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Re: PC: E33 from Bachmann

Right out of the Greenberg Guide to Lionel HO (note by "cab" they mean the
body shell):

    "The 1958 consumer catalogue states that the Virginian rectifier is
based on a model of GE's type El-C 3300 electric locomotives.  This is one
piece that was produced under both corporate names, Lionel and Athearn.  The
Athearn 1958-1959 catalogue flyer clearly shows the Virginian rectifiier and
states: "New, the Virginian Rectifier, a kit with power, is $7.95."  It has
number "0590" on the cab.  Close scrutiny of the picture in the Athearn
catalogue reveals a faint "Blt. by Lionel" on the cab.  If Athearn made the
piece, then why did they use Lionel's photo?  Our research has shown that
Athearn did not make the cab for the Virginian rectifier - Lionel did.  The
Lionel part number "0590-5" is on the inside of the cabs of both the Athearn
and the Lionel/Athearn pieces.  In 1958 Athearn made the motor mechanism and
frame.  The version sold under the Athearn label came with silver trucks and
frame, no herald decal, no lights, and no reflective material inside the
body.  Athearn's model featured handrails, whereas Lionel had none.  The
Athearn version, which carried "0590" at the end of the long hood, was not
heavily advertised; it dissapeared from the market in late 1958 or early
    The Lionel/Athearn version (the model sold under the Lionel label)
differs somewhat from the Athearn version.  It has chemically blackened
trucks and frames in some cases, though it may be found with the silver
trucks and frames.  (Trucks and frames are interchangable between these
models.)  The road name on Lionel's model appears lower on the side and in
lighter yellow paint than on the Athearn version.  A herald decal appears on
its front hood just below the headlight.  The Lionel version also has a
headlight and reflective material in the headlight area.  A black horn
appears above the cab headlight.  "Bly. by Lionel" (often in capital letters
and on two lines) is rubber stamped on each side of the short hood, however,
there is no Lionel logo per se [my note: other pieces of this period had a
circle-L logo on them to differentiate from standard Athearn items].  Both
versions feature the Athearn Hi-F rubber band drive.  Later, Lionel
introduced it's own mechanism for the New Haven (1959-1960) and Pennsylvania
(1960) rectifiers.  Since 1958 Athearn has not produced any rectifier
locomotives, which probably indicates Athearn does not have the dies.
Wether or not the tooling has been preserved was unknown untill 1991 when I
[author] discovered Lionel still held the tooling.   General Mills'
attempted reuse of the die in 1973 met with failure."  An additional
paragraph explains that a test run of 50 pieces was made, but that the die
was either damaged or worn out and not worth fixing.  This was during the
period Bachmann made their HO trains.

It's pretty clear this is one of if not the first item Lionel made their own
tooling for, and allowed Athearn to sell a version of to reciprocate for
using their drive.   Although the guide does not say I do believe it was
intentionally designed to use the existing Athearn GP9 frame, and shares the
fuel tank and air tanks with the GP9.  It's probable that the tool was used
in the Athearn factory to make the shells, which would account for some of
the confusion regarding the origins of these engines.

I've always found it ironic that Lionel in first producing these and their
other engines used an Alco style truck, then later went to a blomberg
style.. resuling first in GP7's with Alco trucks, and later FA's with EMD
trucks...   somewhere I have a Lionel GP7 shell that someone repained New
Haven, and one of their FA's done in PC to go with it -

Anyhow now that everyone knows more than they ever cared to about an obscure
Lionel HO piece you almost never see, back to on topic stuff?

Bill K.

----- Original Message -----
To: penn-central -AT- smellycat.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2001 8:50 AM
Subject: Re: PC: E33 from Bachmann

The Lionel E33 was a fomer Athearn die. Both used GP7 chassis
----- Original Message -----
From: NH370 -AT- aol.com
To: penn-central -AT- smellycat.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2001 8:39 AM
Subject: Re: PC: E33 from Bachmann

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