs of steam locomotives more detailed, rather than exposing the motor guts. Though this wasn't the first Lionel steamer with a detailed scale cab or firebox glow, it was the first to have engineer and fireman figures.

 

I hope you all enjoyed my look back on this somewhat forgotten Lionel product, which I feel deserves a little more attention like its fellow LTI big steam engines.

Just super !! It was really a great loco and still is. 

Dave, LBR

Interestingly - and I have mentioned it here before - this Lionel loco (offered under several road names) is the only accurate and actual O-gauge (maybe O-scale, too) model of the Southern Rwy 4501 Mikado used in excursion service in the 60's - 80's. (It is in Chattanooga being re-restored for future use.) All the other versions offered were either

USRA Light Mikados simply painted green (the SOU Mike is a bit older than the USRA locos),

or just some fantasy loco.

 

 

The Southern Rwy never had green Mikados, BTW. Green was a passenger color.

 

The Lionel model is simple and crude in detail by today's standards, but it looks like the 4501 and not a USRA stand-in. I have one I painted in the pre-excursion Southern black.  

Last edited by D500

The 1992 Lionel 4501 Mikado is indeed is one of their a top models. I bought two but unfortunately let my dealer have one to help capture a new customer--it worked.

The photo on the bottom shelf below shows a K-Line Mike and a Lionel nose to nose. The Lionel was redecorated as a 4800 class{Ms-4 heavy} which it ain't .

Second photo another comparison. 

Last --the real deal from '92

IMG_1749

 

 

IMG_2169-002

 

 

IMG_2168

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Last edited by Dewey Trogdon
Originally Posted by D500:

Interestingly - and I have mentioned it here before - this Lionel loco (offered under several road names) is the only accurate and actual O-gauge (maybe O-scale, too) model of the Southern Rwy 4501 Mikado used in excursion service in the 60's - 80's.

 

 

The Southern Rwy never had green Mikados, BTW. Green was a passenger color.

 

The Lionel model is simple and crude in detail by today's standards, but it looks like the 4501 and not a USRA stand-in. I have one I painted in the pre-excursion Southern black.  

Guess standards 23 years ago were much simpler compared to today.

 

If Lionel does go all out with this engine in a future issue, they should use this tooling, but take the time to upgrade the detailing on it.

 

Thanks all you guys for commenting! Glad to see there's enthusiasts who well remember this modern era favorite.

Lionel Reading T-1 No. 2100 (6-18006; 1989) painted and detailed as No. 2124 by three Forum members. In 1989, Richard Kughn was one of four owners of the real No. 2100. The white flags are cut from plastic grocery bags.

WowakT-1 001

 

 

WowakT-1 003

 

 

WowakT-1

 

MTH Premier Southern Ps-4 No. 1401 in the Smithsonian. This is the only Premier model (20-3006-1; 1994) with that cab number.

MTHPs-4 001

 

 

MTHPs-4 002

 

 

MTHPs-4 003

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Images (6)
  • WowakT-1 001
  • WowakT-1 003
  • WowakT-1
  • MTHPs-4 001
  • MTHPs-4 002
  • MTHPs-4 003
Originally Posted by ReadingFan:

Lionel Reading T-1 No. 2100 (6-18006; 1989) painted and detailed as No. 2124 by three Forum members. In 1989, Richard Kughn was one of four owners of the real No. 2100. The white flags are cut from plastic grocery bags.

WowakT-1 001

 

 

WowakT-1 003

 

 

WowakT-1

 

MTH Premier Southern Ps-4 No. 1401 in the Smithsonian. This is the only Premier model (20-3006-1; 1994) with that cab number.

MTHPs-4 001

 

 

MTHPs-4 002

 

 

MTHPs-4 003

Not sure what these have to do with the topic specifically, but alright.

 

Originally Posted by Lyle:

Got to ask you fellows about Lionel t-1 Reading. As if I can emember Lionel had a great difficulty with that particular engine which I believe it had to do with bearings that caused it to rock (not The Rock) drasticullay. Was that true with all the t-1's anyone know? 

Lyle,

 

I believe this was on the 18001 Rock Island 4-8-4 Northern, not the Reading T-1. These engines had defective armatures when they were released, which Lionel attentively fixed, but it carried over into the following year's model, the 18003 Lackawanna. As far as my experience and knowledge goes, the T-1 didn't have any problems.

I believe this was on the 18001 Rock Island 4-8-4 Northern, not the Reading T-1. These engines had defective armatures when they were released, which Lionel attentively fixed, but it carried over into the following year's model, the 18003 Lackawanna. As far as my experience and knowledge goes, the T-1 didn't have any problems.

Actually the problem with the 6-18003 4-8-4's were the armature bearings, not the armature itself. OGR published an article about fixing them a while ago.

 

Some operators find fault with the T-1's lack of traction tires and open-fame motor.

Reading Fan I love displaying Southern engines to a fault and have also been guilty of what continues to occur here, but we shouldn't be walking all over Thomas' thread which is specific about Southern's 4501 Mikado.

The thread "Southern RR Fans- Photos" is a good place to freelance regarding SRR equipment, a thread which you, me and many others have used in the past.

 

Last edited by Dewey Trogdon

I really like my 1992 Lionel 6-18018 Southern Mikado but until recently it was relegated to storage because I now run command control.  Because I wanted to run it I had Alex M upgrade it with ERR and LED lighting.  Because my layout is not operational, I took it to a Maryland O Gaugers get together to check it out.  Here is a so-so video of it; it doesn't show off all the neat things Alex did to the engine.

 

 

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Videos (1)
Lionel SR Mikado ERR Upgrade

 

Oh yes, I almost forgot to add a video to top it off. These were taken back last August for our 4H club's annual fair. The big layout allowed the #4501 to really get some exercise and show off her power, pulling 17 cars. Though I've had her pulling 27 at one time...

 

Thanks all you guys for responding and giving your input on this engine. I'm glad my story on it rekindled interest in it.

Attachments

Videos (3)
2014-08-08 17.31.00
2014-08-08 17.33.02
2014-08-08 17.33.56
Last edited by Mikado 4501

Thomas

 

Good post and nice pictures as well.

 

Southern also one of my lines. I have this engine 6-18018 and had the good fortune to ride the 4501 this past Sunday from Bristol TN to Radford VA and back.

 

Thomas, I posted a short video  of the 4501 from our ride in the real train forum if you would like to view it.

 

It was a blast.

 

Larry

DSCN2320

DSCN4090

DSCN4089

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Images (3)
  • DSCN2320
  • DSCN4090
  • DSCN4089
Mikado 4501 posted:

Amazingly, Lionel was able to make this engine negotiate O-31 curves, but I think O-36 would be the right minimum. O-31 tended to put a strain on the tether wire when I had RealTrax.

Cool. I'm thinking about getting this one and adding ERR cruise but use the sound converter to keep the original sound set. Would if anyone has ever done this. Of course, since the RS board would stay in the tender, the cruise board would have to go in the engine. 

Mikado 4501 posted:

 

Oh yes, I almost forgot to add a video to top it off. These were taken back last August for our 4H club's annual fair. The big layout allowed the #4501 to really get some exercise and show off her power, pulling 17 cars. Though I've had her pulling 27 at one time...

 

Thanks all you guys for responding and giving your input on this engine. I'm glad my story on it rekindled interest in it.

Back when everyone took care of there module's track...

I'm in the midst of doing a full ERR Cruise / sound / Chuff Generator / Super Chuffer / MTH fan smoke upgrade on mine.  I've done the tether and tender electronics so far.

While tearing down the locomotive, I discovered that this locomotive had plumbing to get smoke down to the cylinders from the original mechanical puffer smoke unit.  It also had a nice hunk of lead in the locomotive as well (I guess for more weight).

Trainlover9943 posted:

Cool. I'm thinking about getting this one and adding ERR cruise but use the sound converter to keep the original sound set. Would if anyone has ever done this. Of course, since the RS board would stay in the tender, the cruise board would have to go in the engine. 

I tried this, and it was barely possible, considering the small diameter of the boiler and the compact tender. The old RailSounds boards take up a lot of space in that tender.

NBGT posted:

I'm in the midst of doing a full ERR Cruise / sound / Chuff Generator / Super Chuffer / MTH fan smoke upgrade on mine.  I've done the tether and tender electronics so far.

While tearing down the locomotive, I discovered that this locomotive had plumbing to get smoke down to the cylinders from the original mechanical puffer smoke unit.  It also had a nice hunk of lead in the locomotive as well (I guess for more weight).

I've already upgraded mine with the same upgrades, as well as more accurate colored classification lights and whitewall rims. It was a great project and I learned a lot doing it myself, with some help from Alex M.

Mikado 4501 posted:
Trainlover9943 posted:

Cool. I'm thinking about getting this one and adding ERR cruise but use the sound converter to keep the original sound set. Would if anyone has ever done this. Of course, since the RS board would stay in the tender, the cruise board would have to go in the engine. 

I tried this, and it was barely possible, considering the small diameter of the boiler and the compact tender. The old RailSounds boards take up a lot of space in that tender.

I kinda firgured that was the case. I'd really like to do it that way. I guess it'll be a "proceed at our own risk" type of a deal. The barely possible part concerns me a bit but of course it wasn't a flat, it's not possible thing. Not sure on this one. 

@Mikado 4501 posted:
The 6-18018 model was one of the last three new designs Mike Wolf produced for Lionel in their partnership with Samhongsa. The other model was the ALCO PA-1's and the Shay. Interestingly enough, this was Lionel's first big steam locomotive to have a maintenance free Pittman can motor! All the other previous LTI collector line steam engines had the older AC Pullmor motor. This allowed the engine to run for longer periods of time, pull heavier trains, and be able to run slower, smoother, and quieter. It indeed is one of my best performing conventional engines.

I was looking for information on this model and came across this post.  I do have to correct one error however, it does not have a Pittman can motor.  Or put another way, not all of them received a Pittman, that's for sure!  I can state this for certain because I just did a full upgrade on this model, and I discovered the stock Mabuchi motor.  Not only that, it was a defective motor, it was drawing well over an amp free running, that's a giant red flag!  I replaced it with another Mabuchi as the shaft sizes are different between the Mabuchi (3mm) and the Pittman (4mm), so putting in a Pittman would have entailed either a new flywheel or trying to drill this one out.  Without a mill, I think my chances of getting it perfectly balanced would have been small.

This was the motor I took out, I guess after 30 years and a little moisture, it was too much for it.  It actually looked worse, I was cleaning it off before I noticed it was bad, so then I abandoned that effort and just replaced it.

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  • mceclip0

Another interesting thing about that early Lionel 4501 is that it has double worm drive and both the front and rear sets of drivers are gear powered. That explains the tires on both those sets too. It is a really good puller. I alway thought it looked a little long in the boiler to be accurate but since no one has mentioned that I guess I am wrong. It is nearly as long as my scale NYC Hudson. I converted mine to ERR Cruise and I fit both that board and a Railsounds board in the tender. It was tight but they do fit.

@iguanaman3 posted:

Another interesting thing about that early Lionel 4501 is that it has double worm drive and both the front and rear sets of drivers are gear powered. That explains the tires on both those sets too.

You must be looking at a different locomotive than the one I just upgraded, there is only one set of wheels that is gear driven, the rest are driven by the rods, same as almost any other Lionel steamer.

Here's the parts breakdown for the 6-18018, note the red arrow points to the only gearbox.  Since I just had this one all apart, I can attest to the fact this view is accurate.

<Click on graphic to expand>

___18018

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Images (1)
  • ___18018

You must be looking at a different locomotive than the one I just upgraded, there is only one set of wheels that is gear driven, the rest are driven by the rods, same as almost any other Lionel steamer.

Here's the parts breakdown for the 6-18018, note the red arrow points to the only gearbox.  Since I just had this one all apart, I can attest to the fact this view is accurate.

<Click on graphic to expand>

___18018

Yes that is correct and my bad. I guess what I noticed about it that is different is that it is one of the blind middle drivers that is geared and not the rear set. Don't most steamers drive the rear most set?

@iguanaman3 posted:

Yes that is correct and my bad. I guess what I noticed about it that is different is that it is one of the blind middle drivers that is geared and not the rear set. Don't most steamers drive the rear most set?

I've seen it both ways.  It really doesn't matter as all the wheels are driven anyway, one by the gear, the rest by the drive rods.  Actually, a lot of steam that doesn't drive the rearmost wheelset, that's typically too close to the motor for the driveshaft and gearbox.

You must be looking at a different locomotive than the one I just upgraded, there is only one set of wheels that is gear driven, the rest are driven by the rods, same as almost any other Lionel steamer.

Here's the parts breakdown for the 6-18018, note the red arrow points to the only gearbox.  Since I just had this one all apart, I can attest to the fact this view is accurate.

Yes, Iguanaman3 is confusing the #8309 Southern 4501 Mikado from the 1983 Famous American Railroads set #4 which was based on the Lionel 736 Berkshire, with the topic of this thread. The larger, much closer to scale, #18018 Southern 4501 from 1992.              j

Last edited by JohnActon
@JohnActon posted:

Yes, Iguanaman3 is confusing the #8309 Southern 4501 Mikado from the 1983 Famous American Railroads set #4 which was based on the Lionel 736 Berkshire, with the topic of this thread. The larger, much closer to scale, #18018 Southern 4501 from 1992.              j

I have the #18018 loco and I was wondering if it is too long to be scale. Is the real 4501 as nearly as long as a NYC Hudson? That seems pretty big to me and I know that Lionel had a tendency to make their "scale" locos too big for a while.

@iguanaman3 posted:

I have the #18018 loco and I was wondering if it is too long to be scale. Is the real 4501 as nearly as long as a NYC Hudson? That seems pretty big to me and I know that Lionel had a tendency to make their "scale" locos too big for a while.

I also have the18018 but have never measured it. However it's overall dimensions are very close to scale. where Lionels first model of 4501  #8309 is simply toy scale. I have both two and three rail trains though I have far more three rail equipment than two rail. I have some problem calling anything with crab claw couplers,  three rail pickups and oversize wheel flanges "SCALE". But like many I was too deep into three rail to make the switch to two rail. So sometime in the eighties I decided to concentrate on high end three rail which is close to scale.  If you get yourself a copy of Model Railroader,  Steam Locomotive Cylopedia you will be able to get a rough idea of how long prototypes are and whether your locos are close to scale.  You will find that USRA light Mikados are around 49' long from front coupler pulling face to the rear buffer plate. Strange as it may seem the USRA heavy Mikados are around 12 ~ 18" shorter.  The NYC J3a Hudson is very close to 54' from front coupler pulling face to rear buffer.  Call it 5 feet longer than an average Mikado.          j

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