Erie Legacy Scale E-8 Diesel AA #6-81231 Review

posted Oct 21, 2015, 8:44 AM by Chris Lord

Erie Legacy Scale E-8 Diesel AA #6-81231 Review by The NJ HiRailers Train Club 

Lionel Ambassador Program 

The Lionel number 6-81231 is a beautiful version of the GM EMD E-8 diesel locomotive that was produced from 1949 through 1954. The E-8 locomotive from GM was a 2250 HP monster that was primarily used as a passenger train locomotive. After national passenger service went to Amtrak in 1970 many railroads re-geared the E units to haul freight.

This Lionel version is in the Erie Railroad livery. The Erie Railroad had a total of 14 A units that were later painted in the Erie Lackawanna scheme after the merger in 1960. They never ordered any B Units. The Lionel version is true to prototype on the numbering of the A units in this set which are 822 and 827 as the Erie units were numbered 820 – 833.

Lionel's Erie E-8 was cataloged in the 2014 Signature Edition catalog which also offer the model in the Texas Special MKT, Wabash, Seaboard, Santa Fe, Penn Central, Rock Island and C&O railroads.

The A-A units measures 36 inches long from coupler to coupler and weighs 8lbs 4oz. The minimum curve requirement is 036 which is conducive to smaller lays

The lead unit is powered with two flywheel motors and the trailing unit is non-powered. There is one motor per six wheel truck in he powered unit. Fan driven smoke units can be found in both the powered and non powered unit. The main Legacy control electronics are located in the lead unit and the trailing unit does have an address programmable and light control board.

There are plenty of add on features on the E8. There are die cast pilots and operating protocouplers on each end. The nose of both units has brass grab irons next to the entry door. The nose number boards are illuminated. There are separately applied windshield wipers and grab irons above the windshield. The cab contains an engineer and a brakeman. The fuel tank is die cast metal. There are separately applied ladders in three positions along the carbody. The cab doors open and close and there are separately applied metal grab rails on both side of it. There is also a separately applied metal handrail next to the steps. There is a pretty nice builder’s plate below the cab.

There are four porthole windows on the sides of the unit. A nice feature Lionel added is the operational engine access door. The detail is excellent and Lionel added grab rails on each side of the door. The fuel tanks are metal.

The grills along the top of the unit side are metal and the roof of both units have separately applied lift rings. The blades in the fan units fond on the roof spin freely. The cab has interior illumination and lights in the direction of travel. The Cab light will also turn off when the unit starts to move and the headlights are directional.

The roof of each of the A units has a removable panel that gives access to the Program / Run, the Odyssey On / Off, and the smoke On / Off switches along with the volume control knob. On the non-powered unit there is also a volume control knob, a Program / Run and a Smoke On / Off switch. Both of the panels are held in place magnetically.

The E8 has an infrared sensor unit to be used with LCS sensor track. Each unit has four pickup rollers. The powered unit has four driven axels. The non-powered unit has a sensor in one of the trucks to regulate smoke output and sound to the powered units speed. The engine sound on the unit has a deep bass and sounds great. The horn doesn’t seem to match the Prototypical Erie units though. The crewtalk sounds are the standard issue Lionel sounds and are not railroad specific.

Operating the engine is easy and had the capability of a very slow start up speed when pulling 8 passenger cars. Pulling the 8 cars was not a problem for the A-A set. Speed steps can be made through the Legacy remote and adds more realism to the model.

The green color on the A-A units appeared a little darker than the passenger cars we had used during the testing but that could have been because they were from another manufacturer or simply because of weathering but none the less the entire train, the A-A units and the 8 passenger cars looked awesome on the NJ HiRailers layout.

Overall a very nice addition to anyone's collection.

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