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One of the last truly tinplate locomotives, the 255E manufactured by Lionel in 1935 and 1936 exclusively, included a 263W whistle tender set but was never available for separate sale. Customers who bought this product also commonly purchased the following combination of items. Originally catalogued in 1940 this 2654 O gauge tank car came equipped electric remote control couplers, aluminum finishing, and bright nickel detailing. Only one other engine ever received Commodore-style streamlining: In 1936 a NYC Mohawk was streamlined to lead the Rexall Train. Along with its top-of-the-line standard gauge freight cars, Lionel upgraded its high-end O gauge freight line in 1926: "In designing this marvelous new series of Lionel 'O' Gauge Freight Cars, our aim has been to express the individuality of every type of commercial freight car used on all railroads. The 255E contained the same boiler, frame, whistle, and 2-4-2 wheel arrangements as the late 260E but without the chugger.


255 on the engines side plates, this locomotives gunmetal coloring and nickel trim were trademarks of Lionel's tinplate models produced after 1934. Many new features never before carried out to such perfection are apparent in these cars." Catalog numbers, initially in the 800 series when the cars were equipped with latch couplers, were changed to 2800 series when new automatic box couplers were added in 1938. Catalog numbers, initially in the 600 series, were changed to the 2600 series when new automatic couplers were added in 1938.
Proclaiming "The Depression is over!" and sporting car names that included Firstaid, Kantleek, and Ad-Vantages, the train barnstormed across 47 states to showcase the wonders of the United Drug Company's (Rexall) products. This model was one of the first to receive a semi gloss finish rather then the traditional high-gloss finish, which graced locomotives produced before 1934. Though the locomotive would later succumb to die-cast boilers and scale detail, this model accurately recreates all of the details specific to the 255E.
Immensely popular with the public, the blue-and-white train was immediately modeled by Lionel, cataloged as The Blue Streak from 1936-38.


Dubbed the most spectacular development in model railroading the 255E with its authentic locomotive whistle and the rhythm of its double action pistons and driving rods is characteristic of a great Mogul of the Rails.
Imagine you're a child in the Depression-weary 1930s, when these Commodore Vanderbilt sets captured the excitement and optimism of the newest thing on American rails. New to the 1935 catalogue, the 255E along with the red 613 series passenger cars still make up one of the rarest prewar passenger sets ever produced.



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