Lionel 6-1663 Lake Shore Amtrak Set
I recently purchased this set from my local trainshop-Trains & Such
in Calgary,Alberta Canada. Quite pleased with this acquisition
I hurried home to “play” with my new set.
The usual pre-inspection garnered a few surprises, first if
the guy who had the set before me ever actually used it was probably
once or twice around a Christmas tree and that's all. Second
one axle was bent impeding rolling just enough to be a bother.
So time to replace wheels. Having accomplished this part of
the pre-inspection I then proceeded to inspect the 8664 Alco
Hmmmm…no wear, no tear, minor scratches.
Hey, lets open it up!!!
Clean, no dust?
What the heck, a little bit of research later revealed that
in 1977 when this unit was produced, no e-unit was installed
so, the usual now familiar “on/neutral/reverse” is not going
to happen with this set.
The rolling stock: Cars wonderfully lit with frosted windows!!
No people silhouettes such as my Silver spike Amtrak cars. [still
looking for the matching engines]
So what's the paint and markings like?
Still crisp and clear after 30 years in storage.
A little bit of oil and a quick electrical check…ok let's run
Wow! The engine has red running lights on each side and a lit
engineer's area. Nice forward driving light illumination. Cars:
nice soft glow with the frosted windows
Wonderful effect, running my set around the old layout.
Hmm, what's this?
A lockout switch on top of the Alco engine. Ok, so try it out.
Everything works just like it did 30 years ago, nice.
So what's it like to operate? Different, the Alco doesn't have
a lot of pulling capacity as the motor is mounted in the rear
of the engine. Traction tires [two] pull the set with authority
but adding more passenger cars caused wheel slip, adding a few
lead weights to the engine restored pulling power, so now I can
pull 7-8 Amtrak cars with ease.
This is definitely a runner!!! Strong pulling engine as it breaks
in and a big hit with my friends as it looks modern. When I tell
them the set was built in 1977, they look at it again with a
much deeper appreciation. Stops/starts are interesting because
without an e-unit it's more of a momentary pause unless you turn
off the power on your transformer. Funny? The passenger cars
only have one pick-up per car and twin bulbs but no blinking
on /and off over track. I think that Lionel could learn quite
a bit about making a modern version of this set just by taking
the old one apart.
Running this set around my layout has been a nice change from
my usual freight sets and while playing trains, I've noticed
a few more things about this set; no light bleed from around
the windows, no sparks when going through switches. The rear
passenger car is streamlined and has marker lights on the back
[however they are dim] and might be in need of a small led light?
To be added at some time in the future. The engine does warm
up a bit after a prolonged session, but I'm happy to report that
no warpage of the Alco body has occurred.
So, what are you waiting for? Go out and find yourself a bit
of Fundimensions history.
This one, they got right.