The 1936 Lionel catalog featured the streamlined O Gauge Commodore Vanderbilt heading up a five-car, five-foot long freight consist of colorful, individual cars. And though the real-life Vanderbilt never pulled freight, the handsome Lionel creation found in the '36 catalog made such a consist seem like a real possibility.
In the summer of 1934, Hudson 5344 entered New York Central's West Albany shops; before year-end, it emerged as the Commodore Vanderbilt, America's first streamlined steam locomotive. By the following February, the Commodore was heading NYC's premier train, the Twentieth Century Limited. Just months later, two versions of the Commodore appeared in Lionel's 1935 catalog: the budget-priced, red 264E leading the Red Comet set, and the deluxe black 265E, "equipped with crosshead and piston, driving rod, connecting rod, and simulated reversing gear."
By creating its own modern freight train headed up by the 265E, Lionel was able to pair up this unique locomotive with a selection of its popular 600 series freight cars and ensure that lots of "play value" could be had that might not have been so obvious in the company's other streamlined locomotive passenger sets found in the previous year's catalog. With sliding box car doors and a manually activated dump car, the No. 284E Freight Set was able to inspire lots of imaginative play from its owners.
Available in both Contemporary, sound-equipped trim or with a traditional AC motor and e-unit, the No. 284E set is sure to amaze all who see it run. Unlike the original 1936 set, only the Lionel Corporation Tinplate Contemporary set sports modern features like synchronized puffing smoke, a vibrant whistle and clanging bell, constant voltage lighting and a smooth drive train that can pull the consist's five cars and a lot more.