Built By Lionel
By Mike Stella
Almost 50 years ago the wise men at Lionel continued their quest
to find less expensive ways to build their trains and the consumer
was soon treated to the "cheapened" versions of the
0-27 Alcos and the NW-2 Switchers. The very first switcher produced
with the new sheet metal frame, lacking the individual wire handrails,
and powered by a laminated motor was the Red #600 MKT. Offered
for about $13.95 or in a set for around $19.95 you can certainly
agree that Lionel achieved the objective of a less expensive beginning
Most collectors are aware that early versions, possibly the very
first run, were mounted on a gray frame with yellow painted handrails.
It is often concluded that these were shipped mostly to the West
as shipping took longer and the East had to wait for second runs.
More knowledgeable collectors are also aware that the yellow handrails
disappeared before the gray frames creating a third variation
to locate. Few collectors are aware that the very first #600's
were produced with the molded builder's plate painted silver.
So few of these were made that many collectors have never seen
or even heard of this variation and to date it has failed to be
listed in any collector's guide? This particular locomotive showed
up a few years ago in the train department of a friends hobby
shop carried in a box with
the three set freight cars, about 12 pieces of track, and a small
transformer. While not as glamorous as many Lionel collectibles
it is far rarer then most of them.
This rare #600 MKT will be available for YOU TO VIEW at the upcoming
2003 National TCA Convention in Ontario (California). It may be
your only chance.