LIONEL's -HO FREEDOM TRAIN

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otiscnj

Well-Known Member
I have one, or I should say that I have a Lionel GS-4 in AFT, and 4 Lionel AFT cars that I got back in the 1970's, mail order, as a broken up train set. Some of the ladders at the car ends have gotten broken over the years, but everything still runs. And, no, I'm not interested in selling them.
 

modelbob

Administrator
There were two sets, one with the GS-4 and 5 cars, and one with a diesel and 4 cars. The steam set sold for quite a bit more.

As you mentioned, they go for a premium these days. I'd like to put together a set with the Reading engine, since that's the one I worked on. I have the engine from Broadway Limited, and a couple of cars in storage, but not enough to really put together a good representation.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
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otiscnj

Well-Known Member
There were two sets, one with the GS-4 and 5 cars, and one with a diesel and 4 cars. The steam set sold for quite a bit more.

As you mentioned, they go for a premium these days. I'd like to put together a set with the Reading engine, since that's the one I worked on. I have the engine from Broadway Limited, and a couple of cars in storage, but not enough to really put together a good representation.

Yes, I remember there were 2, 'different' sets, too. I wonder how much that 5th car is worth these days, as it ought to be very rare. I've seen the diesel set at a nearby show for around $250 or so, recently. At the time they came out, only the GS-4 was available, unless you went the brass route, for a T-1. Back in the 80's I considered buying a brass version of the T-1 when it came out from Oriental, I believe, and actually looked for it at the Timonium show, but decided to pass. I ended up buying a PSC Reading Ramble version, a few years back, but haven't run it much.

I have a couple of Tyco Bicentennial boxcars which I may run with the Freedom Train, even though they are not authentic. When I saw the AFT going thru Denville Jct, NJ on the EL, in 1976, I seem to recall it was about 25 cars long.

Last thing-as I recall, the AFT observation car, at the end of the train was a former Reading Company car, which would be about 73' long. Lionel's version was a full 85' car. Did the AFT extend the Reading car, or is the model inaccurate? I've wondered about this for several years since looking at old pictures of the train sitting in Morristown, NJ, where I saw it.
 

modelbob

Administrator
Last thing-as I recall, the AFT observation car, at the end of the train was a former Reading Company car, which would be about 73' long. Lionel's version was a full 85' car. Did the AFT extend the Reading car, or is the model inaccurate? I've wondered about this for several years since looking at old pictures of the train sitting in Morristown, NJ, where I saw it.

You are correct. They didn't extend it, but they did move the back wall in a bit, to create a larger open platform. Lionel just went with what they had on hand I'm guessing.

I was on board the train in Morristown, that was one of my favorite stops. After being on display, we went to the nearby Morris County Central and serviced the engine while the train went to New York City without us. The T-1 wouldn't fit through the tunnel, so once servicing was completed, we ran all the way up the Hudson River to Selkirk to cross on the bridge there, then went back south on the other side to pick up the train somewhere north of New York City, can't recall exactly where. That was also a place where the T-1 got to stretch its legs. We were limited to 40 mph max with the train, out of respect for the fragile nature of the artifacts. On the Hudson River trip we only had the engine, the crew car and a gondola full of coal. Ross opened up and we roared along at about 60 or so, with the exhaust just a continuous roar.

AS for the length, it was 26 cars. I don't recall if it was 27 when we added the gondola of coal, or if that was part of the count of 26.
 

otiscnj

Well-Known Member
Bob,

I was in 8th grade that Summer, and convinced my parents to take us to Denville Jct, to watch the train go by on its way to Morristown. It was listed in the Star Ledger of passing thru Denville, about 11:40PM. Needless to say, we got home much, much later the following morning. The Denville Jct. station still stood in those days. I missed getting one of the coins they threw from the last car, sadly.

My Mom spotted Ross Rowland the day we went, and asked for his autograph, which he declined. That soured her on him from then on.

As for the Lionel car, I don't think they had a mold for the AFT tail car, until they came up with the set, which made me wonder why they made it 85'. Of course, that way, the cars were all the same length, but it might have been cheaper to make an accurate 73' version.

In the years after the AFT, I took some b&w photos of #1 on the siding in Lebanon, without all the brass, headlights, etc, as my Dad would detour thru there, to 'see what was in the siding,' on our way to Flemington and Philly. I can remember my Dad saying how terrible he thought the CNJ track was thru there, at the time, compared to the UP track he was used to our West. He had to explain what he meant by 'bad track' as I had no clue in those days.

Carl
 

modelbob

Administrator
Bob,

I was in 8th grade that Summer, and convinced my parents to take us to Denville Jct, to watch the train go by on its way to Morristown. It was listed in the Star Ledger of passing thru Denville, about 11:40PM. Needless to say, we got home much, much later the following morning.

I -think- that may have been the trip where some railfan backed over the piping at some interlocking tower, breaking it. They couldn't line a switch or lock a signal or something and everything ground to a halt until it was fixed.

Normally we ran pretty close to on time. Our max speed was 40 mph, we could do that fairly well, and they generally opened up the railroad for us to go through, since it was such a high profile train.
 

otiscnj

Well-Known Member
Yep, that was the trip, and the spot was at Port Morris, NJ, at the eastern end of what used to be the Lackawanna's NJ Cutoff. As I recall, Jim Boyd and maybe a few others got some night shots along the way. One at the east portal of the Roseville Tunnel, and another of #1 sitting at the red signal in Port Morris. I would have taken some photos, but my Agfamatic camera's flash cube wouldn't have given me much light. Still looking for the Morristown photos I took, btw-must be in my box of old photos.
 




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