671 Pennsylvania Turbine
Production: 1946 - 1949 & 1952
The 671 steam engine is Lionel's representation of a turbine locomotive. The 6-8-6 wheel arrangement supported Lionel's advertising claim of 'it's an impressive 20-wheel locomotive!' The prototype was produced for and used by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Due to inefficient fuel consumption, the S-2 was a commercial failure and a second locomotive was never manufactured.
For Lionel, the success story of the turbine locomotive was different. The turbines were a marketing victory. The first turbine was introduced in 1946 and the final one rolled off the assembly line in 1955. Between those years, Lionel produced thousands of turbines. Other examples of postwar Lionel turbines include 681, 682 and 2020, all of which remain popular with collectors and operators. Note that a 671 is the same as a 2020 except the 671 was sold with O gauge track and the 2020 was sold with 027 track.
The 671 (along with its 027 gauge counterpart the 2020) was the first turbine introduced by Lionel. Originally introduced in 1946, it remained in the line until 1949. It also made a brief appearance in 1952, but was finally discontinued after a single year of production. Although none of the 671 turbines have Magnetraction, the sheer weight and reliability of the turbine continues to make it an excellent locomotive for pulling long freight trains.
The 671 turbine locomotive remained in the Lionel family for five production years. However, during its run there were four different versions of that engine. The following is a summary of each:
- 671 with Smoke Bulb - This version which was produced only in 1946, uses a special light bulb to heat up the smoke pellets and to convert them to smoke. The easiest way to recognize this version is by looking into the smokestack. If you see a light bulb in the smokestack, it's the Smoke Bulb version. Standard features of this turbine include: three position E-unit (without a lever protruding from the top of the shell), smoke bulb, plain drive wheels and a single drive rod plus a headlight. The pilot and trailing trucks were always die-cast. The tender was always a whistling tender, numbered 671W.
- 671R with Electronic Control - Produced from 1946 - 1949, this is a special locomotive included with the infamous Electronic Control Set. It has a unique feature in that the operator was able to operate or uncouple any of the trains in the Electronic Control Set anywhere on the track, at any point in time! Pretty impressive for the late 1940s! Standard features of this turbine include: Electronic Control unit, three position E-unit (with a lever protruding from the top of the shell), smoke element, plain drive wheels and a single drive rod plus a headlight. The pilot and trailing trucks were always die-cast. It came with a whistling tender, numbered either 4424W or 4671W.
- 671 with Smoke Element - The 671 with smoke element was introduced in 1947 and is the most common version. This locomotive is basically the same as the Electronic Control version, but without the Electronic Control feature. Standard features of this turbine include: three position E-unit, smoke element, plain drive wheels and a single drive rod plus a headlight. The pilot and trailing trucks were always die-cast. It always came with a whistling tender, numbered 671W.
- 671RR - (essentially a 681 turbine without Magnetraction). Due to material shortages caused by the Korean War, the 681 Magnetraction version from 1951 was eliminated from all locomotives in 1952. For this reason, Lionel re-ran the 671 and labelled it 671 RR (for re-run). Actual 671 RR locomotives were designated on the cab as either 671 RR or simply 671. Standard features of the 671 RR include: three position E-unit, smoke element, plain drive wheels and a single drive rod plus a headlight. The pilot and trailing trucks were always die-cast metal. The tender was the 2046W-50 Pennsylvania whistling tender.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
The length of the turbine without the tender is approximately 10 3/4" long (front to back). Since the 671 was available with different tenders, its overall length depends upon the specific tender provided with the turbine.
Smoke Bulb - The smoke bulb version of the 671 is hard to locate as it was produced for only a single year.
Electronic Control - The Electronic Control version is hard to locate. Even though production lasted for several years, few were actually made.
Regular Production - Shown in the photo above. -Regular production 671 turbines are the most common of all 671 locomotives.
671 RR - The version without the 'RR' stamped on the cab is in the photo above. Either of the 671RR locomotives are somewhat difficult to locate.
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