Lionel Scale Nickel Plate Road Berkshire #6-11454 Review

posted Sep 1, 2015, 8:22 PM by Chris Lord

Lionel Scale Nickel Plate Road Berkshire #6-11454

Reviews and Photos by Kevin Martin of the NJ Hi-Railers Train Club

Lionel announced and featured in the 2014 Signature Edition catalog the Polar Express Berkshire and the Nickel Plate Road Berkshire. Lionel's marketing team did an excellent job of tying these offerings to the 10 year anniversary of the Polar Express Feature Film and the recently announced Nickel Plate 765 steam excursions scheduled for the summer and fall months.

In addition to the Nickel Plate Road 765 2-8-4 locomotive, Lionel also released very similar scale versions under the Chesapeake and Ohio, the Pere Marquette and Erie Railroad names. All of the 2-8-4 locomotives have the same feature set with details being located at

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was how attractive the model really is. The white piping around the unit and drive wheels really stand out. Just look at the picture. The graphics are crystal clear and the engine details are impressive. The red paint on the valves located near the cab and on the body stand out contrast nicely against the black engine. Many of my club members have commented on how nice the unit looks.

Lionel built these models with an impressive array of features that are available when using TMCC or the Legacy Command System. For those of you that have not migrated to the new wireless technology (this might be the time to consider an upgrade) many of the features are available in the conventional mode.

There are a few features that I really enjoy and stand out above the rest. The most prominent is the Whistle Steam Smoke affects. The feature adds realism to the model as it allows smoke to emanate from the roof mounted steam whistle. The second stand out feature is the quality of the sounds that are played when accessed through the hand held remote. The sound is synchronized to the locomotives speed, movement and are played through the entire trip. The combination of the two makes you feel like you are going back in time.

For those of you that have the Nickel Plate 765 Lionel had Richard Melvin is the engineer's voice. Richard is the actual engineer of the 765 while on steam excursions so there is a good chance if the 765 is in your area he might be at the controls. I strongly suggest that you walk through the sound features and listen to Richard's voice change in pitch as he makes his requests to the dispatcher. That is a feature that is seldom noticed and does add realism when operating the model. Not to be outdone, the Gold Polar Express features the voice of Tom Hanks and his famous "All Aboard" call. Again, nicely done and bring you right back to the movie.

Finally, Lionel includes a MARS light with the 765 Berkshire. A MARS light is an oscillating safety light used to capture the attention of pedestrians and vehicles. You will need to be patient and follow the directions found in the addendum when performing the swap out. A word of caution, once you disassemble the unit, you need to remove the 3mm light. DO NOT PULL on the light as you might / will damage it if you are not careful.

To change out the lights you will need to first remove the white connector then unscrew the mount with the light. The next step is to install the 3mm light and housing into the MARS light. So, how do I know this? It took me a while it out plus I took to the Internet to see if anyone had posted a video. There are a few but the one posted on seems to be the most comprehensive. Note to Lionel - put the bulb at the factory!!!

I have run my 765 on our club layout with 20 boxcars without any problems. The pulling power is impressive, the engine easily travels up and down the helix and along the tracks that feature steep grades. The unit is powerful, good looking and easy to operate.