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56 M. & St. L. Mine Transport

56a.jpg

Production:  1958

History
The 56 Minneapolis & St. Louis Mine Transport switcher is one of the more difficult motorized units to locate. It was only produced for a single year -- 1958 -- and was only available as a separate sale item, never as part of a set. These small locomotives -- usually referred to as Motorized Units -- are loosely design after a real-life gas Vulcan switcher of the 1950s.

Lionel's model, similar to the real-life version, was small and had limited pulling power. On average, it could only pull two or three freight cars.

Features
Standard features of the 56 M. & St. L. Switcher include: 2-4-2 wheel arrangement, red body with a painted white cab and red lettering, three-position E-unit, white side railings, low front and rear railings, operating front and rear couplers, metal side rode connecting the drive wheels plus an ornamental bell.

The 56 Mine Transport Switcher ran unchanged for a single year and did not include magne-traction nor interior illumination.

Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
A common problem with this locomotive are the thin window struts on each side of the cab. These struts are quite frequently found cracked or completely missing. Units with intact window struts will command a slight premium.

Only Known Variation - Shown in the photo above. - All 56's have red molds, painted white cabs and red lettering.

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