617 A.T. & S. F.
The 617 A.T. & S.F. NW2 diesel switcher was produced for only a single year; 1963. Quite surprisingly, Lionel actually added external detail to this switcher, something that was rarely done during the 1960's. For the 617, Lionel added a radio antenna on top of the diesel cab, a piece of trim last used in 1955.
1963 also marked the year Lionel began transitioning their switchers to a less-costly, sheet-metal frame which did not include side skirts. As a result, the 617 can be found with either the early frame containing side skirts or the later version without the additional side detail.
Although NW2 switchers produced in the 1960s are generally a step down in quality to those produced in the 1950s, the 617 does contain several of the more desirable features such as two-axle magnetraction, functional horn and much more.
The 617 is a fairly rare diesel. It was only produced for a single year and those in collectable condition will command a premium in price.
Standard features of the 617 include: black painted body with white lettering and strips, two axle Magnetraction, three-position E-unit (with the lever accessible from underneath the frame), functional horn, single illuminated headlight and non-operating couplers on the front and rears. Additionally, the 627 is the only NW-2 switcher produced in the 1960's with a simulated radio antenna on the front of the diesel.
As mentioned above, 1963 was the year Lionel transitioned their switchers to a less-costly sheet-metal frame. The change eliminated the simulated side skirts on the diesel. Locating any 617 is rare, either with or without the side skirts.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
With Side Skirts - Shown in the photo above - Early production had simulated side skirts on the diesel.
Without Side Skirts - Later production did not include the simulated side skirts on the sheet-metal frame.
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