Lionel introduced the center cab switcher model to its product line in 1956 and the 626 Baltimore & Ohio was added to the line of center cab switchers in the following year. Unfortunately, sales of Lionel's center cab switchers were poor and far less than expected. Therefore, 1957 marked the end of new roadnames appearing on these models and no new center cab diesels were introduced during the remainder of the postwar era.
It is interesting to note, of the five center cab diesels produced by Lionel all but one appear in a catalogued set. The 626 Baltimore & Ohio is the only center cab diesel not included in a set and only available as a separate sale item. This also accounts for the rarity of the diesel as few were sold.
The 626 Baltimore & Ohio diesel is almost as difficult to locate as the rare 629 Burlington. Clean examples of the 626 are very hard-to-find as the blue shell is prone to light surface scratches. Nice and clean examples will command a premium.
Standard features of the 626 Baltimore & Ohio center cab switcher include: unpainted blue shell with yellow lettering and a single yellow stripe on the base of the cab, single-axle Magnetraction, die-cast trucks, metal end-railings, three-position E-unit, dual operating couplers plus an ornamental horn and bell. The 626 does not contain a functional horn but does have an illuminated headlight at one end.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
The length of the 626 is approximately 12 1/2" long (coupler to coupler).
Only Known Variation - All 626's are unpainted blue with yellow lettering and lower stripe.